Bulli designer's wall art picked up by The Block

[box]#feb026[/box]While Pinky Makaude's baby son was sleeping, she would be next door in her bedroom working, dreaming of one day running her own design business.

* This article was recently published in the Illawarra Mercury by Emma Spilett bit.ly/1wt0zmz

Fast forward a few years and the Bulli mum has moved her studio out of her home and into the University of Wollongong's Innovation Campus, allowing her to connect with like-minded artists.

Her business, Festoon, is going gang-busters and has caught national attention, featuring on reality TV show The Block's online store.

Not bad for a designer who started out fitting her printmaking around her son's napping schedules.

"It was great because my son needed a lot of sleep during the day so I would sit at home and think of business ideas," she laughed.

"It was part and parcel of having a little one that it gave me a lot of down time to think."

Makaude, who has nearly 15 years of design experience, slowly started working on a range of wall art, creating 30 different animal and scenic prints that were transferred onto bits of plywood.

The line took off and Makaude established online business Festoon in October last year so she could start shipping her products nationally.

She believes the pieces struck a chord with people looking for something different for their home.

"I started printing the designs on paper but I wanted to start exploring different materials, and plywood just made sense," she said.

"All the feedback I've had is that people stand back and look at the work and realise that the prints come up so well on timber, it just produces these amazing colours.

"The prints are also really hard-wearing in the home, much more than a paper print would be, and it's a great feature on any wall."

Joining the university's iAccelerate program has allowed Makaude to continue expanding her line, as well as enabling her to brush up on her business skills.

"It's great to be able to work with other manufacturers and designers so I can look beyond just wall art," she said.

"I've wanted to expand the range for a while so I'll be releasing new designs in December but also looking at creating occasional furniture, boxes and shelves - it's great to be able to think about really building the business."

Makaude has already had plenty of requests from The Block's avid fans for prints, admitting the orders were "humbling".

She has also been busy providing her design services for several other businesses.

Festoon is available via festoon.com.au, the Hard to Find website and The Block online store.