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Behind the Seams with Karri McPherson

Behind the Seams with Karri McPherson

by Gemma Nichols

We chat to artist collaborator and designer of the 'Fractal' work shirt, Karri McPherson about the inspiration behind the shirt and the conversations she is hoping it starts!

TM: How does it feel that your design has been the most popular of the collection so far?

KM: It's incredibly humbling that my design has been the most popular of the collection so far. When I completed the design I felt confident that it would translate well, but the merchandise came out even better than I anticipated! The printed design is so vibrant, and the message behind the artwork is very pertinent too. I hope this design resonates with many people whilst sparking important conversations around mental health. 

TM: Can you speak to the inspiration behind the design?

KM: All of my work is stylistically geometric as that is the language I use to communicate my ideas and thoughts. When TradeMutt reached out to me about this collaboration, the concept of diamonds being built under pressure really struck a chord with me. Geodes and fractals have inspired a lot of my work in the past, so this was a direction that I was keen to explore again through this collaboration. As someone who has struggled with mental health in the past, I've come to learn that adversity truly does make us stronger - just like diamonds are formed under extreme pressure, we too can become the best version of ourselves when we open up and start tackling our problems head on. 

TM: What about the colour palette?

KM: As TIACS is all about starting conversations, I figured what could be more effective than a shirt that screams "look at me!". Vibrancy was key for this design, and I wanted to squeeze as many colours as I possibly could into the design. I personally love the colour blue, so I tried to make sure that colour was sprinkled all throughout the design.

TM: Can you run us through when TradeMutt got in touch with you about the opportunity. Had you heard of the company before?

KM: When TradeMutt reached out to me I wasn't familiar with the organisation, but I had seen TradeMutt's merchandise around. I have friends who own some of the work shirts, so I finally connected the dots when TradeMutt reached out to me about a collaboration.

TM: As an artist who has primarily worked in the mural/installation space, how did you find designing for textiles different or challenging?

KM: This is a really good question. Generally when I create my work there are elements of palpability and immediacy, which you don't have when working on digital textile designs. When I create an artwork, I get the immediate painted result directly in front of me, and I don't need to visualise it translating to a different scale or platform. I initially struggled to visualise the scale of the design and its translation to textiles, but once I overcame that mental hurdle, I had a lot of fun working on the design.

TM: What would you like our community to take away from these designs and what kind of conversations are you hoping that the design starts? 

KM: I would like the community to remember that adversity makes us stronger. No matter how tough things are right now, you can always start a conversation to begin finding some light at the end of the tunnel. I hope this design encourages more people to speak up and find support so their concerns can be tackled head on. Nothing shows more courage than opening up and finding help - the most difficult part is starting the conversation. 


  • Fractals…
    I have stepped outside the box and traded in my work shirt for 3 of these. The comments flew in from the moment I put them on.
    Great shirts, Great cause.
    Be brave n ‘Get Behind It’

    Karen C on

  • Love this design.
    I always check out TradeMutt’s designs and this one was a winner the colours are bright and vibrant and also remind me of Christmas. It certainly has started some conversations, have been flicking your website to those who start a conversation.
    This swing I have worn a different TM shirt each day (may have a few different designs now).

    Moy Kearle on

  • This has to be my favorite design so far. As someone who has struggled in the past with Mental Health.. If this purchase helps just one person open up and seek help, then it has been a money well spent.
    Keep up the great work guys.

    Craig T on

  • It is a real conversation starter!

    Choi on

  • The Fractal design is amazing, tops the list hands down great job 👏👏

    Kath on

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