Sunday, 30 September 2012

profile sparkk textiles - saskia rysenbry.

sparkk creative head Saskia Rysenbry
With colour, design and textiles in their genes three generations of the Rysenbry family have been involved in the interior furnishings industry for more than 60 years. After founding Mokum in Australia in 1985, last year the family sold the business to embark on new venture Sparkk with Saskia Rysenbry at the helm as Creative Head. Producing a contemporary range of interior textiles and wallcoverings printed digitally on demand, Sparkk's signature designs can be customised by choosing your own colourway from their extensive palette.
Creative as well as energetic, Saskia is currently on the road as part of the Mongol charity Rally. A four week adventure traveling over 13,000km through 21+ countries, 3 deserts and 5 mountain ranges Saksia and her Ruba-dub-tub club team are supporting The Lotus Children’s Centre, the KKSS Foundation, The Forever Friends Appeal and the Bhopal Medical Appeal. Find out more about it here. Despite being on the road Saskia took some time out for a little introspection. With a new Sparkk floral range set to be released soon, you can view a sneak preview here.

How would you describe yourself?
Lucky, loud and a little crazy.

What was your childhood dream?
I can’t really remember! Maybe to be a ninja so I could take on my three brothers.

What led you down your current path and the launch of Sparkk?
My family has been in textiles for three generations, Sparkk is a response for a new generation of technology and design.

What do you love most about what you do?
Working with my brother Christian and seeing what we can and will do together. Learning from my Dad every day. I love finding inspiration and developing it to fit with our ethos and market. The hard part is knowing we can do anything – I have to be disciplined to draw the line somewhere!

Where do you seek inspiration?
From my family and when I’m traveling and my friends. From these I find inspiration from just about anything - old pots in Uzbekistan, traditional henna stamps in India, or from many of my talented friends. My Mum has a pretty sweet eye too so she’s a great source of inspiration

How did the current bird collection come about?
The Flamingo started it all – I came across it when I was reading up about historical ornithologists. I was blown away by the colour and movement of the flamingo and immediately began researching Australian birds, I found John Gould. He was English but is considered the father of bird study in Australia. So the collection is about Australian birds, but I couldn’t help having the flamingo in there too, it was just too wonderful!

Do you have a favourite design?
Well it might be obvious by now, but it’s definitely the Flamingo! It’s a great example of history reinvented which can be very powerful.

What challenges have you had to overcome?
Starting Sparkk was a big challenge! Learning about the business of running a company as well as my own strengths and weaknesses in design. Designing a whole library from scratch was difficult as I had free reign, so it was hard to know which directions to take.

What's been a 'pinch yourself' moment?
When we started selling my designs, I was thinking “are you sure?!”

What are your top creative resources?

What dream do you still want to fulfil?
I want to do some documentary films in some crazy places.

What's next?
I have no idea, and that is the most exciting thing ever!

When the weekend rolls around what do you love to:
Read – Richard Dawkins. It is so hard to read but amazing see the passion and intelligence, and to use the other side of my brain (for once!).
Watch - I am traveling at the moment so it is always great to watch people on the streets in different locations.
Cook - anything local.
Create – New ways to challenge myself.
Listen to- My Swedish friend Jesper playing The Tallest Man on Earth. It’s unreal!
Dream about - My next adventure.
Look forward to - Seeing my family again soon.

Friday, 28 September 2012

happiness is - flowers.

Whether you are lucky enough to be given a bunch, treat yourself to some, or have the satisfaction of growing your own, there is no denying flowers = beauty + joy. Spring is the perfect time to enjoy an abundance of varieties in full bloom and one of my favourite 'flower families' are Australian natives, which are simply stunning. I Recently snapped these photos of banksias, callistemons and grevillas at my parents place. My dad is a native enthusiast and has devoted an entire garden to myriad varieties. He also cultivated my love of these Aussie beauties. Thanks Dad!
 NB: I've used some creative license, these are not their actual names.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

profile yen yen lo - ceramic artist.

