Sunday, 27 January 2013

profile ceramicist - kim aitken.

ceramicist kim aitken
I first discovered ceramicist Kim Aitken at a Christmas market stall in Brisbane many years ago. It was the kind of stall you swoop in on, love everything and get a little over-come by all the tantalising choices. I was with my sister and it made Christmas shopping very easy. We bought a swag of things for each other and felt very pleased Christmas shopping had never been such a breeze. There is a real handmade tactile quality to Kim's pieces, it is almost as if you can imagine her molding the delicate curves and the colours are just beautiful. There is no one stop online shop for Kim's work as yet, but her pieces are stocked in lots of lovely boutiques and design markets(see below). Like many popular artisan's who produce individual pieces by hand, Kim can find it hard to keep up with demand, so my advice if you find a piece you like, is simply get it! You'll love it forever.

How would you describe yourself?
Creative, productive, welcoming, adaptable, happy.

What was your childhood dream?
To be good at something.

What led you down your current path?
I have always been creative and enjoyed playing a little with art. So when visiting a Tertiary Studies Expo with my daughter, I came across the Visual Arts (Ceramics) Course, I made the decision to study. Ten years later I have the joy of working nearly every day in my studio.

What do you love most about what you do?
That it continues to intrigue and challenge me.  Ceramics is very much about the creative but there is a science to the process as well. It is very physically demanding yet somehow meditative. Working with clay requires patience and knowledge and there are variables that you cannot control so it is a wonderful feeling when work is completed with success.

Where do feel most inspired?
I love colour and form so anywhere there is colour, movement, shape and texture, fashion shops, flower gardens, built up environments.

Who do you admire?
I truly admire any person who has overcome personal adversity without losing hope. On a personal level I admire my daughter and son, who live life as an adventure with a joyful and independent spirit. Professionally it is very difficult to single out one person who I admire but I think it is a person who creates, teaches, promotes, and believes in the sustainability of a handmade ethos.

What challenges have you had to overcome?
Combining the making of my work with the rest of what is required to run a small business.  I have learned a great deal about planning, technology, marketing, networking, pricing/selling.  There are many skill sets that contribute to and directions that you can take as an artist. This at times although exciting can be a challenge.

What's been a 'pinch yourself' moment?
Setting up for a market/event where a body of work is displayed in its entirety and it reflects the image in my mind. To realise that I actually made each piece by hand from start to finish, that is a pinch yourself moment.

What are your top creative resources?
* Colour
* My friend Creina (another potter), who sends me hundreds of    internet sites of artists. We share thoughts, photos, successes, a few failures and lots of laughs.
* Textiles and fashion magazines.
* Driving in urban, country and coastal landscapes.

What is your idea of happiness?
Time with my family. Walking with a friend. Working in my studio. Swimming in the ocean. Chocolate covered blueberries.  A Sunday afternoon movie. A successful kiln firing.

What's next?
To continue to develop my work and improve my craft and maybe study in the future.

When the weekend rolls around what do you love to:
Read - Fiction.
Watch- Anything supernatural.
Cook- Simply.
Create- In colour.
Listen to- Neil Diamond
Dream about- A new kiln.
Look forward to- Monday when I can get back into my studio.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

made by joel.

Joel Henriques is one very talented guy. I was fortunate enough to stumble upon his unique creative nous, many moons ago when someone I interviewed mentioned his website Made by Joel as a source of inspiration. And it is! Once you've spent a few hours (you'll need to set aside some time) to browse through his website you'll never look at a scrap of timber, paddle pop stick, cornflakes box or pipe cleaner in the same way again.

Artist, designer and all round crafty genius, Joel creates handmade objects and DIY projects for children. However whether your 6, 36, or 66, his creations will inspire you to whip out some cardboard, glue, wire, fabric scraps - basically anything you have lying around and make something fun.

