Thursday, 23 October 2014

CERAMICIST LEAH JACKSON







After a few years of working for a commercial gallery Melbourne’s Leah Jackson felt a pull to what had drawn her to the arts in the first place - ceramics. It was her major during her Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours) degree at the ANU in Canberra. And she had immersed herself in that world before then too, studying up on The Journal of Australian Ceramics while at high school. Since returning to the wheel she has been exhibiting regularly. “I love the exhibition process,” Leah says, “as it always pushes my work into a new direction and challenges me to take a fresh perspective.” She is also stocked in retail spaces, and is about to participate in the Markit design market at Fed Square on November 24. Leah also runs the occasional workshop at Northcote Pottery. “It is a fun, day long event that encourages play and irreverence while providing some staple hand building and simple mold making skills,” she says. “They are fun days which yield a surprising amount of work.”

Which five words best describe you? Always hungry for more everything. (That “everything” initially read “cake”).

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I studied ceramics at university, but left it alone for a few years while I worked in the arts. Working at a public contemporary gallery was like undertaking a second degree - I learnt so much. Eventually the want to be making took over and I left my job to return to the studio - via some more travel, living in some different places, and generally just finding my way.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? My Grandfather gave me simple but effective career advice once: "You just figure out what you want to do, and you work hard at it". That statement really seemed to consolidate my dedication to my career path for some reason. Sage (simple) advice aside, the most important lesson I have learnt is time management - it is essential for ceramics when you are working towards a deadline! You have to allow for drying time, firing, glazing, re-firing - and hope throughout the entire process that the kiln gods will smile upon you.

What’s your proudest career achievement? Being featured in The Journal of Australian Ceramics was pretty exciting. I have been geeking out over those magazines since I was at high school, so that was a very big career achievement tick.

What’s been your best decision? Setting up my current studio at Northcote Pottery - working away from home has made such a difference to my practice, as has having multiple kilns on site.

Who inspires you? My friends. They are incredible. They open galleries, write articles, create beautiful clothes, buildings, jewellery, products, props, exhibitions... The list goes on. Dynamic, ambitious people with strong vision and direction who it is a privilege to spend time with, and I learn so much from.

What are you passionate about? Equal love. Hand moisturisers (ceramics is very hard on the hands). And people enjoying my work in their domestic space.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Gore Vidal, circa 1960s. Even though his intelligence would have been horribly intimidating. I could watch him making clever, witty quips on YouTube all day.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I have dreamt this so long it almost feels silly now, but I would love to live in America for a time - perhaps I will retire in Florida?

What are you reading? I am just starting on The picture of Dorian Gray - literally the first pages of the introduction.

images courtesy of leah jackson; photography heather lighton

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

STYLIST JACKIE BROWN







Three years ago Jackie Brown didn’t know her job existed. But assisting interior stylist Sarah Ellison changed all of that. “Since then my career has escalated quite rapidly and, seemingly, effortlessly, which I take as a message from the universe. Yes. You are exactly where you need to be,” she says. And so where is she? At the moment Sydney-based Jackie is styling interiors for Real Living magazine every issue. Landing covers. Working for advertising clients. A long way from her days as an actor, massage therapist and bus driver, although she says, it’s all been part of the fun.

Which five words best describe you? Fortunate, happy, dorky, strong, hungry - I’m always hungry. For knowledge, love, words, experience, beauty, Cherry Ripes...

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I am a bit of a late starter, actually. I was many things before I was a stylist. I was fortunate enough to spend several years travelling the world doing all sorts of things for a buck- I worked as an actor and a massage therapist and a bus driver! I had a lot of fun doing all these different "jobs" but was a bit lost in terms of a "career". A few years ago when I returned to Australia, I went back to school to study interior design, and whilst I was studying I took it upon myself to organise some work experience at Real Living magazine. Whilst I was there, I did some writing for the mag and Deb mentioned she'd love to have someone who was passionate about writing and interiors on the team. A couple of months later, an opportunity came along for me to take on the role of editorial coordinator. I let Deb know I was interested in the styling side of things and she took the risk and gave me a shoot. It snowballed from there. That first shot is still one of my faves. I eventually left the role as ed co to pursue styling, was freelancing for a while, and now am back on the wonderful Real Living team where I started. Lovely how these things come around.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? I'm learning every single day. Most recently I learned that you always need to counterweight a boom arm... Boom: 1. Jackie: 0. Ouch!

