Tuesday, 28 May 2013

profile kylie davies - Tree Hugga.

gift of seeds

love mae bamboo dinner set

honey bee clock

earth greetings recycled card

tree hugga founder kylie davies with daughter tilly

Whether you are water wise in the garden, diligently separate the recycling from general waste, grow your own veggies or build a house which embraces passive solar design, every little bit helps in leading a more sustainable life. It also helps to shop locally or if browsing online seek out stores which are eco-conscious producers. One such online store is  Tree Hugga which opened it's doors for trading last month. Created by Kylie Davies, who was inspired to provide an ethically minded store Tree Hugga is stocked with an array of items which are organic, sustainable, recycled and fair-trade. Grouped by their green credentials and categorised by themes such as live & play and beautify + nurture, you can find everything from bamboo sunglasses, to surfboards, homewares and chocolate. Check out the range here.

How would you describe yourself?
Healthy, motivated, compassionate, adventurous, busy.

What was your childhood dream?
As a little girl I lived on 188 acres of bushland and dreamed of being a farmer and having a pet monkey. I was totally in love with apes and playing by crystal creeks and dams. I thought by becoming a farmer I could do this all day. 

humming way engraved bamboo iPhone case

What inspired you to launch Tree Hugga?
I love eco and ethical products. But I also love modern day luxuries like the majority of the population. Hence I wanted to design a space that would educate everyday Australians that we can still enjoy totally gorgeous and luxurious items without making a huge environmental footprint.

I had thought about this idea amongst many others for quiet sometime, especially since eco, ethical and sustainable options are growing by the week. However it took me going back to a full time job in the workforce to take the step. After three months I realised that full time work (with two young children and another on the way) did not suit our family's needs and our lifestyle goals. I needed to do something about it, so I did.

What do you love most about what you do?
I love that I can be creative with the e-shop design, marketing and promotions. I love that I can source amazing products and talk to some pretty damn inspirational and creative people along the way. Plus I love that I can work on my time, so I can always put my family first.

maya organic children's toys

What do you stock and how do you source your product range?
I stock a diverse range of organic, sustainable, recycled and/or fair products. These products generally fall into several categories: eat & cook, live & play, wear & explore or beautify & nurture. So the range is large and caters for men women and kids. 

I am really excited to continue to expand our product range over the coming 12 months as the business starts to grow. I have a massive list of items that I am busting to launch!! I research products daily, from local suppliers at markets and fetes to international businesses making fair and recycled products in counties such as Spain and Ethiopia.

love mae bedding

Who are some of your favourite finds?
For me I love all of our recycled fair trade jewellery. They are unique one of a kind items handmade in Ethiopia and India. The beads are recycled from melted down bullet castings found around local villages(talk about making something beautiful out of something so negative). 

hyams mango wood necklace

What sets your store apart?
I think it’s our unique design and search capabilities. I wanted to create a store that was gorgeous, that created a luxurious boutique feel with an earthy edge. I didn’t want it to feel hippy or daggy.

We also offer very personalised service as we are not a huge and impersonal like many online retailers...if customers have a question or concern generally they will hear from me directly. 
honey bee clock
What challenges have you had to overcome?
Challenges namely lie in learning the technical side of maintaining a website site and e-commerce store. But this was expected as it should be when you try something new!

What's been a 'pinch yourself' moment?
Seeing Tree Hugga go “live”! After so much thought and planning to see the final product up and working felt amazing. It was as if my designer could read my mind... she completely nailed the design image in my brief.

love mae bamboo dinner set

Do you try to lead a sustainable lifestyle?
I live on at Copacabana on the NSW Central Coast.For me and my family life is all about balance. We love modern day luxuries but try and enjoy these by making eco-friendly and ethical buying decisions. We use organic and natural products in the home, kitchen, bathroom and garden. We also have some lovely vegetable patches and a worm garden to keep us busy and immersed in nature on the weekends. In our seaside environment it’s hard not to be active and outdoors most days.

maya organic children's toys

What are your hopes for Treehugga?
I hope that Tree Hugga becomes one of Australia’s most loved e-shops for not only our lovely different product range but also as a place to gain great information on all things eco and ethical. Our social hub on our home page is the start of this.
earth greetings recycled writing set
What are your top creative resources?

What's next?
At the moment there are two main things: Firstly to continually promote Tree Hugga so that people actually find us! Secondly, I am due to have my third baby in a few months so that’s bound to keep me on my toes!

