It took Simone Deckers 15 years to find her passion.
Simone arrived in Australia from The Netherlands with her parents and sister when she was 8 years old. Her dad was a woodworker and her mum was a nurse and avid sewer. The Deckers family settled in Brisbane and quickly fell in love with the Australian bush.
After following in her mums footsteps as a nurse, the realisationn finally came for Simone that her passion for colour, pattern and textiles needed to be honoured more fully in her life.
She quit her job as a clinical nurse at a blood bank, took the leap of faith and re-trained in Textile Design at RMIT in Melbourne.
The career move was a brave one especially since it meant a giant pay cut.
Simone Deckers at the door to her studio in West Melbourne. Photo by YOU ARE BRAVE.
After finishing her studies Simone started her textile label Femke Textiles, so named because “Femke” would have been her name had her parents not chosen “Simone”
Through Femke Textiles, Simone creates beautiful, nature inspired prints that explore her intimate connection with Australia’s flora and fauna … a connection that not only ties her with the bush but also conveys something influential about her family bonds.
Simone Deckers is also a Print Technician at RMIT. Photo by Simone Deckers.
I was fortunate enough to be able to catch up with Simone in February at her wonderful West Melbourne studio … here is that interview ….
In the studio at Femke Textiles with Simone.
What does the Australian bush & fauna mean to you? Why does it feature so heavily in your work?
What’s not to love? I love the uniqueness and the diversity in colour, shapes, textures. I love that some of it can survive in the harshest of conditions. I just find the Australian bush so inspiring. It means home. My favourite smell has to be that of gum leaves - any variety!
I associate the Aussie bush and fauna with many wonderful camping holidays I took with my family when I was young. We spent many Sundays bush walking, enjoying time together as a family and I think my love for Australian flora and fauna was definitely a spark that was ignited during this time.
I lost my Dad only 18 months ago and the Aussie bush and fauna definitely helps me feel closer to him. He had such a big love for both.
What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
The bravest thing I have ever done would be to follow my dreams and creative energy and go from full time nursing and a steady income to studying textile design and now running my own business! I won’t lie, it hasn’t always been the easiest, but I really love what I do and feel very thankful that I get to go into my studio and create.
Femke Textiles print range. Photo by Simone Deckers .
What is it about textile design and screen printing that drives your passion? Why do you choose this as a career?
I have always love fabric, patterns and colour. I remember mum sewing a
lot of mine and my sisters clothes and being surrounded by fabric when I was younger. I have always loved the act of screen printing and I still get excited when I lift the screen and see my designs come to life on fabric. I love that the options for patterns on fabric are endless. I choose to mostly work with linen as I love the texture and drape of it. I love the way screen printed textiles look VS digitally printed. I love the texture and the difference in each print. I love the beauty in imperfections that screen printing creates.
Linen top by Femke Textiles. Photo by Simone Deckers.
What frustrations or difficulties are you experiencing with your work?
Hmmmmmm...the frustrations and difficulties of running your own business sometimes seem like many! I guess one of the biggest frustrations is not having enough hands to make/do all the things I have ticking over in my head! I have to wear so many different hats and having some help with things like marketing etc would be helpful.
What does the name Femke Textiles mean?
My name was going to be Femke if it wasn’t Simone. Mum and dad decided on Simone in the end so I thought Femke was a good name for my business (the other me!) It is a Friesian name - my grandfather was Friesian.
At the studio work table at Femke Textiles. Photo by YOU ARE BRAVE.
What impact do you think coming to Australia as a little girl had on your outlook and your chosen path in printing and textiles?
I think seeing my parents work really hard to re-establish themselves and also run their own business in a foreign/new country gave me the strength and courage to try something new and work really hard to achieve it. They showed me that anything is possible really with the love and support of your family behind you and ofcourse hard work!
Who would you most like to work with or collaborate with?
I would really love to collaborate with a ceramicist. I would love to see some of my designs on plates cups etc.
I would also love to work with a restaurant or accommodation provider in country Victoria and design the patterns for their linen/menus etc.
My biggest dream (hopefully to come true one day) is to design a large scale public art/design piece somewhere!
Wattle Puff Print on Flax Linen by Femke Textiles. Photo by Simone Deckers.
Femke Textiles is based in Melbourne and you can find out more about Simone and her work by visiting her website https://www.femketextiles.com.au/
A huge Thank You to Simone for her generosity with her time to do this interview AND also, she picked me up from my accommodation in Melbourne to go to her studio!