Monday, 31 January 2011

jewellery designer nga waiata

One of my favourite interviews from Kate Bezar's last issue of Dumbo feather as editor was with jewellery designer Nga Waiata. Not only did I fall in love with her designs, but her positivity and outlook on life. After many years living the high fashion life she returned to New Zealand and became an artist, as well as the creator behind her amazing ring collection, which are made from crystals and recycled hardwood. And regularly when she wears the citrine design lucky things happen to her.

Which five words best describe you? Drifty, complicated, luminous, transforming, absolute.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? It has been an extremely long road of wrong but okay jobs until recently (just about to turn 49!). Sorted out my self-esteem and became the confident-in-my-own-talent woman I am today. Starting my two businesses in 2009 coincidentally right in the recession has shown me what I make I can sell successfully!

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? If I visualise it I can make it happen, and if I don’t know something - get the experts in quick! Also, to be patient and build good relationships.

What’s your proudest career achievement? Selling my work in Barneys Stores: Madison Ave, Soho and Beverly Hills! Also in Zambesi, Zimmermann, Eg.Etal, Safari Living, and being in some super cool mags and blogs. Also making money from what I love to do are all very proud achievements.

What’s been your best decision? Five years ago I decided to stop alcohol and cigs, etc. Hangovers are yuk and impossible to being creative. Looking after my health in every way is key to my success.

Who inspires you? Agnes Martin grid painter art star, Robert Ryman and others from the 1960s American Abstract Expressionist Movement. Georgian artisans from the 4th century.. and in this decade: Leanne and Brian Culy, Nikki Gabriel, Liz from Zambesi, Peter Baker, David Moreland, Marni designer Consuelo Castiglioni, Dries Van Noten and Emily Kame Kngwarreye.

What are you passionate about? Creating my ideas, new mags, fave blogs, beautiful packaging and graphics, morning meditative walks, dreaming, wearing the best clothes! Watching fun TV and stylish movies... having honest conversations, being in native forests, self-development, having a laugh with my friends and going to luxury spas, which I haven’t done yet!

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Agnes Martin; she’d probably be grumpy and dismissive but I’d love to have a cup of tea with her in her New Mexican studio, and whilst I am imagining if she wanted to, I’d be honoured if Emily Kngwarreye was there with us - now that would be the ultimate.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? My work to be featured in Vogue magazine, to earn huge amounts of money so I can giveaway half of it. To create a contemporary and luxurious healing centre. Oh, and I am also developing a TV show - watch this space!

What are you reading? Reality transurfing: The future to the past - a fascinating, mind-expanding, energy-enhancing familiar read. Also a huge pile of mags, especially Fantastic Man andThe Gentlewoman, the best mags ever. And “Why are Aboriginal people being so badly treated and misunderstood in their own country - still?” - this book doesn’t exist yet but someone seriously needs to write it.

images courtesy of brian culy

Friday, 28 January 2011

artist nathalie lete

Nathalie Lete is a prolific French artist who works across a range of mediums. While she paints in a (mostly) traditional sense, where you find her work is not always so conventional. She uses shop windows as canvases - such as those that belong to the USA store Anthropologie, and even creates homewares for them with her designs. Nathalie has also produced a range of books, toys, ceramics, tshirts and jewellery. Nathalie also creates designs for the Australian design Blue Illusion.

Which five words best describe you? I am and I feel always overbusy.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I began with showing my work to the public through postcards and windows, and step after step I had more contacts and more propositions from publishers and more commissions.
What's the best lesson you've learnt along the way? Work and work. Don’t be lazy and don’t discourage yourself, but continue to work.
What's your proudest career achievement? I will have an exhibition in 4 years in a very nice museum in the north of France that will show all my work since the beginning.
What's been your best decision? To buy my studio where I really enjoy spending my days.
Who inspires you? I like Kiki Smith, Louise Bourgeois, the Bloomsbury movement, Calder... but I cannot say that someone inspires me - they give me more energy with their creativity.
What are you passionate about? T
he mix of colours together. I love also textiles, folk art and vintage toys.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Jesus Christ.
What dream do you still want to fulfill? To build my own house in the middle of nature.
What are you reading? Magazines mostly. In fact, I never have time to read. In the day I try to read before going to bed but after two pages I fall asleep. Only on holidays do I finish books. My favourite writer is Stefan Zweig.

images courtesy of nathalie lete and via design*sponge loobylu and anthropologie

Thursday, 27 January 2011

designer lauri elkins

I was a little surprised - and intrigued - to learn that the idea behind this Sydney design business was formed in New York. Ourlieu's aesthetic seems so Australian - and the products are designed and made here. But NYC is a place where you can dream, so perhaps not such a stretch after all. Ourlieu means "our place" or "our space" in French. Meet the designer Lauri Elkins.

