Friday, 29 July 2011

jewellery designer lucy folk

Making jewellery out of food is not the most obvious design choice. But that's one of the reasons that Lucy Folk has become something of a sensation. She has had her pieces picked up by prestigious stores such as Colette in Paris, Harvey Nichols in London, Normann in Copenhagen and Oak in New York. She's also about to open a flagship boutique in her hometown of Melbourne. All on the back of food, such as pasta and popcorn, electroplated with fine layers of metal. Lucy has been working on the fitout of her new store with her fiance Charlie Inglis or Inglis Architects. She has also collaborated with Mud Australia to create custom-made plates that will be electroplated in gold, chrome and copper. The Lucy Folk boutique will open in September.

Which five words best describe you?

Energetic, foodie, direct, happy, creative.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since?

I joined the Pieces of Eight workshop (North Fitzroy, Melbourne) in 2005 and I have been lucky enough to share a studio with five other jewellers. This has helped kick start my career as one can bounce ideas off one another and it is lovely to come to the studio daily and interact with others rather than working alone from home.

My first foray into the world of fashion jewellery was quite soon after I finished studying gold and silversmithing at RMIT. My cousin, the talented Arabella Ramsay, asked me to make the accessories/jewellery to accompany her spring summer collections. [Read Arabella Ramsay's Daily Imprint interview here.] I made some crazy pieces... one being a necklace inspired by the beach in Australia that was made up of paper maché cigarette butts hanging from sterling silver chain. I had so much fun making this sort of jewellery although commercially it wasn't working so well! However, making it for Arabella meant that the jewellery received a considerable amount of press and this started to build my profile.

I had my first solo exhibition in 2006. It was held at Pieces of Eight and it was called "Nibbles". Real food was electroplated and fashioned into all sorts of jewels. From Burger Ring earrings, to Pretzel necklaces, the show was really well received and it gave me the confidence to surge forward and continue to make wearable food.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way?

You can lose momentum or confidence as it takes time to get to where you would like to be. It is important to keep at it. Things progress slowly. It will happen one day.

What’s your proudest career achievement?

It has taken a while to break into the international market and I finally have. There is so much competition out there and when your product is picked up by one of the most famous stores in the world then you feel pretty damn happy.

What’s been your best decision?

To make jewellery based on something I am passionate about. Not to take oneself too seriously.

Who inspires you?

There are so many fantastic artists and creative’s out there that are making beautiful things. Artists such as Ricky Swallow and Giuseppe Acrimboldo are standouts.

Victoire de Castellane has always been a huge inspiration as she makes the inconceivable, conceivable. She designs the jewellery for Dior. De Castellane is a real risk taker and pioneer of some amazing stone and metal combinations. Decadent is an under statement!

Not forgetting the brilliant chefs that make up the Melbourne restaurant scene. Eating at these restaurants is an experience that fuels my work.

What are you passionate about?

Food of course! Also travelling, family, art and fashion.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet?

Hmmmm... Frida Kahlo. She is an inspiration indeed. What a woman! I would love to have sat with her in her beautiful house in Mexico. We could have had some margaritas and talked about art, life, jewellery and love!

What dream do you still want to fulfill?

I would love to have an exhibition or launch overseas. Tokyo, Paris, New York, you name it and I will be there. Another collaborative project would be interesting too, perhaps with an international designer?

What are you reading?

Dangerous Tastes: The Story of Spices by Andrew Dalby

images courtesy of lucy folk

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

sneak peek: shopping secrets article

A couple of months ago I was approached by the(sydney)magazine to provide a list of my shopping secrets for homewares stores as part of an "expert panel". Today I got a sneak peek at the finished article, which I'm now sharing an excerpt with you. The full feature appears in tomorrow's edition of The Sydney Morning Herald. The August issue of the(sydney)magazine is dedicated to homes - so I'm looking forward to seeing what else is inbetween its glossy pages.

images courtesy of the(sydney)magazine

orson & blake's david heimann

It's a testament to David Heimann, and his business partner (and mother), Mandy Heimann, that their homewares emporium Orson & Blake has not only been going strong for 20 years, but that it is continuing to expand. In 2000 they opened a store in Surry Hills, and three years ago they launched The OB Collection, a homewares range. David is very hands on with the business, and well-known and respected in the interiors industry. He may also be familiar to some of you as the host of Channel 9's TV show HomeMade.