What’s your proudest career achievement? I am always really chuffed when I see images I have styled crop up on a blog or in a mag or on an Instagram account belonging to someone on the other side of the world. I am still pinching myself that I am getting to do what I love, so it’s always lovely to see other people - near and far - are appreciating what I am creating.

What’s been your best decision? Making the call to try and take on the styling thing full time, and put all of my energy into it. If I hadn't done that you would still know me as the girl who processes your invoices! Haha!

Who inspires you? I am inspired by, and incredibly indebted to the lady who taught me all I know about styling, the inimitable Sarah Ellison. Before I met Sarah I didn't even know my dream job existed. I was fortunate enough to be able to watch Sarah in action quite a bit when I was starting out in this industry and she is so exceptional at what she does, and was so generous and giving with her time and knowledge. I am also inspired by the Real Living team who are busting their balls at the moment churning out three magazines and who still manage to keep smiles on their sweet sleepy faces.

What are you passionate about? Interiors and food and my love. Disclaimer: Not necessarily in that order.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Author Nikki Gemmell. I want to pick at her brain! (Not in the Hannibal Lecter with a cocktail fork sense.) Her words are like little songs; she writes how I long to write. I reckon once I recovered from my initial star-struck awkwardness, we'd have quite a giggle.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I'd love to be able to combine all the skills I have picked up along the way and do something involving interiors on TV. I would still love to do some more travel, and it would be amazing to be able to work doing what I'm doing oversees for a bit.

What are you reading? These days mostly Ikea assembly instructions. I have a Tom Robbin's (another of my faves) on my bedside, and looking forward to hopping on a plane and having a few hours to gorge on his sentences without interruption. 

images courtesy of jackie brown, maree homer, scott hawkins (portrait) and real living magazine

Monday, 20 October 2014

ARCHITECT JADE VIDAL







It was during his first year of studying architecture that Jade Vidal met two fellow students, Chema Bould and Anna Dutton, who went on to become his partners in Bower Architecture. That was 20 years ago but it wasn’t until 2005 that the Melbourne-based trio joined forces. “Architecture is an extremely rewarding and challenging field with a strong sense of camaraderie and dedication amongst architects,” Jade says. Together they have worked on a range of mostly residential projects, including the Hover House, above, which was a Victorian Architecture Award Winner 2014.

Which five words best describe you? Intuitive, loyal, determined, impatient, passionate.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I went as far as getting a science degree in evolutionary biology before changing course completely to pursue architecture. Too long studying – but this background provided a great perspective of how our surroundings can shape us and the places we live. After a few years of working in architectural practices post graduation, formed Bower architecture in 2005 with Chema Bould and Anna Dutton.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? That the solution to a problem will always come in time, often in the form of a new opportunity which will make the end result better.

What’s your proudest career achievement? Facing and working on weaknesses, like learning to draw and present work with confidence.

What’s been your best decision? My choice of business partners. Although we're different individuals we make a great team and balance our personalities in a really productive and potent way.

Who inspires you? My wife Jackie and boys Leon and Atlas. And all the people out there who aspire to make beautiful things by thinking for themselves ‐ regardless of style, field or scale.

What are you passionate about? Savouring the good things and moments in life and not taking them for granted. Honesty and Integrity. Designing memorable houses.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? So many. Songwriter Steve Forbert, architect Louis Kahn, the entire Brazilian soccer team from 1970... Gabe Newell of Valve Software would probably be top of the list though.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? Design my own house. See my boys grow up into who they want to be. Make the ultimate mixtape. Discover the videogame Half Life 3 is being released and play the hell out of it. Crack open a bottle of Jagermiester with loved ones on a trip to New York when I hit fifty.

What are you reading? Pezzettino by Leo Lionni to my son, every night.

images courtesy of bower architecture

Friday, 17 October 2014

SHOP OWNERS SASKIA + LIBBY CARR







There are a number of small but successful shops in London that focus on selling practical and well-designed wares. Australian cousins Saskia, pictured above left, and Libby Carr hunted them out while living there a couple of years ago, and finding them sparked the idea that they could create something similar back in Australia. After returning home they launched online shop Ten Things in 2012, and at the end of last year held a pop-up shop at Blank Space Gallery in Surry Hills, Sydney. They’ve also started to hold market stalls at a few different locations, including the Entertainment Quarter markets in Moore Park. Their philosophy is that we should own less but better quality objects, items that you treasure.

