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Creativity of city shaped ‘my passion’

Thursday, 30th September, 2010

Natural artist Melanie Vugich is back. Natural artist Melanie Vugich is back.

By Caitlin Keenan

Melanie Vugich is a Broken Hill woman who has worked with some big fashion names in Italy.

She has designed fabric for high-end brands such as Blumarine, Enrico Coveri Etro and Roberto Cavalli, but she still speaks passionately about her home town. “I loved growing up in Broken Hill,” she said here yesterday.

Melanie adored “just...that sense of freedom growing up in Broken Hill”. She has painted her whole life and admits that the creativity and abundance of art in the city probably influenced her.

Melanie lived in Adelaide and Sydney before going on a trip to London with her sister. She “fell in love with the place” and decided to stay in Europe, spending much of her time abroad living in Florence.

“Florence is beautiful,” she said. In Florence she lived in “Al Trano” with all the artisans, people who handcrafted things. This suited the natural artist perfectly. It was in Florence that Melanie turned her hand to fabric design, an area in which she would become very successful.

She learnt the craft from a woman in her 60s who had been designing fabric her whole life and eventually set up a successful business before starting a hand painting business with her partner.

Rather than supplying companies with painted fabric designs, they would hand paint on to already made pieces of clothing. In both these businesses, companies and designers including Roberto Cavalli would give Melanie a briefing, explaining what they wanted and in what colours.

This restriction helped spur Melanie on to a new creative venture, this time with her sister.The new design venture “Love is Free” was also a wayto get back to family.

Melanie said that while the need do her own thing was important, really the idea came about “because my sister and I want to do something together”. It was not just the opportunity to work with family that brought Melanie back to Australian shores.

“I want my son to know Australia” she said. Melanie’s partner and son are both Italian and she really wanted them to know the country where she grew up. “It’s a pretty good country to be in” she said.

Living by the beach in Sydney now, Melanie said that while it was different to their house in Florence both her son and partner were adapting to life in Australia well.

But her partner still calls Italy home and the pair plan to divide their life between the two countries that they love. “We miss our friends,” she said. 
To learn more about Melanie’s work or to view her art visit www.melanievugich.com

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