ceramic artist yen at SMALLpieces
At uni I briefly dabbled in pottery. I think I lasted about two classes before my inability to convert a lump of clay into anything other than a less than attractive lump of clay prompted me to rethink what my true 'artistic calling' was and I never returned. Fortunately Yen Yen Lo had a very different experience and found she was a natural when it came to working with clay and illustrating. A graphic designer by day, Yen has found clay enables a more tactile way of working with her hands and has developed a distinctive style. Creating organic shaped bowls and vessels, and tiny birds, perhaps the most striking aspect of Yen's work is the intricate illustrations she carves into the pieces. They're simply beautiful. Based in Melbourne Yen's work can be found in the following places Brunswick Bound Five Boroughs  SMALLpieces  Sedonia

How would you describe yourself?
Patient, hardworking, skeptical, unassuming, nondescript.

What was your childhood dream?
To be a vet and work in a zoo. I’d also fantasize about being able to talk to animals, clearly I’d read too many Dr Doolittle books!

What led you down your current path?
The need to create with my hands. To make something that didn’t require a computer or an undo button. I am a graphic designer by profession, so much of what I do is digital (which is really great), but I also wanted another creative outlet that required none of the mod cons. I’d always liked clay, so I bought myself a bag of it and started experimenting away. I had been firing my pieces at Northcote Pottery and Emidio, the retail manager took a liking to my rabbit plates. He approached me about displaying them at SMALLpieces, the retail space at Northcote Pottery, and I soon found a niche following that liked decorative, one-off hand built pieces.

What do you love most about what you do?
I love the whole process of pinching out a form to finally decorating it. I draw on the clay using sgrafitto, a technique of scratching through the coloured underglaze to reveal the colour of the clay underneath. It’s quite a cathartic experience and I lose myself in it! I can be as intricate or as simple as I want, depending on how I feel on the day. I love that I don’t have to compromise for anyone but myself.

Where do feel most inspired?
My backyard, the trees and the vegie patch are a magnet for birds and insects. It’s perfect for studying them.
At night in bed, when it’s all dark and quiet, my mind starts wandering and I start thinking of possibilities.

Who do you admire?
People who have prevailed over and survived great personal conflicts or tragedies in their lives. I admire their strength and determination to keep going.

What challenges have you had to overcome?
I’m still trying to overcome them! There are many variables in pottery, it is chemistry and art combined, I’ll be ninety by the time I grasp them, if at all.

What's been a 'pinch yourself' moment?
When orders were still coming in, one day before Christmas from Sedonia.

What are your top creative resources?
Fiona Hall and her exquisite botanical sculptures made from humble sardine cans.
Pascale Palun, her house and her wire lampshades are to die for.
Anna-Wili Highfield and her beautiful animals she makes from paper sculptures.
Ernst Haekel, I am always mesmerised by his intricate illustrations.

What is your idea of happiness?
Good health and a loving family.

What's next?
More bird sculptures and more experimenting with red iron oxide, my current obsession.

When the weekend rolls around what do you love to:
Read– Funny emails from my sisters, recipes, inane tidbits in the papers.
Watch- Days of our Lives…just joking!
Cook- Anything that’s left in the fridge.
Create- My own little zine.
Listen to- Gillian Welch.
Dream about- Moving to the country, having my own studio space.
Look forward to- Fired pieces on the kiln shelf, the bakery Sugardough near Northcote Pottery.

Sunday, 23 September 2012


If you haven't heard about oyoy yet, it is probably because they are a new Danish company, but I think we'll be seeing a lot more of their functional, colourful designs gracing interiors. Reading their design statement, I realise why their homewares  struck a chord with me.

"We are inspired by the classic, Scandinavian style, adding undertones of simple, Japanese design and a passion for combining colour and materials."

A few years ago my sister asked me how would I describe my 'interior style'... tough question, as I have quite diverse taste, but what I came up with was - Scandi Geo Jap - she found this incredibly amusing but I think it sums up a few of my influences. I love Scandinavian white, white interiors, I love graphic geometric prints and I've always loved Japanese ceramics, fabrics and simple design forms. A fusion of all three, what could be better! Scandi Geo Jap might just be the next big thing.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

the dairy - cameron parker.