Which five words best describe you?
Gregarious, inquisitive, daydreamer, optimist, creative.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I started out in fashion with Robert Burton, spent time in London working with various retailers and designers then came home to the role of creative director at Orson & Blake which requires overseeing the product development of our homewares range OB Collection, our new apparel range as well as buying and merchandising for our two stores.
What’s the best lesson you have learnt along the way? To accept change, to create breathing space and always embrace and enjoy the moment.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Seeing Orson & Blake into it’s 20th year and with many projects being delivered as well as on the drawing board.
What’s been your best decision? To create a lifestyle where work, pleasure and family time interlink seamlessly with ease.
Who inspires you? Traditional artisans who have passed on their skills and knowledge through the generations, because their art endures and so easily blends with contemporary pieces.
What are you passionate about? I’ve always loved cooking and eating, going to the market, preparing and indulging, it brings such joy and pleasure. I also adore spending time away from the city, in the bush or at the coast being surrounded by nature is the greatest source of inspiration and extremely cathartic.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Living: Louise Bourgeois is one of the greatest living 20th Century sculptors. I adore her fluid shapes referenced from nature. From what I have read she is a real character. I think her take on life would be fascinating.
Dead: I would love to hear stories about love and family from my great grandparents. I think spending time with painter Picasso over lunch and a glass of wine in his studio would be wonderful. I have followed his life since a young child. I think of him as a genius.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? To grow Orson & Blake into a great Australian brand in a global market.
What are you reading? Anything by Dr Zeus with my children Joon and Seong - out loud.

images courtesy of orson & blake

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

photographer tony amos

Tony Amos has one of those great New York stories about how he got his break. It involved a dinner at a writer's house, and a ballsy woman with a Staten Island accent. From that he got the opportunity to assist photographers such as Bruce Weber. Now he has 25 years' experience and a portfolio that is bulging with great work at distinguished titles such as Martha Stewart Living, Vogue Living, US House & Garden, English House & Garden, Elle Decoration and Gourmet Traveller. His work spans interiors, portraiture, still life and travel. He's currently based in Sydney after years of living in New York and Paris. Tony's fine art photography can be viewed here.

Which five words best describe you?
Somewhat out of the box.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? First published pictures were a six-page travel story on Pere Lachaise cemetery in the first issue of Australian Harper's Bazaar in 1984. The next year my wife and I threw caution to the wind and headed off for Milan (I had my eye on about four photographers I wanted to assist, who I thought were there) via Tahiti, LA and what was supposed to be three weeks in New York that turned into three years. Very shortly after arriving in New York we were at a writer friend's place for dinner and I was sitting next to this great ballsy woman who asked me what I was doing. I told her my plan and she said in a heavy Staten Island accent, "you're fucken crazy, they're all here; I'm a photographer's agent, you should go see this guy". I was working for him and a couple of others within two weeks. Six months later when I'd quickly clocked up a lot of experience, I sent letters to six of my favourite photographers and got replies from Irving Penn, Bruce Weber, Rico Puhlmann (downed in the famous Flight 800 off JFK) and David Seidner - I worked for the last three. Since then it's been living and working in NY-Sydney-NY-Melbourne-Paris-NY-Sydney, with a whole lot of assignments in far flung places.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? If there's method in my madness then I'm not mad. If you want something ask.
What’s your proudest career achievement? I don't buy into pride, but I felt enormous joy at the huge success of my first Australian exhibition Native in 2008.
What’s been your best decision? To not be an engineer.
Who inspires you? Great artists who persisted with no audience.
What are you passionate about? Seeing what I haven't seen before. Music - because I am ignorant of the process I can enjoy it without analysing what makes it great; that is pleasure in the unknown.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Christ, to ask him what he thinks of what his name has been put to. And for levity, Jacques Tati.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? To still be exploring and making when I take my last breath. I hope it's a while til I get it.
What are you reading? James Gleick - The Information.

