Friday, 29 May 2015


Collaborating for an exhibition in October 2014 led fashion designer Carlie Ballard and jewellery designer Linda Tahija to start a Sydney-based homewares label, When East Met West. It combines their mutual interest in design and sourcing sustainable products. The homewares label aims to fuse traditional techniques - such as block printing in Rajasthan, India, with modern graphic design motifs. “A defining part of the brand is knowing the supply chain and the ethics of its manufacture,” Carlie says. “They really are artworks - the hand work that goes into them is amazing.” The duo also are partners in the Darley Store in Manly, a collaboration with Holly Boevang of SoFo. Also, Carlie is the co-founder and director of Clean Cut Fashion, an Australian industry body for ethical and sustainable fashion. Carlie studied Fine Art at the University of Newcastle while Linda was a graduate of COFA. They are both based in Manly, NSW.

Which five words best describe you? 
Carlie: Passionate, expressive, daydreamer, loyal, weird.
Linda: Perfectionist, messy, relaxed, creative, determined.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? 
Carlie: It’s been a bit of a maze, but a combination of a degree in Fine Art and working in adventure travel gave me the insight into the two worlds I love most: culture and design. This led to the inception of a career in sustainable fashion and a chance meeting with business partner for When East Met West Linda Tahija.
Linda: I graduated with a Bachelor of Design from COFA in 2003, which lead me to work for an Australian jewellery company. This job took me to Thailand for four years with my husband. I was surrounded by people who were amazing at their craft, and it really inspired me to start my own business. I started my jewellery label, Linda Tahija upon my return to Australia. Since then I have opened a retail space in Manly called the Darley Store - with Carlie and another friend Holly Boevang, and more recently created When East Met West. It’s a bit of a juggle, but it works.

What's the best lesson you've learnt along the way?
Carlie: Don’t take it personally.
Linda: Keep trying, keep working. Believe in yourself.

What's your proudest career achievement? 
Carlie: I have two. Finding incredible and supportive people to work with on my business journey and being a co-founder of Clean Cut.
Linda: I’m extremely proud of keeping my business going with growth whilst having a baby. Also, it was extremely gratifying when we launched When East Met West – the collection had such a positive response and was really well received. It is exciting to think about what lies ahead.

What’s been your best decision? 
Carlie: To leave the comfort yet restrictions of 9-5.
Linda: Quitting my previous job to start my own business.

Who inspires you? 
Carlie: My incredible mum - she inspires me. And the people I work with in my business, they know me inside out. It’s scary.
Linda: My family – I am extremely lucky to be surrounded by an amazing family – my husband and daughter, plus also my sister and brother who are both brilliant creatives.

What are you passionate about? 
Carlie: Conscious consumerism and sustainable design. I don’t believe there is room for unethical or unsustainable design now and in the future. I’m passionate about adventures to places that take me by surprise: the culture, fabrics, food and unknown nooks and crannies.
Linda: I am passionate about creating things that last. Pieces that you can connect with and keep forever.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet?
Carlie: It would have to be my great grandparents. I absolutely adore listening to stories from past eras. I’m so nostalgic.
Linda: Anthony Bourdain – preferably in a bar in Bangkok. I’d take him to all of the hidden and unassuming food vendors.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? 
Carlie: Personally, I would love to settle outside of the city and conquer that work-life balance, with a vegie patch I had time to tend to. Professionally, I would love to see When East Met West and my label be stocked in boutiques globally.
Linda: Creating a work-life balance that allows my family and I to spend time overseas, immersing ourselves in different cultures whilst working on When East Met West and my jewellery label. That would be my ideal life.

What are you reading? 
Linda: Oh, the places you’ll go! By Dr Seuss – I don’t have much time for reading myself, though I read this book to my two-year-old before bed - it’s a current favourite.

images courtesy of when east met west

Thursday, 28 May 2015


“I don’t feel like art has ever been a ‘path’ for me, it’s more of a gut feel, and a passion or need to create,” says artist Arie Hellendoorn. Born in The Netherlands, the New Zealand-based artist studied Fine Art at Massey University in Wellington and has been working consistently to exhibit in group and solo shows over the past decade. Recent work has been acquired by the James Wallace Trust in Auckland and the Wellington City Council Collection. Arie’s first solo Australian exhibition was in 2013 and his current show is at Sullivan+Strumpf until June 13.

