Monday, 4 May 2009

(design*sponge.guest blog) kate bezar

Here is the lastest instalment of the design*sponge guest blog I did last year. The original post is here. Enjoy!

Burst of inspiration: Kate Bezar
Editor of Dumbo feather

So often you find out about the best things in life this way – a friend recommended the quarterly “mook” (somewhere between a magazine and a book) Dumbo feather a few years ago now and now I’m recommending it to anyone who’ll listen. Each issue makes you contemplate what’s really important in your life. (Oh, and for American readers, it’s now available at Barnes and Noble– hurray!)

Why did you start Dumbo feather? I was at a point in my life where I desperately wanted and needed to read about individuals who’d found what they were passionate about in life, and how they’d gone about pursuing it. I wanted to read about the winemaker rather than the wine, the architect rather than the house, the entrepreneur rather than the business. I couldn’t find a magazine like that so decided to make it myself and, with a beautiful twist of irony, in the process of doing so, found my passion too.

Where did you find the courage? I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. I’d come to believe that failing would have been to not try, rather than to try and it not work out. I REALLY, really wanted to do something with my life that meant something and was a unique use of my particular, peculiar gifts - whatever they are! I also think it’s like when you meet the love of your life and you’re walking down the aisle towards him (or her), it’s not scary, but to anyone who has yet to meet that special person, the idea of walking down the aisle fills them with dread. It wasn’t actually scary, it just felt right.

The “mook” is beautifully presented - both from a design and photography perspective (the covers are stunning) - where did the idea behind the look of Dumbo feather come from? My brief to my designers was that I wanted Dumbo feather to be “timeless, beautiful and intimate”. One of the things that also makes it quite different is that it’s printed on 100% recycled paper… a decision that was made for ethical reasons and because Dumbo feather wasn’t about the “glossy” story but the real one so it could never be on a glossy stock. What I love is that it’s also turned out to be a great design decision; it feels amazing, stands out on the shelf because it makes photos look really rich and luscious. That reinforced for me that you should always do things for the right fundamental reasons. We find the cover images in odd places… They’re always pretty abstract but beautiful in their simplicity - and look great on a coffee table. They’re works of art in themselves and if you wonder enough you’ll always find deeper levels of meaning, often references to flight (a recurring theme).

Which magazines do you love? I’m not really a big magazine reader to be honest. Selvedge from the UK is textile-focussed and quite yummy, I read mum’s copies of Life & Leisure when I’m at home in New Zealand - it takes you inside the minds and homes of interesting kiwis, and occasionally I’ll pick up National Geographic.

How do you decide who to feature – must they meet certain criteria? Yes indeedy. Creativity (in the sense that they’ve imagined a different way of being/doing), courage (they’ve had the guts to follow through on it and to take the road-less-trampled) and integrity (they haven’t compromised the ideas or their ideals in the process). But then, even if they meet all three criteria, they still have to feel right.

Where do you look to for inspiration? The people I interview for Dumbo feather - people who live their lives with unrelenting individuality and integrity, who’ve found what they’re truly passionate about in life and have found the courage to pursue it against the odds. Doing the interviews themselves is just so inspiring, but then the people I interview often become friends and that’s even better; like Joost Bakker, Abi Crompton, Jodie Fried, Sruli Recht and Rachel Bending. I also love delicious bookshops and blogs. I always come back from trips to Melbourne re-inspired - love that city, it really does foster the individual, the unique, the creative.

What style of decorating do you love? The individual, personal and unique (those words come up for me a lot!), un-contrived, ever-evolving, comfy… I love the old apothecary/museum thing with a modern twist like Aesop stores… and when people use something quite ordinary in a new, wonderful way like this light installation made by my friend Sandra Hill (Very Tidy design) out of plastic bowls.

How would you describe your interior style? My home is a little bit eclectic (like on one wall I have painted a white branch lit by a photography studio light), but unfussy - clean space is crucial to my sanity. Most of my things have character (like an old oar that lives in one corner), pieces are worn and well-loved, with a little bit of industrial thrown in. I tried to make a vase out of test tubes once. Our home has really good bones; high ceilings, great floors and buckets of natural light - I love that.

“Moebius Ship” detail (2006) by Tim Hawkinson (left). Image (right) courtesy of the MCA and Tim Hawkinson.

What’s on your dream shopping list? A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander et al – an amazing reference to help anyone “create beautiful, functional, meaningful spaces”. I’m reading a friend’s copy, but must obtain one of my own. Vintage ship flags/pennants - I want to cover a footstool with them. Art, art and more art - anything by Robert Rauschenberg (in my wildest dreams), Tim Hawkinson’s “Moebius Ship” (2006)… it’s the sailing thing again. An old wooden yacht for twilight sailing on Sydney harbour… Oh look, I just found one online (pictured) - her name is Adventuress.

If you had a spare day, what would you do? Go to the market, garden, cook lunch and make something - maybe a mobile.

Images courtesy of Dumbo feather


Fabulous Finds Gal said...

You have seriously intrigued me to get my hands on a "dumb feather" copy as soon as humanly possible. I too have a need to see the story behind the design, photograph, fashion, architecture, etc... And, always in need of new inspiration. Bravo to you for your vision and making it real. I can't wait to get my hot little hands on a copy!

Natalie Walton said...

Of course, you meant Dumbo feather! x

objavi said...

cool blog

Lizzie said...

Thank you Kate for giving me the title of 'A Pattern Language' which I have been attempting to retrieve from my brain for a long time ... since 1990 when I had my then boyfriends copy for as long as I could ... It is a wonder.

Daily Mobile said...

nice photos and blog! ;)

Ady Grafovna said...

I want to see Dumbo Feather now too! It looks beautiful and would make a welcome addition to my coffee table. :)

jen jafarzadeh said...

Natalie, I just found your blog and am loving these q+a's. Eating them up. Thank you!

Matt B said...

Congrats on becoming a blog of note, I cant wait until my blog at becomes featured. I think that's a bloggers dream and a milestone that everyone should try to achieve.

Natalie Walton said...

Thanks everyone. When I first put my blog together I decided on Q&A as I wanted original content. There are so many blogs out there that just publish pictures from other blogs and I was getting bored with that format. And the Proust Questionnaire is the first thing I turn to in Vanity Fair, so...

Shannon Fricke said...

Another great interview Nat. I love Dumbo Feather - it's a great inspiration.

Anonymous said...

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Alison said...

have just found your blog! yay :) thanks for this post will have to get my hands on dumbo feather asap! x

Nikki said...

Ever since I saw this interview, I've been obsessed with Dumbo Feather! What I love now, is that they offer electronic subscriptions...all those previous issues right at your fingertips! Love it!

Kate Kelleher said...

I really enjoyed this Q&A, I managed to get a couple of copies a few months back of Dumbo feather, and loved the honest quality to it. I live in London, and thought it would be tricky, but the postman arrived sooner than I thought. Thank you for reminding me of this, I will find them and relax to quality reading.


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