Wednesday, 30 June 2010

julia berkeley

When I recently described the feeling I get from travelling (head clears, heart lifts, creativity soars, and a definite feeling like I'm hovering above my former self and life when I return) someone suggested it might be the experience people get from meditating. And then it clicked. Yes, it probably is. In the past year a few things have happened that I'm less likely to turn away from the idea of meditation. David Lynch does it every day (he's a creative high achiever - surely an endorsement if I ever needed one). A friend who is perpetual motion has started and loves it (so it's not just for chilled-out boho types). And I am a recent yoga convert (nine months and going strong, even though I was very dubious).

But perhaps one of the best reasons is that my neighbour is living the life that so many of us dream about. She gave up what many would consider a dream job - art director for an interior magazine - and has never been happier or more content. I'll let her explain why, but if you're interested to know more about Julia or her classes then check out her website Divine Motion - she has a new class starting on Monday 5 July.

Oh, and the photos are ones that Julia took (she's also a photographer) on a trip to the Amazon at the start of the year as part of her studies.

Which five words best describe you? Playful, caring, independent, bright, authentic.

What was your first job and what path have you taken since?
When I left university with a math’s degree I decided that I wanted to be a graphic designer. Somehow I got lucky and was taken on by a small design agency in London who taught me the tools of the trade. I spent about 11 years working in this industry and although I love design I somehow always felt that I wasn’t good enough or that I wasn’t in quite the right job. I couldn’t figure it out.

While I was working as an art director for Better Homes and Gardens magazine in Sydney I began exploring the world of meditation and healing. My whole life transformed in the process and I realised that I wanted to help others in the ways I was experiencing.

So I studied and explored a myriad of healing and transformational practices and ended up making a career catapult from design to healing. I am now working with individuals, offering private healing sessions, and with groups, offering the Divine Motion series; a movement and meditation series designed to help people move into living more freely and joyfully.

I have to pinch myself all the time to see if I’m dreaming or this is really happening. I now LOVE what I’m doing. And all the design and marketing experience I have is proving invaluable in running my business. It’s funny looking back and seeing how all the random experiences along the way now fit together perfectly.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? The importance of loving oneself. For me this ongoing lesson is challenging and yet seriously rewarding. It means really allowing whatever arises inside of me to be there without trying to push it away or change it. It’s about deeply accepting who I am in each moment rather than trying to be who I think I should be. The more I live this way the more amazing life becomes.

What’s your proudest career achievement? Every time I have the privilege of witnessing a person connecting with and discovering their essence... with that part of themselves that is effortlessly who they are, that is complete, fulfilled, and joyful. In that moment I know that something very good is happening. I can’t say I feel proud so much as incredibly grateful and excited to be part of facilitating that opening. That’s really why I’m doing what I’m doing.

What’s been your best decision? Signing up for the first meditation course I did. I don’t remember having ever thought about meditation beforehand and am not sure that I really knew what I was signing up for but my friend said it was the best thing she’d done that year so I thought I’d give it a go. That’s when everything changed for me... it was that blue pill/red pill moment in ‘The Matrix’.

Who inspires you? Gangaji, Mooji, Eckhart Tolle, all musicians!

What are you passionate about? Dance, meditation, music, living my truth and helping others live their truth, photography, swimming in the ocean.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I read a series of books a few years ago called Life and Teachings of the Masters of the Far East. They document the journey of some US scientists in the late 1800s who go to the Himalayas and meet these so-called ‘masters’. The masters are beings who have been alive for hundreds of years, are able to materialise and dematerialise at will and basically stick around to help the evolution of humanity. Crazy as it may sound I know someone who has actually met such a person ... I’d like to meet one myself! Not sure which category that falls into... living or dead?

What dream do you still want to fulfil? To fall in love!

