Tuesday, 27 November 2012

shop owner anna chandler

Holly Clarke and Anna Chandler

The world of interiors has shrunk considerably since the advent of online shopping. And while it's possible to buy products directly from other countries, there are an increasing number of businesses that do away with trawling to find the good stuff. That's the intention behind Feather & Buzz, an online shop focussed on unique finds from across the globe. Anna Chandler and Holly Clarke launched the site in 2011. The most recent collection includes finds from their travels through India. While Holly is currently exploring South America, Anna spoke about their online venture.

Which five words best describe you? (Depends on the day!)
Tall, zealous, mum, impatient, hungry.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? After I graduated I was lucky enough to land a job with Savills in their shopping centre marketing – this was a fantastic platform to get me a great job when I moved to London in 2002.  Over there - inbetween much travel, which was definitely the start of the dream of starting my own business working with interesting artisans from all over the place - I worked in a few different jobs but the most memorable was being the marketing manager with Historic Royal Palaces (Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace and Banqueting House). My office in the Tower was literally above the crown jewels! Seriously inspiring locations to work in. I moved back from London after a six-year stint and I continued to work in marketing before giving it up to have my children – Mac and Piper - and focus on launching F&B.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? To be flexible! It’s the nature of what we do that we are dealing with artisans and businesses all over the world and I’ve quickly learnt that a deadline can be a very grey area, or a shipment being delayed due to monsoons in the north is quite "normal" and that "yes, not a problem" may not always mean quite that. 
What’s your proudest career achievement? I’ve got to answer launching Feather & Buzz surely.
What’s been your best decision? To wear flats on my wedding day - I was first and last on the dancefloor.
Who inspires you? My sister – she is absolutely a modern day revolutionary.
What are you passionate about? Without being a complete cliché can I say my children? I am their slave.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I can’t imagine actually upon meeting anyone I can think of I wouldn’t be completely lost for words or say something completely ridiculous in my nervousness, and consequently they would quickly wonder why they ever agreed to meet with me in the first place. With that aside, and assuming I was suddenly granted unswerving witty conversation and cool, I think it would be Jamie Oliver.  Adore his cooking, but really admire his philanthropic work on health and nutrition for children and through the fifteen foundation.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? To get my pilots licence.
What are you reading? Five Bells by Gail Jones – I’ve just joined a book club and it’s this month's read.

images courtesy of feather & buzz

Thursday, 22 November 2012

the home of "elvis et moi"

The home of Emilie Austin of Elvis et Moi is every bit as stylish as she is. It's also where the designer creates her jewellery. Emilie has also just released a range of leather goods, too.

The feature on her home, in the latest Christmas issue of Real Living, was shot by Warnes & Walton.

Read an interview with Emilie here.

images courtesy of real living, warnes & walton (photography chris warnes, styling natalie walton), emilie austin 

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

designer christine schmidt

The range of stamp sets and stationery from Yellow Owl Workshop can be found in more than 500 stores across the world, including in Australia. However, it was only in 2007 that the founder Christine Schmidt was making handprinted cards and gifts herself and taking them along to shops in San Francisco, where she has been based since finishing art school in Washington. While she continues to be heavily involved in the creative side of the business, she now has a team focussed on the business end, which is headed by her husband Evan Gross and friend Maria Niubo. Christine also published a book, Print Workshop.

Which five words best describe you? Curious, exacting, stubborn. 
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? After art school I had a lot of random jobs like mural painter and cake decorator.  
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Don't be prideful. Don't stop learning. I didn't know anything about computer graphics but I slowly I taught myself. Didn't know anything about print production (or jewellery production or rubber stamp production) but I called a million places and hobbled together an understanding of each field and made a plan.
What’s your proudest career achievement? I have been fortunate to have had some good press and write a book and have my goods in stellar stores, but I love getting emails from people that like and use my stuff. Just honoured that people care enough to write to me and that items I have made have crept into people lives. 
What’s been your best decision? Falling in love. My husband, Evan, loves me too much and he has always been my biggest pusher.  He is my confidence when I have none and my drive when I really just want to watch terrible TV.
Who inspires you? My mother. She raised four girls by herself with a career and taught me about considering others and that asking for help is not a weakness.
What are you passionate about? Getting my ideas out in physical form. 
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Hokey, I know, but Leonardo da Vinci. So accomplished because he was an astute observer, a problem solver in so many arenas. I would make him roast chicken and chocolate cake.
What are you reading? My bedside table now I has Why we buy: the science of shopping, and gossip magazines.

