It was 2010 and I was excited to be setting up my first ever market stall. It was more of a festival feel than a typical market and was known in Newcastle as the Red Lantern Night Markets. I wasn’t quite sure of what to expect. I was used to the steady pace of our Monsoon Living retail store but this night market attracted in excess of 10,000 visitors condensed into the narrow lanes in and around Newcastle’s CBD. I was in for a very fun and busy night of trade.
Throughout my night I caught glimpses of another stall across from me. It was simply called ‘Plumtart’ and the display was beautiful. ‘Plumtart’ featured screen printed designs on a range of homewares and children’s clothing, all displayed on purpose built shelving and housed in contemporary freestanding boxes. Towards the end of the evening when things were starting to slow I had the chance to meet the maker, Jessica Paget, and have a closer look at her stunning collection. Each and every piece was beautifully made and I was instantly attracted to the Japanese influences in her designs.
Many markets later and having now known Jess and her brand ‘Plumtart’ for a number of years I understand where those influences and design skills come from. Jess, along with brothers Luke and Shane and their mother Donna Burrell, have extensive experience in design ranging from interiors, surface, digital and graphic, to colour consulting and styling. Each of them has had a hand in launching the Hunter Design School, the first boutique design school in the Hunter Region. Hunter Design School proudly offers a comprehensive diploma in Colour Planning and Consulting, and Interior Design and Styling. The school also offers a number of inspiring short courses in Adobe programs Illustrator and Photoshop along with some fun and inspiring workshops all located inside the schools’ stunning warehouse conversion in Newcastle’s up-and-coming West End.
One exciting workshop scheduled for 11th October is a screen-printing workshop where you can join Jess and learn the basic skills of screen-printing. No previous experience is necessary and at the end of the day you get to take home your very own screen-printed designs on beautiful linen tea towels. Head to the Hunter Design School website for all of the details and booking information.
The chance meeting Jess and I had a few years ago at the market has left its mark, with a selection of her stunning range of ‘Plumtart’ cushions now available through the Monsoon Living Online Store. With each cushion screen printed by hand using non toxic ink onto high grade linen, and Jess’s eye for design, they make a beautiful addition to any home.