What are you reading? Perfect love, imperfect relationships: Healing the wound of the heart by John Welwood

images courtesy of julia berkeley

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

photographer petrina tinslay

I'm still a big fan of Bill Granger's cookbooks. To me, the food is easy to cook and uncomplicated (I often lack the patience or time for recipes from other books). But I was thinking recently - what would Bill's cookbooks be without the enticing and beautiful photography? They set the tone for not only the recipes but the Australian lifestyle that he promotes. The imagery is the work of accomplished photographer Petrina Tinslay, who has become the cookbook photography queen. She's produced books with no less than Nigella Lawson, Delia Smith, Donna Hay and Neil Perry. Not only that but many of her images have graced the covers of Vogue Living, and many other high-end magazines.

Which five words best describe you? Enthusiastic, realistic, dreamer, passionate, patient.
What was your first job and what path have you taken since? I was a freelance photo assistant after leaving art school. I loved my job so much that I couldn't believe I was actually being paid for it! I'd be doing something completely different every single day. One day in a restaurant kitchen, the next shooting a portrait of someone famous, the next in some remote location. No two days were ever the same. It spoiled me for ever working in an office situation ever again in my life! I went freelance as a photographer after about 2 years assisting and loved being on shoots where you could create gorgeous images from + with amazingly beautiful things and places. It is so creatively satisfying, and I think I'll never tire of that feeling, even after shooting now for about 18 years.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Nothing can take the place of hard work and dedication to your craft. I love the saying... "the harder I worked, the luckier I got". My parents always had their own small business and instilled a good work ethic in me from a very young age. I feel this is the best thing you can teach someone, along with kindness, patience and humility.

What’s your proudest career achievement? I think working on great cookbook projects (around 45 to date) on a regular basis, with wonderfully gifted chefs and cooks like Nigella Lawson, Michele Cranston, Neil Perry, Delia Smith, Bill Granger, Donna Hay, Tyler Florence, Jill + Jewels Elmore, Alison Attenborough + Jamie Kimm. The length of time working on these projects allows you to establish wonderful relationships with the chefs/cooks/authors and the crew and you can really get your teeth into creating a look and style for their recipes with your photography... you do get to eat very well too. Some of these projects have left me with truly wonderful memories and experiences. Winning the James Beard Foundation (a US-based, internationally recognised industry award) for "Best Food Photographer" in 2000, for one of my cookbooks was really exciting too and more recently the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) US awards for "Best Photography+Styling".

What’s been your best decision? To study at art school once I'd finished high school. I went to Sydney College of the Arts and did a Bachelor of Arts (Photography/Film) and feel that it showed me a whole new world of creativity and expression. It gave me the time and place to experiment with my work and begin developing a style of work. Then going freelance as a photographer, where my work gave me some amazing opportunities to travel the world shooting some great places and projects. I've had some amazing assignments shooting in Nepal, Burma, Europe, Africa, USA, the middle East, India, Japan etc. I've had some wonderful opportunities in my career. It's been a very rich tapestry of experiences.

Who inspires you? So many people for so many reasons. But first and foremost... my Father + Mother, my Grandfather... all greatly loved and respected by all who know/knew them. I try to be like them as much as I can everyday. There are also some amazingly talented image makers out there whose work is both inspirational and beautiful. For me looking at beautiful and clever imagery is an eternal source of happiness.
What are you passionate about? Food and photography... probably in equal parts, if I'm to be completely honest! When I was about ten I used to think I'd become a chef and used to read about the Roux Brothers and other great European chefs. I find it interesting to see everything came full circle for me to still work with food, but from a different angle... photographing it, rather than creating it. I do think I'm better at eating than cooking!
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi. The stories of their lives fascinate me.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? To publish an eponymous title of my work someday... once I have a lifetime of images to fill it with.

What are you reading? Annie Liebovitz At Work.

images courtesy of petrina tinslay

Monday, 28 June 2010

an education

Sorry for the lack of posts this past week. I've been sick with a cold and flu and unfortunately it coincided with a major styling shoot - four setups in one day (Friday). As it happened that was the worse day of my illness but there was no way I couldn't plough through and just get the job done - a location, photographer (up from Melbourne), numerous couriers and removalists had all been booked. I'm not too thrilled with the first shot of the day, but hopefully the rest will survive the cutting block. We'll see...

