Wednesday, 28 October 2015


Tracie Ellis, the founder and creative director of Aura Home, has created a stoneware range to add to her growing lifestyle range that includes bedlinen, towels and rugs. 

Tracie was interviewed in the early days of Daily Imprint, and has maintained her passion and enthusiasm for creating accessible homewares from her Melbourne base. Read her interview from 16 September 2009, reproduced below.

// Daily Imprint will resume regular posts next week //

Which five words best describe you? Persistent, creative, romantic, loyal and loving.

What was your first job and what path have you taken since then? After failing to be a checkout chick at Safeway I made ceramic worms for plant nurseries! Various school and uni jobs later I worked for Country Road designing my first bedlinen, then I worked in the buying office for Myer, designed socks for Red Robin and Country Road, knitting yarn and patterns for Paton's, then I created the Domis homewares brand at Austin Group and in 2000 I started Aura.

What’s your proudest achievement? Having my own brand and business – Aura will be 10 years old this year. Oh, and making it to Machu Picchu on the Inca trail for my honeymoon.

What’s been your best decision? To do what everyone said not to – become a designer – I love my work – when work is also your favourite hobby you know you have done something right. I have a very dedicated small team who are just as passionate as me – it’s very inspiring.

Who inspires you? My team, my family and Donna Karan.

What are you passionate about? Colour and design, my renovation – mid-century architecture, my Mini, my schnauzer and my new husband – not in that order.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt? To think before I speak – but it’s still a lesson in progress.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? It’s a toss up – between favourite designers: Donna Karan, Tom Ford, Calvin Klein, to actor Christopher Walken and Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear – I know! But I am a car freak.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? Making Aura an international brand. And also lots of travel dreams - Alaska, Antarctica and revisiting and seeing more of my friends in India.

What are you reading? I have to admit that I have so many home magazines I rarely have time for anything else – next to my bed are the latest copies of Elle Decoration, Living etc, Belle and Jamie Oliver all waiting.

images courtesy of aura

Tuesday, 27 October 2015


Australian artist Cherry Hood is about to open a new show of watercolour portraits at Olsen Irwin Gallery. The exhibition runs from 31 October to 15 November.

Read Cherry's interview on Daily Imprint from 20 September 2010, reproduced below.

Which five words best describe you? Solitary, focused, obsessive, loyal, open-minded.

What was your first job and what path have you taken since? My first job was as an illustrator for a packaging company after art school, (first time around) then I married had a son, divorced, travelled extensively in Europe studied in Italy, married again, travelled extensively throughout Asia as well as UK again, divorced, married again to my present husband who has two sons who lived with us. Travelled and lived in UK for four years. Returned to Art school NAS for 3 years, then undergrad and Hons at Sydney Uni’s SCA. Then Masters – wrote my thesis whilst living in Greece on and off for one year.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? That being an artist is not just about making stuff, it is all ideas, psychology and a certain life philosophy.

What’s your proudest career achievement? Finishing my Masters Degree.

What was the starting point for this exhibition? A move to the country 6 years ago.

What’s been your best decision? To move to the country.

Who inspires you? Reading what artists say inspires me as much as what they do. Gerhard Richter’s writing is very accessible and prolific so I guess he is the biggest influence. One I often return to reinforce my ideas.

What are you passionate about? Art and the land, especially sustainable farming.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? One of the most exciting moments was meeting with Nora Heysen after I had won the Archibald, I was totally mesmerised by her as she was someone I had admired and whose paintings I had grown up with. I would love to have known my great grandfather Sam Hood, he was a photographer and I have recently inherited a huge quantity of his work and writing, paper clippings and memorabilia so I am getting to know him in a way.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I would like to be the best custodian of the land I live on. 

What are you reading? I just finished Source by Janine Burke. Now I am reading about how to breed and grow better sheep.

images courtesy of cherry hood and olsen irwin gallery

Monday, 26 October 2015


Photographer Felix Forest has joined with stylist Claire Delmar to create a limited-edition series of photographic works based on his interest in 17th century Flemish still lifes by the likes of Vermeer. 

Author and curator Karen McCartney [interview] will open the exhibition at Puddleduck 11 Roslyn Gardens, Elizabeth Bay.

The show will move to Becker Minty at 7/81 Macleay Street, Potts Point on Saturday 31 October.

The original interview with Felix Forest appeared on 1 May 2015 and with Claire Delmar on 23 February 2011.