Which five words best describe you? Creative, hard-working, passionate, good-natured and loyal.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I developed an independent curatorial program which supported my own practice as well as others in vacant spaces, which over the years led to being invited to participate in artist run galleries.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? There are no shortcuts.

What’s your proudest career achievement? My proudest career achievement was to begin showing art with Sullivan+Strumpf. It sounds a bit cheesy but it’s true. I was pretty excited to begin showing internationally and with such a great gallery. 

What’s been your best decision? Within my work? Switching from oil paint to acrylics.

Who inspires you? Neo Rauch, the German painter, inspires me. I think he is one of the most interesting narrative painters currently practicing.

What are you passionate about? My family and friends, nature and, of course, art. 

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Ali Farka Toure, a folk musician, from Mali. Sadly he is no longer alive.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? My partner and I have a baby due in six weeks, and I’m pretty excited about it.

What are you reading? As I am going to be a father in six weeks, most of my reading is currently focused on pregnancy and fatherhood.

images courtesy of arie hellendoorn and sullivan+strumpf

Wednesday, 27 May 2015


While Wona Bae is from South Korea and Charlie Lawler from Tasmania, the couple met in Germany while Wona was studying for a masters degree in floristry. That was in 2007 and since then they have settled in Australia together, using Melbourne as their base for Loose Leaf, the botanical design studio and retail space that they run in Collingwood. It is from here that they run workshops and create a variety of floral and botanical sculptures for clients such as restaurants and retailers. The studio opened in 2012 and two years later they expanded it to add a retail offering. While Wona also has also studied horticulture, Charlie has a background in design and permaculture design.

Which five words best describe you? We try to be honest, fun, natural, hardworking and curious.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I guess technically we started on the path even when we were kids, Charlie in his grandparent’s nursery and Wona on her father’s farm.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? That you keep learning lessons every day.

What’s your proudest career achievement? Opening Loose Leaf, it was the culmination of many years’ work and experimentation. 

What’s been your best decision? To follow our dream, leave financial security and open Loose Leaf.

Who inspires you? Mother Nature.

What are you passionate about? Again nature, we are mesmerised by the seemingly impossible beauty you find in nature.

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

What dream do you still want to fulfil? Just to continue making a living doing something we love doing!

What are you reading? Strange Plants II by Zio Baritaux.

images courtesy of loose leaf and portrait ben clement

Tuesday, 26 May 2015


Five years is a long time in retail these days, especially with the advent of online shopping. However, Vanessa Kidwell, the owner of LivedIn Coogee has not only survived what has been a tough time for many, but she has managed to thrive. After opening her homewares store in August 2010 she gained a strong local customer base and three years later was able to expand into the space next door when it became available. Over the years she has formed a good bond with one of her suppliers, Lisa Wright of African Trading Port, and they have often talked about opening a pop-up shop together. When Richard Unsworth from Garden Life recently relocated his premises, the opportunity arose. “Another little silent wish of mine has been to have an interiors store with a cafe attached, which this provides us,” Vanessa says. “It was a quick decision and in a week we moved in and opened up on the 18th May. We were determined not to be just a ‘pop up’ and have poured our energy - mentally and physically - to provide the area with a showcase of what we do.” Alongside their wares is the vintage clothing collection of former Sass + Bide founder Sarah-Jane Clarke which will change on a regular basis, as will the homewares. The pop-up store is at 357 Cleveland St, Surry Hills, Sydney.

Which five words best describe you? Hard-working, loyal, goal-driven, creative and determined - my daughter suggested busy!

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I have fallen into this of sorts. When I first opened, I was in my mind opening a local interiors store, something that gave me a balance and lifestyle - only in my dreams! Quickly realising that to achieve my desire to constantly change product and evolve it takes constant hard work and sourcing - hours spent either on the computer or driving to find the pieces that speak to me, five years on, I have nutted out the parts of owning the store I love more than others which is the buying and sourcing, keeping in contact with my customers also top my list, you will always fine me in store at least one to two days a week to keep my finger on the pulse and connect with my loyal clients.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Trust my gut, it doesn’t often lie.

What’s your proudest career achievement? Opening the store and thriving in business for five years.

