I’ve been all talk and no action about getting down to some screen printing (and screenwriting -but more of that later!). I almost had a conniption when Signature Prints, home of Florence Broadhurst designs agreed to give me a little tour of their office and print rooms in Sydney (A very big thanks to the very patient Tori).
Rows of original and refurbished screen printing frames, rolls and rolls of specialist paper stock, fabrics in vibrant colours, 30 metre printing tables and machinery that I wanted to throw myself over. It was like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for a print geek like me. Everything is still printed by hand and I did all I could to refrain myself from mixing paints and grabbing a squeegee. Geometric, japanese floral, metallic, abstract, galloping horses, cockatoos – I wanted it all!
Over 500 designs and they’ve only released about 30 so far. I don’t just love the story of Florence Broadhurst and her eccentric life, but also the love story of David and Helen Lennie and how they’ve bought back the designs to the world stage.
I eventually left with a lighter wallet and dragging a a heavy bag of delights through the industrial estate and it was more than worth it.
It’s good to know that Florence did not start her wallpaper business until she was in her 70s. She was simply too busy traveling the world as a dancer, setting up a fashion shop on Bond Street, and running a trucking company! Original Florence Broadhurst is now collected by the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.
There are some people who have never forgotten Florence Broadhurst. My friend Mellie’s mum is one. She commissioned Florence back in the day and met her just a few weeks before she was murdered. The original wallpaper was a selling point of their house when they eventually sold it. Mellie’s mum loved the wallpaper so much that she kept the remains of an original roll. Some of it is now proudly mounted in her new home in Terrigal, and I got to admire it in person. A true work of art.