about bippidii boppidii

bippidii boppidii began as in 2011 as a weekend and evening project, a way to indulge my creative yearnings while working a day job. I did the occasional craft fair and dabbled in design contests. Over the past nine years it has transformed into a busy little cottage industry employing not only me but also my son Dorian, who works in the sewing studio with me.
I design all the fabrics we use to make cushions and fashion accessories. The fabrics are all printed in Australia and all the sewing is currently done in our studio at Darwin River, with the exception of our tea towels, which are printed in Germany and stitched in Darwin.
Working across a variety of mediums enables me to create diverse fabric designs. Dabbling in hand painting and drawing, linocuts, digital drawing and imagery, collage and mark-making with found objects gives rise to designs that defy rigid stylistic boundaries. Digital fabric printing allows the freedom to faithfully reproduce designs created by hand, working them into repeat patterns and feature panels.

Transforming the fabrics into finished items – bags, purses, clothing, furnishings and soft sculpture completes the design process: imagined ideas become tangible objects, beautiful, useful and unique.

Design inspirations are drawn from the natural environment and built spaces, the critters and people who inhabit these spaces, the objects of everyday life and occasionally, the musings of dream and fantasy. A nature lover who grew up on around 2000 acres in South Australia, I have embraced the flora and fauna of the Top End, immersing myself in a daytime world of burning pandanus and invading magpie geese and a nocturnal habitat populated by quirky curlews and scuttling bandicoots.

carving a curlew

Curlew lino carving in progress

bippidii boppidii is proud to be registered with the Australian Made Campaign

Boo at The Local in Parap
photo by Nichole Taylor

 about Boo

I grew up on a farm on Yorke Peninsula surrounded by creativity. My mother sewed, baked, knitted, did macrame and doodled endless doodles while I was growing up: when she retired she became an artist, painting in watercolour, oils and pastels and winning regional art prizes in South Australia and Queensland. My father was creative in a practical way, making things he needed in his workshop, be it a band saw or a front end loader attachment for his old tractor. He now turns wood, making bowls and pens and other lovely things. As a child I loved to paint, draw and make things and I learned to sew as soon as Mum would let me near the near the sewing machine, completing my first button up collared shirt at the age of eleven.

The drive to learn and create has guided my life. I’ve studied design, multimedia, creative and professional writing and a broad range of sewing skills as well as many crafts that come under the textiles banner, specialising in fabric printing and design. Never one to be without a space to create – and with a long term addicition to screen printing and lino blocks – I have printed lengths of cloth on a tiny kitchen table in a bush hut with no electricity, stitching clothing on an old treadle machine. I’ve printed furnishing fabrics in a shearing shed. I’ve set up a sewing room in a garage in a northern Sydney share house, printed clothing fabrics in a freezing cold semi-basement in a stone house in a cherry orchard and in the back room of an old suburban church. bippidii boppidii started in an ‘entertainment room’ turned workshop in a rented house when we first came to Darwin. When we moved rural we happened upon a tiny fibreglass and plywood ‘pod’ called Nigel (I kid you not, it was proudly announced on a sign) and installed it near the house.. This is where my passion began to turn into something more than a hobby and I now have a three room studio, Susurrus Studio, alongside Nigel and work in my little business full-time.

I’ve lived in rural and metropolitan South Australia and New South Wales and did a wonderful couple of years on the APY Lands in Central Australia when my second son was small. I now I live on a 20 acre bush block in Darwin River, in the Top End of the Northern Territory where I relish the relentless heat. (Although, I’ve got to say, it’s been a bit much lately!)

In late 2011, I discovered digital fabric printing, which revolutionised my world, particularly given that The Top End weather presented too many obstacles to render such ad-hoc settings suitable for hand-printing fabrics. Digital printing enabled me to follow my passion for designing fabrics without having to worry about the weather or the fumes – and with an unrestricted palette at my disposal. Digital printing also enables small print runs, which means that I can make or lot, or just a few – or even one – of something, which is incredibly freeing for someone like me who likes to experiment.

And while the Top End weather might have made for difficult screen-printing, it provided me with a huge amount of inspiration and I quickly became enamoured with local wild life, especially birds. In 2015, I undertook a residency at the Territory Wildlife Park in Berry Springs with the aim of producing enough new designs for an exhibition. Both the residency and Susurrus, the exhibition were really rewarding and set me solidly on a path that involved a lot more designing and a lot more birds. 

In 2019, along with my partner Orlando and Chiggy, a friend and fellow artist, I opened a shop at Parap Village Shopping Village in Darwin called The Local, where we show and sell our work along with around 40 other fantastic local artists.

If you’re still curious, you can check out more, for, well, more!

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ll come visit again.

– Boo
(Robyn McLean)