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Author Archives: julia
Lola Wright is a young NZ photographer I have been gratuitously following on instagram for quite some time now. She takes me on her adventures around the country, across seas and on many occasions, “IN” seas!
As a total sucker for the romanticism of nature, I am an easy match for her art based and editorial work (she has a cool blog to explore too) which made sharing this preview of her exhibition a total no brainer.
“Aqua Frizzante” opens at Allpress Studio in Auckland this coming Monday – all details here – and runs until May 5. Pop in and meet the artist and view this work in person!
I feel like Lola’s photography very much engages us in “the moment”.
You know…lying on your back in the ocean at sunset looking past your own hand, peaking half out of water at your friends and the world on shore… it offers a very unique chance to “be” there. The tone and style of her imagery delivers the “magic” of that moment that I imagine to feel as if experiencing it myself.
So with this in mind I decided to ask our artist the thoughts that spring to mind when very simply posed with each sense…
Read on below.
Pictured above: Lola Wright
“Deep saturated golden light falling upon layers of sand dunes on Auckland’s West Coast. My favourite memories have come from running up & down sand dunes and along mirrored shorelines bathed in golden light. It never gets old standing on top of a dune with awesome people, in a huge vast space with no one in sight. Just watching that big ball of fire sink into the wild sea.”
“That almost quiet half hour before the sun is about to rise with the slight hum of the earth accompanied by Tui and cicada song. Sunrise is always a time of solitude for me. My mind is quiet and everything I see and hear is all that exists in that moment.”
“Neoprene, surf wax and salt air! Haha!
It always reminds me of summer, the ocean and my dude Jordan. Which are 3 of my favourite things. (#4 would be hot chips.)”
“That slight charcoal taste of fresh fish that’s been cooked on an open fire. It’s that satisfying bite into a piece of fish that you caught earlier that day, fried over an open fire, surrounded by my people (coupled with an ice cold Steinlager of course !).
Never quite complete without a little bit of accidental crunchy sand for extra flavour.”
“The deep, refreshing, silky sensation of the ocean as I tread water between shots. I love the feel of water and the visual textures it creates. Mum used to call me a little seal because I would spend hours swimming around as a kid. Not much has changed except now I do it with camera in hand!”
A journey expressing a love of water, light, movement & texture.
Allow yourself to sink into Lola’s Aqua Frizzante world.
At Allpress Studio, Auckland
O P E N I N G N I G H T
Monday 24th April 2017
6pm – 8pm
Some drinks & nibbles provided
Last year I slotted in on the judging panel for the annual Bolt of Cloth Textile Design Award. Just like the year before, it was thrilling to see the short lists and degree of talent in the locally submitted work (bodes well New Zealand!!). While Bolt of Cloth provide a version of heaven for fabric loving makers and decorators; I tip my hat to their committed effort at spotlighting domestic design talent with this ongoing project.
The resulting collection between Nellie and Bolt of Cloth is both bold and fluid. The colourways and playful graphics would slide into a really broad spectrum of homes of different aesthetics and its damn exciting that you can also buy this quality fabric by the meter!
These images are part of a terrific feature on the collection in the latest Homestyle magazine and you can explore the winning range in its total here online or at any of the Bolt of Cloth stores.
I thought I would take the opportunity to learn more about Nellie in her own right as a very experienced and diverse creative professional. We talked about inspiration, working from home and her personal direction when decorating her own spaces.
Working from home can be a double edged sword when it comes to productivity! What is your experience with this and how do you combat the distractions?
Time restraints with deadlines means I can’t always wait until I’m ‘feeling creative’. Sometimes I just have to turn it on and make it happen. Trying to stay focused at the job at hand can be really hard at times when working from home… I’m terrible at getting sidetracked checking out social media, the ‘just for 5 mins’ usually turns into half an hour, down the instagram rabbit hole. I have to remind myself when I’m looking at gorgeous images I’m not actually creating anything myself (that’s usually enough to snap me out of my trance).
Generally when I’m procrastinating my house looks a lot tidier, which is one bonus! You’ll find me sorting or organising things, I think by doing that it relaxes part of my brain and gives me time to think about the job I’m about to start working on. Once I’ve been briefed on a new job I try to start on it soon after the briefing, as that’s when the ideas are most fresh and I’m feeling most enthusiastic about it, really good to get pen on paper then, rather than wait a week, and come back to it. When that happens I can lose the momentum. Also I break the job down into bite size chunks, so it’s less overwhelming and feels more do-able.
