Malaysian artist Rebecca Duckett has been the focal point at Espoletta over the past months, and with good reason too! We introduced her hallmark artistic stylised depictions of nature in the first episode. Then we shared an insightful weekend art retreat at Tiger Rock, her home. And today we conclude how she recounts her experience in Piedmont, Italy, during the COVID-19 lockdown. As Rebecca found herself home alone, she began creating a visual diary of her isolation. And, quite unsuspectingly, this documentation had prompted a tangent in her creative world. This is the tale of ‘100 Patterns in 100 Days’.
How Shall I Get By?
Early in March 2020, the Italian government announced the beginning of a nationwide lockdown. Rebecca had arrived at her home in Rocchetta Palafea in Northern Italy looking to complete a portfolio that she had planned to submit at a trade show. Then, the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic was not fully realised. The ensuing restrictions and strict adherence to lockdown protocols were, at best, unimagined. The pandemic escalated and soon the anxiety had multiplied with the uncertainty of time. Being isolated, Rebecca needed to seriously consider ways on how to make her days matter, how she could take charge of the moment.
To make time pass in a happy and calm way, I did the things I liked best.Rebecca Duckett
She took long walks, nature being her best friend and inspiration. And she made sure she painted every day. By remaining focused, she engaged in a practice that will draw out the best out of her mind, hand and vision. Rebecca found solace and realised that this kept her days pleasantly ticking by.
The whole premise of the art that I make is that it is part of my everyday lifestyle. Just as how it was when I was back home in Malaysia. My whole lifestyle is an interaction of my everyday life and my art.Rebecca Duckett
What Shall I Make Of These Patterns?
As Rebecca drew and painted every day, the exercise quickly evolved into a task as she set herself the goal of creating one pattern a day. The routine graduated into a challenge as she upsized to larger pieces of paper that required greater precision and detail. One pattern a day meant one complete work by midnight. Needless to say, there had been moments when Rebecca sat at her worktable, frenetically looking to meet her self-imposed deadlines.
At the end of 100 days, I decided to stop. I thought it was a good number to end on! And the collection of ‘100 Patterns In 100 Days’ was born. The entire exercise took me from 22nd March to 30th June 2020.RebeccA Duckett
Now Where Will These Patterns Take Me?
As curfews and travel restrictions gradually eased, Rebecca was persuaded to exhibit her paintings at the village local, Bar del Truc, often referred to as the community hub. Continuing the series of fortunate events, Michael and Camilla Fischbacher, long time friends of Rebecca, had decided to drop by for a visit on their way to Genoa.
Camilla remembered viewing the exhibition as a “remarkable body of work”. As the creative director of the long established Swiss textile house Christian Fischbacher, her discerning eye picked up on a myriad of possibilities to extend the house collection of luxurious interior fabrics. She immediately proposed a collaboration to turn Rebecca’s patterns into textile.
Of the 100 patterns before her, Camilla selected four – Pinkweed, Poppy, Blossom and Ikan. These became medium weight cotton prints in whimsical patterns and vibrant tones; luxurious finishes for drapery and upholstery.
If I really had to choose, Ikan (fish in the Malay language) is very dear to my heart. The fish has always been such an inspiration for me. Everyone can relate to shoals of fish and I see this fabric as really fun and happy.Rebecca Duckett
What Did I Take Away From The Experience?
During isolation, the act of painting each day really kind of ‘hammered’ into me that this work with paint, colour, pattern is my absolute passion and that I still have my best work in me.Rebecca Duckett
Whilst she may have found herself to be artistically productive, she readily conceded that it was indeed during a strange, bizarre, sad and sometimes, even fearful time. And, the distance away from her immediate family was heart-wrenching.
My family was separated during the lockdown. My three children were in three different locations. My husband David, mum and two of my brothers were in Malaysia. Thankfully one other brother, Richard and his family were nearby and for a spell, before the 250 metres restriction radius came into being, we were able to meet-up, fraternise if you will!Rebecca Duckett
How Harimau Roared Into The Collection
Rebecca’s thoughts often return to the Malaysian jungle and the harimau (tiger in Malay) immediately came to mind. She regards it as a representation of herself, and why not? After all, she was born in the Chinese year of the Water Tiger! Naturally this majestic animal warranted an inclusion in the capsule collection for Christian Fischbacher.
I’m like a tiger in winter, dreaming of the tropical warmth.Rebecca Duckett
The Malayan tiger is the emblem of my country of origin and is in immediate danger. In the Chinese year of the Tiger, I’m thrilled to allow Harimau to awaken into a mystical and mythical creature through my artwork and the textiles of Christian Fischbacher.Rebecca Duckett
Harimau was based on a painting that was specifically visualised for the carpet. It is really fabulous to see its reinterpretation into this beautiful carpet. That it is handwoven in the traditional method is really special. Weaving is really my first love!Rebecca Duckett
Dawon, the tiger fabric, is a stunner! The tiger came from two paintings I already had in the house. Additional leaves and vegetations were provided to enable the team at Christian Fischbacher to complete the layout. By combining embroidered outlines with hand crewelwork, they had effected a beautifully rich, textured design. I was thrilled!Rebecca Duckett
Rebecca takes every opportunity to help raise funds for one of her favourite foundations, Save Wild Tigers. She has led Christian Fischbacher to collaborate with them, donating a percentage of the sales of the Dawon fabric cushions and the Harimau carpet to the foundation.
My Reaction As Patterns Gained Recognition
It has been an incredibly busy year for Rebecca and Christian Fischbacher. Various international interior magazines, namely Elle Decor UK and Italy, Homes and Gardens and Absolute Magazine have dedicated their pages to some, if not all of the fabrics in Rebecca’s capsule collection for Christian Fischbacher. Indeed, a particular proud moment for Rebecca and Christian Fischbacher is the nod at the Livingetc Style Awards when Harimau was announced winner for Best Fabric Collection!
“Obviously I’m very happy with the media attention and success of ‘100 Patterns In 100 Days’. At the end of the day I must learn to leverage on this success… I have to keep coming up with new ideas, keep new work flowing… It’s very exciting for me and I love that it does ‘force’ me to keep going forward.”Rebecca Duckett
What Of The ‘100 Patterns In 100 Days’ Collection?
Are you interested to view Rebecca’s ‘100 Patterns in 100 Days’? If you are, do accept her invitation to the exhibition and make your way to Pentago House in Kuala Lumpur on 21st and 22nd October 2023. Rebecca looks forward to welcome you and attend to any queries first hand! ‘Innovation In Art’ by Christian Fischbacher is the collaboration of Swiss craftsmanship and the striking art of a long established Malaysia’s artist. Come celebrate the prestigious and vibrant renditions of art at an event that has the gracious support of the Swiss Embassy, Kuala Lumpur.
Rebecca’s visual chronicle in lockdown is a celebration of creativity in a time of turmoil. As the world looked to overcome all the confusion caused by the pandemic, she learnt to filter negativity, creating a comforting and happy circumstance. And, by doing so, she found herself in the favourable situation of exploring an even greater artistic potential. Come back for our future episodes to discover how Rebecca takes on art as leverage in furthering environmental causes. Rebecca is a naturalist and conservationist with a wealth of ideas. Let us keep you in the loop for direction, ideas and action!