Wednesday, 1 April 2015

CLOTHBOUND BY JULIE PATERSON






Twenty years is a long time to not only survive but thrive in a business. Textile designer Julie Paterson’s first book, ClothBound, charts how she managed to find her style and stay true to it over the past two decades. She also shares details on her creative process, and how she kept her work evolving in various design spheres: from running a shop to designing fabrics for hotel resorts.

For your chance to win a copy of ClothBound by Julie Paterson (Murdoch Books), like Daily Imprint’s Facebook page and like the Imperfect Manifesto post. The competition will close at 8pm on Thursday April 2. The winner will be announced on Wednesday April 8 on Facebook.

Read Julie’s original interview on Daily Imprint from 30 July 2010, when someone said after her speech at a rug launch: “Give this woman a book deal.”

How did you arrive at the concept for the book?
ClothBound is my life's work really - all bound in hand printed Cloth. The book holds the stories I’ve been telling for the last 20 years to my customers and to anyone who will listen! Stories about my process - the highs and the lows of running a small creative business from a maker’s perspective, where the designs come from how they are made and where the designs go.

What was involved in the creation process?
I was asked to write the book by Jane Morrow from Murdoch - and she asked me to do a sample chapter for her to pitch to her colleagues. As soon as I sat down to do that chapter it all fell into place. Immediately, I knew what the feel of the book would be like, I knew the name of the book and the content. It was as if ClothBound was already inside me fully formed.

The writing of the book began on Boxing Day 2013. I can remember sitting in my little vintage caravan Meg with a notebook wondering where to start. I’ve never written a book before. Do I start with a structure and piece it together in an orderly fashion? Do I start at the beginning 20 years back and work chronologically forwards? Nah - I just started with the first words as they came. “Here I am sitting in my caravan on Boxing Day….” and went from there. The first draft was about 40,000 words. That was the easy part. Then came the honing and editing and crafting the arc of the story. Then came the two-week photoshoot with the amazing Armelle Habib. I knew I wanted the book to reflect my life. Nothing too flash. So we shot on location in my studio shed, my little mountains home, inside the caravan and in my other little flat in Coogee. And a friend’s house down the road too. I wanted the book to be as authentic as possible. 

Then came the design part. And now it starts to get really hard. I worked with the lovely Mel Feddersen sitting next to her in her studio which, funnily enough was the exact same spot where I’d started Cloth 20 years before. Weird but true. Each page of the 240-ish pages has been individually designed - the image and the words all working together. This was a long process and involved the editor - patient and kind Jackie Brown, sitting on my left and Mel the designer sitting on my right and me in the middle working with the both of them in unison. Wow, that was an intense two weeks!

And then I organised the printing of the fabric that the book was bound in. My printer did the work, which is a lovely touch that makes all the difference to the book because each book cover is a little bit different as the cover gets cut from a different section in the pattern. All that detail makes all the difference. And I had to hold all of this at once. That’s why I say this is my life’s work. I couldn’t have done this book before now. So when you ask how long did it take - the answer is it took me 20 years to make this book because it’s taken me 20 years to really know my craft.

How long did it take to come together - from concept to first copy?
The time from when I wrote the first words to holding my first copy took 18 months all up.

What was important to you in terms of the book's text, photography and design?
The answer is above, I think - but I also want to say that one of the reasons for writing the book was to break down the creative process into easily understood parts - I believe everyone is creative - see my Imperfect Manifesto; the book hangs on this manifesto - yet I hear so many people saying that they are not. And I know that enabling our creativity makes for a happier life and outlook. So I wanted to say this is how I do it and it isn’t hard. Have a go. Enjoy the process and don’t worry about the outcome.

What was unexpected about the whole process?
How much I enjoyed working as part of a team. Running a business alone for 20 years takes a certain headspace - I’ve had staff and they are fab but I was always the boss making all the decisions. This writing a book experience was quite different. It was a very much a team effort and that felt really great.

images courtesy of julie paterson and murdoch books; photography armelle habib


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Tuesday, 31 March 2015

DESIGNER FELIX ALLEN







“I was born, raised and still exist on the side of a steep mountain surrounded by tall trees that drops into the Tasman Sea on the shoreline. On maps it is known as Austinmer, on the Coal Coast of New South Wales,” says Felix Allen, designer of maker of lighting, furniture and homewares for Somewhere South. From his base, south of Sydney, he shares a workspace in an old beer brewing factory with “furniture craftsmen, boat builders, coffin makers, garden growers and future thinkers”. As well as his lighting designs, and giant sculptural fishing hooks (for Shop U), Felix has created gems from coal washed up on the Illawarra coastline. He also received commissions from stylist Sibella Court for The Society Inc including “forest gems”, made from timber, coal, stone, pumice and clay, as well as wooden talismanic eyes. 