images courtesy of christine schmidt; portrait ana homonnay

Friday, 16 November 2012

designers peta o'neill and emily chamberlain

The designers behind Australian brand Love Mae have almost come full circle. When friends Peta O'Neill and Emily Chamberlain started their business in 2008 they wanted to make wallpaper. But, without the start-up funds, they translated their designs onto fabric wall decals that have no PVCs, are biodegradable and are non-toxic. Such was their popularity that the duo are now producing bedlinen, bamboo dinnerware, as well as giftwrap. Love Mae is also now stocked in countries such as the UK and the USA, as well as in Europe. 

Peta O'Neill
Which five words best describe you? Passionate, determined, chatty, loyal, motherly.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I don't exactly feel I've ever had a career. Just a series of choices that has me where I am now. I like to think I make decisions, but it more feels like I lean in the direction I want to head and it all presents itself. I'm quite relaxed about that sort of thing. 
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? To try to understand. I believe you can love anything if you learn to understand it. 
What’s your proudest career achievement? Showing in NYC. Although I think that is more a personal moment. Owning a small business that is successful is a proud moment every day. 
What’s been your best decision? Again I'm not sure if I actually make too many decisions. Living where I'm living and doing what I'm doing is always a reflection that I'm making great decisions every day
Who inspires you? I am lucky to be surrounded by completely inspiring people. I have a plethora of mentors who can fill me with so much inspiration that there are times I think I'll never sleep again. 
What are you passionate about? Fortunately and unfortunately just about everything. I get so caught up in feeling that I get swept away. At the moment Coal Seem Gas Companies are threatening our area. We have World Heritage rainforest that meets the ocean. It's an incredible area and is some of the most beautiful scenery I've ever seen. I can't believe that money could violate this beauty. The community here has certainly joined hands and has begun the fight. I've been very passionate about this. 
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I'm a huge music fan so I could really run with this question. There are so many musicians I would love to meet. Right now, though, I think I could do with meeting the Dalai Lama. I hear his presence is so pure. I think I could benefit from this beauty of emotion. I enjoy moments of clarity as sometimes a busy life can be a little cloudy
What dream do you still want to fulfill? Recently my husband and I played around with the idea of moving to Williamsburg, NY. Just for 12 months. I love that place so much. We have an older dog though that we couldn't bear to be apart from for that long. So now it is a dream for some other time.  
What are you reading? Truthfully I'm currently inbetween books. Does Dr Seuss count? My six-year-old loves reading to me from The Wishing Chair by Enid Blyton. It's the copy I had from when I was a little girl. I love it so much. 

Emily Chamberlain
Which five words best describe you? Creative, quirky, committed, level-headed and goofy.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I studied graphic design then jumped straight into Love Mae. Seeing this is the start of my journey I am very excited about the rest. 
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Appreciate and celebrate achievements and lovely moments. It's so easy to get caught up in everyday jobs and chores that it's easy to forget how far I have come and the big picture
What’s your proudest career achievement? Randomly finding Love Mae featured in a Hong Kong magazine we picked up on a street stand while we were in China. 
What’s been your best decision? Stepping out in situations that I would normally retract. I find that if I face something I am scared of I enjoy the reward more
Who inspires you? I find the energy that similar creative people have is invigorating! Lately I have been wanting to surround and meet passionate, creative-minded people everywhere I can. It sparks inspiration in so many ways. 
What are you passionate about? I love people expressing the creativity that's unique to them. Whether it be a doctor, carpenter or even leather craftsman. Helping and seeing people live out what they are passionate about is a privilege. 
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? This is such a big question. But right now I would love to meet Tavi Gevinson. I have to admit she is one determined young lady who truly expresses herself without worrying about what other people think of her. 
What dream do you still want to fulfill? So many! I want to own a house by the seaside with my pet bulldog called Rosie. I also have the dream of growing in business/design. I want to impact the world in a positive way. I'm just working out how I will achieve this.
What are you reading? The force of favor by Dr Dave Martin. Maybe it will help me to impact the world. 

images courtesy of love mae

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

artist pip spiro

Emerging Brisbane illustrator and artist Pip Spiro is gaining a steady following in her home town. Her first exhibition at Black + Spiro last year was a sell-out, and she has since been working on commissions from Australia and overseas. After studying business and working in advertising, Pip took a leap of faith and decided to quit her job to focus on what she's always enjoyed the most - drawing. Since then she held her first show, and is working towards her next.

