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    Interview: Chelsea Hing and Emma Barnett (plus Member giveaway!)

    Melbourne interiors designer and CWC Member Chelsea Hing has teamed up with stylist Emma Barnett to release a range of products with a unique underlying concept, titled Still Life. Read on to learn more about this creative collaboration, and their generous giveaway to one lucky CWC Member. Interview_chelsea-hing-emma-barnett

    How did you and Emma meet?

    Emma & I met five years ago when I was engaged to design the interior for a major renovation she was undertaking on her house. We got on really well and seeing how she styled her home once it was finished, I suggested we keep working together styling my projects for magazine photoshoots. And so we did and found we had a great synergy and a similar way of looking at things.

    How did the idea come about to collaborate and launch Still Life?

    Shoot after shoot we found clients were constantly amazed at how we transformed their houses, often we would style with things they already had, just placed and combined differently with pieces we would bring in. We did really simple things, like creating little vignettes, doing big flowers in main areas or small blooms next to beds, a throw where you need it on the couch, a stack of books arranged on the coffee table. I started to think, wouldn’t it be great if we could give our clients the confidence to do that themselves without having to style a whole house at a time. So the early idea for StillLife was really about creating pre-styled vignettes for those classic areas that people need the most help with – the coffee table, entrance hall and mantel – in essence to deliver what Emma & I do when we style an interior instead as a shoppable look.

    Tell us about the maker artisans you are working with on this range. How did you choose them?

    Early on we realised that the collection had to have a unique element that couldn’t be reproduced by anyone else. Our starting point were things that we loved and would have in our own houses. They were hand made objects that had a story, that were organic in some way and were not generic mass produced pieces. We already had one maker Brahman Perera on our radar who had made some great sculptural objects for us. Emma & I then separately discovered Amber Lucy of Thread Architecture at Designex (I told you there was synergy!) At the time she had just started experimenting with combining rope and leather which we loved. Our final piece in the puzzle was always a ceramicist as we knew a key styling element is always vessels. We met quite a few before settling on Andrei Davidoff whose aesthetic was the right fit for ours.

    2_Still_Life14728 How did the creative process work in the collaborative sense – did you each design individual products or did you combine ideas with the maker on each one?

    We briefed each maker for three pieces specifically to suit the three areas we wanted the collection based around, sometimes this meant an existing piece was adapted to our size and material specifications, in which case the collaboration was less around the idea and more about finessing the piece into something beautiful to suit our brief. Other times, it was a completely new piece that required collaboration from the get go on all fronts; shape, scale, size, colour and finish. These pieces required more prototypes to get the final design right but have also been the most rewarding. Amongst all this, Emma and I designed our own basics range of styling pieces to complement our maker pieces as we realised that we wouldn’t be able to put just anything with these beauties our makers were producing. We had to make sure that the scale, proportion and finish of all the complementary pieces were just right if we were going to properly deliver on the StillLife concept. Again that was a great collaboration between Emma and I in our weekly meetings, bouncing ideas off each other and me drawing directly onto my iPad. 11_Still_Life14986

    How long did the range take to design, make and launch and were there any unexpected challenges along the way?

    There were so many challenges and quite a few times where we considered the project too large to pull off. One of the biggest difficulties was developing our own basics range and getting all the prototypes ready within a tight timeframe. Many a night was spent worrying if our pieces were going to make it out of the kiln in time. Our original idea to have each look anchored by one maker piece evolved into putting the best combinations together which has had a knock on effect to how we did things behind the scenes. Overall it has taken just under a year from the initial idea but really six months since finding the makers to launching the concept.

    What’s in store for Still Life going forward – regular collections, collaborations with other artists?

    As we’ve received such a great response from our first collection and all our pieces are limited editions, we’re already busy working on our next collection.

    Thread Architecture Belted Vase

    Thread Architecture Belted Vase

    CWC Members can enter our giveaway to win the Thread Architecture Belted Vase (pictured directly above) from Chelsea and Emma’s debut collection, valued at $240. Log in and enter the competition here.


    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: creative collaborations, giveaway, interview | Comments Off
    Posted on

    New event recordings now online!

    new-podcasts-now-online

    The first three speaker events of the year are now available in audio form over at the podcasts page! Hear gems of wisdom and all about the creative careers of three awesomely talented Australian ladies: film maker and photographer Hailey Bartholomew; artist and event stylist Heidi Moore-Gill; and fine artist Miranda Skoczek.