Which five words best describe you? Focused, seekers, curious, creative and determined.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? Libby studied design at COFA and has worked as a graphic designer for a number of years, while Saskia studied drama teaching and has worked in teaching and training across education and retail. 
We lived together in London a few years ago and this is where the idea for Ten Things emerged. We were constantly on the hunt for practical and well-designed products and were inspired by a number of small boutiques that focused on quality and functional design. Upon returning to Sydney with a strong desire to work for ourselves, we decided to go into business together and open an online shop.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Experiment, find what works for you, but always keep learning. Don’t expect to get everything right the first time. Also, preparation is key.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Starting our own business. We have both learnt and discovered so much in a relatively short amount of time.
What’s been your best decision? Going into business as a partnership. Merging our skill sets has allowed us to do much more together than we could alone. While we make a lot of decisions together, we also divide and conquer when it makes sense to do so.
Who inspires you? Other small businesses and creatives who work really hard, commit to quality and love what they do.  
What are you passionate about? Seeking out great design and craftsmanship. Finding those everyday items which make life a bit easier and more beautiful – both for Ten Things and for ourselves!  
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? As all of our designers and manufacturers are scattered across the globe, so we’d love to have the opportunity to meet all of them in person and see them in action. Saskia visited Southern Field Industries (maker of our Waxed Canvas & Leather Tote) in Japan last year and was incredibly inspired by their passion and craftsmanship. We look forward to being able to do this with more of our brands in the future.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? We would love to have a permanent shop front one day.
What are you reading?
Libby: Elephant by Raymond Carver. Short stories are perfect when life’s a bit busy. I also usually have a few home/interior magazines on the go.
Saskia: Wherever You Go There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn. A great little book on mindfulness with perfect tips for surviving life as a new mum.

images courtesy of ten things

Thursday, 16 October 2014

PHOTOGRAPHERS JULIA KOTELIANSKY + ALEXANDER KERR








After sitting behind a desk working on advertising jobs in New York, photographers Julia Koteliansky and Alexander Kerr of ioulex decided to get behind the camera. The couple had met in Paris while studying at the Parsons School of Design and continue to travel between the two cities for work. Instead of waiting for the phone to ring, they set out to create work of their own, and a style that has become synonymous with ioulex. Now they shoot for a range of publications including The New Yorker, the New York Times T magazine and M le Monde and have exhibited at the Museum of Art and Design in New York and Colette in Paris. The fashion film “A Mon Seul D├ęsir”, which they created in conjunction with design studio Mogollon, won a Make-Up Forever Beauty Prize at ASVOFF 5.

Which five words best describe you? Collectively, we’re committed, excitable, delusional, thoughtful and complementary.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? It’s hard to separate our life together from our career. We met as second year students at Parsons in Paris, and immediately started working together. After graduating we each worked in advertising in New York for a few years as graphic designers and art directors. Our actual career in photography started when we quit our jobs and got back to collaborating on image-making. It took a while to get any commissioned work, but we persevered and kept on shooting anyway. Our first agents, Josette Lata and Rida Chin, were early champions of our work; their patience and encouragement were instrumental in getting us on track.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Find and follow what you’re truly passionate about, and things will fall into place one way or another.

What’s your proudest career achievement? We were very proud of our first shoot for the New Yorker, a portrait of choreographer Benjamin Millepied. Our families were very excited too.

What’s been your best decision? Leave the studio and all the photo gear behind and go shoot wherever and however you can.

Who inspires you? New York artists and performers - Daniel McDonaldMx Vivian Bond, Kembra Pfahler.

What are you passionate about? Collaborating with artist friends in various media - costume (Christian Joy), sound (Jason P Grisell and Philippe Bresson), dance (Isabella Boylston). 

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Marcel Duchamp - to meet and to photograph.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? Shoot in Kyoto.

What are you reading? Solaris by Stanislaw Lem.

images courtesy of ioulex

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