With a clear passion for design, one of his most impressive creations is a stylish take on a 'doll's house.' Forget the Barbie bungalow, Joel's mini masterpiece is a nod to modernism complete with designer inspired furniture, lovely fabric, botanical bits and pieces and beautiful wood. Sadly a little too small to move into, but wonderful to play around with.

Joel's book Made to Play, which features 35 projects has been out for a while, but it is still in stock and you can get it here. I think I might just get it and create my own teeny tiny dream home.

Monday, 21 January 2013

profile ink & spindle - tegan rose.

lara cameron and tegan rose of Ink & Spindle

Located in an old wool store building in inner city Melbourne the Ink & Spindle studio is an industrious little hub where Lara Cameron and Tegan Rose design and screen print an assortment of lovely cotton and hemp blended fabrics. With a timeless approach, the pair's designs are inspired by nature and their surrounding city scape, then developed by hand and printed using organic and solvent free inks in beautiful earthy tones. Their distinctive textiles are primarily for the home and while they sell a small range of textiles, many buy the fabric by the metre to create lampshades, custom cushions, table runners, bedlinen and reupholster well loved furniture. Immerse yourself in their full collection here and find someone with some sewing skills quick smart!

How would you describe yourself in five words?
Ha! I only need one: GINGER.

What was your childhood dream?
Tricky question - how far back are we talking here? When I was little I wanted to be a ballerina, then an astronaut, then a painter, then a racecar driver, then a ceramacist, then a dressmaker, then a show jumping champion, then a teacher, then a rockstar... in fact, I think I still want to be all of those things! Except the rockstar, alas I lack musical talent.

What led you down your current path?
My insatiable need to create. When I was a teenager I heard there was a magical place called ‘art school’ where you could go and just paint all day! Amazing! So I art school became my goal. I received my diploma of visual art in Warrnambool (which was awesome and nurturing) then went on to do a bachelor of fine art in the city(which wasn’t). Unfortunately, by undertaking my BA of Fine Art I discovered the art world is full of pretentious so-&-so’s, and my lecturer’s cured me of ever wanting to be a part of that world. So became a secondary school teacher, which was amazing! I loved that job, but in the end you give all your creative energy to your beloved, ratbag students, so when I met Lara and we threw around the idea to open up a studio it seemed like a no-brainer.


What do you love most about what you do?
It’s all the amazing people I get to meet and all the beautiful friendships that have developed from those meetings. That and I get to bring my beloved hound dog to work every day!

Where do feel most inspired?
At my childhood home in the country, surrounded by Australian native plants and animals (my mother is passionate about native flora and fauna).

Who do you admire?
Captain Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd. My parents, Graeme and Felicite Wylie of Notorious. Emily Wright of Nancybird. My studio buddy, Abby Seymour - she is a creative genius. My amazing partner, Ryan Hodge - he is a creative genius, too.

What challenges have you had to overcome?
From a business perspective, I suppose the biggest one is always going to be cashflow!

What's been a 'pinch yourself' moment?
Probably when Nina (from our favourite Melbourne-made TV show, Offspring) had fake TV sex with a fake TV doctor on our bed linen! That was pretty hilarious. 

What is your idea of happiness?
Living completely off the grid, in a strawbale house, somewhere close to the ocean.

What's next?
Well, I have a massive amount of printing to do, so I’m going to mix some ink!

When the weekend rolls around what do you love to:
Read - Something in Spanish, I need to practice!
Watch - Boardwalk Empire.
Cook - tacos! They go perfectly with mezcal.
Create - Something! My sewing and knitting machines are current fave’s.
Listen to - Chet Faker, Black Keys, Half Moon Run.
Dream about - Running away to be a pirate.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

profile dan300- dani rosen.


dani rosen of DAN300
The number plates on Dani Rosen's old 1981 peppermint green car which spelt out DAN300 inspired the name of her company and saw her live out her dream of having a 'company car.'  On a dare she registered the business name DAN300 designs and then set out to work out what she was going to make/sell. After graduating from University with a Bachelor Of Fine Arts Dani began crafting samples which were immediately snapped up by stores. Since then DAN300 has diversified, with Dani launching a self titled label, a focused kids range and Nana's Garage which specialises in stationery and gifts. Last year Dani's long held dream of designing fabric became a reality with her Babcha luxe range which has been a resounding success. While Dani may nolonger have the little peppermint car, it seems she is still living the dream! Checkout the extensive collection here
How would you describe yourself in five words?
Loyal, silly, particular, persistent, passionate.

