• Shopping Cart

    Your shopping cart is empty
    Visit the shop

  • BLOG

    POPULAR

    Category Archives: interview

    Posted on

    Studio visit: Hayley Welsh, Street Artist

    HayleyWelsh-studio-visit_CreativeWomensCircle_kristen-marano

    By Kristen Marano

    Perth Street Artist Hayley Welsh works out of her home garage, but there’s nothing garage-like about it. Welsh has created a space that reflects every bit of who she is: a street artist, traveller, and family person.

    Travel trinkets—mostly American flags from her school bus project —adorn shelves; colourful patterned rugs keep out the cold, and a refinished wood grain table lines the back of the room. Welsh has neatly organized a corner of paintbrushes and paints; vintage picture frames lay stacked on the floor, and the main garage wall is covered by floor to ceiling canvas and butcher paper for Welsh to sketch and paint on.

    I met Welsh at her exhibition Hijacked, a collaboration with her partner and Photographer Andy Faraday. We recently caught up on a Friday afternoon to chat about her creative process, and how travel has influenced her work…

    Describe the process of developing Hijacked and your choice of materials.

    The whole thing was about seizing control of the situations that come to you and try to make the best out of things. It’s a belief that both Andy and I mirror in our work: try to seize what’s happening in your life.

    I guess I looked at things I had been collecting, the ones that spoke to me that I could use to portray this ‘hijacked’ message. I had a collection of articles I was going to work on; Andy had been shooting his work in film and developing it. So, before the show we sat down, and I looked at works that Andy felt like that he would be happy for me to work on. I talked about pieces that I could see something happening. We wanted to create a show that we’d like to go see: sculpture, installation, a mixture of stuff and experiences. We tried not to make it a clinical and typical gallery space and more of an experience.

    Welsh being interviewed at Hijacked, an exhibition in collaboration with Andy Faraday that fused photography and street art to illustrate messages like 'trust love and ignore fear'. Credit: Andy Faraday.

    Welsh being interviewed at Hijacked, an exhibition in collaboration with Andy Faraday that fused photography and street art to illustrate messages like ‘trust love and ignore fear’. Credit: Andy Faraday.

    Describe the moment when you knew you wanted to create an exhibition about fear.

    I was kind of dissecting what I was already creating. Figuring out what was I making, and what these creatures were. I realized it was all this recurring self-doubt.

    When I held, Not You Again, which was a show about dealing with self-doubt, I read a book called, There’s Nothing Wrong With You. It was about how self-doubt and fear spreads to you from an early age. I thought it was interesting, and it explained a lot about why I feel the way I do. After reading that book I felt inspired that I wanted to explore that feeling.

    How do you use this space to create?

    I’ve been painting portraits a lot, and using this mirror to draw my reflection. My mood changes a lot in this space, and this wall can dictate the mood I’ve been in.

    I don’t come into the studio until I’m ready to paint; I never enter the studio before lunch. It’s always messy before a show. Everything is pushed to the side, and everything I want to shoot is on the floor. “I’m always jumping from my computer to paint,” Welsh says with a laugh.

    Welsh uses a mix of classical materials to sculpt and paint on found materials whether old signs, a travel globe, or creature. Credit: Kristen Marano

    Welsh uses a mix of classical materials to sculpt and paint on found materials whether old signs, a travel globe, or creature. Credit: Kristen Marano

    How has travel influenced your work?

    Travelling is such a massive part of feeling empowered and meeting new people. I find you just get richer and richer in your experiences; you broaden your mind so much more. I can’t imagine my life without having travel being a big part of it. Travel has given me the kind of confidence to keep challenging myself, and keep stepping out of the comfort zone. We create better things when we are challenged.

    That’s what I found with the school bus project a year ago. We had a show organized in New York, and we didn’t have the work for it. We decided to create the work while we were there. We bought a bus on the west coast, travelled to east coast, and I found whatever objects. I had a lot of self-doubt like what am I doing with my life? Why are we in a bus? But, I loved every second of it. All these emotions created that body of work.

    Welsh sketches one of her creatures while overlooking the Grand Canyon in Las Vegas, United States. Credit: Andy Faraday.