What’s been your best decision? Taking the leap to import some of my own product that I can hand pick myself, the one-off special pieces that you know only you have. You have to keep on top of the look of the store and be consistent in providing the customer with the products that inspire them.

Who inspires you? I could name a multitude of people, the like-minded women I have met in the last five years within this industry, they all have a story and juggle life and business which keeps me inspired on the days when you are wondering what the hell you are doing! But, ultimately, I have to say my friends and family. If it wasn’t for them and the support they all give me in different forms, friends who constantly help in different ways be it taking my children or helping unpack a container, my kids who constantly listen to what I need to do and don’t often moan, I hope that by being a working mum I am showing the girls that when you work hard you achieve what you aim for; David, my husband, works extremely hard in his career and is a great sounding board in my indecisive moments, and sets me back on track when I am losing sight.

What are you passionate about? My family. All of our extended family still lives in New Zealand so the little family I have here in Sydney of the girls and my husband are something I have learn’t needs to be worked on as much as the business.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? At the moment I have an infatuation with artist Leah Fraser’s artwork - it talks to me.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I would love to own a boutique hotel. I think that is a way down the road, but you can’t help but dream.

What are you reading? To be honest not much in the last few months, except for accounts and invoices but I have just picked up the latest edition of Adore Magazine the Paradise edition, where my lovely friends from Three Birds Renovations feature. I am excited to see their next renovation - number three is about to begin

images courtesy of natalie walton

Monday, 25 May 2015


Paul Garvey fell into textile art about four years ago when he met textile designer Marissa Maximo, who had just finished working as a director at Anthropologie and was about to head up the colour and trend division of Urban Outfitters. “From there I got really passionate about it, seeing my creations on whole bunch of different mediums was super rewarding,” he says. Since then he has had his brand Mont La Roc stocked in Urban Outfitters and worked on their private label. “It made me aware that I wasn’t the only one enjoying the work I created - it was well received by total strangers without needing a cool story or marketing buzz behind it to help push sales,” Paul says. “It was a very real and honest test of if your stuff is good or just well-marketed - huge learning curve.” Since then he has created a range of papier mache plant pots, P.A.L.M.S., which he sells through Greenhouse Interiors, and has started to paint again.

Which five words best describe you? Passion. Art. Love. Madness. Silence.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? Julia Green has been the kick-starter for my brand P.A.L.M.S, starting with my papier mache hanging pots and now planters wholesaling them through Greenhouse Interiors. As for the path taken since, I have picked up the paint brushes again. I had around 12 years off them but now I have started painting again and I can’t stop. So this will be something you will be seeing a lot more of from me.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? It's not what you know it’s who you know.

What’s been your best decision? Choosing to network and keep contacts when I was working in retail on Chapel St for 14 years.

Who inspires you? Anyone who has a go and tries to make a passion into a career.

What are you passionate about? Family, creativity of all walks, edible gardens, home cooking, passionate people.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Charlie Chaplin because it would be so weird.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? Buying a tropical island.

What are you reading? Oh, the Places you’ll go! by Dr.Seuss. I have a baby boy and a five-year-old girl.

images courtesy of paul garvey

Friday, 22 May 2015


Growing up on a farm provided a lot of space and time on my own to think, to watch the seasons and times of day changing to night,” says artist Kathryn Ryan. “There was a world within to express through art.” She always believed that one day she would be able to live and work as a full-time artist. After art school, Kathryn was encouraged after being accepted into art prizes and gaining representation at commercial galleries in Melbourne and Sydney. For the past 15 years, her solo shows have sold out, which has enabled her to live life as an artist. Kathryn was born in Warrnambool and raised on a dairy farm in Panmure, south west Victoria. She gained an art degree at Deakin University and completed her Honours year at RMIT. She has lived for many years in Dubai while he husband, an architect, has worked on hotel design. Kathryn exhibits with Flinders Lane Gallery in Melbourne and Olsen Irwin in Sydney. Now back in Australia, she has set up a studio in Warrnambool and is working towards a solo show at Olsen Irwin in August. The Warrnambool Art Gallery will hold a Survey show of her work, paintings and drawings covering the years 1995 to 2015. It opens July 18.