Which five words best describe you? Experimenter, discoverer, inquisitor, inventor, collector.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? A few years ago I started pulling apart, fixing then selling old broken furniture in a hot tin shed under the shadow of the tallest smoke stack in the southern hemisphere. 

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Venture off the trail. Sticking to the path is boring and you will never see what amazing things are really out there. This definitely applies to making things and in life.  

What’s been your best decision? Doing it on my own, you can learn everything yourself if you work hard enough. 

Who inspires you? Astronauts, explorers, mountain climbers, inventors, tight rope walkers.

What are you passionate about? Local history, paintings of ships, collecting, old bottles, feathers, things covered in dust, rusty things, abandoned buildings and climbing trees.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Anybody who has been to the moon or climbed Mt Everest.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? To build my own house from an old sailing ship. I'm still waiting for one to wash up on the beach near my house.

What are you reading? A book on kite making; it has some pretty outrageous designs I want to try and build for an upcoming project.

images courtesy of felix allen 


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Monday, 30 March 2015

ARTIST SARA GADE







“For me art is very holistic,” says Danish artist Sara Gade. “It’s a way of living. I create.” While she studied textile design, painting has always been her focus. But it was when Sara started to work with watercolours that she felt she had found her medium. “The fluid water is out of my control and in my control and in-between that is where my art arises, and that’s my path. That tension or connection,” she says. “I had to paint to be true to myself.” Born and raised in Copenhagen, Sara continues to live and work there with her two children. Limited edition prints of her work are available through Art Rebels.

Which five words best describe you? In relation to my work as an artist I would say that I’m passionate about colours and forms, honest, self-disciplined, strong and sensitive.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? To begin with I had a combined open atelier and a gallery and that together with social media - Facebook and Instagram - was a good beginning. I could be very local and global at the same time. So I got a lot of connections through that and things just happened in a very nice and quiet pace, and I hope it will continue like that. I’m very soon moving to another atelier without the gallery, so I can be more immersed in my work and I’m looking very much forward to that. So maybe more global than local now.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Focus on your work and be curious. Focus on all the positive things that happen, especially when you get a no, and one more no. 

What’s your proudest career achievement? When I make a painting that is really good, that’s the greatest and proudest achievement every time. But one time I had an exhibition where a person wanted to by a lot and wanted to take it home right away. So I had to come with more paintings and they were sold right away too. I remember one of them just got a divorce; she was supposed to buy a bed because she didn’t have one, but she decided to buy one of my paintings instead. It was really fun and it had a very intense energy.
What’s been your best decision? To choose who I listen to and most of all to listen to myself. 

Who inspires you? People who are passionate and true to themselves.

What are you passionate about? I respond very intensely to colors and forms and how they work together and relate to each other. I’m overall passionate about how we connect with each other and our surroundings. 

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? People I love who are no longer among us. I talk a lot to them, but I miss hugging them.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I have a feeling that I will connect my art with something else, science maybe, which I’m very curious about. I hope to fulfill that dream. But I’m not sure how it will happen; it will come to me one day, I hope. 

What are you reading? I’m refreshing my colour theory again by reading Johannes IttenI’m always reading non-fiction about art, human biology, brain function, philosophy, design  and so on, it’s very inspiring to me. Only on vacation do I read fiction.

images courtesy of sara gade


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Friday, 27 March 2015

STYLIST DANIELLE SELIG








“On my first day at Vogue Living I knew I was on the right path,” says Danielle Selig, a Sydney stylist. It was a career she had never considered at school or university, where she graduated with an Arts/Law degree. But when she started working for a leading Sydney firm, Danielle soon realised it wasn’t the life for her. “The moment I knew this career existed and there was a possibility of doing what I loved full-time there was never any other option for me.” Danielle started as a style assistant at Vogue Living and after taking a maternity leave position styled her first decorating story and grabbed the cover. “It was hugely reassuring to have my work recognised in this way,” she says. Now working as a freelancer, she has also worked for Country Style and Inside Out.

