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Social Sprouting: Interview with Juanita Flett

Imagine a living room without textiles… no comforting cushions or subtle details to transform four walls into a room. Juanita Flett is a textile designer and the star behind those essential finishing touches of Pollen’s furnishings! We caught up with Juanita to find out where she gets her inspiration, being a textile designer in Canberra and what she loves about her work.

Is sewing your full-time occupation?

Sewing and creating textiles is what I do for a living, making anything from a bed head, to a lamp, to a wedding dress!

What have you made for Pollen?

I have made the entire décor suite for Pollen - the cushions, aprons, serviettes, lamp shades, even the covers on the drink stations.

How did you start sewing?

I was interested in sewing at school and I thought I would be a fashion designer, however money needed to be made so I didn’t pursue it. Once I had my children I decided to take up sewing again and attended some markets. My business grew from there! Now I rarely do markets and most of my projects are from referrals.

Where do you get your inspiration?

If I’m doing a project for myself, it's always fun and instils happiness. If I am creating for someone else, I work to their specifications.

If I’m making décor for my house I like things that are different – I like people to come in and notice things.

A lot of your work has patterns – tell us why you love using patterns?

I like to be different. I’m not into clean lines – I’m into fun, eye catching designs that make you feel individual, so if you’re wearing one of my designs, you feel cool and unique.

Tell us about any trends in textiles at the moment?

In general the handmade look is trending. In regards to patterns, floral is in! Quite large, abstract and bright floral patterns.

What is good about being a textiles designer in Canberra?

Because Canberra is so small, word of mouth is key. It helps me getting one referral to the next!

There are also great fabric shops – my favourite is Addicted to Fabric in Philip.

Do you face any challenges being a textiles designer in Canberra?

I think there are too many markets now. It used to be that there were just a few on but now there are so many markets you’re not getting enough people to each event.

Do you regard textiles as an art?

In a way – I think the whole vision of putting together a restaurant with all the layers of textures, including textiles, is art, but the process of making each of the fifty individual napkins not so much!

What is textile’s role in modern interiors?

Textiles play a massive role, otherwise you have paint, tiles and things you don’t really touch. Textiles are the finishing element, helping to express what you want about the room.

What is your favourite thing to sew and why?

At the moment I am really into sewing capes and jackets. I also like doing bed heads and lamps because you can make them individual and you’re not doing the same thing over and over again.

What is the most difficult thing you have made?

Formal dresses can be stressful because people have a very particular idea about what they want.

Find tips to decorating with patterns and easy ways to make a room look striking in our Styling with Patterns blog post.

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