So after the shoot I followed my usual Friday evening ritual and watched a DVD. I'd heard great things about An Education and wasn't disappointed. In fact, not only did I really enjoy the film but it left my mind ticking for days later - I'm still pondering on it, actually.

I can really relate to the central character; her naivety at that age about how the world "really works", and her dreams of living in Paris. I love the scene of her lying in her bedroom singing along to French records. Perhaps that's what inspired me to make Boeuf bourguignon (thanks, Stephanie Alexander) and drink red wine while listening to the beautiful Mademoiselle CD by French chanteusse Berry yesterday.

The film's screenplay was by Nick Hornby, who I'm really starting to think is a bit of a legend. He also wrote Fever Pitch, About a Boy and High Fidelity.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

squad ink's matthew squadrito

I have to confess that I love seeing what images people at work choose for their pin boards. It's one thing to select an image for the mag, but to flag something as a personal choice is a different matter. That's why I was pleasantly surprised when one of my favourite Christmas cards from last year (and the year before, for that matter) came from Arent&Pyke, and is also on the board of real living editor Deborah Bibby and, I've also spied, our deputy art director Andrea Healey. I had to find out who created them. Turns out it's Squad Ink - a company founded by twin brothers who have quite a way with fonts. They've also just launched a range of t-shirts.

Which five words best describe you?
Approachable, dreamer, enthusiastic, creative and passionate.
What was your first career job and what path have you taken since? I worked mostly freelance... branding agencies and publications. I soon realised that I enjoyed client interaction and working with mixed industries. I never want to feel pigeon-holed or restricted. I think being forced out of your comfort zone makes you a better designer.
What's the best lesson you've learnt along the way? Never underestimate those jobs you consider small… they usually are the most rewarding. You just never know how far the rabbit hole goes!
What's your proudest career achievement? Founding Squad Ink! I love, love, love being the boss of myself... although I'm often put in my place by my twin and business partner Terry. We pour so much of ourselves into our work, it's liberating when your work inspires people.
What's been your best decision? To be part of the creative world. Being a creative is not just a profession, but a lifestyle and a passion. How many people can say that about their work?
Who inspires you? Other designers, my twin, my girlfriend and almost anyone who loves what they do.
What are you passionate about? Food. My background is Italian and I'm the son of a providore... there wasn't any real choice in the matter. Obviously design... perhaps one day I could merge both together. hmmmm
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? David Attenborough. He rocks! To see what he has seen… what a life.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? To create a cookbook. Tell the story of my family and our immense love for Mediterranean food.

images courtesy of squad ink

crafter jenny ryan

I never thought of myself as a crafty person. After all, I almost failed sewing at school. But I keep coming back to craft projects for various styling shoots that I've done this year. To cut and paste paper or cover preloved items with fabric seems such an easy and obvious choice. Now there's a whole market of books available to those who enjoy getting crafty. I've interviewed The Crafty Minx and now I'd like you to meet Jenny Ryan of Sew Darn Cute: 30 Sweet & Simple Projects to Sew & Embellish. She has a shop and workshop called Home Ec in LA, where she lives.

Which five words best describe you? Hmm... thrifty, crafty, insomniac, homebody, smart-aleck.