Despite your huge body of illustrative work for books, brands and commissioned jobs – it’s obvious you are concentrating on more and more textiles and products aimed squarely at the “home”.
How would you describe your personal interior style and aesthetic when it comes to your home spaces?
I’ve always been bit obsessed with interiors and have a passion designing textiles for the home. My personal style is relaxed, yet I like to think it’s little sophisticated with some quirky touches.
I love having lots of books and art around me and live in a light filled house. There’s a blend of old and new pieces together, mixing midcentury lamps and sideboard with cleanline modern pieces. Most of the objects I surround myself with were collected from my travels or from vintage markets and carboot sales. I’m attracted to slightly offbeat or beautiful objects and always love finding out the back story of where these pieces came from. Though I don’t like unnecessary clutter and do love to edit my space from time to time.
My style now is more about simplicity, natural fabrics, texture and interesting print combinations. The older I get I really appreciate quality and design longevity over the ‘sugar rush’ of cheap, fast, mass produced fashion looks which require people to buy and dispose of pieces seasonally which is unsustainable and generally doesn’t inspire the same sentimentality and nostalgia as a good quality piece does. I always try and carry that through into my own designs, as it’s important for me that my designs stand the test of time.
Your career has exposed you to some major local and international names in design (Kate Sylvester and Jasper Conran to name just a few!)
Who out there in the creative world provides you with inspiration?
Currently I’m listening to some great podcasts and reading about some really inspiring females, their extraordinary stories and their ability to sustain successful careers over their lifetime. I’m resonating more with hearing stories of artists who have faced challenges or just hearing about their creative evolution over time.
One of my favourite artists is Louise Bourgeois. Her career peaked at 70, which is wonderful to think maybe the best is still to come. I’m really inspired by designers Elsa Shaperelli, Celia Birtwell, Barbara Hepworth, Bridget Riley, Florence Broadhurst, Corita Ken ( an amazing graphic designing Nun!), Lucienne Day ( so many more!) and what they were able to achieve.
I am also constantly inspired by my creative friends who take risks to be doing what they doing and always give great advice. I listen to Kathryn Ryan, on the RNZ Morning Show and BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour online, both radio show have a wonderful line up of interesting guests. Great books I’d mention would be Elsa Schiaparelli ‘Shocking Life’ and Peggy Guggenheim, ‘Out of this century’.
You had 10 amazing years based in London before returning back to the homeland. Do you think being based back in New Zealand has influenced your work?
The pace of life and laid back, ‘can do’ attitude of New Zealanders has influenced me by finding more life/work balance and helped me nurture my creative side a bit more.
If you were only allowed to hang the work of ONE artist on your walls….who would it be?
Hard question! Hmm I’m going to say David Hockey, I’ve loved his work and it’s so diverse from his pool scenes in LA from the 1960’s through to his most recent oversized hyper colour paintings of the Yorkshire landscape.
Where are your favourite haunts in Auckland ?
I spend a lot of time with my partner and son locally around Point Chevalier, where we live. It has a great community vibe, lovely beach, lots of parks and a few interesting places to eat. I also love a good forage in charity shops, looking at old books and hunting for treasures to then sneak back into the house. And always love popping into beautifully curated shops, like Flotsam and Jetsam, Tessuti and Simon James plus some of the wonderful independent books shops like the Women’s Book Shop and Novel Bookstore. Browsing art galleries on K Road happens too!
Our favourite dinner haunt would be Coco’s Cantina on K Road. Damaris and Renee are so hospitable and it always has a great atmosphere. A Friday night drink or two at Golden Dawn is always fun (especially as I’m out less these days), I can usually bump into a few old friends.
Photography by Wendy Fenwick for Homestyle
Learn more here:
*Bolt of Cloth x Nellie Ryan Collection*
I had followed the instagram account of Formantics for a good 5 months before artist/designer/maker/over achiever; Susan Christie and I started trading emails. In total honesty, I had been SO taken by the brands witchy way with colour and shape that I hadn’t cast much thought into “where” or rather; “who” it was coming from, definitely stopping short of my usual stalkerish ways.
Lucky for me I didn’t need to investigate further because one email from Susan saved me from my own ignorance and re-framed Formantics as a very personal creative venture, based on a love of making and resisting any moves to be pigeonholed. As a master of colour she hasn’t stopped short at her painted originals and print release, but instead followed up with abstract hand formed ceramics and even a collection of totally unique shelves!
For any person gravitating toward a creative career, Susan’s story is encouraging.