Their interviews are reproduced below.

[Noteworthy updates this week while Daily Imprint is away on leave.]


Which five words best describe you? Impatient in the long term but patient in the short term, perfectionist, curious, moody but mostly calm, and very loyal until pushed too far. 

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I had a collection of images and naively thought that I should go to some agencies. I thought I needed an agent but unfortunately the agents didn’t think the same. The first agent I saw told me they couldn’t see any commercial potential in my images and that I should be an artist. I’m still unsure what they meant exactly but I took it with optimism and as a challenge and six months later signed with that same agent. It didn’t help, if anything it made me lazy for some time. I was always very pro-active in looking for work and researching, thinking about concepts and prospecting. My first story was a house shoot that I submitted to a magazine and they ended up running it as a cover story. I was so excited and I took it as a sign that I should persevere and keep working hard. I was so pushy and stubborn at the time and would never take “no” for an answer, when I think about it I think that my interlocutors at the time must have thought, “That French man is so pushy, so typical!” It makes me laugh.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Work hard, be fair, be curious, stick to your convictions and don’t make precedents that you are not happy to keep going with.

What’s your proudest career achievement? There isn’t one specific one, rather achievements that mean different things along the way, and it also has to do with timing. Something can happen when you are quiet and not shooting much and even though it is a small job it will pump you right back up. It’s relative.

What’s been your best decision? To always assume my decisions. It doesn’t mean to not question them though.

Who inspires you? Every single detail in Nature. Edwina Robinson, my fiancee - I think if I had half her qualities I would be half decent. The streets of old cities. People with convictions.

What are you passionate about? Apart from photography, food; wine; art; Olympique Lyonnais; design whether interiors, furniture, fashion; golf; music.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? VoltaireMichael Jackson and I’d like to have spent more time with some family members, but I am mostly satisfied with people I know; I’m very lucky. I’d also be curious to meet myself had I chose to go down the finance path.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? So many but as far as photography goes I would like to one day be satisfied with one photograph I create for an extended period of time, and that is what I work towards knowing that it probably won’t happen. I’d like to blossom in other creative endeavours and am currently working on other projects.

What are you reading? Daily Imprint! Being curious and impatient I start reading many things at the same time and then mix them all together, that, coupled with a leniency towards amnesia mean that I could be reading the same books my whole life and they would always feel new and reinterpreted. I always have a copy of The Little Prince somewhere in the house as well as many, many photographic, art and architecture books and magazines.


Which five words best describe you? Oh this is always hard! Big eater/food lover, yoga enthusiast, organised, focused, energetic.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I started in the fashion industry doing work experience at marie claire magazine whilst I was completing a Bachelor of Media. After completing my degree I worked in Public Relations and then became a Fashion Editor. After a few years I realised that my passion was interiors. I got offered some freelance work styling interiors for a local publishing house and haven't turned back. I now also do food styling.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Don't ever give up, especially when sourcing - there is always a way or a solution.

What’s your proudest career achievement? I'm hoping it's just around the corner! But saying that enjoying what I do everyday I feel is the best achievement one can wish for.

What’s been your best decision? To take every opportunity that comes to me, travel as much as possible and to start a family.

Who inspires you? I get inspiration more from my surroundings than specific people. However, I love the work of James MerrellVan der Meersch & Weston, Abi Boura and Faye Toogood.

What are you passionate about? The importance of yoga and the positive effects it has not only on your body but on your mind. Especially as I work in a creative field I need that time to switch off. I really feel it helps the way I look at the rest of my life.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Can I say two? Charles or Ray Eames and Heston Blumenthal.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I would like to style a book, open a cafe, a yoga school, style a hotel... the list goes on and on.

What are you reading? I'm flipping between Unless by Carol Shields and The Architecture of Happiness by Alain De Botton.

images courtesy of felix forestclaire delmar and becker minty

Friday, 23 October 2015


Storytelling is an integral part of Rowena Hannan’s work as a ceramicist and teacher for the past 25 years. “Being brought up as a Catholic my childhood was full of stories about saints, these often gory, bizarre tales have always fascinated me,” she says. “My youngest child studied classics both at school and at uni, and we would spend many an hour discussing Greek mythology. The combination of these two types of folklore have been a great inspiration in my work for a long time now.” Rowena lives in Melbourne and studied ceramic design at Monash Caulfield. She says when she applied to study sculpture they sent her straight to the ceramic department as she had been using clay as her medium. “Recognition from people you respect always gives you confidence in your work, however, like everyone there are moments of self doubt,” Rowena says. “I think you know you are on the right path when you feel that your work touches people on an aesthetic or emotional level.” She is exhibiting at Beth Hulme Gallery until 31 October.