What was your first career job and what path have you taken since? I've worked a ton of different office jobs over the years but I consider the freelance writing I started doing in my early 20s in New York to be my first real stab at a "career". I moved from writing about and reviewing other people's books, films, and music into writing more about the creative process itself and into creating projects other people could try. I spent some time working for Craft Magazine (working for the print magazine as well as for their online blog) and started up a craft fair in Los Angeles called Felt Club, and eventually wrote my own sewing book. Nowadays I run my own brick and mortar shop, called Home Ec. (after the Home Economics classes that used to be offered in school, which are sadly not as common anymore). Home Ec, offers fabrics, yarns, and handmade gifts and also hosts all kinds of workshops: sewing, knitting, embroidery, bookbinding and more. It's been a lot of fun and I never would have predicted I'd have ended up here.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? When the hobby you love becomes your job, it's really important to try not to get burned out on it. Sewing to relax and teaching sewing to customers several times a week are two very different things. I try hard to set aside time to work on personal projects for my home and my friends, it helps me remember why I got into this in the first place. I'm also a part of the Los Angeles Modern Quilt Guild (which has chapters starting worldwide!) that exposes me to creative new people and techniques, which keeps things fresh and interesting.

What’s your proudest career achievement? It's definitely a tie between having my book published and opening my retail store, Home Ec. I loved writing the book because it was a chance to share the tips and techniques I've picked up over the years with a wide audience, and I love working in the shop because it's a chance to share my love of crafting with people face-to-face. Don't make me choose!

What’s been your best decision? If I can be a bit mushy, I’d say it was marrying my husband Johnny. His support and enthusiasm for what I'm doing helps keep me confident and motivated. It's a wonderful thing to have in a partner!

Who inspires you? There are so many folks I'm surrounded by in the craft community who have taken their vision and run with it and I love seeing folks make a living doing what they love. My friend Jenny Hart from Sublime Stitching is just one great example. Lotta Jansdotter, Natalie Chanin, Kaari Meng and Pip Lincolne are all women I totally look up to.

What are you passionate about? Demystifying the art of making. I want to be a craft enabler - to help people who think they aren't creative break out of that mindset and just give it a try.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Say what you will about the lady, but I'd be thrilled to meet Martha Stewart. I'd like to thank her for showing people that there is beauty to be found in the everyday pursuit of home keeping. I appreciate the way her magazine, books and television shows treat cooking, decorating, and crafting like the arts they truly are (or can be).

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I'd love do some worldwide travelling. Australia is definitely on my list, I'd love to visit when there's a big craft show going on and I'm dying to visit some fabric shops in Japan and London too.

What are you reading? Conquest of the Useless by the director Werner Herzog. It's a diary he kept while filming Fitzcarraldo in the Amazon. It reads more like poetry than a diary, and is a really compelling look into a highly creative (and some might say crazy!) mind.

images courtesy of jenny ryan and penguin

Monday, 21 June 2010

designer shareen joel

In the June issue of real living I produced one of my favourite features for the mag. I had to track down Australia's leading interior designers and organise a shoot of them in their homes with top photographer Mikkel Vang as well as interview them. It was quite a task. As you can imagine the people we profiled are highly in demand and Mikkel is constantly flying in and out of the country, between Sydney, Melbourne and New York and everywhere inbetween.

One of the great stories I got to hear was from Shareen Joel. After studying industrial design at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology she became the youngest designer to be relocated to another country when she worked for Ford Motor Company, Australia. Since then she has gone on to work for Country Road, Freedom and Witchery.

Which five words best describe you? Focussed, efficient, sensitive, integrity, organised, warmth, determination.
What was your first career job and what path have you taken since? Ford motor company as a product designer.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Take risks, maintain consistency , conviction and a clear vision.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Wow! There are too many to count and in a diverse range of design disciplines.
What’s been your best decision? To transfer to Ford Europe and then Ford US. Then to come back home, marry my gorgeous husband Dean and have 2 gorgeous children.
What are you passionate about? Design innovation and integrity. My family, of course.
Who inspires you? Charles and Rae Eames, Achille Castiglioni, Coco Chanel, Le Corbusier. Tadao Ando, Alberto Campo Baeza.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? See above.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? To travel the world with my family when the children are old enough, appreciating food, culture and design.
What are you reading? I have never been much of a reader but I am always reading cookbooks and design magazines.

images courtesy of real living, mikkel vang and shareen joel

Friday, 18 June 2010

artist phillip piperides

Even after three weeks in Italy it seems I can't get enough of sculpture. I was instantly attracted to the work of artist Phillip Piperides. He is currently exhibiting at the Robin Gibson Gallery in Sydney. It seems he has a love of Italy too - check out the dream he still wants to fulfill!

