Wednesday, 24 December 2014


It is not every day you meet someone who once worked as a knife dancer, but Kaspia Warner is not your every day kind of designer. While she studied jewellery and object design, it is travel that has played the biggest role in her life. It was while she was travelling across India that was got the job as the knife dancer, and she later joined a burlesque troupe. But design has never been far away. In-between these more exotic gigs, have been turns at working in the jewellery industry. Kaspia has also amassed an extensive collection of wares from her travels. Now she has set up a pop-up shop, Kaspia’s Caravan, to sell some of her private collection, as well as other pieces she has sourced in recent times. The shop, in Sydney’s famous Yellow House in Potts Point, is in collaboration with Afghan Interiors, and open until February 2015.

PS Daily Imprint will resume publishing January 19. Thanks for your support since its return. I'm humbled that so many of you have continued to subscribe, and thanks to those of you who have come on board our creative journey. Happy holidays!

Which five words best describe you? Adventurous, romantic, kaleidoscopic, daydreaming livewire.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? Graduated from jewellery and object design at Sydney College of the Arts in 2000 and have always loved learning new things. I’m at my best when actively creating, when making with my hands and exploring the untapped realms of imagination. During my studies I caught the travel bug and haven’t stopped since. I worked as a curator of contemporary jewellery in a gallery for a year and then left for India with my partner, travelling for months on a Royal Endfield Bullet motorbike. We crossed from India into Pakistan a month before September 11, 2001. Along the way I landed a job with famous Indian magician Jadugar Samrat Shankar as his “Knife Dancer” and performed my knife dance across India. Later I toured the same show in Amsterdam, Germany, France and London where I ended up working as a buyer for one of Soho’s most renown jewellers. The burlesque revival was just kicking off in the UK at that time. It swept me up and I joined a troupe and performed at the amazing Whoopee Club for a few years. It was a brilliant time. We returned to Sydney in 2004, via the the Boxing Day Tsunami in Thailand and another motorbike adventure, this time through remote Nagaland. Not long after getting back, we launched our own burlesque club Sugartime with a business partner in 2005, which lead to three sell-out East Coast tours. After having my daughter Paloma Rose, I began writing my travel blog, Kaspia's Caravan. We haven’t stopped travelling since, even with our second child Romeo, and have just returned from Cuba, Guatemala and Mexico. Over more than a decade I have amassed an incredible collection of tribal treasures, fashions and homewares from these travels. But this is the first time I am selling a good part of my collection. The pop-up shop Kaspia's Caravan is in collaboration with my business partner’s Afghan Interiors and is taking place right now at the famous Yellow House in Potts Point.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? When you’re fearless you see more beauty.

What’s your proudest career achievement? My children Paloma Rose and Romeo Safari Khan are my proudest co-creation. In terms of achievement, raising children to be great people can’t be topped. But opening Kaspia’s Caravan, which is like a walk through the amazing lands I’ve travelled to, is a real thrill. Styling such a gorgeous space and getting so much positive feedback from people has been humbling. Especially being in a venue like The Yellow House that has a wild artistic history and energy. Sometimes I almost expect to see Brett Whiteley and Martin Sharp painting together in a corner!

What’s been your best decision? Bumping into my husband Benjamin Gilmour in the middle of the night in Sydney 15 years ago and deciding to journey through life with him. Exploring some of the most remote corners of the world, venturing on crazy projects and not stopping even with small children has been the best decision.

Who inspires you? Apart from close friends and family, my husband Benjamin Gilmour is constantly inspiring. He is one of those people who makes magic happen, a go-getter, good-doer, my biggest support and collaborator. He inspires many people he meets on a daily basis in his job as a paramedic, writer and filmmaker. Oh, and Bjork! Bjork has been a life-long inspiration since I discovered her at the age of 13. She never ceases to amaze and surprise me, and her creative mind and talent is awe-inspiring.