    Welsh sketches one of her creatures while overlooking the Grand Canyon in Las Vegas, United States. Credit: Andy Faraday.

    What’s next?

    Welsh had told me, “My dream would be a warehouse where I can relax, invoice, do admin stuff.” Maybe her dream is about to be fulfilled. Welsh and Faraday will soon host Not Another Open Studio, an invitation to join the duo in their new studio and see their new work in progress. Visit www.welshandfaraday.com to follow what they’re creating.

    {Title photograph by Kristen Marano}

    Kristen Marano is a writer living in Perth, Australia. Kristen interviews women in business and writes about workplace culture. She contributes to Huffington Post Canada, and produces a weekly newsletter, Creative Women Weekly, featuring stories of creative women from around the world. Follow Kristen on Twitter @kmarano and Instagram @krismarano.


    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: conversations with creative women, interview, virtual visit | Comments Off
    Posted on

    Studio visit: Reny Kestel, Milliner

    RENY-kestel-milliner-creative-womens-circle-kristen-marano

    By Kristen Marano

    Perth’s fashion scene continues to emerge, and Millinery Designer Reny Kestel is one of the city’s talented designers at the forefront of this movement.

    Reny is a young and inventive hatmaker in a competitive industry that got its start in the 1800s. She designs and produces hundreds of headpieces a year for weddings, horse races and fashion weeks that range from edgy wearable art to classic and elegant hats, leather headbands and hand-beaded combs.

    Reny, a Perth native, set up her studio and gallery two years ago in the city. Previously she was living in London, England, where she also discovered her interest in millinery.

    Some might expect that attracting customers outside of Australia’s most isolated state might be difficult, but Reny’s future-thinking designs and respect for tradition keep her top of mind among a diverse customer base. Women rely on Reny to make custom hats for big racing events of the year like the Melbourne Cup and ongoing regional events throughout the country. She currently designs headpieces for Alana McLean, the face of WA Country Cups.

    I visited Reny’s Perth studio to ask her about her designs and learn how she stays relevant.

    How did you get started in millinery?

    I was going to Royal Ascot, and I must have spent hours in this small pokey shop looking at all the trimmings and hat blocks available. This exploring led me to inquire about millinery classes, and from there I have never looked back. I’ve fulfilled my vision by returning to Perth and launching my own label.

    It’s kind of an ironic path as I’ve been fascinated with birds from a young age. In fact, I wanted to be an ornithologist when I was 12-years-old. So, it’s nice to be able to work with bird feathers.

    Image2
    Reny Kestel works on a headpiece in her studio, one of hundreds she produces every year.

    I have also always had a keen interest in art and design from a young age, and I continued this interest by studying Fashion Design at Central Institute of Technology in Perth. I love the idea of wearable art, and fashion is a great form of self-expression. The 3D shape in art and sculpture, and designing with patterns from flat fabrics has always been exciting.

    How have you set up your space to help you be productive?

    Being organised is definitely key. I need to have materials that I use frequently, easily accessible and colour coordinated so I can grab them with minimal fuse.

    My other essential items are clearly positioned in the right workspace areas, such as millinery wire on hooks with tape measures and wire cutters hanging next to them. I have two large steel rulers fixed to the large central table, so when I need fabric straw materials or Petersham ribbon I can quickly measure the exact amount and be able to note the amount I use.

    I always go by the rule that everything has a home. My materials are arranged and labeled so I know with a quick glance what I am looking for. I try to clear the workshop table space every few days or weekly, and put things back in their place after an artistic explosion. I find I can’t get into a creative mode and think clearly without using a clean space.

    Image3
    Reny and her father created this thread spool holder to make her material easily accessible and keep it organised.

    What’s your biggest creative fear and how are you overcoming it?

    Not really fearful, but I’d call it…creative pressure – that is balancing my creative time with the general operations of the business, which involves emails, calls, sales, bookwork, administration, public relations and social media.

    I also have to ensure that the time I spent creating each piece aligns with the price of the piece. This can create a bit of pressure to get things made within a certain time period.

    Image4
    A leather headband in progress on Reny’s work table.

    How does living in an isolated state help and/or challenge your business?