“My back story is pretty hectic!
I was a Navy Officer, then Psychologist,
then mother, then business consultant,
then visual arts graduate
and finally a creative business owner.”
I find it incredibly inspiring to read about people that push their life in the direction they want it to go in…even when their past experience, current responsibilities and even age might not match up to others expectations!
In the interview below with Susan she reveals so much about way she created Formantics, the road she took, challenges and even some advice for those wanting to scratch that creative itch!
Despite dipping your toe into a really diverse set of industries – you mentioned that you loved “.. nothing more than creating art and design”.
What did this feel like to you and how did you know that was your calling?
If I had a tail it would be wagging while I’m making! For me, the process of making and creating is part of my DNA. My parents were both very creative people and loved the simple pleasure of making with their hands. From making and designing clothes to furniture, my parents made everything for the pure pleasure …..and the added bonus of saving money! I would have to create even if I didn’t sell my work, although I have to say my heart does a little leap every time someone buys or gets excited about my work.
When I look back, it’s like that creative DNA was always there, I just didn’t recognise it. At age 23, when I finished my registration as a psychologist, I immediately began doing creative night classes at the local high school. I did everything from ceramics, lingerie making, landscape gardening to interior design. Also as a child, I have very specific ‘happy memories’ of creating. I would spend hours digging up clay in the back garden and making little pinch pots.
Having kids was also a real opportunity for me indulge my creative side. I was not that sporty mum that kicked a ball around in the garden. I was inside making play dough and getting all the craft stuff out and getting messy!! I used the time when they were at Kindy to redecorate the house. Painting walls, making cushions….. I was the happy homemaker! So, I guess the creative signs were all there. They just seem so much more obvious now when I look back.
You studied Fine Art at AUT as a mother AND student in her forties. How did you find this ?
As soon as my youngest child went to school, I started doing painting classes through Matthew Browne School of Art. After a few years with Matthew, he recommended that I complete a degree at AUT. So, (I’m in my forties by this stage!!!)…. I decided to go for it.
It was scary going back to university as an adult student but I desperately wanted to take my art to the next level. I did worry about how I would fit in being an “old girl.” Whether I would be edgy enough, AND how on earth I would juggle the kids and all their after-school activities! As it turns out I had nothing to worry about. I loved every minute of it ( oh …accept the essay writing that is) and because we mothers learn to juggle so many things, I could complete assignments in half the time the school leavers could. The highlights of the experience were getting the AUT painting award in my first year and being selected for the Eden Art Awards in my last year. Yay, felt so good!
Susan – you belong to a special club of people that can combine unexpected colour, pattern and shape together like a wizard!
Where does this come from? What process (or lightening strike!) happens as you create your abstract work?
Thank you, Ju. I get very excited about colour! I liken colour to musical notes and if one of my paintings was a song it might be “Chained to the Rhythm” by Katy Perry. I really like the idea of blurring traditional boundaries between craft, décor, fashion, design, and art. If I’m honest I hate that term “Fine Art”. It is so loaded with hierarchical connotations! I take inspiration from my domestic world and keep a keen eye on what is happening in all the creative industries.
In terms of my creative process each painting arises quite organically. I start with a plan but it quickly goes out the window as the process unfolds. Rather than beginning with a fixed idea, I will pick a shape and colour, create the first form and build the image intuitively from there. My ceramics are made in the same sort of way. I cut out a form and then begin creating from there. Each one is completely original and I never know what they are going to look like until the end ….. which is what keeps things interesting!
The shelves were designed out of a desire to curate the objects and paintings together on the wall. I am so proud of the shelves as they took a lot of work to get just right. I wanted them to be able to be hung anywhere on the wall. I don’t like to be restricted by having to hang art into a stud. My shelves can be hung anywhere and take some hefty weight. The beautiful lines on the ply and the round geometric shape work in perfectly with my obsession with lines.
I love that you have let yourself “wander” from painting to hand formed ceramics and even to product design. Do you envisage Formantics to grow further in this direction as an all encompassing design and art brand? Or is this you just letting yourself explore all the mediums that feel right at this stage?
The thing that sets Formantics apart, is that ability to walk the line between art and design, while producing quality, handcrafted items of distinction. Our brand is all about curating bold, vibrant elements for the home which have a playful edge.
The name of the business, (after far too much of brain storming!!!) came about by combining the words form with antics. These are two vital ingredients for all the work I produce. I chose not to use my name for the business because in the future we will expand our range by collaborating with other creatives who relate to the feel and vibe of the brand. I am positive really exciting, innovative ideas will come about by collaborating with talented creatives from all sorts of backgrounds!