When the weekend rolls around what do you love to:
Read – Green Lifestyle Magazine.
Watch- The kids playing on the sand.
Cook- Healthy Sunday brekkie -beans, mushrooms and spinach.
Create- Raw chocolate recipes.
Listen to – The kids laughing.
Dream about- Future travel/camping expeditions and adventures.
Look forward to- Checking the surf for the perfect mini-mal wave.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

blank supplies + inspiration.

Sometimes the simple things, the very plain, provide the most inspiration as it encourages you to create. A perfect example is Blank, an online purveyor of blank packaging and project supplies, which stocks a smorgasboard of plain gift tags, wrap, cards, boxes and bags. The absence of colour and decoration encourages you to create your own personalised touch which is a whole lot of fun and makes for a far more special gift.

One of the cutest projects I have seen created with blank supplies is the egg couple (pictured below) by crafty legend, illustrator and designer Rachael Smith of Penelope & Pip. How could you not love such a dashing eggy couple! I hope to profile more of Rachael's talents soon, so stay tuned.

An egg-cellent creation by Rachael Smith of Penelope & Pip

Sunday, 19 May 2013

profile - kim wallace ceramicist.

ceramic artist and Udessi founder kim wallace
It seems I'm in awe of everyone I profile on this blog, but it's just my good fortune that I get to meet and interview so many inspiring, creative people. Kim Wallace is one such lovely lady who I met earlier this year while writing a piece for the April issue of Country Style magazine. Working from her studio nestled amongst the trees in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, Kim creates the most beautiful lace embossed ceramic pieces and also runs her online gallery/homewares store Udessi which supports and showcases an array of work by Australian creatives. For Kim who grew up in Holland, a back backing holiday to Australia more than a decade ago was a life changing experience, as not only did she meet and fall in love with her husband, she was also seduced by the beauty of the Australian landscape and the work of local artisans and knew she'd found a new home. We're very happy she decided to stay! Do yourself a favour and devote some time browsing through Kim's beautiful website.

How would you describe yourself?
Passionate, creative, mum, determined, compassionate.

What led you down your current path?

My professional background is in graphic design (which I love) however after nearly ten years in the industry, working almost exclusively via computer, I found myself missing the process of creating something by hand. As a result and with the support of my husband, I made the decision in 2008 to leave my job as senior designer at a boutique design studio and before long found myself elbow-deep in mud and happier than ever. I haven’t looked back since!

What do you love most about what you do?
I love being able to create beautiful and functional objects that people (hopefully) cherish for years to come. There’s something very special about handmade that no mass-produced item can ever replace. A lot of love goes into each piece and customers that buy my work really see and appreciate this. It’s a lovely feeling to create a beautiful object by hand from what’s essentially a big bag of mud to start with!

But what I love most is that it allows me to spend time with my family whilst being able to step away from being a mum at times to be creative and run my business. A perfect life balance in my opinion!

Where do you feel most inspired?
My studio and natural surroundings here are forever inspiring to me. Starting of in the corner of my garage at our townhouse in Brisbane, my new studio overlooking the rainforest and Sunshine Coast with the whipbird’s call in the background is quite the change! I love being up there, as I work away many creatures come to visit such as gorgeous black cockatoos and kookaburras. I love breathing the fresh air flowing through both sides of the studio and loving spending time up there means more creative juices flowing as well!

Who do you admire?
Any creatives that are running a successful handmade business ~ or anyone following their dreams and doing what they love for that matter. I find it so inspiring and motivating to hear or read other people’s stories, on how they started and how they made their little businesses work. We all face the same challenges and it is encouraging to know that if others can do it, so can you! All these little handmade businesses are what makes Australia unique and an amazing place to live. How boring would it be if we only had the big chain stores to shop at!

kim's collaborative pieces with illustrator renee treml
What challenges have you had to overcome?
Running your own business from home whilst raising a little one (with another on the way!) is certainly tricky at the best of times. It’s a juggle of time and you find yourself always wanting to have more hours in the day to spend to spend with your family as well as working on your business. I have had to recognize that to grow and move forward, I can’t do it all myself anymore. Not without sacrificing valuable time with my little one, which I am not willing to do as they grow up way too fast as it is already. This lead to the decision to employ a studio person to help with glazing, packing and other studio jobs ~ the best decision yet! It means I am able to fullfil more orders, attend more events such as the big designer markets around Australia and also frees up time for me to focus on new products and collaborations. 