Which five words best describe you? Patient. Perfectionist. Passionate. Busy. Resourceful.
What was your first job and what path have you taken since? Pottery has been in my family for two generations, and has been my living for nearly eight years. This was until I came back from an overseas learning trip, which led me on the path to establishing Brisbane's first Fine Art Foundry [Perides Art Foundary] while creating and exhibiting my bronze sculptures.
What's the best lesson you've learnt along the way? Learning not to be impatient, eventually with enough groundwork things tend to fall into place.
What's been your best decision? Receiving the Churchill Fellowship, which enabled me to travel and study overseas which in turn improved my skills in the many facets of casting bronze statues.
What's your proudest achievement? Establishing a Fine Arts Foundry gave me the privelege of meeting a broad spectrum of artists.
Who inspires you? People in everyday situations.
What are you passionate about? As well as art being my biggest passion, I also love music. And being of Greek origin I love my food.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Andrea Bocelli, his music really moves me.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? Eventually I would love to have a studio in Tuscany.
What are you reading? Ron Mueck's exhibition.

images courtesy of phillip piperides and robin gibson gallery

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

ligne roset's antoine roset

Having just been to Milan it's lovely to be writing about a company that has a long-standing design tradition and is a regular at the Salone Internationale del Mobile 2010. Ligne Roset was founded in Briord, France, in 1860 and the company is still in family hands. But while it's steeped in tradition, Ligne Roset is thoroughly modern. Just look at one of my favourites, the "Harry" sofa by Eric Jourdan. It's built on the lines of the past but is without a doubt a sofa of this time. Antoine Roset, pictured, is the great-great-grandson of the founder (also called Antoine) and overseas the company's North American operations. He grew up in Lyon, worked in Paris and now lives in New York.

Which five words best describe you? Creative, loyal, honest, dedicated and impulsive.

What was your first career job and what path have you taken since? I started as a merchandiser for IWC France, then I rapidly changed to a sales manager in France for the same company. I arrived in the US almost fours years ago as sales manager for Roset USA and for almost three years I have been running the North American Subsidiary of the Roset Groupe.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Don’t trust anyone in business until the deal is done. There are less and less gentlemen in the business world.

What’s your proudest career achievement? My career has been too short so far, and recently the economy too slow… I hope that I will be able to answer this question soon.

What’s been your best decision? Moving to New York almost 4 years ago… New York is the best city ever.

Who inspires you? My Family. I'm quite proud that we've made it 150 years.

What are you passionate about? I really like lighting. I am a big fan of Ingo Maurer’s work. I also enjoy art and cars.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? The pope and the Rolling Stones.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I am not sure how to answer this question. I am a 30-year-old single guy, so I have many dreams in my head that I want to fulfil.

What are you reading? My iPad!

images courtesy of ligne roset

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Return of the Italian adventurer



A shrine near Lake Como.

My new favourite place in Italy - Lake Como.

It feels a little weird to be writing on this blog again. I haven't been here for three whole weeks, which is a virtual lifetime in the online world. Even typing feels strange. I've had the sort of holiday that my mind, body and soul was craving. Life felt like it was getting a little out of balance and I just needed to recharge.

Of course, me being me meant that I didn't exactly lie on a beach for three weeks. I couldn't help myself and saw far more of Italy than I had expected (it's my third visit to the country). I went to Rome, Porto San Georgio and the beautiful surrounding countryside, Urbino, Bologna, Verona, Lake Maggiore, Milan, Vigevano, Lake Como and back to Rome again. All in three weeks... with a two-year-old toddler who wasn't interested in rushing around to see the sites (not when he had his train, car, gnome... to walk slowly along the streets of whichever place we were visiting).

