Wednesday, 31 October 2012

uh oh.....

It was a long time coming, but I finally started instagram snapping and ... I think I am addicted.

These are a few shots I took walking along the beach yesterday afternoon. The short walk turned into a long one as I snapped everything in site. Instagram just makes everything look damn good! Even the jelly fish is not too icky. I did however draw the line at photographing a dead puffer fish.

Monday, 29 October 2012

profile udder - fliss dodd.

udder fox
udder luna
fliss dodd of udder

Fliss Dodd is one of those people who has the midas touch when it comes to creating - anything. From children's softies and clothing to stunning photos, striking interiors and pottery, her artistic flair and unique aesthetic is ever-present and without sounding too smitten, I love everything Fliss does! Initially starting out making handmade friends for her label Udder, most recently Fliss has expanded the Udder range to include children's wear. Relocating to Bali for a year to design the range and find a team of craftspeople to weave their magic, the result is the Make Believe SS12/13 collection.
The beautiful look book features several of her own children and was shot by Fliss in Bali - an incredibly talented and modest designer, artist, stylist and photographer, I can't wait to see what she does next! View the collection here and catch Fliss at the Bowerbird Bazaar Market in Adelaide on November 9-11 and the Big Design Market on December 7-9 in Melbourne.

How would you describe yourself?
Determined. Frank. Creative. Loving. Happy.

What was your childhood dream?
To be an artist like Picasso. Crazy but true!

What led you down your current path?
I studied Ceramics at ANU school of Art then afterwards I travelled for 3 years. When I returned home I wanted to make pots and sculptural pieces but after the birth of my first child I turned to creating with fabric, not clay. I was horrified at the plastic toys lining the shelves in shops so I made my first doll for my son and then more dolls and children followed. Udder went from being stamped on the bottom of pots to being sewn into seams.

udder bandit penguin

What do you love most about what you do?
Working from home with my husband, having my children comment and give ideas, and being able to work with an amazing group of makers in Bali who I respect for their skills and kindness.

How and why did you make the leap from softies to children's wear and pieces for the home?
I have always had ideas for a children's clothing range and always had itchy feet to live in Asia for a period of time. So when the right time came we packed up and moved to Bali and with the help of my husband we created our first range of children's clothing. It has been an idea to expand the range, for a while now and the move to Bali enabled us to work out the way we wanted to create...ethically and through a small production house. We got to know the makers and have been able produce beautiful high quality pieces.

raindrops from the udder accessories range

What inspired the designs for the collection?
The 'Make believe' collection was inspired by children's amazing way of turning ideas into play and role playing. We had little amount of toys there so the kids were very creative in play with what they found. There was a lot of drawing happening and ideas followed.
The colour choices were inspired by our surrounding, the green rice fields we looked out on, the yellow from the ladies clothing that would pass you on the motorbike and the blues and charcoals from the ocean and beach sands.

Practicality and simplicity was what we wanted to combine together for a collection which could be worn easily in play mode or more formal mode and be 'just a little bit different'.

What challenges have you had to overcome?
Many! A language barrier (we learn't Bahasa pretty quickly). Visas. Trying to juggle work and family. Importing...

What's been a 'pinch yourself' moment?
The last year.

What are your top creative resources ?
Books: Magazines.
Blogs: too many to list.
Music: Cat power (at the moment)
And my kids ideas and antics!

Who do you admire and is a source of inspiration?

I admire my husband for his amazing support and calmness...if I freak out about something he always brings me back down. A source of inspiration is all those creative mum's out there with their own business's small or large...juggling family and business.

What is your idea of happiness?
Travelling with my family and seeing how much our eyes open to new experiences and cultures. I look forward to more adventures with them.

What's next? 

SS13 collection and the dream of one day introducing ceramics to our collection.

When the weekend rolls around what do you love to:

Read –  Habitus.
Watch - A DVD...not TV.
Cook - Anything Asian.
Create - Sand castles on the beach with my kids.
Listen to – The birds in the morning.
Dream about - Our next family adventure.
Look forward to – Going to the beach.

Friday, 26 October 2012

profile kathryn mitchell - ceramic artist.

ceramicist kathryn mitchell

Native to the Isle of Man, ceramicist Kathryn Mitchell now calls the Gold Coast home. It seems the bright beach location has had a distinct impact on her ceramics which feature, stylised landscapes and colourful rainbow lorikeets, who flock to the South coast. Working with stoneware and porcelain clays, Kathryn uses both wheel throwing and slip casting techniques to combine traditional methods with contemporary forms. You can snap up some of Kathryn's work at the Eveleigh Artisans’ Market in Sydney in November, or pick up a few select pieces from Udessi, which showcases a wealth of handmade Australian art.

How would you describe yourself?
Determined, focused, organised, dreamer, quiet.

