BEING made redundant during Fremantle council’s temporary relocation to Freo Oval wasn’t something local history librarians Kristi McNulty and Tania Heyne saw coming.
Finding new jobs at 60 is tough and being plunged into the job market was scary: “We didn’t fancy going for another job…it’s daunting,” McNulty says.
But librarians are a resourceful lot and the old friends and colleagues turned their hand to screen printing t-shirts and tea towels with images of manhole covers and drains in and around Fremantle.
“Vital cogs of the urban landscape that are so often overlooked,” they say.
There’s no shortage of subjects, in a variety of shapes, sizes and motifs: “I’m surprised at the amount with PMG on them,” East Fremantle local McNulty says of ones featuring the stamp of the old Post Master General’s department, which hasn’t existed since 1975 when it was split in Australia Post and Telstra.
McNulty and Heyne’s t-shirts are sold as the “roadworks Fremantle” brand: “Roadworks is a small r,” McNulty points out, “but we couldn’t do Fremantle with a small f – we are librarians after all.”
Berlin pirate printers Raubdruckerin were the inspiration for the urban grunge designs, and armed with poster paint and paper McNulty and Heye scoured Fremantle’s streets and wharves looking for interesting covers.
“Dodging oncoming cars, working in windy Fremantle with butcher’s paper, spilling black ink on new t-shirts, it’s all been part of the steep learning curve.”
People often stop to watch, including one man who nodded approvingly and commented that the cover had needed a coat of paint: “Then we washed it off again,” Heyne says with a smile.
Online tutorials in screen printing were invaluable in setting up: “We watched a lot of YouTube,” Heyne says.
The screen printing work is done in Heyne’s White Gum Valley shed, where frames and the work area were made by a couple of willing hubbies.
The beautiful urban grunge designs come in a range of men’s and women’s t-shirts, quality tea towels and cloth bags.
You’ll find them at the Palmyra Growers Market this Sunday (July 8), and at the East Fremantle Riverside Markets when it starts up again in September.
Or call Kristi on 0412 786 843 or Tania on 0419 197 116.
by JENNY D’ANGER