But even though I saw many places, travelling for me is so much more than ticking places off a list or taking photos. It's when I get to shut out the noise of day-to-day living and really get back to what's important to me. It's when I can dump all the baggage that I don't really need. And it's when I can see the answers clearly to the big questions in life.

It's also when I get creative. I came up with so many ideas and projects that I want to work on that I can't wait to get started.

I want to thank everyone who contributed to this blog while I was away. I had a MASSIVE shoot the DAY BEFORE I left (literally was packing up at 6.30pm in Sydney's Palm Beach on Thursday night to race back to the city to collect my child from daycare and pack for a flight the next day) and was frantically coding the posts. A friend has since told me there are a few errors and slips in them but I'll hopefully be able to tidy them up - and find out what happened to the image that went with Lisa Loxley's post.

This week I'm getting back on my feet so not sure how regular I will be able to post, but hopefully everything should be back on track next week.

I hope you've enjoyed the posts while I was away - I'll try to respond to your comments soon. And I'd love to hear from those of you who enjoy travelling and find out what you love about it.

Oh, and the house swaps went amazingly well. It was a fantastic way to meet locals and see and experience how Italians REALLY live - not one of the three homes I stayed in had a kettle or toaster! And they all used stovetop coffee espresso makers (not big fancy machines!).

images daily imprint

Friday, 11 June 2010

Belinda Graham's inspired by...

Belinda Graham from The Happy Home Blog is inspired by Grand Designs:

"I never thought I’d be inspired by a television show, but one that has me wanting to build a house with my own bare hands. My husband, Steve, got me hooked last year and now watching recorded episodes is how we relax (is that sad?!).

"But seeing people from all walks of life dreaming big and actually turning their ideas, hopes and visions into an incredible home has us thinking big too. I love everything to do with homes and so building one from scratch or bringing an old rundown shell back to life really appeals to me. And watching this show has us determined to do so one day. So we collect our ideas and file them away, draw floorplans for fun and create essentials wishlists. Now we just need the perfect plot. Oh, and maybe some money…

"The entertainment in this show is that there is always a twist to these homes – watching a McMansion being built would hardly make riveting television (to me!). But these homes are self-sufficient, rundown historically listed places like barns or castles, experiments in new materials, built over Lochs, odd-shaped or almost backwards in their construction.

"One of my faves is this wooden house (pictured). It was built by a woodsman – by himself with a couple of mates (for free! He taught them carpentry in return!) – using materials from his woods, ropes and hands instead of cranes, hay bales for insulation and recycled fittings. It’s incredibly charming, quaint, self-sufficient and perfectly natural. I want one!

"Grand Designs is on Foxtel’s Lifestyle channel and ABC. You can check out extras, images and episode guides here. And for more of the woodsman cottage go here."

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Marie Nichols is inspired by...

Marie Nichols
is a stylist extraordinaire. She makes it look so easy when it's one of the hardest jobs on a magazine. She's inspired by...

"So many things have inspired me of late I found it hard to narrow down, I think that's what come of being in a new country, everything is new and inspiring. However I finally decided on the Carriage Works. Architecture often inspires me and I love old warehouse type buildings (I'm big on industrial chic right now!) but what I loved most about this place were the colours. Simon laughed at me because the camera was out and snapping away at the interior (rather than the event we went to see!) I take colour inspiration from all sorts of places. I love the combo of turquoise and orange, and the yellows and greys...they're sure to appear in a shoot very soon."

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Hayley Allen's inspired by...

The creative genius behind Tika, Hayley Allen, is inspired by the film The Ice Storm by Ang Lee:

"I have to say my inspiration this week has been from watching my favourite movie The Ice Storm bt Ang Lee for around the 10th time. The art direction, the locations, the props and costumes are truly inspiring! The key party scene is truly hillarious, and the scene where the mum is riding down the hill on her bike with the wind in her hair and a renewed sense of freedom truly inspiring."


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