Sunday, 10 February 2013

profile studio bonnie- Aura Parker & Marena Von Behr .


marena von behr & aura parker

A creative collaboration between illustrator Aura Parker and interior designer Marena Von Behr, Studio Bonnie produces original handmade pieces for the home. Screen printed on natural linen, the designs are intricate and delicate with an underlying botanical theme. Their large scale fabric wall hanging which was exhibited at last year's Design Institute of Australia's textile exhibition, in-conjuction with Spring Fashion Week in Melbourne, represents Aura's and Marena's ethos: "In this fast paced digital age it can be a struggle to maintain a balanced life, and this design is reminder to slow down and savour time over a cuppa with a good friend, and a calming message to seek a simpler more sustainable life in a busy world that never stops moving." View Studio Bonnie's entire collection here.
How would you describe yourselves?
Aura: Imaginative, determined, caring, whimsical, art-nouveau
Marena: Enthusiastic, decisive, creative, compassionate, art-deco

What was your childhood dream?

Aura: To have a house in the shape of a donut with a pool in the middle and a slippery dip down from the top instead of stairs. I'm still hoping...  
What led you on your current path?
Marena: As an interior designer I choose a lot of fabric for clients and I always wanted to design my own. Back in 2010 Aura was working as a freelance illustrator / graphic designer we both wanted to make a transition from work that is usually done to a 'brief', to our own designs and concepts. One night we were out for a drink and Aura said "Lets have an exhibition" and I said "Yes!". A space was booked and a year later we had our first exhibition with two other design friends. After a couple of group exhibitions, where we developed our own individual bodies of work, we loved each others' designs so much we decided to join forces. Studio Bonnie is the combination of both of our styles & strengths.

What do you love most about what you do? 
Aura: Having total creative freedom... at the moment we are researching and planning for a new collection and it's fabulous fun. I love the drawing most of all. We draw our designs by hand and then scan and manipulate in the computer, and then we screen print by hand.

Where do you feel most inspired?
Aura: I live near the heart of Sydney but on the edge of the bushland and a little walk up into the shady greenery or down to the edge of the water does wonders for getting the inspiration flowing. Also when Marena & I go fabric shopping together we get a total buzz thinking about the endless possibilities and talking about the colours and textures that we find.

Who do you admire?
Aura: The great moderns for their reduction of form and perspective, particularly Matisse I think his paintings are amazing and back in the day they were ground breaking. I also admire people who speak up and try to change the world, like Malala Yousefzai  -  so young and so inspirational. She campaigns for education for girls in Pakistan and was times runner up for person of the year. 

What challenges have you had to overcome?
Marena: Time is the big one because everything is handmade by us and we do all our own printing and mix our own colours, it can be a slow but enjoyable process. Another challenge we have is making our collaboration artistically equal, we both bring our own personal style to Studio Bonnie and we have a way of art directing each other that we have kind of figured out as we went along. We have a pretty strong friendship and we are sisters-in-law. I guess we want it to be a true collaboration and get the balance right, and its really amazing how the final result is drawn by two people. I don't think a lot of people work like that.
What's been a pinch yourself moment? 
Marena: When we set up our first design market stall in 2012 and saw all the beautiful things we had made, and so many of them too. We were saying 'wow', we have been busy.  

What are your top creative resources?
Design magazines and blogs, fabric shops, nature, and our children because they see the world so fresh and new. Each other and our close network of creative friends.

What is your idea of happiness?
Marena: Feeling content with what I have, being spontaneous and in the moment.


What's next?
A new design collection for 2013, more art exhibitions ... more bright colours and we will focus on the making fabric art for walls.

When the weekend rolls around what do you love to do?
Read- A Pocketful of Names.
Watch- Charlie and Lola and too much ABC kids.
Cook- A seven layer rainbow cake for a birthday party.
Create- Focus more on what we started out doing, fabric art with an interiors focus.
Listen to- Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeroes.
Dream about- A trip to Paris.
Look forward to- Seeing how our collaboration grows.