    Event recordings are accessible to Members only. Join this month and receive a free movie ticket, too!


    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: giveaway, podcasts | Comments Off
    Posted on

    Book review (and member giveaway): Taking Back Retail

    By Tess McCabe

    For almost every creative with products to sell, having an online commerce option is essential. Even if your sales are mostly through your bricks and mortar store, or your market stall, or wholesale orders, no-one can deny that these days, customers expect that you also sell your wares via your own website or a third-party online marketplace.

    The argument for having an online retail presence is at the heart of Taking Back Retail, written and released by Portable founders Andrew Apostola and Simon Goodrich last year. But this easy to digest, information-heavy handbook has lots to offer those looking to succeed in any aspect of the online space – whether it be devising a new website design; figuring out the easiest and more effective social media platform to work for your business; conceiving of new ways to promote your product range; or simply analysing how you’re current modes of online selling and marketing are working for you.

    tbr0

    Overall, the book hammers home where best to spend your ‘business development’ budget (which they acknowledge is often limited) to get the best return. This is advice that, as creatives, we often don’t get to hear. The team at Portable have made their mistakes along the way in the growth of their own business and side projects, and they are happy to share what they have learned so that we can all benefit.

    Taking Back Retail is primarily aimed at those in the fashion industry (to whom Portable’s own online shop software is targeted), and many of the case studies within its pages relate to this field. However, in my opinion, retailers, makers and designers of any creative sort will likely benefit from the advice in its pages. Personally, I was surprised I found much of its advice relevant to my own business – the tips on creating interesting blog content, organising and managing an online shop, and making the most of a enewsletter and mailing list database were particularly helpful and prompted me to think about CWC’s online presence in a fresh way.

    tbr1
    tbr2

    It’s an easy read that could potentially have a big impact for you and the future of your creative work.

    Lucky for us, the generous folk at Portable have offered 10 paperback copies of Taking Back Retail to CWC members this month. Join CWC before February 28, 2014 to be in the running for a copy, or current CWC members can log in and enter the giveaway here. Winners will be drawn on 1 March and notified shortly after.

    Or, if you just want to get your hands on a copy of the book, you can do so in digital or paperback format at the Portable website.


    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: book review, giveaway | Comments Off
    Posted on

    Our book launch raffle prize pack. Wowsers.

    If you follow CWC on social media, you’re probably well aware of this by now. But it begs repeating: tomorrow night we officially launch Conversations with Creative Women: Volume Two!

    It’s shaping up to be a fun night to mingle with the local creative community and celebrate the work of the 30 women involved in the book.

    I’ve been overwhelmed by the response to my call out for donations to the raffle which will be held on the night, profits of which will go to an fantastic not-for-profit organisation called Seven Women.

    raffle_530

    There will be three prize packs comprising a selection of the following…

    One ticket to Unleash Creative Melbourne  — Stationery package from The Hungry Workshop —Ceramic set by Cone 11 Ceramics — Greeting card set by Gabby Malpas — Lunch for two at Miss Jackson cafe — Photo print by Kirsten Bresciani — Cygnet Tunic by Jack of Diamonds —  Earrings by Liz Ickiewicz — Framed art print by Jasmine Mansbridge — Necklace by Shuh Lee — Stools by Gratton Design — Tea towel by Pinch River — Earrings by Maryann Talia Pau  — Lamp by Reduxr — Necklace by Tote — Ceramic vessel by Ichimu — Two cushions by Unearth Co —Personal styling session with Sarah Egan  — Interior design consultation with Siobhan Donoghue — Scented candle by Murphy & Daughters — Two cushions by Balala — Handmade journal by Kitty Baroque — Earrings by Polli — Subscription to The Owner Builder Magazine

    Thank you so much to everyone who generously donated!

    We will also have books for sale at the launch, packaged in the limited edition Frankie & Swiss/Emily Green/Catherine Campbell/Lara Cameron fabric wraps. It will be your last chance to get one of these, if you missed the pre-order special offer. Note though that all sales will be cash only!

    Here are the details for the launch again:

    Friday 15 November
    6-8pm
    87-89 Albert Street, Brunswick
    (entry via laneway)

    So bring your friends and partners, and if you have a spare minute, please RSVP.

    See you there!

    Extra thanks to our awesome book launch sponsors: Ben Haines WineTwo Birds BrewingSweet ValentyneGood Grace & HumourGratton DesignThe Public Studio and Tribe Communications.

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    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: conversations with creative women, event, giveaway | Comments Off