2002/88/5 Textile designs (9), studies of Australian flora, flannel flowers, bottle brush, waratah, flowering gum, native heath and others, poster colour on paper, designed by Shirley de Vocht, Sydney, Australia, 1948 - 1952
Textile designs (9), poster colour on paper, studies of Australian flora, flannel flowers, bottle brush, waratah, flowering gum, native heath and others, designed by Shirley de Vocht, Sydney, 1948-1952.
Shirley de Vocht (nee Martin)'s small personal archive, including the items mentioned above, reveals how one particular individual found a path from studying at East Sydney Technical College (1944 to 1946) to finding work as a designer in post-WWII Sydney-based design and manufacturing industries. Shirley worked at Silk and Textile Printers Pty Ltd, Darlinghurst from 1944 to 1946, during which time the founder, Claudio Alcorso (1913-2000) was involved in Australia's war effort. She also worked as a designer with Modern Ceramic Products (MCP), Redfern (1947-1948), Tennyson Textile Mills Pty Ltd, Gladesville (1949 - 1950), Coverings & Co Pty Ltd, Mascot (1949 - 1951) and Dri-Glo Towels Pty Ltd, Five Dock (1951-1959) for whom she designed an Olympic Games towel in 1956 (which later went into production, minus the Olympic motifs). During her career, Shirley also created freelance textile designs of Australian flora including native heath, flannel flowers, wattle and other Australian flora, several of these were forwarded to FW Grafton & Co Ltd in England in 1952 and one was purchased for production and another exhibited. She entered local textile design competitions such as the Leroy-Alcorso design competition of 1954, in which the 100 best entries received were exhibited, and one textile, a design by Douglas Annand won first prize (design represented in the collection of the Powerhouse Museum). These aspects of Shirley de Vocht's work are well documented in this small archive. Interestingly, Mrs de Vocht continues to work as an artist in her retirement, painting endangered species such as the native cat, the quoll and the snowy numbat onto mass-produced blank ceramic plates.
Anne-Marie Van de Ven, Curator July 2002