I first discovered Adelaide-based Linda Marek’s modern-retro take on grandma’s ceramic flying ducks a couple of years ago when I bought a set for my home. Even though I look at them everyday, it wasn’t until recently that it occurred to me to hunt her down again – to purchase some pieces for the store and feature her story on the blog.
Discovering some old wallpaper in her grandmother’s garage, Linda initially experimented with it for a series of children’s artwork. One thing led to another, the creative juices started flowing and before she knew it, she had a business making bird wall plaques and jewellery from original vintage wallpaper and laser cut eco ply.
With her flying ducks, swallows and horses Linda has made old wallpaper designs and colourways that no one would be seen dead decorating their walls with anymore, stylish and funky again. Her pieces are fun, colourful and beautifully made. I caught up with Linda at Sydney’s Life in Style show earlier this year and this is what she had to say …
Tell us a bit about yourself. How have you ended up where you are today?
Delilah Devine was born in 2009 and it all happened more or less by accident. My background is in textile design. After graduating I worked for a studio designing bed linen. I loved this job, but I had recently crossed paths with a lovely Italian man and ended up following him to Rome. One year later, we were back in Australia awaiting the arrival of our first child.
I’d always enjoyed illustration so began making children’s artworks. One day I stumbled upon some old wallpaper in my grandmother’s garage. I started incorporating it into my artworks. One thing led to another and before I knew it I was selling vintage wallpaper jewellery and wall plaques.
What’s behind the name Delilah Devine?
The name comes from an early illustration I made of a small girl (Delilah) and her pet elephant (Devine). Delilah kept reappearing in various guises (these days, she appears on my greeting cards), so it felt like she was an important part of things.
Where do you source the wallpaper from and what inspires you?
The vintage wallpaper has become a signature feature of Delilah. At first I sourced the wallpapers from op shops and garage sales (and lovely friends, who thought of me). As the business has grown, I’ve started to source the vintage wallpaper online. I’ve also found a fantastic shop in Europe, so whenever relatives visit, I get them to fill an extra suitcase for me! The main inspiration for my work comes from pattern and colour. I have so many wallpapers, there’s plenty to draw from.
Tell me about the importance of sustainability in your work practice.
I’m very committed to running an environmentally sustainable enterprise. My studio is run on solar power, I use upcycled materials and all my work is produced locally.
Have you ever had a ‘who’d have thought’ moment?
I never planned to start a business and I am constantly surprised and grateful for the fact that I’m still here – who’d have thought?
And remember, each one is unique – no two are alike and the wallpaper used is, of course, all limited edition.