YOU ARE BRAVE textiles printed fabrics by textile designer Michelle Kistima-Menser

Timeless Impressions : The slow & individual work of Trade The Mark’s Christina Mclean

Michelle Kistima-Menser2 Comments


To decline the trend for fast moving, high volume products with throw away quality & more or less bite the hand that feeds you is a bold move indeed.  In pursuing the beauty that comes with hand craftsmanship Christina Mclean imprints her textiles, ceramics & paper works with her story & her soul.

This is something of real value, truly worth sharing in these fast paced times.

I’d been admiring the work of Trade The Mark on Instagram for so long & finally I plucked up the courage to ask Christina for an interview.  I found her to be exactly like her work … warm, down to earth & down right gorgeous.

So here is my interview with Christina, conducted at her beautiful studio in Sydney. I hope it will inspire you too!

* Photos are courtesy Christina Mclean, Trade The Mark

Christina Mclean In Her Studio-2 27May16 Photo by YOU ARE BRAVE.png

1. What gets you up in the morning Christina?

Knowing I’m going to my studio to play, make and create.



2. How did you come to create Trade The Mark?

TRADE the MARK is really an amalgamation of my mark making history. I started my first creative business straight after art school in the 90’s, Chowk Ceramics.  We had a gallery and studio space on Enmore Rd where we made and sold our ceramics. After 10 + years my business partner and I decided to wind Chowk up and delve deeper into our own practices. I did a Post Grad in design, focusing in on textiles. After this study I then turned my attentions solely to Textile Design.  I have worked developing prints for fashion designers for over 11 + years now. The last 8 years I have been running my own textile business Christina Mclean Design.  CMTD prints are derived from drawings, mark makings, photography and digital drawings. There’s really so many ways you can design and create a print. Inevitably all hand drawings need to be digitised. So the computer plays a huge role in the creative process.

Honestly TRADE the MARK was born out of my yearning to move away from the computer and back to making things with my hands. My disdain for fast fashion and adding to landfill also contributed to me moving away from the computer and moving back towards slow craftsmanship. I’m playing with ceramics again and also painting one off textile pieces.



3. What inspires your aesthetic & why?

My obsession with textiles has been a long and passionate one. Whenever I travel I seek out makers. Whether it’s weavers, dyers, through a workshop or an exhibition. I kind of plan my trips around shows and workshops, always have. I hunt for treasures in markets, artist co-operatives and stores. So I’m totally inspired by textiles, how they are woven, knitted, spun, printed or dyed…I’m obsessed by pattern too. My partner say’s we need a bigger house to house all the textiles I collect.

4. WHO inspires you the most & why?

Anyone who runs a creative business, you have to have a lot of strength, determination and perseverance.

5. What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever had to do?

I don’t know if it’s the bravest thing, but making the decision to move away from fashion, an industry I know incredibly well and that has sustained me for many years towards a truly bespoke, hand crafted creative business.  Its scary but I’m somewhat compelled to do this now.

Christina Mclean in her studio Trade The Mark


6. What’s your dream project?

Gosh, there’s so many. I’d love to collaborate with someone who’s plant obsessed and maybe do an exclusive range with them. I’d love to work with more interior designers and architects. I’d truly love to develop new work for a solo show. Collaboration with likeminded peeps really would be so lovely!

7. What are you reading / listening to right now?

I’ve just finished a creative business course online called ‘Owners Collective Mastermind’. The other CD I’m constantly listening to is a Meditation CD by Buddhist Monk Pema Chodron.

A huge Thank You to Christina for welcoming me into her studio & allowing me to share her story.

Read more about Trade The Mark, browse the online shop & find stockists at