Cloudy Day
cloudy day
Gnarly 70's
gnarly 70s
Damask Lime
damask green
Groovy 70's
groovy 70s
Pineapples Summer
keren brown pineapples
keren brown cockatoos
Swingin 70's
swinging 70s
cameron parker of the dairy

Why be plain when you could have a world of colour and pattern at your fingertips? That was the thought behind Cameron Parker's desire to transform the technological landscape one iPhone at a time. Inspired to 'slap a bit of self expression' and personality onto phones Cameron has launched The Dairy where you can select from a range of colourful designs and soon you'll be able to create bespoke covers using your own photos and designs - sign up here to find out more. Recently teaming up with designer Keren Brown, who I profiled here, her bright designs are already adorning phones. With an impressive gallery to choose from, once you've spruced up the exterior the next thing to do is find the perfect wallpaper! Who said decorating has to be limited to your home...

How would you describe yourself?
Outgoing. Energetic. Easy going. Organised. Positive.  

What was your childhood dream?
I always wanted to be a cinematographer. I loved going to the movies and wanted to be part of the movie making magic.  

What led you down your current path?
After years of working in the advertising industry I wanted to start something where I had total creative control. I wanted to apply everything I had learnt around marketing and apply it to my own business. It's been an amazing experience and I've loved every part of it. It's my baby and I can't wait to see it grown. 

How did your collaboration with Keren Brown come about?
Keren and I have been friends for years and recently I've been helping her with some marketing and mentioned I had a little pet project of my own. She said 'I've always wanted to see my designs on iPhone cases!' I said, 'awesome idea, let's get a collection happening, it's a perfect match'.

What do you love most about what you do?
I love being part of a creative environment. There is never a dull moment and it's full of excitement. Everyday offers a new set of challenges and opportunities. It's just a shame there is never enough hours in the day to make the most of it all. 

Where do feel most inspired?
I love to travel, so whenever I'm off on one of my adventures I love to think about everything and anything. It's a great chance to step back with a clear head. 

Who do you admire?
I admire people who are positive, the people who can fill a room full of energy and love. 

What challenges have you had to overcome?
Starting an online business from scratch and launching it within a few months is not easy. I've had to rely on many friends and family to help along the way. You can plan all you want but there will always be something that pops up you've never thought of. And most importantly, you really need to understand your own strengths and weaknesses so you know when to ask for help. 

What's been a 'pinch yourself' moment?
Seeing a photo of one of my iPhone cases on Instragram from a girl that has uploaded it onto her profile telling the world how in love she is with it. 

What are your top creative resources?
The world around me, finding the beauty everything. 

What is your idea of happiness?
Being a total gypsy and traveling the world, meeting people and immersing myself into different cultures. 

What's next?
I love online business and I have some other ideas I'm keen to explore. Online gives you the opportunity to create something for the whole world to find. 

When the weekend rolls around what do you love to:
Read - Newspaper and texts from friends. 
Watch - Documentaries and the news. 
Cook - Anything Thai, honestly I could eat it every night of the week. 
Create - Memories with friends.
Listen to - Some old school jazz if I'm feeling focused or some house music if I'm feeling energetic. 
Dream about - Traveling and living in Europe again. 
Look forward to - Endless opportunities.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

beautiful homes.

There are several very good reasons to get the spring edition of Home Beautiful. As usual it is brimming with inspirational decorating ideas, stunning homes and this month comes with a bonus cookbook. It also features several homes I unearthed and had the pleasure of writing about and styling.
The first is a lovely Brisbane home belonging to Helen Davis who owns Sivad Designs. I had an inkling Helen's home would be beautiful after seeing her range of homewares and keen eye for print, pattern and design. I was right! Every corner was 'well resolved' as they say, with table tops and shelves layered with interesting objects, vintage pieces and art. Helen also has an enviable collection of fabric canvases which she creates and sells, you can check them out here. One of my favourite aspects of the house is several striking black walls - I wish I was brave enough to do the same.

copyright pacific magazines
copyright pacific magazines
The second house is a wonderful renovated beach shack by architect Tim Stewart, which pays tribute to the character of the original house. It was a very fun shoot in which I managed to round up several chickens and get them scampering past the camera at the right time - what skill!
copyright pacific magazines
copyright pacific magazines

images courtesy of Home Beautiful photography John Downs, styling and story Kylie Jackes