Tatum Williams is one of Knysna's best known textile designers and her company WildRhubarb has provided her with the ideal platform from which to interpret both her love of art and her strong connection to the natural world. Her hand produced textiles depict various aspects of South Africa's iconic indigenous fauna and flora.
Tatum attended an art, ballet and music based high-school in her home town of Durban and it was here where she began learning the fundamentals of art and design and where her passion for drawing was fostered. After completing her matric she went on to become a successful model, gracing the pages of various fashion magazines both locally and abroad. She eventually made Paris her base, regularly jetting off to New York, London and Tokyo for various modelling assignments.
Seeking respite from the high-paced world of fashion, Tatum would often return home and spend time with her mom, who at that time ran the Knysna River Club. Knysna was the perfect place for her to decompress and she immersed herself in the beauty of Knysna's natural world.
Upon returning to South Africa, Tatum moved around a little, first buying a farm in the Eastern Cape, and later, when her daughter Hannah was born, she moved to Johannesburg to once again work in the modelling industry. It wasn't long before she realised that the frenetic rat race of city life wasn't what she wanted for her daughter, so she made the move to Knysna, where she has remained since.
Her career in the world of textiles happened quite by chance. At one point she undertook to do all the design and décor for her mom at the Knysna River Club, where she hand painted each individual piece of fabric with mostly indigenous botanical designs, such as king and pin-cushion proteas. The décor pieces were an instant hit and many of the visitors would ask to buy items right off the wall or table. She realised then that she was onto something, and essentially hasn't looked back.
She launched her company Wildrhubarb more than ten years ago and is now one of the most successful textile designers in the region. She runs her business from a small factory space in Knysna's Industria, where she does all her own silk screening. A self confessed old-school designer, she still hand draws all her designs and does not make use of any computer rendering. She outsources the sewing to various seamstresses in Knysna. Drawing inspiration from nature, Tatum endeavours to capture that beauty of our environment and convey it into textiles & dècor products that will inspire. Her handmade functional art pieces serve to beautify interior spaces and enrich the senses.
Her products are sold in various outlets throughout South Africa, but can also be found in stores in Knysna and beyond, including the Hands Design Collective, EyeLove, Metelerkamps, ilovani at The Heath in Plett and the Harkerville Market. Her exclusive Rhino range can be found at African Bean.
For more information visit: wildrhubarb.co.za