Wednesday, 30 September 2009

designer joel bartfeld

I'm a sucker for stripes. That's one of the reasons why I'm coveting the towels from Sunny Life. That and the names of the products - I mean, who doesn't want a towel named Sardinia?! Oh, and have you seen the melamine range - with its Palm Springs look. Not bad for a company that's based in Melbourne. Here is the man behind the business, Joel Bartfeld.

Which five words best describe you? Passionate, intuitive, ambitious, genuine & tired.
What was your first job and what path have you taken since then? Upon dropping out of a commerce degree at uni, I went to work in the warehouse for my family business (fabric distribution). Following 18 months of wondering how I would fashion a career path, I fell into a job with a friend’s product development business. Four years with them provided me with my “degree”, which led me to set out on my own. Together with my business partner, we established SunnyLIFE almost 6 years ago.
What’s your proudest achievement? Having built a great team of people who help us make the brand bigger and better.
What’s been your best decision? To create my own business – to satisfy my autonomous nature.
Who inspires you? I’m inspired by creativity, so those who apply their creativity – both commercially and artistically.
What are you passionate about? My work, my family & friends, design & travel.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt? Stay true to your vision. Integrity can’t be faked and it can’t be appropriated. We were challenged to take the brand in other directions, but ultimately my vision was to be Australia’s best outdoor lifestyle brand – which I believe we are.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Karl Lagerfeld – not only is he a prolific designer he is also an incredibly fascinating person.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? I can’t wait to build a bespoke home. I think I’m going to drive an architect and builder crazy with the level of detail I want to achieve.
What are you reading? I’m always reading a lot of design magazines and The Great Gatsby (I’ve been meaning to read it for years).

images courtesy of sunny life

Monday, 28 September 2009

florist saskia havekes

I interviewed Saskia Havekes a little while back and just as I was about to publish the post the latest issue of Dumbo feather arrived, which featured a profile with Sydney's most sought-after florist. Well, I had to read the interview first... This weekend I finally did and I'm glad I waited because it's a beautiful piece and I would highly recommend you grab a copy of the latest Dumbo feather if you haven't already. It inspired me because Saskia is a working mum who never gave up on her passion, even when times were tough. Many years later Grandiflora is an amazing florist shop that you should definitely visit at least once. And Saskia is a true visionary... and a hard worker, which I guess goes without saying.

Which five words best describe you? Hyperactive. Excruciating. Determined. Tumultuous. Gregarious.
What was your first job and what path have you taken since then? Mucking out stables - a Devonshire tea house - advertising (where I met my first husband and moved to NY) - worked at artforum - returned to Sydney and started to work with flowers.
What's your proudest achievement? Getting the seal of approval in person from Dries van Noten in Singapore, working in Paris with Jeff Leathem on Eva Longoria's wedding. Recently delivering flowers to Cate Blanchett for a dinner with Al Gore.
What's been your best decision? Visiting my growers and moving to NY when I was 19.
Who inspires you? Alison Coates. Brain surgeons. Michelle Jank.
What are you passionate about? Nature. Colour. The sky.
What's the best lesson you've learnt? To ask lots of questions.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Frida Kahlo.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? To travel and learn more about classical music.
What are you reading? Old fashioned children's books to my daughter.

images courtesy of saskia havekes and inside out

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

stylist eddie ross

Some people need little introduction. Eddie Ross is one of them - well, certainly for Americans and design addicts. But for Australian readers who don't read Martha Stewart Living (he used to be the food editor then later the senior style editor) or watch Top Design, Eddie is an American stylist, decorator, food editor, caterer, all round entertaining guru. Ultimately, though, his work (and his blog) speaks for itself - beautiful, completely thorough and inspiring.

Which five words best describe you? Creative, caring, thrifty, funny and driven.
What was your first job and what path have you taken since then? Dishwasher for a catering company down the street from where I grew up. Soon I was arranging crudites platters and cheffing private parties. From there, I went to Culinary School, then got into magazine publishing.
What's your proudest achievement? Going on Martha’s TV show during the blogging episode she did, just 2 months after starting the blog with my partner Jaithan
What's been your best decision? Taking the plunge and starting my own business through
Who inspires you? Donna Hay, Julia Child and my grandparents Eddie and Dottie.
What are you passionate about? Inspiring others to create better, more beautiful lives without spending a lot of money.
What's the best lesson you've learnt? It doesn’t have to be expensive to be beautiful.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Costume designer Gilbert Adrian. Genius, all the way.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? Having my own lifestyle brand.
What are you reading? Vintage entertaining books from the 30s and 40s.

images courtesy of eddie rosss

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

designer angela adams

I'm always impressed by Americans and what they can achieve. They have such a can-do attitude. And Angela Adams seems no exception. While she is definitely at one with nature - taking her inspiration from her native Maine - she has also created a design brand that creates not only pillows, glassware and rugs but furniture and fine art too.