What are you passionate about? My children and family, meeting like-minded and interesting people who are motivated to make the world a better and more beautiful place. Being compassionate and seeing deeper into situations, looking for the subtext in life. My obsessions are mother nature, art, design, travel, writing, music and adornment.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Artist Frida Kahlo, singer Yma Sumac and the fabulous adventuress Isabella Bird.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? To launch my own jewellery label and designs, and open my own store overseas. There are many more far-flung destinations I want to explore and I’m eager to live and work in India in the near future. Environmental issues, especially the reduction of plastic production in the world, to help keep our planet alive for many years to come, is something I would like to spend more time contributing to.

What are you reading? Journeys in Persia and Kurdistan by Isabella Bird, my all-time favourite lady traveller. The world is a carpet: Four seasons in an Afghan village written so beautifully by Anna Badkhen. How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. Keep reading this one hoping it will sink in!

images courtesy of kaspia warner; photography pia jane bijkerk

Tuesday, 23 December 2014


What started as an honours project at university recently turned into winning a prestigious Australian Emerging Artist Award - the John Coburn Emerging Artist Award - for Emily Sandrussi. While studying at the Sydney College of the Arts, UNSW, she created a series of works from photographic negatives taken by her stepfather during the Vietnam War. Since then she was awarded the inaugural Artereal Gallery Mentorship Award and just completed her first exhibition with that gallery. Her winning artwork from the Coburn prize is on display at the UNSW Galleries until January 31.

How did you get your career started and what path have you taken since? I decided in high school that I wanted to pursue art. I did my research into my options for study, decided on Sydney College of the Arts, sold the idea to my parents, and went for it. I remember lying awake the night before university offers came out staring at the ceiling, feeling terrified because I didn't have a back up plan. But I got in. That was the beginning, I guess. I've taken a few detours along the way; I worked full time as a wedding photographer for a while, and then as a prepress retoucher; which helped me develop my technical skills, but it was a huge relief to return to art making.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Just keep doing. I'm very impatient, and I tend to get frustrated when I don't get immediate results, which is most of the time. The best advice I've ever received was from my MFA supervisor, Cherine Fahd, she said to just keep doing stuff. Even if I only read one essay or make one image a day, to do at least something every day. I guess that's something I'm still learning though, so it's a work in progress. 

What’s been your best decision? About four months ago I quit my day job to focus on art for a while. I know this probably isn't something I can sustain in the long term, but right now I'm lucky in that my financial situation allows it. It's such a rare blessing to have the opportunity to devote all my time and brain space to my art. It was a tough decision to make, but it's been really beneficial.  

What are you passionate about? Art, justice, the people I love. 

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

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I don't really function on following dreams. I know that sounds dull, but I feel like having dreams, as such, mostly leads to frustration when they aren't fulfilled, or even when they are and it's not quite what you expect. I set myself goals, but those are usually rather short term - I work towards one exhibition at a time, and see where that leads. I tend to just take opportunities as they come, I find that less restricting and more fun, and it keeps my mind open to possibilities I wouldn't normally consider.  

What are you reading? Clariel by Garth Nix. It's a recently published prequel to a series I loved as a teenager, so it's been a bit of a time warp for me.

images courtesy of emily sandrussi and artereal

Friday, 19 December 2014


There was never any question that Jo Bertini was going to be an artist. “It’s the family business,” she says. “I was born into it.” Her mother, Anne Ferguson, is an established sculptor and her aunt, Judy Cotton, is an NY-based painter. Also, Jo’s grandfather, and his cousin, (Robert and Olive Cotton), are well-known photographers. “The artistic lineage goes back as far as we can trace our history. I was corrupted at a very young age and was constantly encouraged to paint, draw and be creative and make things,” she says. Painting is something that Jo has always done. She exhibited after school, and during her years of living in Europe. Over the past 10 years, since returning to Australia, Jo has made regular trips into the desert for six to 12 weeks at a time with Australian Desert Expeditions. She has collated her sketches from this time into a book, and is currently exhibiting at Olsen Irwin Gallery.

Which five words best describe you? Compulsively creative, restless, enquiring, artist.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I have always painted and exhibited ever since high school and even when I was living in Europe for 10 years. It is just what I was brought up to do and always came naturally and easily to me. I will always be an artist as I cannot change who I am and it is the activity that comes most instinctively and happily to me. I am constantly seeing new paintings I want to make and inventing new projects that I know I will realise. It is a way of being for me that no matter where I live in the world is a constant.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Trust your instincts. As an artist it is vital that you know that it just comes down to you and the work. Nothing else really matters. It is such a personal and lifetime journey that all sorts of flotsam and jetson will get in your way but you have to push everything else aside and listen only to your own instincts to know the true path.