Which five words best describe you? Social, passionate, creative, enquiring, adventurous.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I finished my BA in Ceramic Design in the 80s then shared a studio in the old port Melbourne gasworks before it was done up, with another friend. We bartered for the rent by teaching life drawing, flat glass to the locals in the area. Then I went back to college to do my Dip Ed and started teaching and continued to submit ceramic works for mainly group exhibitions. I then co-founded a studio group called Waterside Art Workers - this group operated from an old boat builders building on the Maribyrnong River in Footscray. While the occupants changed many times over the years I worked from this space for 20 years. Since then I have built a studio at home and have worked on my most recent solo exhibitions. 

What’s your proudest career achievement? Probably when I have been at the unveiling of public works I have produced and seeing people reactions to them.

What’s been your best decision? My best relatively recent decision in relation to my career was to answer an application to present a paper at a Ceramic Symposium in China a few years ago. I didn’t expect to be accepted and when I was, I was pretty terrified and asked myself, “What the hell am I doing?” Anyway, I took the risk and met the most amazing people from all over the world who work in ceramics. It really opened up my own world and the flow-on effect has been amazing. It made me aware of so many opportunities out there.

Who inspires you? So many people - not always famous people, sometimes people you meet who create beautiful and powerful works in adverse circumstances.

What are you passionate about? Storytelling. This come through in my art work continuously. A few years ago I produced a series of works that were sculptures of shoes made from porcelain. Each pair of shoes was based on a fictitious love letter between various famous lovers throughout history. Each sole was embossed with the beginning and end of letters - it was up to the viewer to fill in the narrative. I loved researching these stories and playing with ways to symbolically represent the connection between people that I had never met. This love of storytelling has evolved into my current work, which has returned to figurative, which is far more typical of my work. This passion for storytelling permeates into my teaching, as I feel strongly that a good teacher must be a great storyteller.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I know it’s a bit cliche for a female artist, but I would have loved to have met Frida Kahlo. This goes back to what inspires me. I admire Kahlo for not only her artwork but for the way she embraced life with so much energy and passion despite the hindrance of her physical disabilities. I love the flamboyance of her dress and her defiant nature. She was a woman who took risks. A great role model to young women today. I am also fascinated by the macabre nature of Mexican culture and its connection with Catholicism. Ritual has always fascinated me.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I want to do an art residency overseas somewhere for a few months. This will give me an opportunity to expand myself creatively, have a period to completely absorb myself in my work without day-to-day distractions, and most importantly, have the opportunity to work amongst other artists within another culture.

What are you reading? Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

images courtesy of rowena hannan

Thursday, 22 October 2015


It was a Glasgow Toile wallpaper that put Timorous Beasties on the world map in 2004. But the Scottish-based design studio by Alistair McAuley and Paul Simmons had been going for 14 years by then. “We remember years ago when we went to Vogue to meet with the late Isabella Blow, who loved the work, and at that point we thought we had made it - how wrong we were: that was in 1996!” they say. But 2005, when they were nominated for Designer of the Year at the London Design Museum, really felt as if there was a shift in appreciation and demand for their designs.
“As two grown men, there is definitely something of the Billy Elliots about working in textiles, but it really did appeal because I think we both liked the idea of making stuff, and being able to draw and paint, and the idea of learning a craft/skill,” they say. “At the same time neither of us wanted to make any big statements about the world or express some personal anxiety, so we knew we we’re never going to do Fine Art; graphics seemed a bit dull; illustration too restrictive; ceramics and jewellery and product design too 3D, so textiles it was.”
This year marks 25 years in business for Timorous Beasties. Their designs are used on a range of products - from fabric to rugs and ceramics to furniture. They have worked with Nike, Fortnum & Mason and Penguin Books, and have exclusive lines in Liberty London and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, among others. Timorous Beasties opened their first retail shop in 2004 in Glasgow and since 2007 have a London showroom.

Which five words best describe you? 
Alistair: Anxious, stressed, paranoid, insecure and a sense of humour.