Which five words best describe you? Happy. Inspired. Curious. Cozy. Dorky.
What was your first job and what path have you taken since then? Mowing lawns… now I stare at the ground and create textiles that look like it.
What’s your proudest achievement? Building such a great team that is also like a family to us.
What’s been your best decision? Marrying Sherwood.
Who inspires you? Mother nature and my mother.
What are you passionate about? Nature, friends, family, animals, food.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt? Be kind and compassionate.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Leonardo da Vinci.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? To have more time to just think, create and be outside.
What are you reading? Ethics for the New Millenium by the Dalai Lama.

images courtesy of angela adams

Monday, 21 September 2009

bison designer brian tunks


A little while back I featured products from Bison in real living magazine, and shortly after I saw them on display in Object Gallery, the "shop" for the Australian Craft & Design Centre - a sign that these products are not just pretty, but verge on being artworks! The ceramics are handcrafted from Australian stoneware clay, and are designed to last a lifetime. But it is, perhaps, the colour palette that won my heart. Interestingly, Brian Tunks, the man behind the business, got his passion for design while working on ancient Greco-Roman excavations in the Middle East.

Which five words best describe you? Curious, determined, optimistic, open, loyal.
What was your first job and what path have you taken since then? Mowing lawns as a 15-year-old. I then went to school in Sweden... started my undergraduate Arts degree at UNE then studied for a MLitt in Classics and Ancient History at ANU. After finishing this I set up Bison and considered a Phd... 13 years later I'm still thinking about it!
What’s your proudest achievement? Can I have two?
1. Setting up my first store in Canberra nearly 5 years ago.
2. Winning 2 of 3 coin toss competitions at the Forrest Primary Trivia Night last week!
What’s been your best decision? Not to compromise on quality... ever!
Who inspires you? My partner of 21 years, my family, and my Belgian Shepherds (Inky and Claude).
What are you passionate about? Helping to minimise my carbon footprint (I have small feet!)
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt? That words mean little unless backed by action.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Richard Avedon
What dream do you still want to fulfil? A rural property in the Bangalow area... acres of lush garden and rain!!! (A rarity in Canberra.)
What are you reading? Albert Camus, The Plague.

images courtesy of bison and david plummer

Thursday, 17 September 2009

the september issue

I'm all fired up today. With passion, that is. I saw The September Issue last night... finally. And, oh, how I loved it. It made me fall in love with magazines all over again. And, as many have said, the real star of the film is Grace Coddington, who is an absolute creative genius. There is a great interview with her thoughts on the film here. Of course, Anna is brilliant, clever and astute, and far less icy than I expected. I also loved having a sneak peek into her home in New York and Long Island, but preferred Grace's Manhattan pad. The photos above are from one of Grace's shoots that is featured in the documentary, called Paris Je T'aime. B.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l. She says in the film that she's a romantic at heart and it's clearly evident in these images.

So is this an accurate portrayal of life on a magazine? I would say, wholeheartedly, YES! Although real living doesn't have anywhere near the budgets that American Vogue deals with (I don't think any Australian publication would come close), there were moments when I could hear the exact same conversations happening between staff.

Here are some of the things that happen on magazines that aren't always known
* an image can be beautiful but it's got to work within the story of the whole feature - if it doesn't work then it's probably going to get cut
* the magazine as a whole has to flow - it's got to have rhythm and pace and stories will get cut or extended accordingly
* covers need to be commercial (beautiful, yes, but also they have to appeal to the broadest readership possible); what lies inside can be more of a feast - from entree to main course and dessert
* everyone is passionate about their particular area - style, art direction, words - and it is matter of finding a balance between all these elements (and people!) within the magazine
* there are reshoots - sometimes just before print - it's got to work!
* people who work on magazines are passionate about their work: there are long hours, and you often have to put yourself and your opinion on the line - it's a subjective profession - but the joy of seeing your ideas come to life is wonderful.

images courtesy of vogue

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

aura's tracie ellis

I could talk design inspiration for hours. I always find it interesting where creatives share their ideas and how they produce a range. That was one of the reasons it was fascinating to meet Tracie Ellis, designer and founder of Aura recently. She told stories about travelling across Morocco, and how the design motifs of that country influenced some of the ranges. How she derived the animal print design on a bedspread. And what her relationship was like with the women in Thailand, where her products are made. 