What's been a 'pinch yourself' moment?
When I get a feature in a magazine (such as the recent feature in Australian Country Style) it’s definitely a pinch myself moment. When one of Australia’s top photographers is sent to my humble studio to photograph my studio and my work, I am so grateful that these big publications love and support my work. This kind of support for handmade is what makes our little businesses not only survive in the tough retail environment, but also thrive.

What do you find distinctive about Australian design?

Australian design is very organic to me ~ often inspired by the beautiful and diverse countryside we are so lucky to have.

What are your top creative resources?
I love browsing Instagram and following the work of other creatives, getting sneak peeks in their studios and seeing what they are working on. So many inspiring people on there!
The Design Files is one of my favourite design blogs and great for keeping up to date with the latest trends. I’m addicted to home magazines and of course the ceramics journals!

What is your idea of happiness?

A well-balanced, sustainable life ~ my family is the most important thing to me and I love being able to spend time with them whilst also having time to just be ‘me’ and creating my ceramics. 

What's next?
I’m super excited to be working on amazing collaborations with two Australian illustrative artists. One will be available very soon and incorporates the stunning, detailed work of Renée Treml featuring the native Hop Hop wren. It’s a gorgeous collection of bowls, mugs, cups & plates and I cannot wait to release them online soon! We’ll also be showcasing these at the upcoming Sydney Finders Keepers markets on the 31st May / 1st June.

kim's collaborative pieces with illustrator renee treml
When the weekend rolls around what do you love to:
Go to the beach, beautiful Noosa river or any of the other gorgeous spots that the Sunshine Coast has to offer with the whole family. A good meal with friends tops it off nicely!

Read – The new Country Style ‘Made with Love’ craft book.
Watch- Grand Designs, fantasising about one day building our dream home.
Cook- A wholefood family meal preferably with homegrown veggies
Create- Arts and crafts with my little girl.
Listen to- Anything that doesn’t involve Elmo!
Dream about- Sustaining this balanced life we managed to build with our growing family!
Look forward to- Our new baby due this October.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

west elm -take three.

Woo hoo, West Elm has recently opened in Australia and the good news is... if you can't make it to their store in Bondi alongside Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma, you can still shop to your heart's content as they ship everything, anywhere in Australia. A little too tempting, perhaps. I've already started filling my online cart with the first three below. The bird rockers seem very Eames. I love shopping online, even if you don't proceed to the checkout, you can always dream - West Elm.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

profile - karina sharpe.


I first met Karina Sharpe years ago when I interviewed her for a story on industrial design. At the time I was fascinated with the work of an product engineer - the tremendous amount of time, hurdles and processes involved in creating something entirely new, whether it is a humble esky or a high-tech ceiling fan. Several years later Karina is still creating but in some ways it is less about the technical and more about, simple beauty, the unexpected and curated collections which make you smile then think, she's one clever lady...... I wish I had a tiny horse figurine too!

karina jean

I rediscovered Karina's work on Instagram, where her thoughtfully composed vignettes leapt off the screen. Clearly inspired by the fine details within nature, an assortment of her children's toys and colour, it's always a pleasure seeing what she'll come up with next. I imagine Karina's home and garden is filled with a treasure trove of unique pieces and tiny fragments just waiting to be captured in a creative composition. With countless  projects on the go, from jewellery design for her label Karina Jean to visual art, Karina's creativity spans many mediums, all of them inspiring. I am thrilled to share an interview with Karina and some of her favourite Instagram shots, but for a real treat head to her Creative Showcase here.

How would you describe yourself in five words?
Creative, clever, short, funny, ambitious

What was your childhood dream?
I wanted a flying bike and to discover something amazing. Later I thought about being a marine biologist and then an architect. As a kid I never knew design existed.

What led you down your current path?
I’m a designer, a storyteller and an image maker. I got to this combination in a round-about way. Firstly through lengthy study and consulting in industrial design and mechanical engineering, then by answering a calling to do something more heart-based and fulfilling.

What side projects do your pour your creativity energy into?
I have many projects. All of them are equally important and dear to me. Nothing is really ‘on-the-side’. Karina Jean is my jewellery label. I am currently working on a new range and working on some commissioned designs. I am also writing and illustrating two children’s books. And on a daily basis, I make creative images, which usually end up on Instagram.

What do you love most about what you do?
I love seeing a design or an idea come to life. I especially love when something that looks really good in my head, actually looks really good in reality. I also love that I get to give of the talents I have been given, that I get to use my natural gifts to make other people smile.