What was your childhood dream?
To own a business and sell something I had designed and to be an Olympic figure skater.

What led you down your current path?
Funnily enough my job in retail during and after uni.

What do you love most about what you do?
Being creative and making tangible things.

Where do feel most inspired?
In my office/studio and interestingly enough in the shower.

Who do you admire?
My father for his resilience, my grandparents also for their resilience and anyone who has worked hard in a business, what ever it may be and mostly those who came from nothing and made a life for themselves.

What challenges have you had to overcome?
Financial hurdles, economic change, copy cats in the industry, the fact that I am not a formally trained designer.

What's been a 'pinch yourself' moment?
Seeing DAN300 products on people, in their homes and in the media, I've had a few pinch yourself moments this year.. One of the first times though was about five years ago when I was out with a friend and she brought along another friend and we were discussing what we did for a living. She asked what I did and I said, ‘I run a small business making accessories.’ She asked what  it was called? And I said, 'it's really small you wouldn’t know it'. She said, 'try me.' When I replied 'DAN300', she pulled a little DAN300 zip case out of her handbag and said. 'Um yes, I do know DAN300. I've got heaps of your things.'

What are your top creative?
Vintage posters, my pantone books, fleetwood mac and my vintage scarf collection (a mixture of scarves form both my grandmothers and thrift shop finds.

What is your idea of happiness?
An afternoon cooking, reading cookbooks with my cat on my lap and the thought in my head of hope... oh and finding true love...

What's next?
More textile designs lots more.... and possibly wallpaper (we will see.

When the weekend rolls around what do you love to:
Read – US Elle, Inside Out Magazine & Real Living & cookbooks
Watch - Reruns of The Love Boat.
Cook - Everything and anything.
Create - Mood boards and vignettes around my house.
Listen to - Fleetwood Mac, Beach Boys, old school Sting and mostly old music.
Dream about - Italy in two years.....
Look forward to - My trip to Italy in two years. 

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

orla update.

What timing! In the post yesterday I received a late Christmas present from my friend who lives in the UK. A scarf with a very familiar stem print! While it is still hot summery weather here, I think I'll keep it 'strategically draped' somewhere until I can wear it in winter. 

thanks leeanne I love, love, love it!

Monday, 7 January 2013

i love orla kiely.

Happy New Year! I hope your first week of 2013 has got off to a great start. I thought I would devote my first post of the year to one of my all time favourite designers - orla kiely.

Ever since I first spied her eponymous stem print I've been smitten with absolutely everything she has produced, from homewares and fragrance to clothing and accessories.

My small but prized orla collection includes this bedlinen above, stationery, her pattern book and my lovely sister recently gave me some orla kitchenware for Christmas.

I particularly love the orla kiely House range which is inspired by mid-century modern design and features orla's lovely warm colour palette and distinctive prints. The range includes everything from wallpaper, furniture, rugs and cushions, ceramics, lighting, linen, towels and tableware. You could almost create an entire orla house... if I lived in the UK, I do think my house would be entirely orla.
* As a trivia aside, for others who are equally obsessed, in the movie Swinging With the Finkels the set designers have used an extraordinary amount of orla clothes, homewares, cushions, wallpaper, you name it! A word of warning though, that is the only noteworthy aspect of the movie, it's a shocker.

These cushions are next on my wishlist, but unfortunately they are pretty tricky to get a hold of in Australia.

I'd also love one of these coffee tables, but I don't like my chances... one can dream though!