Nine Lives Bazaar X Wandering Folk Collaboration Artist Q&A

To celebrate the upcoming launch of our collaboration with Wandering Folk, we're sitting down with the beautiful and oh so talented Founder and our dear friend, Sharnee Thorpe. We've been fortunate to work with her incredibly talented hands as a print designer for some of our most successful collections over the years; including our most coveted print - Land of the Sun! Find out how our collaboration came to be and more...
Nine Lives Bazaar and Wandering Folk have worked closely together for years, and you are good friends with our  Co-Founders, Rose & Ness. Can you tell us how this came to be?

Yes we have been working together and are now close friends for 10 years, we met over emails to begin with when I was living in Sydney working as a freelance print designer. I think a mutual friend I went to high school recommended me to Rose & Ness when they were looking to design their first range of prints. We worked together remotely for a few months and finally met in real life by chance at Byron Bay Bluesfest I think in was 2015. We quickly realised we had lots of mutual friends and when I moved back to the Northern Rivers we became very close friends. I had started Wandering Folk and was running my business while also doing my freelance work and I was still the sole print designer for NLB. It was so nice to become part of the NLB community after working from home on my own for so many years.  I joined their mumma clan, Rose and I had babies a day apart and we are in a book club together. It's been pretty amazing and supportive to grow our businesses and our families along side each other over the years.

NLB and Wandering Folk work so well together. Every NLB X WF picnic rug has sold out! Why do you think that is?

Yes our brand do work so well together, I think it’s our shared obsession for vintage prints and bygone eras. It’s so beautiful to watch how popular our collab picnic rugs have been over the years, they are all super limited ranges because we like people to feel extra special is they manage to secure one, again I think our love for retro '70s prints fused into the prints of the collab picnic rugs is what makes them so popular.

This is the first time we've released a cooler bag and cushion as part of a collaboration. There is a whole set of accessories in the Land of the Sun collection, plus our matching epic Sarah Bias Midi Dress which came out in Nostalgia. What does this collaboration mean to you?

It’s very fun to bring this stunning print to life as a picnic range, the green sure is a showstopper and the cooler bag print with the tan background is so beautiful. It’s always so much fun time working alongside Rose & Ness, super happy to have joined forces again for this collab. 

Land of the Sun print was designed by you a few years ago and has proven timeless, it's still our most coveted print to date! Can you chat through the design process for this print...

I started drawing the original artwork for Land of the Sun in May 2020, with my 6 month old, Velvet by my side. It was during the first covid lockdown so I was working from home. My process always starts with Rose & Ness briefing me on what they have magically dreamt up for the print. I then do a bit of my own research for motifs and start the drawing process. I love drawing by hand, pen to paper as the first step, drawing more of a simple outline then I scan the artwork in and add colour in photoshop. In photoshop is I where I add more details to the motives and start to build the layout and design. Land of the Sun has a really detailed border print as well as the repeat large floral print. I designed these separate and then add them together in photoshop, sending screen shot of the artworks along the way to Rose & Ness to get feeback and more sure im on the right track. They are very good at giving feedback as they can visualise exactly what the final print will look like, so that is very helpful for me when designing. The colours that I start with never end up as the final colours, Rose is a wizard with colour and play around with the artwork after I have finished it before they send it off to sample. I also love to check in and see if there has been issues with the print in the sample process, as this really helps me as a designer understanding the capability’s of printing. NLB did most of their early prints as screen prints, this meant I have to spend hours and hours making each colour layer clean for the screens and keeping the colour limit to about 7 colours per print, when NLB moved to digital printing it was dreamy as the colours were infinite when designing.

What inspires you about the NLB aesthetic? Do you have a favourite outfit from us? 

Their love for bold prints as I share this same love! Ooooh a favourite outfit, gosh that’s such a hard one! I LOVE the large floral slip dress – Sunkissed Dress in Barbados, the last print I designed for NLB in 2022 the Desert butterfly jumpsuit AND the outfit I wore to Splendour in the Grass last year is a fave – Liberty Oversized shirt - vivid. 

Describe your artistic style in 4 words?

Ornate, flowing, floral, old world

What advice would you give to aspiring artists looking to establish themselves in the art world?

Keep drawing, painting and experimenting this build confidence and your passion and let that lead you. 

Our limited release collaboration collection, Land of the Sun, is arriving online March 19 at 10AM AEDT.