Which five words best describe you? Loyal, driven, sensitive, stubborn, clumsy.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I started out as a fashion design assistant, since then I've worked as a designer for brands in the surf industry for six years, a year ago I decided to do my own thing after an inspirational trip to New York and my main focus now is Ourlieu although I still freelance in design.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Do one thing at a time the best you can.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Probably the first sale Ourlieu made, for me it was a recognition that someone else believed in what I had started.
What’s been your best decision? Deciding to start my own business, it's really rewarding producing what you love.
Who inspires you? My dad because he's a really hard worker, and anyone who has great ideas and does something with them.
What are you passionate about? Family and friends, places with natural beauty, and making the most of my time.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I'd like to meet me from the future so I could learn things ahead of time and do some good things with that knowledge.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? I have lots, can't have too many dreams! A little one is my own backyard with a veggie garden and a few chooks.
What are you reading? My emails, The power is within you by Louise Hay... the title says it all; the book gives you tips on how to find the power everyone has within, to change aspects of our lives for the better. And What on Earth Happened? by Christopher's a really interesting book about how everything got to where it is in the world.

images courtesy of ourlieu

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

happy australia day!

One of my favourite features from the latest issue of
real living is the food shoot by Katie Quinn Davies. There are some behind the scenes shots on her amazing blog What Katie Ate. Enjoy!

images courtesy of real living and katie quinn davies

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

kate spade's deborah lloyd

Some companies are exciting to watch. To see how they will art direct their next ad campaign. How they will use fonts and graphics. And, of course, what collections and products they will put together. Kate Spade has always been one of these companies, since it launched in 1993 at the hands of Kate Brosnahan (former accessories editor on Mademoiselle magazine) and her husband Andy Spade. In 2007 Deborah Lloyd took over the reigns as creative director and co-president after stints at Banana Republic and Burberry. As her latest ad campaign shows, pictured top, using actress Bryce Dallas Howard, she very much keeps the spirit of the brand alive.

Which five words best describe you? I have a split personality.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I impressed my examiners at The Royal College of Art and they offered me my first job. I haven’t looked back since. I always followed my heart and what felt right rather than having a master plan. It worked for me. I now have my dream job.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Do what you love!
What’s your proudest career achievement? I’m so driven that I would like to think it's something in my future. I would like to think there is a lot more to come... this is only the beginning!
What’s been your best decision? To come to kate spade new york. The best ever! I love this brand.
Who inspires you? My crazy talented team. They keep me on my toes and give me a reason to come to work every day.
What are you passionate about? My life! I love many things – my husband Simon; my dog Harry Winston Churchill; my home and Christmas decorations; my art – photographs by Peter Beard, illustrations by Gruau, paintings by Harland Miller; fast cars – Aston martins and e-type jaguars; James Bond movies; real diamonds worn with chunky costume jewellery; shocking pink roses; macarons from Laduree; a good pinot noir and a champagne cocktail.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I would have loved to have met Coco Chanel, she changed the way women dress and had such a singular modern vision.
What dream do you still want to fulfill? I would love to curate a book about all the things I love before I retire to a chateau in the South of France surrounded by vineyards and lavender fields.
What are you reading? The Glass Blower of Murano: I love a historical drama.

images courtesy of kate spade

Monday, 24 January 2011

how you can help

I have cried and been transfixed by the footage of the Queensland flood disaster. It's hard to know where to start when it comes to helping out. Of course, there's the
Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal, which you can donate to directly. However, there are other ways of helping.

Carli Jeffrey and her sister Toni Coward started the Queensland Flood Appeal Auctions, which allows you to bid for a whole host of great craft and design products (some of which are pictured above). All money raised will go to the Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal.

But hurry as the auction ends tonight (although about 70 raffles end midday Wednesday).

Friday, 21 January 2011

last day at real living

Today is my last day at real living. It's been a wonderful 5-year adventure where I've learnt so much and had an amazing time.

But it's time for new adventures and I'm really looking forward to charting my own path as a freelance writer and stylist.

I thought I'd share some images of an office feature that we did for the May issue 2009 as it provides a glimpse into the world of real living.