What’s your proudest career achievement? Being a professional practicing artist who managed sole support of herself as a single mother of two beautiful, now adult children.

What’s been your best decision? Aside from having my children, joining Australian Desert Expeditions as expedition artist nearly 10 years ago.

Who inspires you? So many people are inspirational to me. The scientists and ecologists that I work with, other artists, my students, my family, my partner the explorer Andrew Harper. People can be truly extraordinary and every day there will be something someone says or does or an artwork or piece of writing or music that just fills me with joy and wonder.

What are you passionate about? Art, my family, education, the health of the planet and environment which we live in and depend on, and the desert landscapes, people and remote places of Central Australia.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? The artist Sidney Nolan.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? So many dreams and so many travels and so little time! I really want to be able to realise a complete show of all my expeditions’ archive; the sketchbooks, drawings  and gouaches done en situ out on expedition as well as all the paintings that have resulted form all the years of work. It would be wonderful to have a complete retrospective of so much material and so many artworks and see it all curated together in a coherent and informative collective show. It would take an enormous amount of organising and borrowing back of paintings from collections. a logistical, curatorial task well beyond my capacity.

What are you reading? I'm currently reading Outback - the discovery of Australia's interior by Derek Parker. And, of course, Jo Bertini Fieldwork  just published by Zabriskie books a collection of my work from the desert.

images courtesy of jo bertini, olsen irwin gallery and simon kenny/content-agency

Tuesday, 16 December 2014


The career of a stylist often comes about by way of some other profession. For Sydneysider John Mangila, it was graphic design. After completing his studies, he went to Inside Out magazine for work experience and ended up changing careers. Shortly afterwards he became the in-house stylist for Home Beautiful magazine, and then took a detour via floristry and photography. Now he is back styling full time and working with a range of publications and companies such as Quintessential Duckegg Blue and Shibori Textiles.

Which five words best describe you? Calm, collected, beauty-loving creative.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I studied graphic design and while on work experience at Inside Out magazine I discovered styling. I assisted for a year before working full time at Home Beautiful. I stopped styling for a few years to indulge my love for photography while juggling floristry, visual merchandising and interior decoration. I’ve been back styling as a freelancer now for about three years.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learned along the way? Not everyone is going to love what you do, and that’s ok; but doing what you love is the best motivation.

What’s your proudest career achievement? I still get such a thrill from every single job that I take on; most days work really feels more like play. Recently I styled a small section of the latest book from Oz Harvest, an amazing organisation that makes meals for the needy from excess restaurant supplies. To be able to give back to the community, even in a small way is pretty rewarding.

What’s been your best decision? Every time I have been fearless enough to risk failure, I have been wonderfully pleased.

Who inspires you? Through my blog on Sydney florists, I have met and become friends with the most amazing bunch of people. Their talent, work ethic and their absolute love and joy from flowers inspire me endlessly.

What are you passionate about? Family, food and flowers!

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? It’s been almost half my lifetime since my mum’s passing. I would dearly love to meet her again so I can catch her up on everything that has made me happy over the years, and the things I’ve tried to do to make her proud.

What dreams do you still want to fulfill? Style and photograph a series of books; nothing too big!

What are you reading? I read pictures more than words. Currently feasting on Hans Blomquist’s new book, In Detail; and Makoto Azuma and Shunsuke Shiinoki’s Encyclopedia of Flowers

images courtesy of john mangila; photography sharyn cairns (top), sam mcadam cooper (images 2, 3, 4) and justin nacua (portrait)

Monday, 15 December 2014


Brooke Holm is part of the new wave of Australian photographers who know and respect the old ways of shooting, but are also are savvy to and making a name for themselves in the online world. Her work has been published in interior magazines such as Inside Out and Real Living as well as on leading Australian design sites. All the while she has been garnering a significant following on Instagram, and spoken of the art of photography through a series of workshops for The School. Alongside the editorial work, is a series of advertising campaigns with friend and colleague Marsha Golemac for brands such as Kate and Kate, and Lightly. One of Brooke's first jobs was as the in-house photographer for Kikki.K. All of this stems from an almost accidental introduction to her craft while working at an advertising agency in Brisbane - where she grew up after her family moved to Australia from the USA. While Brooke is now based in Melbourne, she likes to pack her bags at any given opportunity and head out into nature to create images for her fine art photography work.