What was your childhood dream?
I remember wanting to be a baker, then a flight attendant, then a teacher! By the time I was 16 I knew I wanted to be an artist.

What led you down your current path?
I picked up a weekend and holiday job at a local paint-your-own-ceramics studio when I was a teenager – I spent 4 wonderful years working for a lovely family who encouraged and nurtured my creativity. From there I wanted to learn the whole process involved in making ceramics and went on to study visual arts, where I met my incredible teacher, Michaela Kloeckner. A practising ceramicist herself, she is a kind, patient and inspiring educator. I’m fortunate that 3 years on we are still good friends and I now consider Michaela to be my mentor. Since completing a diploma in 2010, I have maintained a part time studio practice whilst working in a beautiful contemporary art gallery.

What do you love most about what you do?
Working in ceramics, I feel that I’m part of a time honoured tradition and I think I’m quite privileged to contribute to such an ancient art form, in my own tiny way. Seeing people use my work in their daily lives – eat from my bowls, drink from my cups – fills me with joy.


Where do feel most inspired?
Standing on the beach, watching the pre-dawn light.

Who do you admire?
I could fill this whole page with names! I will try to be selective…
Michaela Kloeckner – my teacher, mentor and friend.
Other Australian ceramicists; Adriana Christianson, Shannon Garson and Gwyn Hanssen Pigott. I’m also forever inspired by artists Frida Kahlo and Gustav Klimt.

What challenges have you had to overcome?
My making method is wheel throwing – forming a piece of clay on the potters wheel. In my first year of learning I must have cried nearly every time I sat down to wheel throw. Some people take to it quite easily; I certainly did not! But I respected the skill and I loved the possibilities and qualities of thrown work, so I persevered and I’m slowly but surely creating work to be proud of.

What's been a 'pinch yourself' moment?
In September 2012 my work won the Wheel Thrown section in the Port Hacking Potters 47th National Competition. The judge was Greg Daly, considered one of Australia's finest ceramic artists - he has been one of the most influential contemporary artists working with glazed ceramics for over thirty years. It was a real privilege to have my work considered and selected by Greg! I was fortunate to meet Greg in person at Subversive Clay, the Australian Ceramics Triennale later that month. He was generous and patient in his comments and advice; a real gent!

What are your top creative resources?
Magazine: Vogue (the British one is best!)
Book: The Artist’s Quest for Inspiration by Peggy Hadden

What is your idea of happiness?
That’s a big question! I’m not sure I can say for certain what my idea of happiness is, but I know that some things that make me happy are; walking the beach before sunrise; building a new and better life for myself; watching and helping friends achieve their goals; listening to the Pacific Ocean in bed; travelling; watching Disney movies; drinking peppermint tea; soaking up sunshine; recalling sweet childhood memories.

What's next?
I’m flying down to Sydney in November to attend the Eveleigh Artisans’ Market with The Australian Ceramics Association alongside 20 other ceramicists. It will be my first interstate market so quite the learning curve, I’m sure!

I also have an exhibition in March 2013 with fellow Gold Coast ceramicist Megan Puls, entitled ‘Ebb Tide’. Megan is a well-established and respected ceramic artist; it’s a real honour to be invited to  exhibit my work alongside her and a great opportunity to push my work to a higher creative level.

When the weekend rolls around what do you love to:
Weekends are a rarity for me, but when I do allow down time…
Read – A book to escape into. Next on my reading list: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain.
Watch – Doctor Who!
Cook- Sweet treats. Often very rich chocolate brownies.
Create – Pencil sketches and watercolour paintings
Listen to- My friends playing and singing original songs
Dream about- Future travel plans; returning to Canada, exploring Spain and Italy.
Look forward to- New projects, collaborations and exhibitions.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

simple pleasures.

It has been insanely windy on the Coast where I live, cyclonic conditions! With all the wind I thought some treasure must surely have blown up onto the beach (always the scavenger) so when there was a lull in the gale force I ducked down to have a look.

Sure enough I was right. Not treasure in everyone's eyes, but I love these dried spinifex grasses which tumble along the beach at this time of year. I'd never seen so many grouped together, there was masses of them waist deep clinging to fences, moving as a whole group with the wind. 

I may have chased a few down to take home. I have something planned for them...I love the beach.

Monday, 22 October 2012

profile polli - maja rose & tess lloyd.

maja rose and tess lloyd
Today's creative duo really don't need too much by way of introduction. If you have a penchant for accessorising, chances are you'll have a piece of Polli jewellery, whether it be their distinctive stainless pieces which are as fine as filigree, patterned wooden brooches and necklaces or an intricate woven pair of earrings inspired by nature, vintage treasures and travel. Celebrating ten years since the launch of Polli, Maja Rose and Tess Lloyd have maintained their sustainable sensibility and continually expanded their range which draws on myriad influences. Their current collections feature native flora, nautical motifs and neon hues. Adored by many, I think there are a quite a few men out there who also love Polli, particularly when they need to find birthday or Christmas presents for the special women in their lives. With such an impressive and diverse collection to choose from, set aside some time to study the entire range here.