You have the opportunity to offer some nuggets of wisdom to parents or people of a similar age looking to re enter study and chase after their passion….what can you give us?
I really believe in the cliché that if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life. We spend far too much time at work not to LOVE it! I would encourage people to make the change but recognise it may not come about overnight. For many of us we have to juggle families and working a job to pay the bills, while at the same time pursuing the thing that makes our tail wag! Make a start!
Last one for fun.When asking my boyfriend some questions to ask you, his first one was; “What do you have against circles?”
Ha Ha. I guess you have noticed that most of my paintings and ceramics are a little “off kilter” I like my artwork to be slightly imperfect and have a slippage of unexpected angles and colours. I think it makes them a little more interesting. However, when it comes to our shelves they are absolutely perfectly round!
Imagery supplied by Formantics with styled product shots by Tash Hopkins.
Explore the Formantics world here:
This new blog format of “handing the microphone around” is reallllllyy working for me, and this post is the perfect example way.
I’ve followed Annie Smits Sandano since the very beginnings of of Studio Home but this is the first time that I’ve had the chance to share her own words and thoughts with you. And while we can thank Dunedin based, Gallery De Novo for taking the time to do some digging with Annie, it got me thinking even further on perhaps what Liz Fraser might have to share as well! The result is a nice juicy peep into the world of a roving NZ artist and a galleryist with some great things to share about following your creative dreams and the hotspots of Dunedin. There’s a little everything here!
The thing that fascinates me most about Annie is the way her work has varied over the years but with each new turn, she nails it to the extreme. If you were to lay out the best of the best from her natives and printing years, to her round, colour rich abstract paintings to her newly issued ethereal watercolour, ink and gouche pieces….well I don’t think you would pick they were from ONE prolific artist. But I do think you would fall in love with each series individually.
Read on for some insights into two professionals of our local art world.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background as an artist:
My visual interests and pursuits are quite broad, but I think if I distill my direction down to it’s bare elements, I am most fascinated by the basic interaction between line and colour.
Currently I’m exploring this through two main mediums: painting and printmaking. Having studied printmaking at Elam at the University of Auckland I’m very much interested in participating in, and continuing the tradition of printmaking in New Zealand, especially one as rich as the one we’re lucky to have. I love everything about it – the process, the tactility of the materials, understanding pigment behaviour and learning how to mix colours, the interaction between ink and paper and the endless possibilities for exploring.
My painting has become a more prominent part of my practice in recent years. I’ve drawn from process that is part of my printmaking and let that influence my painting. The treatment of materials, subtle surface textures, flat colour, sharp lines, stencils and vibrant colours have all spilled into my painting. I’ve worked hard to hone my palette and develop a rich and dynamic visual language.
How has living in New Zealand influenced your art:
Life and culture in New Zealand is the core part of how I relate to the wold and experiences. It is therefore the core part of most of what I try to observe and then reflect within my work. New Zealand icons, references, sensations, flora, fauna and language are all constantly being pulled into my distilling process – I take these, dissect, re-formulate, hybridise with my own mixed cultural background and referencing, turn upside down, and move around in my head till there is an idea that I want to translate into an image using my own personal visual vocabulary.
Who or what inspires you in your artwork:
I’m endlessly excited about colour, form and material. I am extremely eclectic in what I find conceptually and aesthetically interesting.
Low and High Art, people, travel, music, science, nature, history, design,
I’m curious about it all and I am always very happy to find
something new and exciting.
I also think that an artist’s attitude to what they’re working on and how they make the viewer feel can be very inspiring.
At the moment I’m finding exciting the work of Anny Wang, Kushana Bush, Beatriz Milhazes, Joakim Ojanen and Joshua Yeldham.
Tell us about where your artwork has taken you in the last year and how this has shaped your art:
After much planning and organising, I spent the year travelling and letting the world rush in and influence me. I set out to do three main things: connect new people within my field, learn new techniques and see as much art as I could.
I spent a month at the Australian Print Workshop in Melbourne, where I was able to develop a series of new techniques. I also was able to visit some of my favourite contemporary Australian Art galleries and meet some amazingly talented and lovely artists from Melbourne.
I then spent over 5 months in Italy between Florence and Rome. This time was characterised by watercolour and oil painting. During an intensive summer residency there I was able to explore the medium of oil painting for the first time, and I followed that with a couple of months creating a suite of new works on paper – watercolour and gouache with ink works. I also explored countless galleries, museums and churches, and was forced to eat the most delicious pasta, pizza and gelato to keep me going.