Which five words best describe you? Please give me the snacks.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? My career started by accident: I was working for an ad agency as an assistant/jack of all trades. One day they asked me to go out and take point-and-shoot shots of billboards they had produced. They liked what I brought back so I ended up doing more and more shoots for them before realising I could seriously consider it as a career. I studied part time while working and as soon as I finished, I quit my job and moved to Melbourne. I then got a full-time job working for Kikki.K and shooting their product and campaigns. Before long I was freelancing for them as well as building up my personal client list. Special thanks must go to Lucy from The Design Files and Megan Morton (both incredible ladies) for helping me get my name out there with early work I did with them. Once word of mouth is out there, people will seek you out. For my commercial career, I find myself shooting a lot of product campaigns, interiors, some food, fashion and editorial. For my personal work you will find me in another country exploring the landscapes, taking photographs and making huge fine art prints out of them.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? There is always room for improvement, you just need to be determined to be better than yourself every time. Don’t get hung up on looking at other people’s work, and just find your own way. It also helps if you always move forward. If you want something, you have to make it happen. So just do it. 

What’s your proudest career achievement? Marsha and I recently had the pleasure of having our first photographic exhibition ‘Workbook'. We created a book with K.W Doggett, along with an exhibition of large scale fine art prints. Now we have something tangible and entirely our own that we can be proud of. It’s so rewarding when your personal projects are finally given the time of day as they always get pushed to last priority. And it’s just a bonus doing it with your BFF. It’s also wonderful to have such incredible businesses such as K.W Doggett supporting the little people. They’re amazing and so generous.

What’s been your best decision? Moving to Melbourne.

Who inspires you? There are a lot of photographers, stylists, art directors and designers out there who inspire me, but I’d have to say my biggest inspiration is Marsha Golemac. Not only does she always have my back, but she pushes me out of my comfort zone creatively. When there is a rut, she is always there to pull me out and vice-versa. I am supremely lucky to have her. I’m also inspired by nature, which you will notice more through my personal work. There’s nothing like an enormous mountainous landscape to freshen your perspective on life. I can’t get enough of it and am always planning my next trip to remote locations.

What are you passionate about? Mountains, travel, food, family, friends, big ideas and great work.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Ansel Adams. That man was a damned genius. 

What dream do you still want to fulfil? Travel. There are so many places on my list. I’m slowly ticking them off but it’s an ongoing process.

What are you reading? I’m always midway through a Game of Thrones book. I think I’m up to number five currently. It’s nice to escape from reality every so often. 

images courtesy of brooke holm and marsha golemac 

Thursday, 11 December 2014


Passions quickly become obsessions for Canadian designer Jean-Claude LeBlanc. When he first moved out of home, from the rural bilingual town of Saskatchewan, to the city, he discovered skateboarding. Soon he was customising his clothes and gear, and it wasn’t too much longer before he created a clothing brand. More recently when Jean-Claude started to look for a vase, his obsessive nature looked towards a new horizon. Now he is focussed on product and furniture design. 

Which five words best describe you? Funny, focused, loyal, determined, sarcastic.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I wasn’t planning on working in the furniture or product design industry. My clothing brand was struggling at the time and I wasn’t happy with the fashion business model and was looking to make some changes. My home has always been very important to me and I enjoy collecting furniture and objects from my travels. I had been looking for a vase to house a succulent plant for my bedside table but wasn’t finding anything that I liked. I had taken some industrial design courses years ago, one of which was model-making so I decided to make a model of a shape I had in mind, based on Rem KoolhaasCasa Da Musica building in Portugal.