    Since the whole Internet revolution, I don’t notice how isolated Perth is anymore. Connecting to people, finding inspiration, and material sourcing is not a problem now.

    Perth’s population is small, so it does help in terms of networking. We are lucky to have a strong supportive fashion industry in Western Australia, and I think this is because the state is so isolated.

    One last question…

    At the end of our visit I asked Kestel if she has attracted any North American clients yet, where I anticipate her designs could catch on. “Not yet,” she said, but one thing is certain, Australia is lucky to have a defining homegrown designer like Kestel.

    Reny Kestel millinery

    Follow Reny’s designs and shop online at www.renykestel.com.

    {Studio images by Kristen Marano}

    Kristen Marano is a writer living in Perth, Australia. Kristen helps companies build relationships with their audiences through compelling content programs. She also shares her fashion and lifestyle perspectives with Huffington Post Canada, and produces a weekly newsletter, Creative Women Weekly, featuring stories of creative women from around the world. Follow Kristen on Twitter @kmarano and Instagram @krismarano.


    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: conversations with creative women, interview, studio visit | Comments Off
    Posted on

    Regional Creative: Melanie Muddle of HoutenPlank

    Regional Creative_Melanie Muddle1

    By Christina Atherton

    With so many of us are searching for that illusive work/life balance it’s refreshing to see someone who has been able to achieve that while creating a thriving small business from her passions. Based in Redhead, south of Newcastle, Melanie Muddle of HoutenPlank has managed to create an inspiring business that combines her love of food styling, woodwork and Dutch heritage while allowing her to spend precious time with her family. Here she shares an insight into her fledgling creative business and how she got to where she is today.

    Tell us a bit about your background.

    I’m a small town, big family kind of girl. My dad, a scientist come oyster farmer, moved the family from Sydney back to my mum’s hometown on the Tillegery Pennisular when I was young. I spent a lot of time outside, building bush cubbies, riding repurposed bikes from the dump, eating wholesome food and hanging out at the oyster block.

    I’m a third generation ‘Dutchy’. My Oma and Opa came to Australia in 1952 and have been a big part of my life. It was my Opa who started the family oyster farming business and even in his nineties, he continues to demonstrate that working hard is in our genes. My family heritage is something I cherish and it was important for me to incorporate this into my business.

    Inspired by a 1980’s food styling video at school, I decided I wanted to be a food stylist. After chatting to my science-loving dad, I shifted my focus to becoming a dietitian and took myself very seriously at uni. Soon after graduating I was surprised to find that typical dietetics wasn’t for me. I spent the next decade working in corporate dietetics, I enjoyed a stint in private practice, I met my husband at ‘The Worlds Biggest Disco’ and eventually returned to a management position in the Health and Wellbeing division of Sanitarium. And then came our babies.

    What made you want to start your own business?

    I loved my corporate job but motherhood has a way of changing your perspective (often without your permission). I tried to balance everything when baby Eve arrived, but it was impossible. I found myself without work and I knew that I had an opportunity to rethink and reshape my career, a moment to pause and contemplate.

    Like many mums, I wanted to find the elusive balance between work, mothering and life in general. I wanted to do something was fulfilling and fun, that was aligned with my passions and that positioned me to continue to learn and grow.

    How did you come up with the idea of HoutenPlanks?

    I have always loved food. I think about it A LOT. I find food photography mesmerising and adore quiet time with food literature. I had watched that the ‘serving board’ trend become entrenched in food styling. I noted that recipe books, food magazines and cafes where using serving boards frequently. Food commentators were talking about the popularly of share-plates and the decline of entrée-main-dessert dining. Jamie Oliver centred his styling on painted serving boards and people couldn’t get enough of it. I knew that with time, the serving board trend would permeate households, generating demand for such products. I knew that ‘fashion for food’ was on the agenda and that HoutenPlank, which is Dutch for ‘wooden board’, could meet this growing market need.

    Regional Creative_Melanie Muddle3

    How did you get started?