By far the best thing about working at the magazine has been being inspired every day by the people I work with, especially the editor Deborah Bibby.

images real living (photography prue ruscoe; styling jason grant)

Thursday, 20 January 2011

stylist tara sloggett

One of my favourite homes from the current issue of real living is the one that belongs to stylist Tara Sloggett. It's much like her work - and answers below - unpretentious, honest and quite a lot of fun. Tara worked for many years in London and now calls Cape Town home.

Which five words best describe you? Obsessive, hmm, wait! Wait!... impatient - but both in a good way, well, that’s what I’d say, but when I get a bee in my bonnet, maybe it’s best to leave me to get on with it! Honest. Loving. Surprising.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I first started working in magazines as the editorial assistant on Prima magazine in London at the tender age of 17. Not as glam, but it was a Devil wears Prada sort of position (but with a much nicer ed and thankfully no running in heels, although there was lots of running!!!) on a women’s magazine and I got to experiment in different departments. Helping out the home department on a shoot I discovered a natural talent for making not-so-great stuff look like you couldn’t live without it! Years of working on various home interest titles and a stint running an interiors décor boutique, I’m now freelance and love the freedom, variety and creativity that comes with being your own boss.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Hmmm, can I say two? Always keep your sense of humour, it’s undoubtedly the one thing that has got me through tough times, and go with your gut, if it doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t.

What’s your proudest career achievement? I’m not sure that there is really one achievement that sticks out. To me, it’s my whole career. With no university education, (I went to work straight from school and although I laugh it off when conversations with friends or colleagues turn to "what did you study" or what "degree did you take", I have truthfully always felt a bit embarrassed about that) just several degrees in life experience, I’ve worked my way up in a career that when I was at school I didn’t even know existed! I’m extremely lucky to make a living and live my life doing something I really love. Oh, and admittedly I was secretly chuffed at winning one of Crown Paints stylist of the year categories back in 2003. Problem was I’d decided to wear particularly high heels for the first time in ages and when the work they were describing sounded familiar I felt my heart start to race with terror, panicking about how the hell I was gonna get up those stairs to collect my award without doing an SJP and ended up not hearing any of the speech, I’ve always wondered what they said.

What’s been your best decision? Getting on a plane September 2007 from London to Cape Town and never looking back.

Who inspires you? Friends. Not one in particular, but many. I’m surrounded by amazingly creative, inspiring, energetic beings, from all walks of life - career-obsessed never-stop-for-a-second singletons and smug (but deservedly so) marrieds, incredible working super-mums and superdads who even in their hectic lives always get their kids to school on time, hold down a full time job, always remember your birthday, look fantastic and have time to write a blog. Phew, now that’s inspiring!

What are you passionate about? My home. Cape Town. Those closest to me. And coffee!

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Oh wow, this is one of those questions that you think will be easy to answer and that you’ll say, "gosh, so many"... and then can’t think of any.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? Without sounding like an old beauty pageant queen. I’d like to travel more. No, seriously, I especially want to come to your beautiful country, have a family if it’s meant to be, publish a book (any Seinfeld fans out there - I still think the coffee table book about coffee books could work, don’t you???!), be able to sit at a piano and play any request, but most of all, no matter what life throws my way, my dream is to feel wonderfully content with my lot. Oh and start reading and become a literary boffin. See below.

What are you reading? Well apart from the breeding piles of interior magazines, yes sounds like a cliché, but it’s true, er (head hanging in shame) NOTHING. The intention is there, but never seem to get past the first few pages.

images courtesy of tara sloggett

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

ceramicist bridget bodenham

Last year ceramicist Bridget Bodenham was again a finalist in the prestigious Spirit of Youth Awards. She is based in the pretty Victorian town of Hepburn Springs where she makes ceramics that are usable and just plain beautiful. Bridget has an online shop, and exhibits internationally.

Which five words best describe you? A passionate potter: practical, polite and playful.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I was first inspired to pursue ceramics while in year eleven after visiting the V&A in London. After finishing school I completed a Diploma of Ceramics at the University of Ballarat. Upon graduation I was fortunate enough to receive an Emerging Artist Australian Council Artist Grant, which I used to setup a studio. Then, with a kiln and wheel purchased, and a nice work space established, I began making two streams of work – a functional line and a non-functional line - which I sold at Craft Victoria. Since then, 2007, I have exhibited both regionally and internationally. And of course, I continue to design and make new work.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Don’t take shortcuts and always pay attention to details.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Travelling to Japan in 2008 to exhibit at The International Ceramic Festival Mino.

What’s been your best decision? Opening my studio twice a year to the public, which has gives me the opportunity to meet, gather feedback, and take commissions directly from my customers and collectors.