How would you describe yourselves in five words?
Happy twosome busy making things.

How did you two meet?
We met at university in 1999 while studying industrial design and have been pretty inseparable ever since!

What prompted you to launch Polli?
We graduated from uni and were working for a competing design consultancies. Still wanting to collaborate and make things together as we had done while studying we started Polli as a weekend project. Happy in our day jobs we saw Polli very much as a hobby and launched a range of die cut polypropylene (polli!) bags at local markets. From the bags came offcuts which we hand made in to simple, bright coloured earrings and hanging mobiles. We started working in stainless steel to create a range of hanging mobiles for an exhibition in Surry Hills. As our range grew and we started to wholesale our products we began to take annual leave for trade fairs and faced the difficult decision to leave our jobs.

polli studio
It was such an exciting step and within a month we were off to a trade show in NYC, within six months we had a group of friends working for us often with babies or pregnant bellies. After that first year we were busting at the seams and moved to our current Polli Studio in Starkey’s Ginger Beer factory in Stanmore. It’s been an exciting 10 years with so many trips, laughs, cups of tea and fun designing.

What do you love most about what you do?
We love creating things – not just the designs but the business, the relationships, the team and the space. We feel very lucky to work in such a beautiful environment with such an inspiring team.

sweet polli collection

Where do feel most inspired? 
Our studio is a really inspiring place with pinboards overflowing with postcards, sketches and photos; beautiful salvaged timber beams, floors and doors; and natural light which always makes us happy.We also love stepping out into nature leaving the hustle and bustle of urban life behind us and being able to breathe.

polli studio

What was involved in producing your latest collections which encompass Australiana, Secret Society and a nod to nautical?
This current collection shows so much diversity with inspiration from so many places; locally and globally, organic and geometric. To produce a range we often start with simple brainstorming and sketching, often collecting inspiration on our physical pin boards or on pinterest. We both collaborate on every design so there’s a lot of backward and forwarding with feedback and drawings. We consider how designs might translate in different mediums – wood, stainless steel and woven pieces. Each piece is sampled and reviewed before the designs are finalised for production and photography.

Do you have favourite pieces from latest collection?
So many! We love the watercolour effect on the wooden pieces which is a new technique; we love the soft hand dyed silk ribbon on the graphic parachute; the ropes of the nautical range in the wood and stainless steel and oh the neon! The neon is so mesmerising, months ago we couldn’t believe this trend but seeing it painted on natural timber like the flag rings or woven into the stainless steel it’s hard to resist!

Who do you admire?
So many people! Our parents, big time. But we also admire so many other Australian brands who are still making their products here: Shelley from Mud has been like a mentor for us for many years; likewise the sisters behind High Tea with Mrs Woo put so much love into every detail of everything they do you can’t help but admire them.

What challenges have you had to overcome?
Like with all small businesses you seem to have to learn on the spot so you face challenges like fluctuation in economies and exchange rates, cultural difference with export and manufacturing issues with our suppliers as we’re passionate about being Australian made.

What's been some 'pinch yourselves' moments over the past 10 years?
In 2007 when we quit our full time jobs and boarded a plane for NYC we did a serious high five! But they’ve been so many moments over the years which have made us so happy – setting up our studio, seeing your products in a store you love, in print or on a person in the street is still such a highlight. Having the opportunity to collaborate with artists and institutions like Emma van Leest and the AWM.

What are your top creative resources?
Spotify for never ending streaming of music.
The Design Files and Design*Sponge to read and admire.
Travel for absolute inspiration!
+ Pinterest and Instagram of course!(@pollidesign)

What is your idea of happiness?
Achieving a work life balance where you’re happy and content most days, all year. At Polli we are only open four days (mon-thurs) as we reserve Friday as a family flexi day to spend with our kids. Those little things, like being able to bring our babies to work while they were young (and containable)are important to us and so important in that work/life balance. Oh and plenty of tea and cake.
tess and maja and the tiniest polli fans
What's next?
We’d love to work in new materials and we’re researching exciting new jewellery shapes and forms. We’d also love to expand our sweet Polli collection; with children of our own we’re really passionate about making products for little people too!

When the weekend rolls around what do you love to:
Read – Sewing patterns for softies.
Watch - Our children playing in the sprinkler.
Cook - Bourke Street bakery pizzas at home.
Create - Remoulded crayons.
Listen to - Spotify. 
Dream about - A Polli conference in Hawaii.
Look forward to - Everyone getting together at Christmas time.

*stay tuned for a Polli giveaway soon.