images courtesy of tony amos

Monday, 25 July 2011

interior stylist glen proebstel

Glen Proebstel is Australia's leading interior stylist. His work is known for its breathtaking beauty. His shoots are like works of art. For the past 10 years he has been the style director of Inside Out magazine. He is also in demand with advertising clients - such as David Jones, Domayne and Aura - who want their products showcased in an extraordinary way. Glen is highly respected in the industry not only for the quality of his output but because he is always focussed on the job at hand. He is less interested in becoming a "brand" than creating a body of work that speaks for itself. He is considered and thorough with all that he does, including his prop hire business, Prop.d. I encourage you to check out his portfolio website and his blog to be thoroughly inspired. Not to mention his answers below, which are thoughtful and include some great pieces of advice for any aspiring stylists.

Please note: Glen is kindly giving us a sneak peek of two images (the inspiration and the realisation, combined above) which are part of the homewares trend story in the September/October issue of Inside Out magazine, on sale Wednesday August 3.

Which five words best describe you?
Calm, cheeky, unpretentious, generous, resourceful.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since?
I was given an opportunity to work as a junior stylist on Inside Out magazine after many years with a career in visual merchandising. I distinctly remember my first ever shoot with Inside Out. It was for one of the upfront news pages about the release of a new magnetic paint which you could apply to walls. I had to illustrate to readers how this could be installed in a domestic environment with the idea of using fridge magnets and children’s pictures, which readers could "stick" to their walls. I don’t think I slept that night. My stomach was churning. The anxiety was completely overwhelming at the thought of producing an amazing shot for publication in the magazine. It printed in the next issue, the size of a postage stamp! Quite an hilarious experience indeed, in hindsight. I was definitely on the fast track to getting to grips with all things styling.

These days, I am fortunate enough to have a stable base of clients whom I work with very closely.
My editorial work keeps me creatively challenged and attuned to what’s going on and with my commercial clients, I adapt my style to offer them a fresh approach to the way they approach advertising.

My next challenge is to look at doing an exhibition with close friend and photographer,
Sharyn Cairns [DI interview here]. Constantly working with briefs and constraints, the thought of collaborating on a body of work without any restrictions is both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. There are no limitations. This is a very different way for me to work however I am up for the challenge!

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way?
There was a pivotal point in my career that I distinctly remember. I was in the middle of pre-production for a huge editorial feature. I found myself standing in
The Sydney Antique Centre surrounded by beautiful things, however, I was unable to "see" a single thing. My mind had shut down. I was submerged in an ocean of endless possibilities. Out of desperation I began grasping at things that caught my eye. I began creating a huge shot list in my head, not realising that I had completely gone off on a tangent from what I was originally there for. Standing there like a deer in the headlights, I realised the importance of gaining structure and cementing concrete ideas and sticking to them. Every shoot I am briefed on I always sketch out a storyboard, mostly for my own peace of mind. I find that it helps me to set definable boundaries and work from there. I can then begin the task of calling in everything I need to, bring my visual concepts into reality (with a little bit of room for improvisation).

What’s your proudest career achievement?
Being offered the position of style director for
Inside Out magazine. I still pinch myself. One becomes so familiar with the day-to-day things we do at work and in life, that there are certain moments when you must stand still and realise where you are and where you came from. For me, Inside Out is the perfect fit. The philopsophy of the magazine is dear to my heart and for this reason, I have remained with the magazine for over 10 years. We have such a fantastic pool of creative people and the quality of their work is world class.

