Friday, 30 May 2008

designer jacqueline morony

Now this is one girl who has found her groove. Not only has Jacqueline Morony been working as a designer for nine years, winning numerous awards but she also nurtures future design talent at the University of Technology Sydney, where she lectures and tutors in typography and branding. On top of that in 2006 she created Millicent & Frank, a design company that showcases her own range of interior design pieces. Already it is stocked in leading design retailer Space and sold internationally.

What five words best describe you? Think; Play; Travel; Imagine; Do.
What’s your proudest achievement? I was very happy when in the first six months of Millicent & Frank being launched one of my designs was selected as a finalist for the Product of the Year awards and displayed at the Powerhouse Museum. I remember being pretty chuffed that my design was inside a glass cabinet on display for all to see.
Who inspires you? I have been fortunate to work with several people during my career who have inspired me for a number of reasons. Tanya, who was head of interior design at Cox Richardson Architects and Penny who was general manager of Emery Vincent Design. Both were inspirational as they are extremely hard working, energetic women who played at the top of their field. I am also inspired by my friend Paul Clark, who not only being an amazing designer, is also a very grounded and calm person... I know I can be a little frantic at times!
What are you passionate about? I feel really torn on this one! Needless to say design plays a huge role in my life. It is my career, my hobby and my passion. Equal to design I would say friends - extremely important to have balance in life. But I am also extremely passionate about travel. I have travelled a lot over the last five years and think this is something that I will
continue to do through my life.
Why did you start Millicent & Frank? It sounds so simple, but because I thought it would be fun. My own design label meant I could determine my own design direction, respond to my interests and determine my own pathway. I had always had a strong element of the three-dimensional within my graphics work and I guess this was a natural progression.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt? If you have an idea and are prepared to put in the work you can do anything. Imagination and creativity play important roles in my life, but so does courage. You have to be willing to jump in the deep end.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Andy Warhol would surely be an interesting and artistic, if not bizarre, person to share a coffee with and I think most definitely memorable.
What are you excited about? Travel plans, of course! At the moment plans are in the works for a number of places - skiing New Zealand, site seeing in Japan and Husky-sled riding in Northern Sweden... bring on the adventures!

Images courtesy of Millicent & Frank

Wednesday, 28 May 2008


I know, I know, I know. I've been really slack and haven't posted any nursery pics. But will endeavour to take some this weekend. It's been finished for ages but when I saw these photos from DwellStudio yesterday I started to get more ideas. Oh dear!

Images courtesy of DwellStudio

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

zuza zochowski

It's quite surprising to look at naturalistic landscapes that are by a living artist, especially one that is as fresh and young as Zuza Zochowski. It's actually a refreshing change from the more abstract works that usually adorn white gallery walls. Zuza's works are currently being exhibited at Arthouse Gallery in Sydney's Rushcutter's Bay.

What five words best describe you? Stubborn, stubborn, romantic and yet cynical and too generous sometimes.
What's your proudest achievement? Still waiting for that moment.
What was the starting point for this exhibition? Needing an escape to nature and looking through my travel books.
Who inspires you? My mother and my grandmother and anyone who won't let anything get in the way of living.
What are you passionate about? Travel and my work.
What's the best lesson you've learnt? To chill out a little.
Which person living or dead would you most like to meet? At the moment, Bridget Riley.
What are you excited about? The day after my exhibition opening night and my travel to the Northern Territory.

Images courtesy of Zuza Zochowski and Arthouse Gallery

Monday, 26 May 2008

julian schnabel

The Gramercy Park Hotel is one of his recent projects.

His "palazzo" in New York.

Inside his digs.

One of his films.

The man.

Flicking through the latest Elle Decoration I saw one of the homeowners had a book on Julian Schnabel. Oh, how much would I love that book! It was not that long ago that Vanity Fair published an article on Mr Schnabel's Venetian-style palazzo he's built in New York. The courage and determination to see his vision through is one of many reasons why I think he rocks. The others are:

* he is a multi-talented man: a painter, sculptor, furniture designer and filmmaker
* at the start of his career he worked as a short-order cook to help pay the bills as he tried to establish himself as an artist
* he's not shy to express his opinion, stating: "I'm the closest thing to Picasso that you'll see in this *#@ life"
* but on the other hand, I admire his passion: "Painting is like breathing to me. It’s what I do all the time. Every day I make art, whether it is painting, writing or making a movie."
* he has made some amazing films: Basquiat, Before Night Falls and The Diving Bell and The Butterfly

Images courtesy of
Vanity Fair

Friday, 23 May 2008

kikki.k's "bird" stationery

Too cute for words, don't you think! Its the latest range from stationery store Kikki.K. I featured Kristina a little while backduring my guest blog for Design*Sponge. Click here for more of the interview.

Images courtesy of Kikki.K

Thursday, 22 May 2008

writer linda jaivin at swf

I thought I'd share some of the inspiring quotes, info and advice from various talks I'm attending at the Sydney Writers' Festival.