Which five words best describe you? Intuitive, risk-taker, creative, determined, honest.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? After completing my Arts/Law degree I practiced as a lawyer in a Sydney firm, however, it didn't take me long to realise that billable hours were not for me! 

I swiftly left the law firm and it seems all my stars aligned as I soon started interning at Vogue Living. I worked closely with Vogue Living style director Alexandra Gordon who was generous with her time and knowledge. I quickly learnt the ropes and after a few months I was brought on full time to cover Alexandra's maternity leave.

After almost a year in this role, then editor-in-chief Victoria Carey gave me the opportunity to style my first decorating story for the magazine. I was lucky to be able to work under the creative direction of Giota Letsios and unintentionally managed to land my very first cover. I’m eternally grateful to Alexandra, Victoria and Giota for nurturing me as a stylist at the start of my career. 

I took the plunge into the freelance world this year and so far it’s been exciting, challenging and also really rewarding. I’m have a few exciting personal projects in the works at the moment and am looking forward to seeing what else lies ahead this year. 

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? To trust and rely on my intuition. I’ve learnt that I work best when I do things that excite me. Because of this I've started working on a few shoot concepts that are purely ideas that I really want to bring to life. Be kind, always be kind. 

What’s your proudest career achievement? Styling my first decorating story and cover for Vogue Living and later learning the story had been requested by Vogue China and Vogue Portugal

What’s been your best decision? To create a career out of doing what I love on a daily basis.

Who inspires you? I’m currently inspired by the work of stylists and set designers Studiopepe and Milan-based interior designers Dimore Studio. Lorenzo Castillo always inspires me with his clever use of pattern in his interiors. 

What are you passionate about? Pattern, textiles, linen, hotel robes, pasta, peonies, design, interiors and travel - in no particular order!

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Gio Ponti.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? Pack up and move to Italy. I’d also love to take a ceramic course and learn a language.

What are you reading? One of my best girlfriends has just given me Amy Poehler’s Yes Please.

images courtesy of danielle selig; photography felix forest + art direction giota letsios for vogue living 


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Thursday, 26 March 2015

PHOTOGRAPHER MARK EDWARD HARRIS






















“I fell in love with the idea of being able to freeze a moment in time,” says award-winning US photographer Mark Edward Harris. While he first got a taste for photography after watching his father document their family road trips with an 8mm movie camera and a 35mm still camera, it wasn’t until he completed a major photo essay shoot in Vietnam in 1992 and received a lot of magazine coverage and awards as a result that the direction of his work changed. “This really gave me the idea that you had to do bodies of work to be recognised in the photo industry,” he says. His work in Japan, Iran, South Korea and North Korea has led to books but it was his first publication in 1998 Faces of the Twentieth Century: Master Photographers and Their Work that became a catalyst for his career, and won the New York Book Show Photography Book of the Year and Best of Show awards. Many of his other monographs have gone on to win awards too. In 2006 Mark also collaborated with interior designer Kelly Wearstler to create Domicilium Decoratus

Mark’s editorial work includes photography in Vanity Fair, Life, Wallpaper*, National Geographic Traveler, Harper’s Bazaar and The New York Times. He has also shot fashion images for Gap and portraiture for Coca-Cola

Which five words best describe you? Nice, focused, disciplined, occasionally funny.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? My first big break was getting a job on The Merv Griffin Show in the 1980s. Merv had a major talk show in the US and I was able to take care of the celebrities in the Green Room then photograph them on stage during the filming of the TV show. After the show ended I took a four and a half month trip throughout the South Pacific, New Zealand, Australia and Asia to build up a more documentary style portfolio.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Work hard. And when you’re tired, work even more.

What’s your proudest career achievement? My book North Korea being named The Photography Book of the Year at the 2013 International Photography Awards at Carnegie Hall was up there for sure.

What’s been your best decision? To go back to school and get a Master’s Degree in a special major I put together combining history and photography. It gave me a solid base to do my book projects on places such as North Korea, Iran, etc.

Who inspires you? The great historians Will and Ariel Durant.

What are you passionate about? Travel, history.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Sandy Koufax, I always wanted to be a major league baseball pitcher. He was the best.

What dream do you still want to fulfill? I would like to travel to 100 countries. I’m stuck at 89 countries on my travel map since I tend to go back to the same places to really dive into a story. 

What are you reading? I spend most of my reading time with my nose stuck in Japanese and Korean language textbooks. I always enjoy Murakami’s short stories when I sneak in some casual reading.

images courtesy of mark edward harris


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