The Subi Business Creating Artisan Ceramics & Textiles

Located on arguably the most charming street in all of Perth, the Heytsbury Road studio of textile designer Ashley Valmadre represents Subiaco heritage at its finest. A former butcher’s shop with original façade still intact, but with the modern lick of paint, is now home to Cherry Cherry Bim HQ. Upon entry, it doesn’t take long to clock that a designer lives inside; every surface is adorned with colourful printed lampshades in Ashley’s signature bold block prints.

Born in Northern Michigan, in a small town called Leland, Ashley and her brother grew up with dreamy winters covered in snow, white Christmases and a joy for celebrating the festivals synonymous with American life. In the summertime, the township came alive with friends and community returning to their holiday homes for the warmer months.

“The family home was on a former cherry farm, the outhouses were used often by my mum’s friends who were artists and would come during the day to paint and create,” says Ashley. “There were lots of artists living up there, so that was always inspiring, having those people around us growing up.”

Moving to Subiaco when she was nine, Ashley attended Subiaco Primary School where her own children now go. Her parents live four doors down so perhaps it’s no wonder it’s the community spirit which attracts Ashley most to the area now as an adult. “Nature is a huge theme that I use a lot in my prints. We love that Subi is so green. The community feel, that you can walk to your local café as you see people you know, other kids your children go to school with, it’s why this suburb is so wonderful,” she says.

“My husband walks to work, the proximity to the city is great and you’re not far from the beach.”

With a background in graphic design and having worked in advertising for many years, the need to create physical, tangible work is what drove Ashley to explore new creative avenues. “I always loved textiles and practical, functional design. I like design that has longevity and for things to feel like they have a real purpose.” At first experimenting with digital printing and hand-painting onto fabric, she eventually discovered block printing and instantly fell in love. “The technique creates its own textures, there’s more room for error, the mistakes can be beautiful,” says Ashley. “I love it because you look across the sheet of fabric and it’s not all the same, there’s depth to it, there’s movement to it, there are areas where the ink’s gone on heavier or lighter, or there’s a gradation in it that you couldn’t create again if you tried.”

Now that the technique has been perfected, the finest quality Belgian linen sourced internationally by a local supplier, the ink chosen and made in Australia and certified environmentally-friendly, Cherry Cherry Bim is open for business.

You’ll find a range of bespoke lifestyle products including lampshades, an array of napkins and tablecloths in her signature bold and colourful prints and in due course cushions, as well upholstery for furniture, all available on the website, with the website’s StyleFile offering beautiful ideas for using the products to style your home.

For those considering giving their home a revamp, Ashley recommends thinking playfully when decorating your home. Try layering colours and patterns, choosing things that you truly love and not taking things too seriously.

“People can be a little shy of using pattern in their homes,” she says. “Cushions can be a good way to get started – you can change them out as the seasons change, mixing them with neutrals. Even just choosing a new lampshade can make such a difference. Napkins and tablecloths are a great way to bring in some pattern and colour. Your home doesn’t have to be super serious and it doesn’t have to be something that you leave a certain way forever, let it evolve.

“Find things you love, special pieces that tell your story.“

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