Who inspires you? The Japanese architect Terunobu Fujimori and the American ceramicist Ruth Duckworth.

What are you passionate about? Tea, gardening, classical music, and using handmade objects, which enriches life (at least for me).

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? The sculpture Henry Moore.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I would love to collaborate with a chef and develop a series of work which explores new ways of eating and experiencing food.

What are you reading? 43 Principles of Home by Kevin McLoud and How to Wrap Five More Eggs: Traditional Japanese Packaging.

images courtesy of bridget bodenham

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

fashion designer jamie blakey

A little while back I met fashion designer Jamie Blakey from One Teaspoon and got chatting about her plans. She was about to design and decorate two shops in Sydney - one in Surry Hills, the other in the new Westfield in the city - and both had to open before Christmas. It was a huge task. And I can see all the work that has gone into her projects. But I had no doubt that Jamie was going to get it all done. She's a do-er. After all, she left Queensland on a bus to head to Sydney before she'd turned 18 with plans to become a fashion designer. Not only did she do that, but she's created an international brand that's just celebrated its 10th birthday.

Which five words best describe you?
Happy, tired, energetic, kooky, psyched.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I worked a bunch of different jobs within the fashion industry before deciding to do my own thing. I started One Teaspoon on the floor of a crummy little apartment near the beach I was sharing with my husband to be. Having my own label has been hard work but so rewarding. My career has allowed me to travel the world and meet so many nice people.
What's the best lesson you've learnt along the way?
Every problem has a solution.
What's your proudest career achievement? One Teaspoon recently turned 10, that was pretty huge.
What's been your best decision?
Not to give up when things got tough.
Who inspires you? My team at work inspire me. I love them. Going to work when you have good people is an absolute pleasure. I also get inspiration from my little boy, my husband, my family and friends. I'm also really inspired by travel too.
What are you passionate about?
I've always been passionate about fashion but lately I've fallen pretty hard for interior design and homewares. I can't get enough.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet?
I've always been a bit of an Elvis fan so I'd love to meet the king.
What dream do you still want to fulfil?
I want to open the doors of a One Teaspoon concept store. We're working on two now that will be open before Christmas. One is in Surry Hills and the other is in the new Pitt Street Westfield. Can't wait!
What are you reading?
My mother-in-law gave me book called A Fraction Of The Whole by Steve Toltz. It takes me a while to get through books because they always put me to sleep but I've enjoyed it so far.

images courtesy of one teaspoon

Monday, 17 January 2011

designers michael and tessa bautovich

One of the unexpected joys of being involved in The Living Room project just before Christmas was getting to know Tessa and Michael Bautovich from The Lowercase a little bit better. They have bravely stepped away from their respective careers in publishing and graphic design to focus on their new brand, which in a way merges both of their interests. It's lovely to see thoughtful and imaginative design coming out of Sydney.

Which five words best describe you? In unison, we are a combination of the quirky, the esoteric, the passionate, the colourful... and the obsessive (especially when it comes to attention to detail).

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? Previously we were both in traditional professions within the arts sector (publishing and graphic design respectively), however Michael and I shared a common love of "the creative process", so in a very deliberate pursuit of the extraordinary we established The Lowercase. Through the brand we aspire to produce timeless, classic designs that adapt and shape to a myriad of modern lifestyles. We commenced designing the range in 2009, and released the launch collection late 2010, which includes embroidered Egyptian bedlinen, sustainable tableware and functional stationery.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? You can’t rush the process of creative thought. A new idea can be born at any moment, by anyone, anywhere... sometimes when you least expect it.

What’s your proudest career achievement? Hearing from several of our Melbourne and Sydney stockists that The Lowercase collection sold-out in their respective stores pre-Christmas trading.

What’s been your best decision? To thoroughly examine the integral relationship that exists between form and function and place this correlation at the forefront of all our design and production work.

Who inspires you? Message-bearers of imaginative thought, such as Japanese designer Tsumori Chisato, and Italian designers Bitossi and Alessi.

What are you passionate about? Great design - across any discipline - from the modular construction and streamlining apparent in Bauhaus furniture design to the elegance and symmetry of Art Deco architecture.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? The inspirational Charles and Ray Eames (for a dream-double-date)!

What dream do you still want to fulfill? Our aim is to keep pushing the boundaries of thoughtful design in a broader global context so we can continue to inspire others with a sense of lightness and ‘magic’.

What are you reading?

Tessa: Tender is The Night by F.Scott Fitzgerald

Michael: The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work by Alain De Botton

images courtesy of the lowercase


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