Where do feel most inspired?
Oh everywhere. I never know when inspiration will strike. I suppose it happens most often either in nature or amidst the pages of a magazine.

You’ve amassed an incredible following on instagram how would you describe your photography style?
I suppose my style is a bit minimal, with a warm tones. I pay close attention to composition, shape, colour, light and shadow. My images often include some humour, and usually have a ‘feel good’ feel. I follow my whims, and take many photos, and only post the very best.

Who do you admire?
I admire so many creative people it would be difficult to choose. So I am going to say my Nan. She is the epitome of strength and grace and ‘doing good’. She has taught me a tremendous number of life lessons, mostly by example. Recently we discovered that, creatively, we are very alike.

What challenges have you had to overcome?
Indecision is a killer. Learning to trust myself. Lack of time. Life balance, or learning to be okay with imbalance.

What's been a 'pinch yourself' moment?
Megan Morton’s Science of Styling Masterclass last year.

What are your top creative resources?
I am quite sporadic in my use of resources. I use a little bit of a lot of things. My most frequently used resources are probably The Design Files blog, Fashion and home magazines, Pinterest and google images. 

What is your idea of happiness?
Seeing other people enjoy my creations, prospering from my passions and sunny days with my loved ones. Laughter. Lots of laughter.

What's next?
Well it could be anything, but in the planning are new designs, my  books and I have just launched my online creative showcase which you can find here.

When the weekend rolls around what do you love to:
Read – My latest magazine purchase.
Watch- My boys playing.
Cook- Quick and simple.
Create- Whatever won’t leave my mind.
Listen to- Laughter.
Photograph – Whatever takes my fancy.
Dream about- Happy success.
Look forward to- Seeing ideas come together.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

profile brisbane open house - wolf & sparrow.

Brisbane Open House founders Steve Boyle & Gelena Michaela Wolf of
Wolf & Sparrow
Today's creative duo, are talented husband and wife team Steve Boyle, a licensed builder, and Gelena Michaela Wolf a designer and architecture student. Together they're Wolf & Sparrow, an innovative design and construction company which focus on preserving original Queenslanders and adding contemporary extensions that are dynamic, flexible, liveable and beautiful.
Their latest collaborative effort is 73 Albert Street, Camp Hill, Brisbane's first Open House and Pop Up which will showcase contemporary sustainable architecture, alongside industrial and homeware designers with a focus on Brisbane based artisans. 
A striking home which casts a commanding presence from the road, the original farmhouse was preserved, yet old has been merged with new with the addition of a modern split-level living zone. The extension on the upper storey features a family living area, study, main bedroom, ensuite and private verandah. While the new lower level includes a lounge, dining, kitchen with views to the pool, garden and patio. A media room, laundry and powder room is also on the lower level. 
Incredibly talented, with a flair for many creative endeavors Wolf & Sparrow are a unique design and building company which has just started consulting to assist clients planning to build or renovate, help maximise their budget and refine their needs to ensure they create a home they'll love. You can read more about the Open House here which will be open to view from May 11th until the onsite auction on June 1st. Even if you're not in the market for a new home, who can resist the opportunity to visit an incredible house, where everything you see from the soft furnishings to the art on the walls is available to buy - very tempting...

Q & A with Steve and Glena:

What are your creative backgrounds?
Steve: I currently make furniture pieces from reclaimed bits taken from our projects as a hobby but it’s turning into a professional pursuit. I come from a family of visual artists so I always have a yearning to do something artistic and currently the focus is on the creation and direction of our projects.

Gelena: I was given a great opportunity when I was 19 to work in the creative field of multi-media production, photographic styling and event design. I worked my way up to become an event director and created events throughout Australia and internationally. I was also fortunate to work with Steve who is my husband and business partner for many years in events. This career path gave me many great opportunities including the opportunity to be involved with design, styling, food and architecture…and I fell in love with all four.

After our third child was born we needed a career change to keep us closer to home so Steve and I decided to create the Home Store & Café in Ashgrove, to merge our love of food and design. We were a point of difference in Ashgrove at that time, the café only served food that was made on site, even the tomato sauce and Kasoundi was created in our kitchens. Just before we sold Home Store & Café we were recognized by Delicious Magazine as being their readers choice café for QLD, that was a great honour!

After a stint in Vietnam and the birth of our fourth child we made design and building our permanent lifestyle and career. 