I should like to add that I am also rather chuffed about launching a props hire business,
Prop.d. The idea of setting up shop had been hanging around with me for some time. I spent a number of years collecting and collating objects from markets, antiques shops and garage sales - it was addictive! I had a storehouse full of ephemera and felt that we had enough to finally hit the market. I couldn’t have brought it onto reality without the can-do proficiency of friend and business partner, Rachael Hart. I just adore a person that makes a list! We opened our doors in August 2010 and we haven’t looked back. Not only do we provide surfaces and props for food styling and sets, we work quite closely with a number of caterers and event companies to provide props for weddings and exhibitions and trade events. The warehouse is a beautiful space to work from, and we are constantly putting together concepts and suggestions together for the briefs that people email through. Visit our website - it’s quite extensive and every product can be viewed online.

What’s been your best decision?
My move to Melbourne really helped to develop my style and at that time fate had me paired with the talents of photographer Sharyn Cairns.
Working together really elevated things to a whole new level! It’s comforting to know that you can work with someone that sees things the way you do. Knows how you see the shot. Often, we don’t even have to talk about it... it just "happens". On a personal level, Melbourne has always had a special place in my heart. It feels like home, so when I made the move down here everything sort of just fell into place.

Who inspires you?
At the very top of my list, I take my hat off to
Christine Rudolph. She is simply adorable. Her style and impeccable eye for detail get me every time. She is the best interior stylist on this earth. I also find Sibella Court an inspiration. Sibella constanlty amazes me with the amount of beautiful work she produces each year and her store The Society Inc is a must-see for anyone interested in being surrounded by exquisite objects and rare finds! In terms of photographers, I like Ditte Isager, Marcus Nilsson, Hugh Stewart, Chris Court, Martyn Thompson.... the list goes on.

Last but not least, I must mention my dear friend
Matthew Collins. He has a charismatic personality, combined with an exceptional talent for creating surfaces and textures. We have a great time in the warehouse that we share and it’s always a joy to bounce around ideas and discuss projects. His aesthetic is second to none.

What are you passionate about?
I love beautiful things. It is not to own them that inspires this passion, but how we respond to external influences visually.
I feel we are stimulated constantly. All of our senses are heightened and it seems that we forget to stand back and see what is really in front of us. I often wonder how "more beautiful" things can get, but they do. Composition, texture and most importantly simplicity are what really create that internal rush whether it be through film, ceramics or furniture. Everything is changing constantly. A lot of people resist change, however I embrace it. I love the flow of life and how we all live and experience it.

I am fortunate enough to say that I love my job and I feel very grateful that I am able to live and work creatively.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet?
Alexander McQueen

What dream do you still want to fulfil?
I have two dreams of which I have yet to realise. Firstly,
I should very much like to produce a botarget="_blank"dy of work for interiors magazine, Elle Decor Italia. I have always held such high admiration for this magazine. Simply beautiful.

Secondly, I intend to move into the realms of film or the moving picture. I should like to explore this medium. With no intention to work on feature films I should prefer it to be yet another way artistic expression. Creating work that touches people in some way.

What are you reading?
Oakzine - an international art and fashion journal of downtown NYC store, Oak.

images courtesy of glen proebstel & inside out; photography sharyn cairns (aura image - isamu sawa)

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

artist & creative director neville trickett

Ever since I read Ingrid Corbett's responses to her interview on Daily Imprint I've been trawling through the websites of all the people she finds inspiring. I feel like I've been given an insight into another world - that of South African creativity. I see that Victoria from SF Girl By Bay is also a fan of Neville Trickett, one of the many talented people Ingrid mentioned. In fact, Victoria has published pics of his home on her site, which I am sharing with you here.

Similar to Ingrid, Neville is also hard to categorise in terms of his creativity. Perhaps artist is the word that best suits him. One of his current projects is Saint Verde - "my journey to learn how to see again". Neville uses images from the internet and gives himself 15 minutes to paint them.

Neville works as a creative director for a fashion retailer; previously he and his wife Sharon had a shop selling botanical products that was so unique and interesting that Liberty of London bought the entire store - fittings and all - and shipped it to their Regent Street store.

