Monday, 3 December 2012

profile mel french - dick + dora.

I was a big fan of Dick and Dora books when I was a kid and loved reading about Fluff and Nip's adventures. Now I am older my appreciation for Dick + Dora extends to the accessories - homewares - decoration label of the same name which was inspired by the primary school reading books. Designed and made in Tasmania, the Dick + Dora range is created using a mix of acrylic and timber and features motifs of sausage dogs, rabbits, boats, elks and owls, reminiscent of the simple yet charming illustrations from the original books. This year their Christmas decorations are super cool and as owner and chief designer Mel French explains, they're incredibly popular. If you are looking for a few more embellishments or presents, checkout the entire range here

How would you describe yourself?
Inquisitive, devoted, I try to be giving, a bit of a McGyver.

What was your childhood dream?
Not sure I ever had a strict career in mind, more a need to be hands on in whatever I ended up in.  

What led you down your current path?
I’ve found myself more by accident than design in a variety of creative roles over the years since art school, including years in visual merchandising and I am always happiest when I get to build things all day. I was keen to take on the challenges of running a ‘lifestyle’ business although it can be crazy at times- like Oct/Nov in the lead up to Christmas!

Who are the chief designers at Dick + Dora?
Myself and husband Chris when he’s not too busy teaching graphic design.

What is the inspiration behind some of the designs?
It’s a mix really between whimsical nostalgic images, things that make you smile and nature. We seem to switch between the not so serious more literal quirky pieces to more designed based pieces with lots of clean lines. This years Christmas is a mix of traditional bauble shapes with detail based on vintage fabric designs.

What are the advantages of using Tasmanian materials?
It gives me much more involvement in the process- I know where the materials come from, can be completely hands on in the process and support local industry. Plus Tasmanian timbers are quite unique.

Who do you admire?
People who make the best of each day are not afraid to have a go. Glass is half full type of people.

What are your top creative resources?
I love work by book illustrator Jan Pienkowski, Australian artists  Mirka Mora and David Bromley, blog wise the design files, and I my favourite music is jamiroquai.

What is your idea of happiness?
Lazy days with family and friends that are too few and far between but I live in hope for a few more over the summer.

What are your plans for Christmas?
Time at the shack on the East coast, morning ocean swims and lots of fresh flathead! 

What are Dick + Dora up to next year?
The wholesale side of things slows down early in the new year but we’ve got a couple of the busiest markets for us between xmas and new year, so will just have to get them out of the way first. We really want to develop our Christmas range to include an extended range of products. There’s been so much interest in our oversize decorations and wall art as store merchandising props this year, after Life In Style that we’re thinking of looking into doing some designs especially for that purpose. My years in department store VM might actually come in handy!

When the weekend rolls around what do you love to:
Read – Jasper Forde Thursday next series.
Watch- grand designs & later with jools.
Cook- chicken korma is at the top of the list.
Create- at the moment endless Christmas craft with the kids. I'm loving  made by joel.
Listen to-  Florence & The Machine.
Dream about- The end of this years Christmas decoration bag  packing!
Look forward to- The first cup of tea of the day.