I’ve also spent a month in the outskirts of Barcelona in Spain where I was in a full time residency creating new works and learning new printmaking techniques. Again, visiting as many galleries, museums and churches as I could here too. I was also very lucky to make amazing and talented friends from Spain, Norway, the USA and Australia.
My time abroad has been completely invaluable, I’ve learned so much in such a short space of time and my experiences will without question inform what work I produce next. I have an arsenal of new techniques, and a brain exploding with the new things I’ve seen…I can re-calibrate my practice once again, infusing it with all of these exciting new things.
What is it like living and painting/printing in Europe? Day to day life:
Let me re-phrase that.
It’s been surreal.
I’ve worked really hard, which is the pace expected at the places I’ve worked in, and one which I find works for me. During week days I pretty much work full time (and often longer than the usual 9-5) and then weekends are for gallery hopping and museum visiting. There are loads of exhibitions which open in the evenings during the week, so it was fun to go to those too. The food has also been a highlight. Did I mention I was forced to eat the most delicious pasta, pizza and gelato to keep me going?
Being able to drink in Rome, Florence or Barcelona while going about your day-to-day and work is pretty incredible too.
What are your plans for this year:
I’ve started the year with a residency in Spain, followed by 2 months in London where I’m making work at London Print Studio. I have two solo exhibitions in New Zealand which I’ll be creating new works for, and an exciting textile design collaboration in the works (still under wraps but am very excited about this one!).
That’s just the tip of the ice-berg. There is always a long list of on-going prints which need to me made and sent to galleries, group exhibitions and commissions which make up the continuous flow which I love.
Then – to complete this interesting circle of artsy minds, I also threw a couple of questions at Liz Fraser of Gallery De Novo.
Top spots to eat/drink in Dunedin?
Oh we are spoilt for choice in our neighbourhood for places to coffee and ea!
The Perc and Morning Magpie are two favourite places to grab coffee on the way into the gallery and even better when we have time to sit in and enjoy the surroundings of these bustling Dunedin cafes.
For very special nights out we can’t look past Bacchus Winebar with impeccable food and wine and amazing views overlooking the Octagon.
People don’t know this Dunedin but……
Well, people who live in Dunedin do know this – it is a vibrant, creative, thriving little city.
Dunedin has all the benefits of a big city but feels more like a large community.
Everyday, visitors to the gallery tell us how much they have loved their stay in Dunedin and particularly the artistic vibe …. if you haven’t yet made it to Dunedin then put it on your itinerary!!
What led you choose your profession?
I always LOVED the visual arts and this was fueled by the most passionate Art History teacher in High School and I knew by the time I left school that I wanted to work in the gallery world. I studied Art History at Otago University and worked in dealer and public art galleries in Dunedin and then London.
Richelle Byers (my business partner) and I had very similar journeys and whenever our paths crossed we always said we would one day open a gallery in Dunedin. 12 years later and the rest is history!
Best advice you have been given?
I’ll actually tell you the worst advice I was given by numerous people when I decided to pursue an Arts degree …. “don’t do a Bachelor of Arts” “why are you wasting your time with Art History” “what will you do with an Art History degree”….
WELL – luckily I didn’t take this on board and in fact it made me more determined to follow my dream and it was the best decision I made. Sadly the arts are not promoted as much as other sectors but if this is what you really want to do then follow your heart.
You can learn more about:
As a design brand; George and Willy are fine ambassadors of everyday, simplistic and functional products. But as people, they are an inspiring, modern representation of what the NZ “can-do” attitude looks like in 2000’s. They design things that they need and that their friends need. Things that are detailed only to the degree that allows them to do the best job. There is no fussiness, over design or frivolity – just items that help make our everyday life better.
I have followed Will McCallum and George Wilkins from the very get go. Interviewing them, collecting their products and, to be totally honest, presenting them as shining example of brands “doing it right” to my small business workshops. There is an honest integrity to what they design but also to how they share it. They literally live and breath the lifestyle that their products are made for and it shows.
Big brands pay big bucks in an effort to communicate the same to a much lesser effect….that stuff is just not for sale.
Above you’ll spot their latest offering – the Hanging Drying Rack. The genius of putting their own spin on this traditional product and releasing it to “us” is awesome. A massively functional item, I have only ever seen them in back country huts or the homes of ski friends who have peer pressured someone else to make one!