Which five words best describe you? Inquisitive, energetic, driven, enthusiastic, nuts.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? Loved art and fashion, still doing that, and the rest was just good luck.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? When someone starts a sentence by saying.. “trust me” don’t.

What’s your proudest career achievement? Being respected by the people who have worked in my studio.

What’s been your best decision? Marrying my wife and having children with her.

Who inspires you? My family.

What are you passionate about? Art and the little things that go unnoticed.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Tom Waits

What dream do you still want to fulfil? Most of them have already come true, though a house in Monaco would be nice.

What are you reading? Bossypants by Tina Fey.

images courtesy of neville trickett; via sf girl by bay

Monday, 18 July 2011

How to create a covetable brand

This is just a friendly reminder that the second part of the How to live a creative life series of workshops is on this Thursday at the Apple store, Bondi (6.30-7.30pm). This time I'll be interviewing people who have lots of experience and knowledge when it comes to creating covetable brands. Hope to see you there!

Don't forget to click on the image to see a larger version, and for dates and times.

What's the topic? How to create a covetable brand
What will it cover? What you say and how you say it creates a lasting impression - no matter what career you're in. Branding is not just about the font you choose for your logo - although that's important. It's also about the way you communicate your core values to others. You need to be clear and consistent, and so this workshop will give you all the tools you need.
Will I learn something? Loads! It's suited to anyone who wants to create a blog (or give theirs a revamp) to people who need design and communications guidance.
How much does it cost? Nothing - it's FREE!

If you can come along it would be appreciated if you can rsvp to natalie[at]

However, you can just turn up on the night.

Friday, 15 July 2011

shop owner & former editor ingrid corbett

Ingrid Corbett is one of those creatives who has worked across so many fields, and continues to do so, that it's really hard to define "what she does". So let's start from the beginning. She was born in Chile, and has lived in Colombia, Venezuela, Germany, Portugal and Thailand, but now calls South Africa home. She has worked on magazines such as Elle Decoration South Africa, and was editor of that country's Real Simple. Now she runs a design business, Quirky.Me, whereby she thinks up great ideas, and works with local designers and craftspeople to bring them to life. But she continues to work in magazine publishing and help people decorate their homes.

