MEET OUR (LOCAL) MAKERS: From filmmaker to textile designer, Stephanie Symns brings a painterly eye to her craft

By Laura Goldstein

Imaginative, playful, and a passion for hand-made craft with enduring design describes each of our local artisans, whose unique, small production pieces can be found in the Pop-Up Shop at SwitzerCultCreative and online at Oden Gallery. Their labours of love easily translate into your own conception of what makes a comfortable and luxurious living space.


‘DigiFlora’ throw pillows resemble a kaleidoscope of images originating from torn posters and photographs. Photo: Eydis Einarsdottir

One of the biggest trends in home décor for 2018 are bold, colourful geometrics and optical illusions in furniture, wallpaper, lighting and textiles.  STEPHANIE SYMNS Antipod Workshop, Vancouver, brings a mathematician’s meticulous process, combined with a painterly eye, to her stunning collections of hand-made, block and digitally printed pillows, runners and throws.


Syms created the graphic custom upholstery for a client’s vintage chair with ‘Pixelshift’ pillow. Photo: Eydis Einarsdottir

“I’m really interested in repetitive patterns from ancient Greek times, indigenous cultures to modern graphic design like the doodles and murals by contemporary British artist, John Burgerman,” explains the award-winning textile designer, a native New Zealander who moved to Vancouver in 2000.

Ripped and frayed fragments from old posters on hoardings in Chinatown – even remnants of text, become inspirational fodder for Symns’ creations, re-born in tangerine, blue and black abstracts printed on velvet for her Artifact Pillows. Windows 3.0 Pillows (Symns’ wry commentary on urban life,) is an optical illusion in hot rhodamine pink reflecting “the patterns in rows of ubiquitous office buildings around the city.”


Symns’ eco-friendly, hand-dyed ‘Indigo Collection’ riffs on the ancient Japanese dyeing process of Shibori. Photo: Stephanie Symns

Her vivid blue eco-friendly, hand-dyed Indigo Collection, riffs on the traditional Japanese technique of ‘Shibori ’ dyeing, originally used only for royalty and the samurai.

Look through a kaleidoscope and you see the DigiFlora Throw Pillows. Symns photographs small details in her everyday environment that when combined and digitally printed on fabric, makes for boldly graphic plush décor.

Says Symns,“I think that buying beautifully made durable goods that you love from people with a story to tell, is an antidote to a fast-paced world of mass production.”


Vancouver’s award-winning textile designer, Stephanie Symns. Photo credit: Brent Haynes


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