Which five words best describe you? Contradictory, aesthetic, detailed, impatient and vague.
What's the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Don’t let perfect get in the way of better. At times I can become crippled with indecision however I’m learning that sometimes you just have to take that first step – any step – as once you’ve made a start, you’ve no choice but to make it work.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? Growing up I was always torn - one foot in the arts and the other in more academic pursuits. I studied business management at university and worked in advertising agencies after my degree. However, I always knew that it wasn’t my ‘end game’ and longed for a more creative outlet. So in 2011 I took a leap of faith and quit my job with no forwarding plans – in hindsight very scary and quite silly! Luckily things have a way of panning out and four months later I had an exhibition of my work through Black and Spiro – which was fortunately a success. Selling out at the exhibition gave me the "permission" to really commit to my drawing and illustration; and since then my primary source of business is commission work for private customers across Australia and overseas.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Selling out my first exhibition was definitely a very fulfilling milestone and gave me the external validation to keep doing what I was doing; but being entirely self-taught and very green I still feel self-conscious labeling myself an artist. So I look forward to the day when I can put my hand on my heart and proudly declare myself an artist to the world.
What’s been your best decision? Quitting advertising - and going back to the roots of what has made me happy since I was a child, which is drawing.
Who inspires you? Beautiful things and older people inspire me. Real style, composure and wisdom only come with age and you will always learn something from a conversation with a person with years and life experience under their belt.
What are you passionate about? It sounds corny but I’m quite patriotic. We are so lucky to live in this amazing country and I think there’s no excuse not to embrace and look after it. Be energy conscious, support local industry and go to the beach – we have a responsibility to enjoy and preserve every square inch of it.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Charles Darwin. Evolution fascinates me.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? Too many to list. Simply though, I want to grow my skills so that every drawing and painting is better than the last. To do this with the sand touching my toes most days would be pretty great, too.
What are you reading? About three different biographies, all a bit nondescript separately but interesting together.

images courtesy of pip spiro

Friday, 9 November 2012

designer david weeks

From across the range of homes I've visited through styling and writing, there are a handful of homewares that I've been unable to forget. One of them is a lighting feature that hangs with grace yet industrial prowess above the dining table of one of Australia's top fashion magazine editors. It is the work of David Weeks. He is a New York-based designer who studied painting but found his calling while working for jeweller Ted Muehling. During that time David says he got a better sense of the connection between art and design. "I realised product design was more than consumer goods," he says. "It included lifestyle, emotion, and had a personal voice." Since founding the David Weeks Studio in 1996 he has won several design awards and received commissions from Barneys New York, Saks Fifth Avenue and Kate Spade.

Which five words best describe you? Aloof, self-contained, honest, persistent, curious.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I exhibited six desk lamps at the ICFF in 1997. Since then, I have ventured from art through design and manufacturing to end up, 15 years later, with a hybrid studio doing a bit of both. All the while trying to keep it interesting and true to the original vision. A successful professional life takes a lot of patience and dedication. 
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Trust your instincts. Initially I consciously chose design over art. I tried to make things based on industry standards; using established models for creativity and inspiration, ie, starting with standard dimensions, building cardboard models, relying on the computer for form. Eventually I think my best work has come from inklings or observations. I've found that following a train of thoughts or reacting to a mistake in a prototype has often yielded the strongest most unexpected idea. The hard part is that it's not efficient and can be challenging to communicate to collaborators. 
What’s your proudest career achievement? Sitting next to Jens Risom and Vladimir Kagan, signing books during an opening at Ralph Pucci's showroom. They are emblematic of the greatest generation of designers. Not having studied design, I relied on their work and designers like them to understand modernism. 
What’s been your best decision? Marrying Georgie Stout.
Who inspires you? I'm inspired by my children and the unexpected moments in life.
What are you passionate about? Trying to get the most out of life. It gets trickier to stay curious and to keep asking questions. I want my best work to be the last work I do.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Joe Strummer
What dream do you still want to fulfill? I want to do more traveling with my family. My kids are getting older and the clock is ticking on their childhood. Soon they will be more engaged in their own lives and spending time as a family will be less compelling to them. 
What are you reading? The beginning of infinity by David Deutsch.

images courtesy of david weeks

Thursday, 8 November 2012

festive table settings

There are always new discoveries to be found when styling for a large studio-based shoot. Like black keyhole cutlery from Seletti - via the Wedding List Co. And a matt gold set from the same brand and company too. Also Ornamenta had a great range of tasteful decorations. 