Which five words best describe you? Stubborn. Stubborn. Stubborn. Stubborn. Stubborn.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since?
I've had a few different careers. Don't they say in modern times we'll all have five? I started out as a journalist, working for an online news agency in my native Santiago, Chile. I'm talking 1995, before the internet really boomed globally. It's interesting to reflect on that because we were harping on then about a concept that is so everyday now, but no one was listening yet. I then spent a few years in PR before finding my niche in publishing, where I worked first as a book editor and then in magazines, through titles such as Femina, Cosmopolitan, and Elle Decoration, ending up as editor of the South African edition of best-selling US magazine, Real Simple. When the magazine was shut down as a result of the global recession I wasn't sure what I would do next. Magazines had been my life for so long, I couldn't really see myself in any other role. My husband, bless his generous heart, packed me off to London for 10 days to visit my brother and have time to reflect. I spent days trawling the streets, soaking up inspiration and just overloading my brain, in a good way. I'd had this idea niggling, to start up a decor business, and my trip to London gave me the nudge I needed to look into it more seriously. My brother and I came up with the name Quirky.Me while looking for a domain name on the train, on our way to a show in the West End. It seems funny now, because I didn't put that much thought into it at the time, but on reflection it does encompass so perfectly not only my personality but also what the shop has become known for, namely off-beat decor that's pretty unique.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? That I couldn't do what I do now if I hadn't arrived here in such a roundabout fashion. I draw on everything I've learnt along the way. My time in PR taught me to value good communication and the importance of a strong corporate identity. Time spent in book publishing helped me develop the patience and determination to see a long-term project through. A solid grasp of what goes into putting a magazine together, including time spent concepting and writing decor features, brain storming with stylists and keeping a handle on budgets means I was perfectly placed to begin putting my own ideas into production. I think the best lesson I've learned is that it's important to work with people you trust, people you like and people who have the same work ethic as you. If your suppliers or the people who execute your ideas can't live up to your expectations it invariably leads to disappointment. I've got pretty high standards and expect a lot from myself and others, which means I've pissed a lot of people off along the way! But there are two things I won't compromise on: quality and attention to detail, and I'm lucky now to have found a group of people that share this approach and we work incredibly well together.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Being editor of Real Simple magazine felt like the culmination of my career at the time. I had worked hard to get there, and it felt like a solid acknowledgement. I think it was particularly important to me because I was so passionate about the content and the reader. But having put that chapter behind me now, I'd have to say that growing Quirky.Me from a speck of an idea to a viable business concern in less than a year, single-handedly, gives me a real sense of satisfaction.
What’s been your best decision? To take the plunge into retail with my partner, Michelle Petrie of Abode Design. We met by complete coincidence – she rang my doorbell one morning because she liked my house number, a customised light by local artist Brett Murray. We got chatting, turned out we were near neighbours, and I discovered she had a business designing cane lighting and furniture and was looking into a retail space but nervous to go it alone. My interest was piqued immediately – I had been so tempted to get into retail but was also nervous of overheads and being stuck with the rent if things moved slower than expected. Together, we found the confidence to take the next step and a few weeks later we were signing a contract for a 60m2 space at a small but trendy centre called The Old Biscuit Mill, in Salt River. We never really discussed how it would all hang together, we just dove straight in and were lucky that our products complemented each other, as well as our personalities. Michelle is super laid back and stresses about very little, she's also a great sounding board for new ideas and we share thoughts and contacts as well as the rent! It's been such a seamless progression, I pinch myself on a regular basis.
Who inspires you? I travelled to Tokyo two years ago and was awe-struck by the Japanese. It was so inspirational, they are really into detail and pattern and making even the simplest thing beautiful. Amongst many other things, I bought a box of paperclips that are shaped like ducks - they had others - pigs, cows, dogs - and I would happily have taken each one but my suitcase was already bursting at the seams. I find it amazing that this sort of thought can go into such an everyday item, transforming something as mundane as paperwork into something more enjoyable. Locally, I'm inspired by my neighbours at The Old Biscuit Mill: Eve Collett and Henry du Rand of Casamento, they make the most beautiful furniture pieces, with a noticeable emphasis on quality. Uhm... who else? Adriaan Huge of Dokter and Misses, Gregor Jenkin, Heather Moore of Skinnylaminx, lateral thinkers like Neville Tricket, my fabulously creative friends and stylists, Tara Sloggett and Mari Groenewald. My mother, Ana-Maria, and my friend Ilse, who have this amazing sense of inner peace... it's like an aura, you feel calm just being in their presence. Quite the opposite of me!
What are you passionate about? My business, my kids, sadly sometimes in that order! I've realised that as much as I love my three boys, I'm not cut out for full-time motherhood. Having a job makes me a better mother. I find a certain satisfaction and validation in my work that I don't get at home. I know, colour me weird... I'm one of those moms. Oh, and homemade chocolate chip cookies. I'm pretty passionate about those.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Brad Pitt. Okay, no, seriously? Not sure, there are so many people I think are interesting, but I kind of like just meeting regular folk, people on the street, and hearing their stories.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? Hmm, there are a few: an overland trip across Africa, trekking the Annapurna Circuit, spending a few months on one of the Mercy Ships. But I think the most immediate is probably just finding the perfect balance between work and the needs of my family.
What are you reading? Gawd, I fall asleep with a different book on my face just about every night. What I miss the most about a life before kids is the time to read without being too tired to take it all in. I've currently got LOTS of different books on my bedside table, including The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski, Saying No by Asha Philips, This if For You by Rob Ryan, Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson, Tripwire by Lee Child (I'm secretly in love with Jack Reacher), The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, The Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers.

images courtesy of ingrid corbett; photography warren heath


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