Off the street

For his new range of products – to debut at Design Indaba Expo 2014 – photographer Ed Suter stepped off the street and into the grass

Design Indaba exhibitor Ed Suter has two new sets of placemats, cushions and Nguni coasters on the way. They will be sold at Design Indaba for the first time in 2014. They will also be available at selected Woolworths outlets as part of the company’s local designers range, and on Suter’s website.

He tells us about the new range:

For my new range of placemats and coasters, I decided to work with more traditional icons of South Africa but in a way that suited my photographic style.

Ever since I began producing placemats, I have had customers say I should do sets with flowers and animals on and I always resisted, focussing on bright colours, graphics and unusual iconography. 

Woolworths then contacted me about selling some of my products and I decided to work on some simpler designs, calmer imagery and focussed on local flowers and Nguni cows. I spent a weekend on a cattle farm in Bathurst in the Eastern Cape, photographing Ngunis: quite unusual for me, calmly sitting in a field of cows waiting for the "decisive moment" and not pounding the streets looking for an unusual Double O mural!

I don't think I will ever be the kind of wildlife photographer sitting in a hide for a few days waiting for a rare bird with a long lens, but getting up close to Ngunis and admiring their colours and pattern was a real joy. 

The flower placemat and coaster sets are different in that the colours are more muted (they were photographed in an old warehouse) and I have placed them in typical South African beaten up enamel jugs, rather than make everything too bright and cute.

I have been thinking a lot about colour as usual and working on some ideas using colours that have faded, subtle South African colours, blasted by the sun and hammered by the wind. I am working on a range of cushions to be launched at Design Indaba 2014 with this in mind.  

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