Paul: Six foot one, dark, overweight, baggy-eyed and bald.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since?  
Alistair: After an exciting graduation in 1988 there followed a disappointing summer, Paul and I were sitting on a roof in London drinking beer and decided that we would set up a studio to design and print our work, as nobody else would, we still had our post grads and MAs to finish first.

Paul: We both met and studied at Glasgow School of Art 1984-1988, then from 1988-1990, I studied at the RCA in London, and Ali did a postgrad in Glasgow. I think we realised early on that if you want to do anything your way, you have to do it yourself, and we wanted to produce our own fabrics, also to be very pragmatic about it. Physically it takes two people to print a fabric, one to push and one to pull the squeegee.

What’s your proudest career achievement? 
Alistair: All of it. We have grown our business over 25 years. We have great staff, two showrooms, a substantial website and a lovely studio, and we get to do what we trained for. All of this has contributed to where we are today. So I am proud of it all.

Paul: Having a large vase of flowers fall on my head in a Michelin-stared restaurant in Basil, Switzerland during a meeting.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way?
Alistair: It’s a lot harder than you imagine it will be and therefore very different from how we planned it. So I try not to panic too much, which is bullshit because I panic all the time.

Paul: Don’t sit under large vases of flowers.

What’s been your best decision?
Alistair: Starting up the studio straight after college and being determined to keep it going regardless of how difficult it got and getting a book keeper.

Paul: Getting the restaurant to pay my medical bill.

Who inspires you?
Alistair: People who can answer these questions without sounding like an arse. So everyone and anything that teaches you right from wrong.

Paul: Anything and everything, I can’t remember who said, “Most things when you look at them long enough are pretty inspirational.”

What are you passionate about?
Alistair: Trying to make things better. 

Paul: Breakfast!

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

What dream do you still want to fulfil?
Alistair: Wealth, health and happiness.

Paul: A lie-in past nine o’clock!

What are you reading?
Alistair: Aunt Julia and The Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas. LLosa. But I seldom read, makes me fall asleep.

Paul: The Sting in the Bee by John Gould - I have to, for work!

images courtesy of timorous beasties

Wednesday, 21 October 2015


“I feel like I’ve always known where I wanted to go,” Oliver MacLatchy says. However, it was when he first came up with the idea for timber water spouts in 2013 that he got a real sense of momentum to his work. Up until then he had been focussed on carpentry in building projects. For the first 10 years of his career, he gained experience with his father’s building company, and for the following six years he worked on his own projects - mainly small residential homes. Oliver launched Wood Melbourne in 2014 and he continues to make the timber water spouts by hand in his workshop, using  reclaimed raw timber. They go through a 12-step process that involves de-nailing, sanding and waxing. Since launching Wood Melbourne, Oliver has also developed a range of concrete products too. 

Which five words best describe you? Passionate, driven, outgoing, loud - I only need four words!

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I started working with my father as a carpenter building, then I started doing my own little builds. I have always used timber to detail or highlight an area so it has been a natural progression and here I a now.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? As cliche as it sounds self-belief is the driving factor that has enabled me on so many levels.

What’s your proudest career achievement? Opening my own shop was pretty cool.

What’s been your best decision? Asking my wife to marry me.

Who inspires you? People that make a difference. Yanti Turang from Learn to Live, Oliver Percovich from Skateistan, plus fantastic designers and architects. Geoffrey Bawa and Tadao Ando.

What are you passionate about? Design, music, timber, tools and food.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I’m in Barcelona at the moment and I would have to toss a coin between Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I have plans to build a new home - so at the moment I am looking forward to doing that.

What are you reading? I’m reading a book I got at the London Design Museum called The Rule Breakers - it’s about doing business when you hate rules.

images courtesy of wood melbourne; photography tara pearce and stephanie stamatis (2, 3); styling stephanie stamatis

Tuesday, 20 October 2015


Clara Adolphs says in some ways she could easily have gone down another path from art. The Bundanoon-based artist in the Southern Highlands of NSW says she was always creative, and doesn’t know why she ultimately chose art. “But now I can’t imagine being anything else but an artist,” she says. “I don’t see it as a profession. I see it as an extension of my self.” Since graduating from the UNSW with a Bachelor of Fine Art in Painting and Drawing, she has won several art prizes, including the Young Emerging Artist Award as part of the Mosman Art Prize in 2012 and been a finalist in many more.
        Clara’s upcoming exhibition at Mick Gallery in Sydney plays on the idea of recreating moments from old photographs. It’s a way of painting that she’s enjoying more and more. “They are just reflections of life, complicated and complex,” Clara says. “This next exhibition I am basing it around the idea of possession, ownership, and idea that we as humans like to hold on to things. So many photos we take, past and present, capture us with our possessions, our dog, house, or new car. The act of taking a photo is wanting to keep a moment.” Thursday is on show at Mick the Gallery from 28 November to 13 December.