How did the concept for the Open House and Gallery Pop Up Store come about?
The process of designing and building is immensely creative and enjoyable. We wanted to extend that involvement to the selling of our projects and enliven the experience both for ourselves and the potential buyers. Ultimately we wanted to do something that was unique and enjoyable. People are what make a home and we wanted the house to be filled with people not only looking at the house but also at the artworks and designer products.

We also wanted to work with other designers and artisans to showcase their work and build a creative network. In doing so we wanted to bring their products to life and similarly bring the house to life with their designs with the vibe of a social and fun Pop Up gallery. 

Bungalow Living cushions (indoor/outdoor), rug by Habitat
Home Collection, Wambamboo floor light and X & Y Stools and Table by Kent
Gration from Integration Studio, Artwork by White with Three

When did the planning begin and what challenges have you had to overcome?
It’s been a whirlwind since we decided to have the Open House with a Pop Up gallery. We’ve been working on the concept since February and it has been non-stop with a life of its own. It is always challenging bringing a new concept to the market but we’ve had fantastic support from Place Estate Agents, Paula Pearce and Paul Curtain were supportive of the concept from the beginning. We’ve also had wonderful feedback from the designers and artisans we approached with many coming on board prior to even seeing the property; they thought the concept was fantastic.

What was the inspiration behind the home’s design?
We wanted to preserve the original farmhouse and make it a standout feature which is why we painted it in vivid white. We also wanted to highlight the extension as a contemporary area and clad the exterior in two distinct modern materials. The living areas on both levels are clad on the exterior in Queensland spotted gum and the bedroom suite upstairs is clad externally in black Axon to highlight its private nature. The contrasting three zones create a striking external design and highlight the generous house dimensions.

What look did you want to achieve for the interior?
We design and build our interiors to be contemporary with clean lines, plenty of natural light and cross ventilation. We have primarily used natural materials such as travertine and marble tiles throughout, spotted gum timber flooring and Calcutta marble for the Island bench. Creating views while retaining privacy was an important aspect to our interior, we always build with a view in mind, whether it be a city skyline or in this case beautiful trees, sky, hills and views to the pool and garden. Bringing the outside in is a key aspect of our interiors.

What do you think makes a house a home?
The people within, their loved ones and their belongings, whether they be photographs or products they love. Their interaction with the house, their sense of belonging and their feelings of living well all contribute to making a house a home.


Which architectural aspects do you love most about the Open House?

Steve: 73 Albert Street is a completely functional family home.  I love that the new owners will have the opportunity to experience living in a character Queenslander with the functionality and architecture of a modern home.

Gelena: I love the kitchen and the views to the garden and pool. I love the sunken lounge room and especially the built in daybed where you can lie down with your ipad or newspaper and feel the breeze from the pool directly outside. The dressing and make-up area in the WIR is fantastic. But my all-time favourite is the peek-a-boo window from the upstairs lounge and study with views directly to the neighbouring park and playground...I can just imagine the new owners calling their kids in for dinner from a game of soccer or a play on the swings through those windows. Priceless moments.

How did you select the participating designers and artisans?
Australia is home to so many brilliant artisans. We focused primarily on Brisbane designers, who produce unique quality products and artworks that best fit our design aesthetic and sustainability focus.

Mason Sinclair  -  Wambamboo  -   Emily Nelson
Which designers and artisans will be participating:
*  Hamimi
*  ErinsWindow                           
Tree Party Design
*  Seven Dandelions
Do you have your eye on a few pieces for yourself?
Steve: The neo-vintage fabric chosen by The Fabric Frame on the is a real winner for me – it’s really cool and modern but it has a healthy respect for the past.

Gelena: One of everything please! We loved the Constellation Pendant by Kent Gration from his Wambamboo range (showcasing at the Open House & Pop Up) so we had it installed in the entrance of 73 Albert St to remain with the house. A rug from Habitat Home Living is on the cards for another project as are a few pieces from Hamimi and Bungalow Living. And for Mother’s Day I’ve put a request in for a couple of artworks from Emily Nelson and White with Three plus a few Zillpa bowls…please.


What's been a 'pinch yourself' moment?
There have been so many… having so many wonderful designers and artisans participating and having their feedback on the house has been so encouraging, Real Living magazine agreeing to participate in the Open House & Pop Up (one of my favourite magazines!)was a great moment, this interview is another!

What's next?
The first Open House & Pop Up is on the 11th of May and the auction will be held on the 1st of June. After a short break we will put the finishing touches on our own home before we start another project in Camp Hill.