Which five words best describe you? Persistent, creative, romantic, loyal and loving.

What was your first job and what path have you taken since then? After failing to be a checkout chick at Safeway I made ceramic worms for plant nurseries! Various school and uni jobs later I worked for Country Road designing my first bedlinen, then I've worked in the buying office for Myer, designed socks for Red Robin and Country Road, knitting yarn and patterns for Paton's, then I created the Domis homewares brand at Austin Group and in 2000 I started Aura.

What’s your proudest achievement? Having my own brand and business – Aura will be 10 years old this year. Oh, and making it to Machu Picchu on the Inca trail for my honeymoon.

What’s been your best decision? To do what everyone said not to – become a designer – I love my work – when work is also your favourite hobby you know you have done something right. I have a very dedicated small team who are just as passionate as me – it’s very inspiring.

Who inspires you? My team, my family and Donna Karan.

What are you passionate about? Colour and design, my renovation – mid-century architecture, my Mini, my schnauzer and my new husband – not in that order.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt? To think before I speak – but it’s still a lesson in progress.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? It’s a toss up – between favourite designers: Donna Karan, Tom Ford, Calvin Klein, to actor Christopher Walken and Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear – I know! But I am a car freak.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? Making Aura an international brand. And also lots of travel dreams - Alaska, Antarctica and revisiting and seeing more of my friends in India.

What are you reading? I have to admit that I have so many home magazines I rarely have time for anything else – next to my bed is the latest copies of Elle Decoration, Living etc, Belle and Jamie Oliver all waiting.

images courtesy of aura

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

food stylist caroline velik

If you're a real living reader, you may recognise some of the images above. The styling work is from Melbourne's talented Caroline Velik. I first learnt about her while on a photo shoot for a travel diary feature. I was talking to a photographer, asking about great food stylists and she recommended Caroline within a heartbeat. And so real living contacted her and organised a food shoot: the results were amazing. Caroline's work speaks for itself. It makes the meals almost too good to eat!

Which five words best describe you? Calm, positive, organised, helpful, hungry!
What was your first job and what path have you taken since then? I taught part time as a modern dance teacher from the age of 16. My path has covered restaurant work (front of house and kitchen on occasions), catering and for the past nine years work as a food stylist. I now have a column in the newspaper where I write recipes.
What’s your proudest achievement? On a personal level my children, as a food stylist my first book Saha with Greg and Lucy Malouf.
What’s been your best decision? To follow my ambition to become a food stylist.
Who inspires you? All the talented cooks and chefs whose recipes I work with.
What are you passionate about? Creating a beautiful image with real food.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt? Don't give up.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Nigella Lawson.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? I would like to travel to the Greek islands (a bit corny - I know).
What are you reading? The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt and The Element by Ken Robinson.

images courtesy of caroline velik and real living

Monday, 14 September 2009

travel to... giraffe manor

Yes, I'm still obsessed with all things Africa after my recent trip there. Here is a place that I didn't visit this time, but hope to see some time in the near future. I wrote about it over at Babyccino.

image courtesy of giraffe manor

Thursday, 10 September 2009

artist miranda skoczek

As you may have noticed, I like to keep an eye out for up-and-coming artists. I guess it's partly because I often think about the people who bought the work of David Bromley, Martine Emdur or Joshua Yeldham when it was still affordable. And I'm thinking: who will be next! But it's also because I greatly admire artists who struggle through the hard years until they establish a name for themselves... and even those that don't. To pursue a passion for art's sake is truly admirable. Miranda Skoczek is one of those people. And she's definitely one to watch.