Which five words best describe you?

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I went to art school, and that taught me that I can actually make a life out of being an artist. Then I made a lot of work over a few years, entered a few art prizes and awards to get my work into the public eye. In 2012 I met an art consultant, Kate Smith, who introduced me to Megan at MiCK Gallery. With my exhibition in November, I will have had three solo shows with MiCK. 

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Stay true to yourself, and clichés are clichés for a reason. 

What’s your proudest career achievement? Having artists that I admire, admire my work. 

What’s been your best decision? To live outside of Sydney and throw myself into my work. 

Who inspires you? David Hockney, pretty much all of the Bay Area Figurative Artists, Van Gogh, Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, Neil Young, Simon Relf. Many others too.

What are you passionate about? Painting, and a good sunset. 

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

What dream do you still want to fulfill? Living in Germany or Spain, or both. 

What are you reading? Just Kids by Patti Smith.

images courtesy of clara adolphs and mick gallery

Monday, 19 October 2015


While working for renowned Australian architect Peter Stutchbury, Amee Allsop woke up scared and excited to go to work everyday. It felt good, she says. “They were really impactful years for me, not just as a student of architecture but as a student of life,” she says. “It was blood, sweat, tears and such fun.” Amee grew up half in Australia and half in New York. She moved to the USA for the first time with her family when she was five. After 10 years they moved back to Australia but Amee moved back again in 2011 with her Australian photographer husband, Glen Allsop, who was offered a job with a photographic studio in New York City.
       “It didn’t seem like the best time to leave Australia - we were living in a beautiful tree house on the beaches, my husband’s photography business was thriving, and I was loving working for Stutch - riding my Vespa 5 minutes down the road and having a swim at beach on my lunch break; life was good,” Amee says. However, the couple were keen for a new adventure. “So, instead of buying a house, renovating and starting a family, we gave everything we had away, which was not much, and left on a jet-plane to the opposite end of the spectrum,” she says. “We both fell in love with the city. It was really tough and still is; but it is home.”
Initially Amee worked for Matthew Baird Architects for a couple years, and the projects she worked on included a firehouse conversion, a summer home in the east end of Long Island, and a theatre in Chelsea. “I was stretched in ways I didn’t know I could be,” she says. “It was a completely different experience to working for Stutch but just as valuable.” Then in 2013 she found out she was pregnant. The news gave her the push she needed to start her own studio, based in New York. “It was a huge turning point for me,” she says. “Just being able to pursue my passion and having clients who want to work with me is recognition enough.” 

Which five words best describe you? Dreamer, maker, questioner, collaborator, lover.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? When I was labouring on a construction site in the last year of my architecture degree and Peter Stutchbury - who I was not yet working for - happened to turn up and was like, “Who is that girl with the work boots on?” I find it difficult to take the obvious path. I predominantly work in architecture but I’m passionate about more than just the typical profession of architecture. That path continues to unfold. 

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Spurgeon says it better: “I have learned to kiss the wave that strikes me against the rock of ages.”

What’s your proudest career achievement? Starting my studio in New York whilst being six months pregnant.

What’s been your best decision? Getting married to my creative, witty and handsome one Glen. He is my greatest encourager - we all need one, best friend and lover.

Who inspires you? Mostly family and friends, otherwise here are a handful of people whose work inspires me: Peter Stutchbury, Sverre Fehn, Vincent Van Duysen, Peter Zumthor, Axel Vervoordt, Carlo Scarpa, Dom Hans Van Der Laan, John Pawson, Isabel Marant, Phoebe Philo, CS Lewis, Joni Mitchell.

What are you passionate about? The city and the sea, home, family, beauty, light.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? My Dad’s father who I never got to meet. He went to war very young, raised a beautiful family and was a boot-maker. I think I got my love of leather shoes from him.

What dream do you still want to fulfill? Something to do with leather, stone, and tailoring. And build a house by the sea.

What are you reading? The war of art and A is for Australia with my talkative two-year-old, Navy.

images courtesy of amee allsop; photography glen allsop


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