Marigolde Fern cushion
Andrea Geisler of Marigolde is a women of many interests. Design, food, styling and travelling are just some of her pursuits, but beautiful textiles and traditional craftsmanship are her real passion.
Safari Living caught up with Andrea to find out more about her label 'Marigolde' and her inspired, unique range of cushions and jewellery pieces.
Tell us a little about your background, what led you to go out on your own and
Marigolde happened in a roundabout manner. I have been drawn to beautiful cloth for as long as I can recall but it was eventually a hunch that led me to being in the right place at the right time. The bulk of my career to date was in the fashion industry where I worked for about twenty years. I eventually realised that despite my love of cloth and beautifully crafted things, I don’t really have the temperament for fashion and walked away.
Following another interest I then naively opened an organic cake business! This eventually led to assisting Caroline Velik, a terrific Melbourne food stylist. Given food styling is such a competitive area to break into I was secretly dismayed when I realised it still wasn’t quite the right fit for me. So I followed a hunch and took a trip to India. I’d been there before but hadn’t had any time to explore. I was ostensibly going for some time out but hit the ground running and it quickly became obvious that I was onto something as I was engulfed in the pursuit of exquisite textiles and craftsmanship. It dawned on me that I could still work with beautiful cloth but on my own terms. I came home with some contacts and a head full of ideas from which the first collection emerged.
You travelled to India for this collection, can you tell us about some of your experiences?
India is definitely one of the most stimulating places I’ve travelled to and each time I learn a little more about what is going on beneath the surface. Overwhelmingly I am touched by the kindness and generosity of strangers as well as the wonderful food! There is a very small and picturesque village in the Himalayan foothills that I love to visit. The air and water are clear and the presence of the mountains is incredibly powerful. Out walking one day I met a old gentleman whose back yard I had inadvertently wandered into. He shook my hand and proudly listed for me his worldly possessions. The entire list took about thirty seconds. He then invited me to stay with his family.
The food is a story unto itself but everywhere I go I aim for the heart of whatever is the local delicacy and generally favour street food. That said, I was lucky enough to befriend the owner of the my favourite restaurant in Delhi who subsequently made me his guest every night, even sending simple food to my hotel when I was feeling unwell.
Marigolde muslin scarf
Talk us through your collection/pieces (the ones that we are stocking)
The collection is evolving all the time according to materials and makers that I encounter. Right now there are three components to the collection: jewellery, scarves and soft furnishings (cushions). Everything is hand made, often right from the most basic elements such as the weaving of the cloth before it is embroidered.
There is a delicate muslin scarf that combines these two processes as the motifs are woven into the cloth while it’s on the loom. It’s an ancient and time consuming technique that is unable to be mechanised.
Where did you get inspiration and ideas?
All around - objects, film, bits of cloth, a glimpse of something fantastic like ladies in traditional African dress, a mood. Nature, especially plants. The Warli cushions are inspired by the motifs of an indigenous Indian tribe whose paintings I saw on a mud brick wall. Reinterpreted on linen with hand embroidery they take on another dimension.
What do you take into consideration when creating the pieces?
I am aiming for a sophisticated look that is also earthy. Colour is very important. Almost everything springs from the materials and the processes and I hope that as I learn and find more, the collection will evolve towards the vision that’s in my head. My considerations are somewhat commercial but for the most part product comes first: it needs to feel honest and true to my aesthetic.
Marigolde Zig Zag cushion
Marigolde Warli cushion
What is your favourite piece/s and why?
The fern cushion because it’s timeless, whimsical and inspiring in its detail...this was very much a case of let’s see what happens... I had no idea whether such a complex design could be hand embroidered and the result is as good as I might have hoped for. It is the opposite of digital processes, slow, manual and individually crafted enabling master craftsmen working in Fair Trade conditions to show off their highest standard of work. Kind of outlandish but definitely worthwhile!
Marigolde's product range is currently available in store and some selected products are available online. Visit our showroom to see the intricate handmade details which make this collection a unique work of art.