Remember – heat rises!
The rack falls into long line of products and furniture that are recognisable but fully rejuvenated by the GW team. Their now iconic release of the Studio Roller (followed by the Daily Roller) went so insane on Pinterest that link followers from the USA were ending up at MY site (following my post) and requesting I send over 8!! The viral success of the rollers pushed them to offer international shipping from the get go.
I’m proud that we get to call these guys our own and I’m excited for their future.
I took a little time to check in and spin a few curly questions their way to see what else we might learn about them as designers, business owners and Kiwi’s.
Read on below.
From left: George Wilkins and Will McCallum
In an alternate universe where you met, made a few fun things together while at Uni then graduated with no inkling to continue this particular “making” business, where and what do you guys think you would be doing?
Will: If I didn’t do G&W, I imagine I would still be making something – possibly small batch chilli sauce? Or something like that. I get my satisfaction from producing physical things which people buy and get stoked on. I also would love to do a building apprenticeship and have always been keen on architecture as well.
I don’t think I could be working on something you can’t touch.
George: When I was 10 or so I had to write this thing at school saying what I would want to do. I wrote that I would live on a high country farm in the South Island with an airstrip a helicopter, an aeroplane, a jet boat and a big engineering workshop. When I was younger my grandfather had jet boats and I was obsessed with them, I made remote control jet boats and read everything I could about the Hamilton Jet, which was invented on a high country farm in the South Island, so I think that is where the idea came from.
In an alternate universe I would be doing that.
Paint a picture of what a visitor might be greeted with on entering
the G+W HQ?
Will: The George & Willy headquarters is a big blue shed in a dead end. We have no sign but tell people to look out for the basketball hoop outside. George, Will, Alice, Sam, Sam Jarred & Louie will be here from 7:30 til 4:30 week days, pumping out product and working on new projects. Everything in the workshop has a place – it’s not fun when you have to look for things.
The office is upstairs – insulated with carpet to try and reduce the blare of the saws (didn’t work at all). We realised we will spend more time here than anywhere else so we decided to make it as fun as possible – it’s a bit like a making playground for us – studio upstairs and steel and wood workshop downstairs.
George: Yesterday a guy called Paddy turned up at the workshop. I met him at an engagement party a few weeks ago and told him roughly where the workshop was and that he should turn up one day. He turned up in the middle of the day and was given a tour of the workshop, met everyone and then left with a pair of merino socks for himself. Everyone who turns up gets a pair of socks. They would think it was a bit of a joke to be honest, most people do.
That is what we are going for though…. flag having a serious work environment!
Everyone knows what they are up to and gets it done. Its pretty funny because there is a scaffolding company down the road from us and they all walk past at smoko to go to the bakery and look in seriously confused as to what goes on in our place.
To your followers it’s refreshingly obvious that you and the team live and breath the lifestyle that your products support (anyone in doubt need to check out their Instagram AND Journal)
Clean, strong, no frills design that you can hang your wetsuits on after a dive/surf, that allow you to easily light a fire at that backcountry hut, that you can set up to eat at/study at/ sleep on/display with/ write on/ retrieve the toast with/ WEAR!
Can you each name 3 favourite NZ locations and the activities that you love to do there.
- Great Barrier Island is a cool place – we sailed over there in January for a week on my mates yacht. Absolutely loved it.
- We have heard great things about Big Bay so would be cool to get there at some stage soon – cool hike in and good waves – would be pretty chilly though!
- Wanaka is awesome – both in summer and in winter, always had the best times there.
- The DOC Great Walks . My Mum always got us kids out tramping every summer and I think that the NZ great walks are great. Just the fact that they can be walked by anyone. Your uncle, cousin, sister etc.
- The Cook Straight Ferry – how beautiful are the Sounds!
I love the ferry, you are always heading somewhere when you are on the Ferry which is generally exciting.
- As cliche as it is – walking up Mount Maunganui will never get old. It’s so close for us to do it on a daily basis and every time it reminds me how great the country/place we live in is.
- We were all actually mean’t to be in the Wairarapa this weekend as I am sitting here answering these questions. My Aunt and Uncle are from Riversdale and I think it is a hidden gem in NZ. No one from work has been there before so I was keen as to take them down to stay in the woolshed on the coast, but the weather was looking horrible so we are going to do it in a few weekends time.
I see that you guys have recently renovated a house in the Mount.
It looks bloody GREAT….I am sure you will be increasing sales in Lawson Pine as a wall cladding!