Which five words best describe you? Organised, determined, intuitive, passionate, honest.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? From an early age I was determined to be a full-time artist. So my final year at secondary school was all art subjects, TAFE T.O.P. Art & Design, then straight into three years at art school. From there, I moved to Melbourne, set up a studio, had part-time jobs and kept painting and exhibiting until I was able to paint full time from my solo shows at Flinders Lane Gallery Melbourne and Tim Olsen Gallery Sydney. After many years of living in the city, with studios in the inner city and the last few years living in Dubai, I am now enjoying having a studio in a rural city, by the coast, surrounded by the landscape which is the source and inspiration for my work.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Trust your instincts and intuition and be as true to yourself as you can, and just keep working. It will come.

What’s your proudest career achievement? Having my work hung in the Wynne Prize at AGNSW, but also every solo show, and the upcoming Survey Show of my work 1995 – 2015 at the Warrnambool Art Gallery in July. I grew up in and around Warrnambool, but left here nearly 30 years ago and after just returning from living overseas it will be a big “homecoming”!

What’s been your best decision? To become a full-time artist. After a number of years of having part-time jobs to help support myself as an artist, after my second sell-out solo show, I took the plunge to paint full-time and support myself with my art sales. I am grateful that I can devote all of my time to the studio; it’s hard work, rewarding and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Who inspires you? Motivated people; those who can make their dreams and ideas come in to being.

What are you passionate about? Making art, drawing and painting, long days in the studio and walks along the coast, beaches, farms, parks, photographing nature, weather, light, dusk, twilight, clouds, landscape, fresh air...

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Everyone has a story. Living as an expat the past few years has allowed me to meet so many interesting people from such a wide range of countries and backgrounds. It took me way out of my comfort zone and showed me how rewarding it is to be open to meet new people and engage on an honest and genuine level. So I can’t really answer your question other than to say I want to keep an open mind at meeting new people.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? To have a large studio and live by the sea.

What are you reading? Ha, there is no time to read. I am too busy in the studio!

images courtesy of kathryn ryan

Thursday, 21 May 2015


A life-changing car accident had a profound impact on Texan florist Ashley Woodson Bailey in more ways than one. In 2012 she damaged her back in such a way that she could no longer work in floral events, a key part of her work as a American floral designer over a 20-year period. However, during her recovery she began to photograph flowers that were given to her as get-well gifts. “I have always loved taking photos and I have always hated that I was creating these gorgeous floral sculptures that die,” Ashley says. “I wanted to find a way to keep them alive. So I combined the two.” It didn’t take long before demand for the resulting photographic prints took off. “I knew I was onto something when my now agent sent me an email asking to work with me,” she says. Ashley also sensed that her work was gaining momentum when she saw one of her works in the home of actress Jessica Alba. She was born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas and studied Art and Art History at the University of Texas in Austin. Now based in Atlanta, Georgia, she is now travelling the world as a result of her photography, which is all taken on an iPhone.  

Which five words best describe you? Resilient, quirky, creative, giving and strong-willed. 

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? My career began accidentally due to a car accident. I was a florist and broke my back so I could no longer do events. I started taking photos of flowers people gave me during recovery. I posted them on Instagram and people asked to purchase them so here we are! I am now about to launch a wallpaper line and some other really exciting things are in the works.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? You only have one life - don't waste it. 

What’s your proudest career achievement? I am proud that I am able to create these gorgeous pieces of art with my iPhone and feel comfortable with it.

What’s been your best decision? To trust my gut and heart, and do what I love.

Who inspires you? All the independent risk-taking women in the world that juggle everyday life with their careers.

What are you passionate about? My family, flowers and animals.

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

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I would like to shoot a story for Vogue.

What are you reading? The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty.

images courtesy of ashley woodson bailey; portrait amber fouts

Wednesday, 20 May 2015


On Kathryn Robson’s first day studying architecture at university the lecturer warned that there were more architects driving cabs than working in their chosen profession. He told the students that if they were in it for the money then they might as well walk out of the room then. Kathryn was intrigued, and never regretted her decision. “It’s always felt right, and I’ve gone to work every day excited about what lies ahead,” she says. “Architects require the diversity of technical knowledge and uninhibited design and I find this deeply satisfying.” After working for some of Melbourne’s leading practices, she set up her own practice in 2002 and more recently joined forces with her husband Chris Rak, who had retrained as an interior architect after working for 13 years as a steel sculptor. Together they run Melbourne-based Robson Rak and have been shortlisted for many awards over the past couple of years.