I bought some rigid styrofoam, a material commonly used for modelling and started sculpting until I was satisfied with a shape. I knew I wanted it to be made from marble so I began visiting local stone sculptors until I found one that would take on the project. It took almost a year to get from my model to a marble prototype as I was being shuffled between various sculptors and having problems getting the right stone. Nancy Bendtsen from Inform Interiors in Vancouver had seen a picture of the prototype and asked if I’d be interested in selling them in her store. I said, of course, but I would need some time to figure out how to produce it and resolve the packaging. Six frustrating months later I had the Core marble collection selling at Inform and being very well received. I decided to just go with it and make it a business. I’ve since brought on a business partner and we’ve been expanding our product line and our list of dealers ever since. 

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Always stick to your gut instinct and stay the course.

What’s your proudest career achievement? I haven’t accomplished anything yet!

What’s been your best decision? Bringing on a business partner.

What are you passionate about? All design, including fashion and architecture.

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

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I’ve always wanted to climb Everest. Although I’m sure the idea sounds a lot more fun than the reality.

images courtesy of jean-claude leblanc

Tuesday, 9 December 2014


While Anna Karlin always knew she wanted to be a designer, she hasn’t been afraid to explore the whole breadth of what that means. Since completing her studies at the Glasgow School of Art, the British designer has worked in graphics and art direction, as well as set and interior design. Anna’s work has taken her places too - from designing part of a high-end shopping centre in Moscow to launching a furniture and product range in New York, after moving there in 2010 from her native London. More recently she has created sets for New York Fashion Week and been a guest speaker at Mexico Design Week. The furniture above is from the collection she launched in 2012. “I’ve never had a ‘plan’,” Anna says. “We’ve been very lucky to get great feedback, which is incredibly encouraging and makes you feel like you’re going in the right direction.”

Which five words best describe you? Hyperactive, creative, humorous, encouraging, impatient. 

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I landed a prestigious junior graphics design job straight out of college - and I left two days later. I always wanted to work in a multidisciplinary way, and I’ve been lucky enough to work in places that have enabled that. By setting up my own practice when I moved to New York from London I simply increased that freedom. 

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? There’s always a way to make it work.

What’s your proudest career achievement? Launching the furniture line.

What’s been your best decision? To be self employed.

Who inspires you? Anyone who goes out on their own.

What are you passionate about? Creativity.

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

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I’d love to art direct a huge stadium tour. Everything from the set and lighting design to costumes, merch and website. 
I’d also like to design a plane interior for a major airline.             

What are you reading? The girl at the lion d'or.

images courtesy of anna karlin

Wednesday, 3 December 2014


Morgan Peck's home, growing up in the state of Washington in the US, was always filled with some sort of creative endeavour. Her father was a woodworker while her mother worked as a high school art teacher. When Morgan wasn’t sailing, she was making paper by hand, shaping pine needle baskets or drawing still lifes. By the time she went to college, Morgan wasn’t able to settle on one single area of study. Instead she got a taste of photography, printmaking, film history, welding and Russian literature. Post graduation, Morgan went on to study a two-month course in architecture too. But it was after she moved to LA that Megan enrolled in a ceramics class to help her reconnect with her creativity, and found a sweet spot. Morgan says she enjoys working with clay because she can work reasonably fast. She can create in multiples and doesn’t get too attached to any one particular object. 

“I feel like ceramics is the right thing for me to do right now,” she says. “I'm not sure I would call it a career, maybe making stuff is my career, or at least working with my hands. I first felt I was on the right path when I had my own business refinishing wood on boats. Watching something change and turn into something new, by the work my own hands, was one of the best feelings I have ever had.”

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? My first job was a greeting card assembler, gluing paper heats with bows on cards. Since then I have worked as an art installer mostly.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Just keep going.

What’s your proudest career achievement? Working for myself. 

What’s been your best decision? Buying a kiln.

What are you passionate about? My garden.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Robyn, the Swedish pop singer.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? Buy a boat.

What are you reading? I listen to audio books in the studio. I listen to every Michael Connelly detective novel I can get my hands on.

images courtesy of morgan peck; portrait sherise lee of The Radder


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