On Monday night I attended a
talk by Linda Jaivin, author of the best-selling novel Eat Me. I was intrigued by the blurb: "She will discuss her work, writing process, and the question of inspiration — where does it come from?"

It turns out that Linda is live-wire and obviously inspired by life and things she sees everyday - from people to places.

Here were some other interesting things I learnt.

* Linda was about 40 years old when her first novel was published (she only began writing in 1994).
* Her first novel, and biggest seller, Eat Me has been translated into 12 languages.
* She is fearless. "I would rather fail but fail intriguingly," she said.
* She writes for the love of it "not for the riches" - because there aren't any.

Image courtesy of the
Sydney Writers' Festival

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

sydney writers' festival

This week is the Sydney Writers' Festival, which must mean that I've been blogging for almost a year. I know it gets said so often that it usually ends up sounding trite - but where has the time gone! Anyway, in among working and doctor's visits I'm attending a few events at the writers' festival this week. Thought I'd share some of the words of wisdom and inspiration I encounter. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 20 May 2008


One for mum...
and a little something for me...
then next time I would like...
and one of these.

Monika from nika+mink

Anyone who makes my life easier, I love. Enter Monika Mamrot of nika+mink. She visited the Real Living office a little while ago with her latest products that are available for sale on the Real Shopping website. The problem? Mother's Day. The solution? Gorgeous velvet jewellery rolls... oh, and one for me. After all, I am a mum (nearly!). I had to share this great little company with you, not only because it showcases Australia design but because it gives back to communities in developing countries.

How and why did you start nika+mink? I started nika+mink just over 18 months ago with my first exhibition; however the idea has been floating around my head for a long, long time. I studied fashion design and later graphic design but found I was useless at pattern making and not interested in computer graphics... so I didn’t complete either course but was yearning for a creative outlet. I managed Cambodia House for several years, which gave me the opportunity to source and design beautiful products, to travel extensively, and to experience many cultures intimately. Through my travels I realised there is still so much untapped talent and impressive craft skills in places where many are in need of a source of income, so nika+mink was born.
What has been the response? Fantastic!!! I have had such great feedback and support from my retail clients that I pinch myself on a daily basis when I receive top-up orders after the stock has been in stores for just a few days. I cannot believe it. I have also had wonderful encouragement from Real Living and the orders that have been coming through from the website. It’s nice to see, first hand, the products selling on a wholesale and retail level.
How is having your own business different from what you expected? It’s not so different. I expected it to be hard work and I was slightly frightened by the idea of not having any input or feedback from anyone. At the same time I was looking forward to being my own boss, working my own hours, being creative and spending more time with my cat Tiger (aka the Boss), Kepi (the food-driven Kelpie) and Posie (the highly strung Border Collie). I now LOVE IT. I enjoy my space and my four-legged colleagues. I have developed a good routine and stick to it... and thankfully I have great friends ready to lend a helping hand. As all my products are handmade in small workshops scattered on the outskirts of Hanoi, Saigon and Bangkok, by far my biggest challenges have been in production planning. I work around harvesting seasons and religious holidays, often facing fabric shortages, electricity black-out periods and currency fluctuations... but I wouldn’t swap it for anything else.
What has been a highlight? Being discovered by Real Living in August 2007. I could not believe how excited Caroline, the Advertising Creative Director from Real Living, was about my products. I later found out that I was one of only 10 designers/suppliers to be picked for the launch of their online shop. I was so happy to have been approached and lucky to have had my products featured extensively throughout the magazine since.
Where do you look for inspiration? EVERYWHERE. Actually, a friend and I were seeing a performance at the Opera House a few nights ago and when one of the performers came out in this amazing, dip-dyed, flowing silk gown, I turned to my friend announcing I'm going to introduce dip-dyed silk scarves into my next range. Her response wasn’t encouraging, nevertheless, I will do gorgeous, dip-dyed silk scarves next summer... oh, the beauty of having creative freedom. I am also inspired, endlessly, through my travels, some very creative friends, books and magazines.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned? Not to take things too personally. I create pieces that I love and hope clients will love them as well but there are always those that need convincing. If it’s a hard sell I don’t bother!!! I feel the product speaks for itself and retailers have to appreciate it in order to sell it well.
What are you passionate about right now? Food and travel... did I mention food? I really love to eat delicious, sensual food – whether home cooked or done by the experts. Cooking is very much “my” time; it’s meditative and creative. I love trying new recipes, particularly anything full and hearty by Jamie Oliver. I have also been very lucky to be able to travel extensively, both interstate and overseas, for work and pleasure. That is when you realise that, in a Ben Lee moment “we‘re all in this together”. It doesn’t matter which culture, religion or climate we are from, we all have the same need to love and be loved, to protect and care for those that are closest to us and to simply be happy. I am constantly reminded that our similarities are much greater than our differences.
If you could meet one person, living or dead, who would it be? Hmm, this is going to sound shallow and girly but I would LOVE to meet Johnny Depp. Besides the obvious, he actually comes across like a really interesting, really off-beat kinda guy.
What are you looking forward to? A short trip to Vietnam in a few days. I love getting off the flight and just feeling transformed, the humidity, the noise, the smell and the crowds, I love it, it is all so energising and exciting... even dodging the traffic. I am also heading back home, to Poland, in December. I haven’t had a white Christmas since I left when I was 12. I can hardly wait, and of course I am really looking forward to the traditional Polish Christmas fare.
What are you reading? I am “trying” to read a few books. Paulo Coelho's Life, containing quotations from several of his books. I really find him inspiring and thought-provoking, and his writing spiritual and universal. The second book, which I hope to finish on the flight to Vietnam, is Insatiable Critic by Gael Greene, who was a restaurant critic for New York magazine; it is a feast for “all” the senses. Alain De Botton’s The Architecture of Happiness, is the third book I am trying to get through. De Botton looks at how our private homes and public places influence how we feel, and considers how architects could build in ways that would perhaps increase our happiness. I really enjoy all his work.