Which five words best describe you?
Kathryn: Driven to create the best life.
Chris: Honest, ambitious, curious, perfectionist, dreamer.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since?
Kathryn: On completing architecture I worked as a graduate architect for Sean Godsell, and then moved on to working with Chris Connell. After three years working in London for Swedish architect Orefelt Associates, I returned to Melbourne to work for Chris Connell Design again and stayed there until 2002 when I left to start my own practice. There has been an extraordinary amount of hard work and long hours put into where we are at today, and this never stops. We’re excited about the future of Robson Rak and the future of design in Australia.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way?
Kathryn: Design as though no one is watching. Don’t be affected by what others are doing or saying, and never, ever stop listening to your gut instinct. It’s always right. Oh, and always employ the best accountant you can find.
Chris: Don’t cut corners.

What’s your proudest career achievement?
Kathryn: I think it’s yet to come. There have been some very proud moments along the way but I know what’s currently on our drawing boards and on site and I’m excited to see their evolution.
Chris: Creating a career which includes family.

What’s been your best decision?
Kathryn: To join forces with my husband Chris Rak to create Robson Rak. We feel so lucky to be designing spaces for our clients that see no boundary between the architecture and interior. They are smooth, holistic spaces that provide the user with warmth and a sense of well-being.
Chris: Joining forces with my wife Kathryn; we’re very fortunate to be able to do that.

Who inspires you?
Kathryn: Melbourne and its people. Whether it’s Sergio who makes me the perfect coffee every morning, or walking through the bluestone laneways of Melbourne and discovering a beautiful jewellery designer, the perfect plate of sashimi discovered in a basement at Izakaya, or the array of talented architects, designers and artists who create the evolving fabric of our city.  
Chris: Anyone who takes pride in their work and goes that extra mile to achieve a better result. I lived in Tokyo in the early 90s and was influenced by the Japanese. I remember being blown away at seeing cabbies with their immaculate cars (complete with doilies on the dash) and white gloves on. Treating their chosen paths with utmost respect and doing it as best as they could.

What are you passionate about?
Kathryn: I’m passionate about “home”. Not only my home, but more that sense of home, which is so important in the spaces, we design. It may be achieved by a certain smell, a texture, or a shard of light passing through a room. As Ilse Crawford said, “Home is where the heart is”, and I’m constantly thinking about what makes a house a home and trying to translate this into architecture and interior design through material, details, landscaping, and of course the perfectly proportioned space.
Chris: I love a well-made object. Something that’s been labored over and resolved.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet?
Kathryn: Firstly, my Dad. He passed away suddenly last year with many things left unsaid. Secondly, Steve Jobs who once said, “Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. People think it’s this veneer – that designers are handed this box and told, ‘make it look good!’ That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” Of course, there is a balance between aesthetic and function but this balance is often wrong. Robson Rak tries hard to achieve this balance with every project.
Chris: Too many to list: Max Ernst, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Malevich, Tatlin, Carlo Scarpa, etc.

What dream do you still want to fulfill?
Kathryn: I have so many! Probably the one on my radar right now is our own extension to our home in Elwood, which is very exciting. It’s the first home Chris and I will have designed for our own family and it’s deeply satisfying after nearly 20 years of designing homes for others. Oh, and we want to relocate our family to a Greek island for a year or two.
Chris: Taking my boys to an adventure through Greece for six months and letting them discover their roots.

What are you reading?
Kathryn: The Gardenist by Michael McCoy. It’s a book about landscape design that has been a revelation as it approaches landscaping in a very architectural manner and has changed the way I think about planting. For example, “The space that surrounds a tree is just as important as the tree itself, and when there are two or more trees they are able to capture and hold an open space between them.” It’s all about form and space, built or planted.
Chris: Furnitecture: Furniture That Transforms Space. I got it for my birthday. Not a bad read.

images courtesy of robson rak; photography (from top to bottom) lisa cohen and mark roper; sharyn cairnslisa cohen and mark ropersharyn cairns; portrait will watt


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