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Murchison Falls

'Murchison Falls', 1-metre square digitally printed design on Organic-Half Panama Cotton. The design was painted with a mixture of inks and gouache. The overall imagery is inspired by the magnificent beauty of the great Murchison Falls and the fresh vegetation around.

Sage and Olive Green Mango Design Samples

Soft and fine loose-weave cotton muslin and Cotton Twill samples of the mango design. Both fabrics were printed with pigment paste in subtle and soft tones.

Pigment Paste, Mango Design Samples

On the left is a half a metre butterscotch colour silk Abaca (banana tree fibres) fabric, screen-printed with an aubergine purple dye colour creating a strong, rich royal design. On the right is a registered screen print of the same design on a fabric purely woven out of Abaca.


A characteristic of Senses of Subsistence is working with materials from the local environment, so when I came across silk that had banana tree fibres woven into the structure, I was very excited to create a piece that would be printed onto a material made from the subject of the printed design.

Aubergine Wallpaper Colour Samples

Aubergine is a staple vegetable in Uganda. The S-curve structure of the aubergine, with extravagant leaves, emphasises the flourish with which local recipes incorporate the vegetable. The rich colours selected echo the rich flavours of Ugandan aubergine dishes.

Elsa Girmay

Elsa is a print textile designer with a focus on hand-painted designs. Her preference for natural materials and craftsmanship draws on the tradition of her Ethiopian heritage.

Lockdown has trapped us within four walls in a technologically dependent way of life. Building on the desire to escape to a world more connected to the land and nature. Senses of Subsistence aims to provide the setting of a contrasting environment to the urban setting. Two trips to East Africa engendered understanding and appreciation for the simple subsistence way of life. These trips were documented through photographs, taken when driving from the north to the south in both Ethiopia and Uganda, observing different tribal regions and recording impressions through journal entries. These are reminiscent of the smells, sounds, heat, textures and tastes of the rural world in East Africa. Senses of Subsistence derives from the desire to share the cultural appreciation that subsistence farmers and their local communities have in looking after the land and its future. The idea behind this project is to illustrate the ways that whole communities rely on what they raise and cultivate locally, using materials they grow for clothing, crops in their traditional dishes and listening to local music. This project focuses on the landscapes of Ethiopia and Uganda and their crops to express the richness of the senses experienced when hiking the rarely visited landscapes and tasting the food directly from the land.

Paying close attention to subject detail, the quality of fine lines drawing and well-selected colours reflect the warm earthy nature of East Africa in a contemporary colourway. With a distinctive style, painterly illustrations translate effectively onto screen prints with a focus on the movement of the paintbrush and colour.

Final year project

Senses of Subsistence


2019 Première Vision Paris - Designs exhibited.

Work Experience

Baxter and Fawcett 30th September -25th October 2019.
Baxter and Fawcett is a small textile company based in Brick Lane, London. As an intern in this small company, I played an important role in the manufacturing process such as printing and hemming their fabrics. There were also opportunities to design and paint my own florals and learn more refined digital techniques. One of the challenges was to refine my skills using a sewing machine on a daily basis, which I succeeded in.

Bay and Brown 4th November – 31st January 2020.
I painted and drew designs that then got digitally printed by the designers and sent off to various clients across the world. This developed my speed of drawing and design layout.

VooPrint, London Monday 17th February – Friday 10th April 2020.

One of the tasks I was asked to do involved sorting catwalks into electronic folders, which I found useful in terms of my personal development as a designer. Although this was a repetitive task, it gave me the opportunity to look at trending patterns repeatedly and I started to internalise some of the imagery in my mind as a creative person. It also helped me to understand the process of design studios.