Ideas sometimes manifest after a rummage through the props store room. Hessian coffee bean sacks became rustic placemats. And sheets of music were turned into paper chain decorations.

Flowers and foliage always add texture and colour. A palm husk from The Floral Decorator provided a different take on a vase. Perfect for natives on the shoot day - and I'm currently using it to display gum leaves. 

And what the images don't capture is the smell of orange pomaders - cloves inserted into peel to create a spicy fragrance. Definitely worth a try, if you haven't done this before.

The shoot, shot by Scott Hawkins, appears in the latest (December 12) issue of House & Garden magazine. 

images courtesy of house & garden; photography scott hawkins; styling natalie walton

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

artist alan jones

Alan Jones has taken the opposite journey to his ancestors. His mother's family can be traced back to two British convicts - Robert Forrester and Isabella Ramsay - who were transported to New South Wales to serve out their sentences. This year Alan went to Britain as part of a six-month studio residency at The Ropewalk in North Lincolnshire. During this time he investigated his British ancestry. The result is two exhibitions. He recently held "The Mother Land" at The Fine Art Society Contemporary in London, and is currently exhibiting "New South Wales" at Watters Gallery in Sydney. Alan has been the recipient of several awards, including the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship.

Which five words best describe you? Open, generous, dedicated, relatively straight-forward, perfectionist.
How have you progressed to a career as an artist? Art and woodwork were probably the only two subjects I cared about at high school. So when I was 17 I enrolled myself into East Sydney TAFE (now the National Art School) and have never seriously considered doing anything else since. Of course for many years I had to work a string of part-time dead end jobs which helped pay the bills and buy more art materials. Seven years after finishing art school in 2004 I won a Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship which allowed me to live and work in Paris and Berlin throughout 2005. I've pretty much been working full-time in the studio since then. 
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Work out how much time you think it's going to take. Then work out how much you think it's going to cost. Then double it!
What was the starting point for your most recent work? A photograph, a few quick drawings and scrap cutout sections of painted canvas arranged on the floor. 
What’s your proudest career achievement? Winning the 1997 Inaugural Pat Corrigan Travelling Art Scholarship was a privilege and certainly something I'll never forget. More recently, opening my first show in London was a special moment for me. It was my first solo exhibition outside of Australia and was a big reminder of how much I've achieved since finishing art school 15 years ago.  
What’s been your best decision? To start a family. Our little boy Ingo is now a one-year-old and he has taught us so much about life and perspective. Deciding to enter the Fisher's Ghost Art Award last year probably wasn't a bad decision either as it helped pay a few bills. 
Who inspires you? People who embrace change and progression
What are you passionate about? Social equality.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I would love to have a beer at the cricket with former Labor Prime Minister Bob Hawke. Australia v England at "The G". I think Bob would have a remarkable perspective and insight on life.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? I have been threatening to make my football comeback for several years. I played for 15 years and still love the sport but at 35, time certainly isn't on my side anymore. I'd like to join a local league one day and keep the dream alive.
What are you reading? What the ladybird heard by Julia Donaldson and The very hungry caterpillar by Eric Carle. Probably not the most intellectually stimulating books for adults but the illustrations are brilliant and Ingo always seems so amazed at how much food the caterpillar eats.

images courtesy of alan jones and simon vickers (portrait)

Friday, 2 November 2012

stylist & author amanda talbot

Amanda Talbot has worked across several sectors of the design industry. She's been an associate editor for Elle Decoration UK and homes editor for Living Etc. She's also been a design consultant, which has seen her work with Karl Lagerfeld and Ilse Crawford, and a trend forecaster for Ikea. When she returned to Australia two years ago Amanda was a judge on Channel 9's Top Design. More recently she has been working as a stylist for various magazines and just released her first book, Rethink (Murdoch Books).