It’s certainly inspiring to see a brand freely move to undertake projects that interest you and are beyond simply adding to your “product range”…
What would be some ultimate projects you’d love to sink your teeth into in the future?
Will: I have always wanted to publish a book – I have never been good at writing so I think it will be a picture book of sorts – a coffee table kinda book I think.
Boats are also cool and love being on the water so it would be cool to do something along the lines of that. Pretty keen to sail to Fiji on a yacht at some stage.
George & Willy has naturally become quite computer and design based, so it’s always refreshing to use your hands again for a long period of time – would be cool to spend a couple years making heirloom furniture pieces – massive dining tables from beautiful timber and not just plywood haha.
George: I’ve got a bet with my brother that I will sail a yacht home from Europe by the time I am 30… not sure if it will happen, but I would be keen to do that.
I would be keen one day to build a replica of the first ever Hamilton Jet boats. I think it is just such a good NZ story and I would love to spend time on it.
I’d be keen to build a hut up a river somewhere that you had to fly/ boat all the materials into. Half the fun for me is definitely in the process and so if you can make the process include a bit of a mission that would be fun.
I have found these old forestry huts that are such a cool shape. I am keen as to restore one of them and make it a nice little cabin. My brother loves forestry, so hopefully he will get a forest I can put it in.
Explore more of the George and Willy World here:
Those with a keen eye on the down under design scene may have recently spotted flashes of this beautiful new accessories textiles collection. While we have come to expect our magpie eyes to recognise the colours and shapes often synonymous with Australian textile design duo; Kate & Kate, their new “Carnival” collection has a little more of a twist to it!
“Carnival captures the joy of gathering together, the convivial delights of a shared table, a picnic under the shade of a gumtree; all with the homely embrace of luxurious yet robust cottons, wools and linens. The collection is a celebration of celebrations, both jovial and nostalgic with classic geometrics complemented by painterly and spirited prints.
The collection offers cotton and alpaca blankets, large scale linen table cloths, linen throws, napkins, tea towels, both linen and leather cushions and hand woven bed spreads.”
While I am very much grabbed by visions of “picnics under gumtrees” (!!) I was also interested in the top notch, group design process that bought this range to life! The collaboration of Kate and Kate with iconic interior design leaders; Arent & Pyke.
On a whim, after spotting that Juliette Arent had mentioned an interest in textiles in an interview, Kate and Kate reached out with an invitation to explore that further.
And as all good pairings go – the collaboration grew some momentum bringing us 18 months down the track to this beautiful collection and the material proof of what can happen when 4 Australian design minds merge in the middle.
Keen to take this opportunity to mine the ideas of these designers a little further (all of whom I have a bursting respect for) I compiled a list of questions (a little left field at times!) focused on topics I would be very interested to find their thoughts on.
Pictured from left to right: Kate Pascoe-Squires , Juliette Arent, Kate Pascoe and Sarah-Jane Arent.
Work/Life balance can be challenging to maintain at the best of times.
What is your work space like and what are the little details within it that help you get the work done!
Kate Pascoe: Oh what a juggle! If anyone finds the answer to that thing called balance – please contact me!! I am so lucky to have the space I work in, it is a little slice of heaven. Designed by Fiona Lynch, the Kate & Kate home in Port Melbourne is a gorgeous open space, with clean lines and plenty of light – a place where you can really catch your breath. We have Buddha radio pumping most of the time, lots of coffee throughout the day and a big wine fridge out the back filled to the brim with Logan Rosé – all of that really keeps us all going.
Just recently, I decided my phone is a huge distraction during my work day with non–stop calls, texts, alerts, alarms – it does not stop! I now put my phone on silent and anyone who urgently needs me can call on the work landline. I have found this makes a huge difference to my ability to get the job done.
Juliette Arent: In the A&P studio in Surry Hills, SJ and I work opposite each other in the far corner of the office….but we have worked sitting opposite each other for nearly 10 years. I almost wouldn’t know myself if I didn’t see her sitting opposite me during the day! When I work from home I am typically sitting at the kitchen bench with coffee or wine (depending on the time of day) or sitting on the back step that looks out to my garden. A bit of sunshine always goes a long way when doing the big picture business dreaming!
Sarah-Jane Pyke: Sunshine works magic creatively, so that was the key element we looked for when we sourced our Surry Hills space. With windows on three sides, we get gorgeous light all day, and that helps keep us all focused. I love the buzz of the team, but when I need downtime, I can retreat to the meeting room (cone of silence!) and I often start the day answering emails over a coffee at The Book Kitchen across the road.