Which five words best describe you? Passionate, Neurotic, Romantic, Compassionate, Free-Spirited.
What was your first job and what path have you taken since then? Did a short stint as a "checkout chick" then went into hospitality and retail throughout my days as a "professional student". And now here I am (eight years of study later) practising my art!
What’s your proudest achievement? I expect that time will come when I have a couple/few bambinos. Maybe the fact that I have chosen to follow a path that won't necessarily make me rich (monetarily) but that fulfils me, and allows me to do what I love doing!!!
What’s been your best decision? Making it my priority of the last ten or more years to see this incredible world we live in. Travel and engaging with different cultures has had a profound impact on me as a person, and it feeds my creativity like nothing else does.
Who inspires you? My family, my friends, other creatives, the entire history of visual culture, kind and selfless people. Generally people who follow their dreams and desires, those who make a difference.
What are you passionate about? I'm passionate about beauty - beauty in all of it's manifestations. Family, friends, food, music, laughter, travel, following your heart, colour, colour, colour, nature, life!!
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt? I'm trying (very hard) to learn that happiness doesn't come from spending all of my money on material and immaterial things (joking, sort of). Seriously, it would have to be the lessons my parents taught me from a young age - to be kind to others. Simple really.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? It's a toss up between Frida Kahlo and Mahatma Gandhi.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? To live in New York in a loft in the West Village, making my art, with my family and friends around me. To be more patient, and learn how to time manage.
What are you reading? Due to lack of time management, I always have several partly read books/essays/magazines beside my bed. At the moment, some of them are The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard, The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton, A History of Interior Design by John Pile, Art World and The World of Interiors.

images courtesy of miranda skoczek

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

stylist ruth welsby

It seems this week Daily Imprint has an international flavour. Today I wanted to share the work and words of Ruth Welsby, a stylist who has been featured in real living magazine. She is originally from the UK, but now is based in Melbourne. Ruth has a great talent for tracking down covetable homes. And I have to confess I was chuffed when I learnt that she's inspired by people who don't own televisions: I haven't owned one for 7 years!

Which five words best describe you? Creative, happy, loyal, decisive and enthusiastic.
What was your first job and what path have you taken since then? Oh blimey, my career path hasn’t been particularly glamorous or relevant to styling! My first job when I was 17 was in my local supermarket; then when I was at art college I worked in a clothes shop in central London (it used to get so busy on weekends that it drove me completely mad!). Once I’d finished my degree I starting thinking about possible careers and came to the conclusion that I liked houses, interiors and magazines. I put the three together and came up with interior styling. It took me months to even get work experience, but once I did I was lucky enough to work with some fantastic stylists and photographers who showed me the ropes and really inspired my passion for creating beautiful images. I took the plunge to become a stylist in my own right a few years later, and since then I’ve worked on numerous interior style publications both in-house and freelance.
What’s your proudest achievement? I should probably say something to do with styling, but I think my proudest achievement was passing my driving test. You could say I’ve had a bit of a phobia about driving and having lived in London my whole life I got away without needing to. However, with a move to Melbourne on the cards, I had to face my fears and get behind the wheel. I passed my test about a week before flying out and the irony is I haven’t really needed to drive since! On the styling front, I think a pretty good achievement was my first solo shoot: a five-page spread in British House & Garden.
What’s been your best decision? Moving to Australia. I left the UK on a wet, grey, freezing cold January morning and landed 24 hours later on a balmy, summer's evening in Melbourne. I live close to the bay and the city, and most days my commute takes me across the corridor to my office or a 15 minutes ride on a tram to go propping, instead of a two hours slog on the grimy tube.
Who inspires you? My family, my friends, my partner. Artists, designers, photographers, writers, creative types in general and people who don’t own televisions.
What are you passionate about? In no particular order, the sea, the city, houses, painting, texture, interiors, food, the countryside, architecture, colour, reading, spending time with my family (when I get to see them), and making sure that I laugh every day.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt? Not to take things too seriously when it comes to styling. Often things break, or they don’t turn up or your fantastic idea just won’t work. Staying calm, trusting your instincts and having some sort of back-up plan generally works. Another lesson I’ve learnt, which is actually a quote from T.S. Eliot (and is my mum's absolute favourite) is, "To make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from." I adore this quote and it’s helped me in all sorts of situations.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Probably Elvis. Or Audrey Tautou.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? I would love to buy an old rambling French Châteaux and renovate it. One slight problem in the plan is my total lack of French. I learnt it at school but gave up age 16, and I don’t think asking directions for the station and/or library will get me very far when I need a builder/plumber/electrician. Maybe I’ll have to rethink that one.
What are you reading? I’m reading The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work by Alain de Botton. I’m a bit of a de Botton fan, so couldn’t wait until this book came out and it certainly hasn’t disappointed.

images courtesy of ruth welsby


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