Which five words best describe you? Curious, adventurous, determined, creative, random. 
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? My career started when I was lucky enough to assist an art director at Saatchi & Saatchi, in Sydney on the David Jones catalogues. From there I got to assist some of Australia's best stylists. It was so long ago now. I actually had telephone books in my car to help me source props. From there I went out on my own and eventually Katie Page who was about to launch Domayne asked me to style shoots for her new venture. I was lucky to style for all the big advertisers including Myer, Sheridan Nike and the Australian Olympics. The adventurous and curious side of me took me to Los Angeles and London and this is when architecture and design took over my life. I have been lucky to work on Livingetc and British ELLE Decoration magazine, consult on interiors for Studioilse and trend forecast for some of the worlds largest brands including IKEA. 
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Never to give up. When someone says you are not good enough prove them wrong
What’s your proudest career achievement? Rethink: The Way You Live is a project I am really proud about. When I received the first copy I couldn't stop hugging it. It is a beautiful book, filled with inspiring individuals who prove good design can change our lives.
What’s been your best decision? Wow so hard to say because the good and bad have made me into who I am. Someone made a comment on one of my Instagram pictures the other day "Random but Amazing". It kind of sums up my life. 
Who inspires you? The online community have been a huge inspiration to me. It has been an awakening. I have watched over the last few years people with very little experience create amazing businesses, projects and connections from blogs and twitter. Those people have inspired me and I guess this is how the book came about. I have two chapters dedicated to my new heroes in my book "Optimistic Design" and "Create & Control".
What are you passionate about? I am passionate about the home and I am obsessed how the power of good design can change our mood and can actually allow us to live a happier and healthier life. I hate to dictate styles or looks. I am a believer in understanding and exploring rituals in the home and how to make it easier to experience them.  
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Easy and obvious - it has to be Charles and Ray Eames. I adore the relationship they had with each other and their belief in letting the masses enjoy good design. I was lucky to meet their grandson Eames Demetrious at a party in Sydney last year. I still haven't visited the Eames House, Case Study house No.8 yet. Next visit to LA I will be there. 
What dream do you still want to fulfil? I have two. I want to be an editor on an interior magazine, and I dream to design a product range for the home.
What are you reading? The architecture of happiness by Alain De Botton

Book questions
How did you arrive at the concept for the book? In 2009, my life changed. I left my job on a high-profile interiors magazine with no plans what to do next. I had fallen out of love with shelter magazines. I could no longer connect with the content because they didn't relate to the way I lived. I didn't have any friends with a glossy home filled with expensive furniture. My home was filled with IKEA, Habitat, flea market finds, press gifts and handmade bits and bobs. Another factor also came into play: the global economy crashed, friends lost their jobs and I was feeling scared and overloaded. I began spending hours online reading blogs and looking at Flickr, discovering how people of all ages from all corners of the world were living inside their homes. What I saw was that 'home' was very different from the conventional ideas we have of what a home is. I became fascinated how strangers used their beds and bedrooms, how people sat in a chair, how teenagers were photographing their personal spaces. Before I knew it, I was documenting living trends that were happening across the globe. 
What was involved in the creation process? After I observed there has been five big factors that have rocked our world - including the environment, economy, technology, terrorism, and China - that have really affected us globally I looked at how those changes have changed how we live inside our home and our communities. I discovered there were these mavericks who had reacted to the Big Five and set their own rules and have come up with incredible design ideas to live a better life. When I found who I wanted in the book, Mikkel Vang and I travelled to Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Paris, London, New York, Tokyo, Melbourne and Sydney to photograph and interview the people who can give us hope for our future. 
How long did it take to come together - from concept to first copy? I guess I was documenting ideas for the book in 2009 when I started my blog SnOOp but it wasn't until I moved back to Australia mid 2011 that the idea came to me. I signed the contract at the end of September 2011 and we started to photograph the book in November. I had to have a completed first draft with all pictures in by 31st January. OMG! I still can't work out how I did it. Kate Dennis the designer for RETHINK  was a superstar. She had so many images to work with and somehow she pulled it all together. 
How did you envisage the look of the book? The subjects and statistics in RETHINK will challenge and hopefully inspire you - so I wanted the look of the book to do the same. 
What was unexpected about the whole experience? After finsihing the book I realised the one thing all the people featured in the book wanted was happiness and each of them found it in different ways. I want my next book to be called HAPPY.

book shot by daily imprint - book courtesy of amanda talbot (author), mikkel vang (photographer), murdoch books (publisher)


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