If someone flicked a switch which demanded us all to wear tones of just ONE colour for the rest of our lives….what would yours be?
Kate Pascoe: I would have to be REALLY boring and say grey (so predictable!) I always have my favourite seasonal colours, but there is nothing more stunning than a gorgeous charcoal marle… my good old trusty!
Juliette Arent: Deep terracotta to fleshy melony pink, and everything in between.
Sarah-Jane Pyke: Just ONE colour – ouch! I can’t live without denim, so for me, Indigo, through chambray blue to washed out grey.
HOME. It’s the one place in the world we can really make our own, ignore trends and wrangle our budgets against our personal decorating dreams.
Despite you all designing for spaces and the products that help transform them, what are the defining things you do to make your own house a personal bolthole?
Kate Pascoe Squires: For me, it’s in the furniture. I don’t like clutter and don’t do knick knacks, displays for the sake of displays… I love clean lines, but to achieve a beautiful look, the quality of the furniture is imperative. I have a mixed aesthetic, combining stunning vintage pieces with super liveable items such as cushy couches with removable linen covers.
I love having a house that is lived in – the kids can run wild and I’m not super precious about any one item. If our table gets a mark on it, who cares? It’s part of the history we are creating here. That said, I do run a tight ship and the house is always tidy before I head to bed. It helps me and my family keep a clear head (well, that’s what I tell them anyway!)
Juliette Arent: It is so tempting to want to own the big heroes or icons of the furniture world that you are often putting forward to clients – but I try to avoid this as much as I can. I mostly like a mix of new and vintage, with a particular focus on the art I have acquired over the past 15 or so years. (The only reason I would like to live in a slightly larger property would be for more wall space for art!)
A wonderful part of being a designer, is the thrill you have finding those rare vintage gems for your clients……..and every now and then, for yourself.
Many years ago when (in my opinion) one of the best stores on Queen Street in Woollahra, (Copeland and de Soos) closed down, it was a very sad day. It signalled the end of an era with this type of vintage sourcing in Sydney. Most of the vintage pieces I own I purchased from Rodney de Soos and I am always patiently waiting to see if decides to get back into the business.
My fridge is forever covered in drawings or paintings that my girls have drawn/painted that week, and their bedroom is definitely not as serene and ordered as you would think. For them I am always reminding myself of my own childhood where it was all about colour……colour, timber toys and natural daylight for my kids. (I am always surprised to see when parents opt for neutral-everything for their kid’s rooms. NO!! Colour = fun!
Also, for my own house I think less about “schemes” per se, more about the feeling or the mood I would like each space to evoke. I have always been interested in the the way certain spaces can make you feel…it is not formulaic…..there is always a sensorial and emotional response.
Sarah-Jane Pyke: I really believe that your home should tell your story, and that’s the same for me as it is for our clients. I love the pieces we have collected over the years, and I feel connected to each of them, as they have the story of our lives woven in. Interestingly, I have more vintage furniture than new, and our art always ties it all together.
Some favourites include: Eames Walnut DCM chairs gifted for our wedding; the vintage drawers I sourced on ebay and had painted glossy yellow when I was waiting for “the baby”; a John Baird painting we bought the week we lost a dear friend; my mothers’ sewing machine table that has been in every entry hall I’ve had since leaving home. Right now though, we’re drowning in Lego, which adorns every flat surface of our house! Maybe one day I’ll look fondly back on that too…?
The internet has shrunk the world when it comes to connecting with
like-minded artists/designers/makers etc.
It’s such an exciting time for inspiration and collaboration (obviously!).
Aside from each other, what local creative people or brands are really spin your wheels at the moment?
Kate Pascoe Squires: We have recently collaborated with interior design house Arent&Pyke, which was incredibly inspiring. It was so fun to combine our aesthetics and they really pushed our use of colour. So good.
As we look towards our Summer 17/18 collection, photographer George Byrne is really getting us excited – his depiction of colour and form is incredible.
For shape, I can’t go past Kenya Peterson’s sculptures – hand formed wire, shaped and paper wrapped, they are incredibly distinctive.
Juliette Arent: I always love to see what Emma Elizabeth (stylist/designer/curator) is doing with Local Design – she is a powerhouse, and always at the centre of connecting brilliant designers. Shilo Engelbrecht, textile designer/artist and Lisa Cooper, florist/artist. (All the slashies!!)
Styling by Claire Delmar
Photography by Jason Loucas