    My husband Brad often scoffs at the depth of my research and detailed documentation. He’s a ‘get-in-there-and-get-stuff-done’ kind of guy. I’m the opposite and don’t mind generating a spreadsheet or trying to articular market insights. My second baby Esther arrived and I’d spend nights dreaming and working on my business plan. On weekends, in between breast-feeding, I’d slip down to the workshop to start prototyping. Brad was incredibly patient and supportive. He had a few doubts about my woodworking capabilities but nonetheless allowed me to use his tools. He always believed in what I was trying to achieve. He collected discarded workshop furniture from construction sites until we had built a functional little workshop. One sleep-deprived year later, I finally had a plan and the confidence to launch my business.

    melanie-muddle-houtenplank

    What are the pros and cons of running your own small business?

    HoutenPlank provides me with a platform to do what I love. It seems that I’ve finally found my ‘groove’. After previously struggling with work-life balance, I’m happy to be able to control my workflow and how work impacts my family life (well, most of the time). More recently, I’ve relished the freedom to support my friends and family when they’ve needed it. I’ve enjoyed connecting, supporting and being inspired by local creatives. I’m also thrilled that spending hours on Pinterest and Instagram is now considered productive market research!

    Business administration is my foe! Lauren Hung from The Black Line penned my new motto “face it or face-plant in it”. Bookwork, quoting and filing are not my favourite things but I’m learning how to effectively manage these tasks. I also find it difficult to manage growth with limited capabilities. There’s a constant re-evaluation of how to increase production without stepping outside my brand values. Growth is exciting, but also anxiety provoking. Most of the time I am ‘one-girl-in-my-garage’, both a pro and a con on many levels.

    What has been your proudest achievement to date?

    I wish I could tell you about my proudest achievement, but it’s still under wraps. What I can say is that I have won an unearthed competition and have developed a collaborative product, which will be available Australia-wide later in the year. This is groundbreaking for my business and I am preparing for a crazy, busy, exciting few months. I can’t wait until I can share more about it.

    Has social media played an important part in growing your business? If so, how?

    Social media has been an essential tool to create buzz about HoutenPlank. It’s been a cost effective way for me to increase brand awareness, encourage word of mouth, expand my reach, share my story, show my products, develop my style, engage in conversations and build relationships. I’m constantly amazed at the connections, opportunities and friendships that social media can forge. It’s a daily thing for me and I’m now at the stage of developing a social media strategy and calendar to help ensure it’s easy for me to reap the benefits of this medium.

    Regional Creative_Melanie Muddle4

    What advice would you give someone thinking about starting their own creative business?

    I’ve mentioned that I’m partial to research and planning. I believe that a well thought out business plan is an excellent launch pad for a creative business. I’ve recently looked back at my initial plan and while much of it now seems irrelevant, it was critical in the beginning. Don’t make the mistake of planning yourself in circles. There’s a time to plan and a time for action. A good business plan forces you to think differently, to stretch your ideas, to anticipate the challenges, to understand the market place, to be realistic in your financial forecast, but most of all it gives you confidence to take a chance to be successful at doing something that you love.

    Now that I’ve rabbited on about planning, I’ll sum up a few other thoughts…be open-minded, invest in building relationships with stakeholders and customers, embrace collaborations, have a ‘roll-with-it’ attitude, don’t put all your eggs in one basket and never forget your raison d’être (reason for being).

    On a quest to live a more creative life, Christina loves any type of crafty project and has tried everything from watercolours and flower arranging to paper craft and calligraphy. She has an unhealthy obsession with Instagram and when not working in freelance travel and lifestyle PR, spends her time as a mama, wannabe photographer and magazine junkie. She currently coordinates CWC events in Newcastle.


    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: conversations with creative women, interview, regional | Comments Off
    Posted on

    Interview: Louise Mulhall of Floralovely

    Louise-Mulhall_

    By Keely Malady

    Louise Mulhall is a Brisbane based Calligrapher and holder of possibly the most delightful business name I’ve yet encountered – Floralovely. With a background in floristry, it’s not surprising the find that Louise’s whimsical and fresh designs have attracted a strong Instagram and Facebook following, with demand growing for her pointed pen style.

    Returning to an art practice that you had once been disappointed by is a courageous move – especially with a young family in tow. But Louise’s late night explorations in modern calligraphy have paid off handsomely, as her delightful creations are in demand for weddings, events and corporate clients. Louise also runs workshops across the east coast, to share her skills and passion with aspiring calligraphers.

