The penultimate stage of this year’s #LibertyOpenCall journey saw our four winners travel to Italy, to watch as their designs were printed onto Liberty Fabric at our very-own print mill. Located between the boulevards of Milan and the banks of Lake Como, Stamperia Olonia uses both traditional screen printing and pioneering digital technology to illustrate Liberty prints in intricate detail. Joined by Liberty Fabrics’ Lead Bespoke Designer - Adam Herbert – Catherine Rowe, Emma Hill, Duncan Grant and Natasha Coverdale went to Italy to oversee the fascinating process.
“What I found amazing about the mill was how much work goes into the traditional printing of fabric. I imagined that digital fabric printing would have taken the lead by now but it was amazing to see traditional screen printing methods still taking place. We met many of the workers in the mill and after this was the all-important exciting part of our trip - seeing our designs printed on Liberty Fabrics’ Tana Lawn cotton and silk! It was just amazing to learn even more about what goes on behind the scenes of such an amazing institution - the care and attention to detail given to the printing was something to behold. I also learned a lot about how important the quality of the print and correct choice of colours is when printing my designs onto fabric - some invaluable skills taken away which I'll carry with me as my career in design progresses.”
“The mill exceeded my expectations by far, it was probably three-to-four times bigger than I thought it might be. It was so interesting to see all the stages and the differences between screen and digital printing. I was very impressed by the skill of the men who were screen printing, lining up the screen rolls so precisely - all of it done by the naked eye. It was then great to see each step as one colour was added and then another to then create the final pattern. It was so exciting to actually see our designs on fabric and wonderful to see how the colour and design dramatically changes between Tana Lawn and the satin silk allowing the design to become dynamic creating totally different looks. Seeing behind the scenes, I could appreciate the huge amount of team work that is involved both in London and Italy in order to make each roll of fabric.”
“It was great to visit the Olonia fabric mill – it was much like I had imagined it to be. We were greeted there by Adam and Natasha from the London team and introduced to Letizia, a product developer. Over great Italian coffee and Liberty biscuits, Letizia told us all about the history and operation at the mill. We were taken on a tour of the facility by Paolo which was very explanatory and demystified the whole process. It was brilliant to see our designs printed on fabric, they came to life so vibrantly. The busy but brilliant day left me with great memories and a much deeper insight into the Liberty Fabrics process. I can’t wait to see which colourways the buyers select.”
“The Liberty print mill was much bigger than I had anticipated, the scale was awe-inspiring! The giant rolls of fabrics, huge tanks of multicoloured inks and wondrous machines were certainly comparable to Mr. Wonka’s. We had the pleasure of meeting the managers, designers and machine coordinators. We were all wide eyed with curiosity witnessing the many important and skilled stages involved in creating a premium printed fabric. It was very exciting to see different colour samples of our work. I came away with an even greater appreciation of the combined business-mind needed to keep an operation like this running smoothly. We could clearly see the love and care in making sure the product quality is of Liberty standard.”
The winning designs will be available online and in-store from May 2019.