Images courtesy of nika+mink

Monday, 19 May 2008

southern highlands getaway

Me and my 36-week pregnant belly in Bowral -
and, yes, it's the same dress as on the cover of the latest real living!

Beautiful old buildings in Bowral.

D checking out some wares at Barbara's Storehouse in Bowral,
where I found lots of great buys.

And even more enticing buys at Three Wise Monkeys in Bowral.

Love the lamp on the far left - gorgeous and colourful for a nursery.

Elephant Boy cafe where we ate both days.

The Berkelouw Book Barn near Berrima.

Autumn in full swing.

Inside the book barn - heaven!!!

The garden wing at the Peppers Manor House in the
Southern Highlands, where we stayed.

I'm not very good at relaxing. But this weekend was a type of self-imposed relaxation session. When in Sydney my calendar overflows with work functions and social events - always trying to catch up with friends and family. But when I occasionally block a weekend out from functions, I inevitably end up doing lots of chores in the flat. So this weekend was a time to forget about all that racing around and go stay in the country. Of course, I wasn't going to just stay in the hotel room - as spacious and comfy as it was - not when there were so many great shops and cafes to visit. My favourites: Elephant Boy Cafe in Bowral; Three Wise Monkeys homewares store in Bowral; and the Mittagong markets, where I picked up farm-fresh apples and honey.

Friday, 16 May 2008

cocoon chimineas

I'm off to the Southern Highlands this weekend and can't wait. A self-enforced chill-out weekend is just what I need. I hope it's really cold so I have to stay inside and just read, read, read. And how cool would it be to get warmed by these beauties - Cocoon Chimineas by Federico Ontero for Ontero Designs - that are now distributed in Australia by Top3 By Design.

Images courtesy of Top3 By Design

Thursday, 15 May 2008

sarah marquis

Aren't these just the most gorgeous wine labels you've seen in a long time? I love them! They're from Mollydooker Wines, owned and run by Sarah and Sparky Marquis, who have also given the wines great names, too. How about "Goosebumps" for their Sparkling Shiraz? After all, that was what they got when they tasted the first vintage. Oh, and Sarah is the winemaker and master blender behind the brand. What a great job!

What's your proudest achievement? Creating the Mollydooker wines and brand.
Who inspires you? Sparky
What are you passionate about? Soccer, our kids (Luke & Holly) and making wine.
What's the best lesson you've learnt? Always have fun.
Which person living or dead would you most like to meet? Anthony Hopkins
What are you excited about? Sharing our wine with new friends.

Images courtesy of Mollydooker Wines

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

lizzie buckmaster dove

Yes, Lizzie Buckmaster Dove has been a busy bee. No sooner has her home been featured in Country Style - click here to see some pics - but now she's got an exhibition on at NG Art Gallery. There's still time to check it out - which I hope to do very soon.

Images courtesy of Lizzie Buckmaster and NG Art Gallery

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

aboriginal artists at united galleries

Emily Pwerle's "Awelye"

Liddy Napanangka Walker's "Wakirlpirri Jukurrpa"

Helen McCarthy's "TyalmutyTyek Tyek"

Liddy Napanangka Walker's Wakirlpirri Jukurrpa

The next painting I buy has to be one by an Aboriginal artist. I've loved the art from Utopia for at least 10 years now and keep seeing the prices of works that I loved all those years ago go sky high. So now I'm keeping my eye on the next batch of artists that are coming through - and selling in a still affordable price range. Enter United Galleries, which is showcasing paintings from three Indigenous women artists: Emily Pwerle from Utopia, Liddy Napanangka Walker from Yuendumu and Helen McCarthy Tyalmuty from the Daly River. The exhibition is on now.

Images courtesy of United Galleries


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