*Produced by SilverKris for Talking Textiles*
If you ever find yourself in the Presidential Suite of Raffles Hotel Singapore, you may find your eyes drawn to an intriguing piece adorning the walls. The mixed-media artwork in question, which exudes a warm vintage feel, features unique design elements including a photograph of the hotel’s iconic façade and a portrait of Stamford Raffles in the style of a Straits Settlements stamp. Blended together on canvas using acrylic painting, silkscreen printing and stitch work, these elements tell an evocative tale that transports the viewer back to Singapore of yesteryear.
This piece is the creation of mixed-media artist Deborah McKellar, who founded her art and design studio Talking Textiles in 2007. Just one look at McKellar’s colourful and intricate pieces and you’ll know that her creations are deeply inspired by the sights, sounds and soul of the city-state. From colourful Peranakan shophouses and native greenery to the Singapore River and historic districts such as Little India and Chinatown, these tactile and textural pieces capture the essence of Singapore’s heritage and bring it to life.
Whether you’re looking to pretty up the walls of your living room or introduce some art to your office space, McKellar’s pieces are sure to bring an instant splash of colour and life to any environment. And if you fancy purchasing a portable version of her work, you’re in luck. Just in time for the festive season, Talking Textiles has launched a brand-new series of iPhone covers inspired by the colourful and iconic shophouses that line Koon Seng Road in the Katong neighbourhood.
Available in six gorgeous designs that include motifs such as pagodas, batik patterns, traditional lanterns and assorted botany, the covers are available for all iPhones in the 7 range and later (excluding the iPhone 12 line) and can be ordered via the Talking Textiles website. With their vivid hues and artistic prints that reference Singapore’s history, they would make the perfect gift for the holidays and beyond.
Although purchase of Deborah’s original mixed-media artworks must be done via booking an appointment with the studio, digitally reproduced prints of various designs – including Deborah’s work for Raffles Hotel Singapore – can be also purchased via the Talking Textiles online store. These digital prints are photographed versions of the originals, which are then printed on either canvas or paper and are available in different sizes. You’ll also find other textile products bearing Deborah’s signature prints, such as cushion covers, pouches, tea towels, placemats, notebooks, greeting cards and even glass art.
Deborah is originally from South Africa and first moved to Singapore with her family at the age of 20. Thereafter, she studied painting at LASALLE College of the Arts. After graduating, she spent some time in Sydney furthering her studies, before returning to the city-state to launch her business. Besides Raffles Hotel Singapore, Deborah has created specially commissioned works for The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore, as well as the Singapore offices of Procter & Gamble, Wells Fargo and Harneys. She has also shown her work at numerous solo and group exhibitions over the years.
When it comes to crafting her pieces, Deborah follows a multi-step process involving different techniques. First, she shoots photographs and creates hand drawings that are made into silkscreen frames. Thereafter, hand-painted details are added over these printed images, before special materials such as gold foil and velvet flock are incorporated. As a finishing flourish, Deborah sews on layers of fabric including silk and batik sourced from different parts of Southeast Asia.
This tapestry of techniques and materials results in a multi-layered work of art that exists as a beautifully executed, contemporary dialogue on canvas – akin to the multicultural fabric of Singapore itself. Whether you’re a long-time Singapore resident looking for a memento of your homeland or a new arrival to the Lion City who wants a piece of art that celebrates Singapore’s history, you’re sure to find something that strikes your fancy.
To find out more and to make a purchase, visit the Talking Textiles website here.