    Calligraphy is an ancient and evocative art practice, what initially attracted you to it?
    I initially became interested in calligraphy when I was in high school – I was always the girl at school with the highly decorated “title page” for assignments! For a short while I learnt broad nib calligraphy, but became disheartened when I wasn’t getting the results I wanted. So I put my tools away and didn’t give them another glance until many years later, where I discovered pointed pen calligraphy. This discovery of the tools which complimented my style unleashed my creativity and I fell completely in love.

    Having worked in the wedding industry for many years, I could see there was a market for my own style of handwritten place cards and wedding invitations. I researched modern calligraphy online; bought all the recommended books I could find, did online courses and completed a modern calligraphy workshop in Sydney. I spent many, many hours at night once my daughter and subsequent son, were asleep refining my style and working my way through reams of practice paper and ink.

    The name ‘Floralovely’ was intended to capture my love of both flowers and calligraphy, allowing flexibility between these two aspects of my business. Ultimately though, I decided to focus exclusively on my calligraphy business and put my Floristry career into hiatus.

    Louise Mulhall_calligraphy_2

    What are the biggest misconceptions about your work?

    If you were to look at my Instagram you might be lead to believe that my days are filled with playing with pretty papers and shiny inks when in actual fact my days are usually filled with taking my kids to swimming lessons or playing with play dough! Social media can be quite deceptive in that way.

    As my children are still so young, I limit the amount of orders I take for calligraphy as my main job at the moment is Mum. I spend most days with my son and daughter and then work at night while they are asleep.

    There’s a lot more involved with my business that just sitting down and writing for a couple of hours. I liaise with clients, order supplies, organise workshop venues and ticketing, create calligraphy drafts in pencil and I spend a lot of time practicing my lettering.

    I definitely couldn’t keep working this hard if I didn’t love my job. I feel a great, personal fulfilment being able to write calligraphy for work and still be there for my kids when they need me.

    My favourite quote at the moment is from Will Rogers (1879-1935) – “If you want to be successful, it’s just this simple. Know what you are doing. Love what you are doing. And believe in what you are doing.”

    Louise Mulhall_calligraphy_1

    What have been your greatest challenges in starting your own business?
    I’ve found my greatest challenge is managing my time between work and family, which I’m sure is an experience shared with any working mother! Making the most of my child-free days is imperative, as well as a having a tolerance to late nights in the office. I try to stay out of my office on the days that my kids are home with me as I want to make sure my attention is on them and not on my work.

    I have also found it challenging to keep on top of the administration work while still allowing myself plenty of writing and creative time. It’s easy to get caught up in emails and admin when you’re doing everything yourself but I need to make sure I have dedicated writing times where I don’t look at the computer.

    Louise Mulhall_workshop_4_

    Louise Mulhall_workshop_2_

    What part of your day gives you the best ‘flow’ in your work?
    I really enjoy when I have a long list of names for a place card order or envelope addressing and I sit down with a cup of tea and just work my way through the list. It is so satisfying to see all the cards or envelopes lined up with the ink drying after I have finished them.

    Talk us through a day in the life of Floralovely.

    On the two days my children are in daycare/kindy, after the morning chaos and drop offs, I come home and settle into the stream of emails and admin work with a cup of tea.

    Once I’m up to date, I’ll review the client brief and start warming up for writing. I’ve found I just can’t sit down and expect to start calligraphy work straight away. I I need to do a few pages of swirls, drills and practice alphabets to get going.

    I’ll spend the rest of the day working through the order, whether it’s envelope addressing, place cards or a seating chart and before I know it, it’s time to pick up my littlies!

    I mostly practice my calligraphy at night-time in the home office I share with my husband. In these quieter hours I have found the perfect environment that allows me to get my ink ‘flow’ happening. Everything is fairly still, my children are sleeping and I can really concentrate on what I’m doing.

     

    —–
    Keely Malady is a twenty-something year old graduate architect living in Melbourne. Keely’s blog, Small Talk & Co. aims to hold a space open for a new conversation on the wonders of the small things that make up a life well lived.

    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: interview | Comments Off