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    Interview – Tina van den Broek, illustrator and artist

    The Food Artist Interview

    By Andrea McArthur

    ‘Doing what you love’ is paramount to artist and CWC Member Tina van den Broek, who also goes by the pseudonym The Food Artist. Tina creates tasty illustrations for businesses, products and services that are looking to spice things up. It’s a new and unique industry niche she calls ‘Food Communication’!

    The Food Artist Logo

    Tell us about your background. What has led you to starting The Food Artist?

    I have a background in visual arts. I did a fine arts degree in Auckland, New Zealand, majoring in sculpture, with minors in printmaking and fibre arts. I also have a keen passion for making food. While studying I worked part time in a restaurant and worked in southern France for six months where I would cook, clean and entertain guests. I gained advertising and marketing skills while working for a boutique agency in New Zealand, and also larger companies like gumtree.com in London. In the last few years I have been working in online marketing.

    I decided I wanted to pursue my creative interests by creating a business and life that I loved. Something I did because I enjoyed it, which was extremely specific and told a story. In order to articulate what it is that I do and can offer people, I had to think long and hard about my core values, beliefs and passions.

    All my life I have loved food. I enjoy freestyle cooking where I whip something up based on the ingredients at hand. I can cook for hours and be in that same ‘happy place’ I go to when I am making art. Previous to this I was working under the name The Visual Citizen doing illustration, visual arts and face painting, which I still do. It made sense to bring my two passions together: food & illustration. Which is how The Food Artist was born.

    The Food Artist Workspace

    What skills have you brought into starting The Food Artist and what business skills are you developing?

    I bring with me a lifetime of customer service skills. From the age of nine I worked weekends or after school hours in my parents’ milk bar and bulk food store serving customers. I have a love of travel, meeting new people and learning about their life and experiences. I like to use my artistic and creative skills to help people and continue to refine and grow these skills. The Food Artist is quite new actually – I started the business in February 2014 and I am currently trying to develop my business and financial skills.

    What mediums do you work in?

    I like working in black ink pens, fine-liners, watercolour paints and pencils, metallic pens and coloured pencils.

    Who are your main clients at the moment?

    My main clients are independent food producers, life coaching mentors, health & wellness bloggers/practitioners, chefs and caterers. I look forward to adding many more in the future.

    Tell us about a favourite project that you have worked on.

    A favourite project of mine would have been creating illustrations for a forthcoming eats, treats and edible beauty recipe book. I was lucky enough to taste a lot of the recipes and I believe that helped me draw them! I also got to try the edible beauty treatments, which blew me away with their tasty ingredients that I just wanted to eat. I learnt a lot about ingredients from this job as the author has food intolerances.

    tina-van-den-broek_Cherry_&_basil_soda

    Do you have a favourite restaurant that you frequent or a favourite recipe that you cook?

    I’m more of a ‘whip something up at home’ kind of girl and I enjoy cooking ratatouille, home made banana ice cream, or kitty cat pikelets (which are pikelets made in the shape of a cat).

    What advice do you have for others who might be considering a jump into a creative business?

    My advice would be that you can’t do everything yourself so get help – a business mentor/coach, have people you can rely on for support and outsource what you can. There is always something you can work on so accept it and set yourself tasks rather than working yourself into the ground in a never-ending attempt to finish just one more thing. Last but not least, believe in yourself and never give up, sometimes things just don’t work so you learn from your mistakes and try another approach.

    What future goals do you have for your creative pursuits?

    My future goals are to illustrate a colouring in book and children’s book. To take my illustrations from 2D to 3D and do visual merchandising, styling, installations, collaborate with set designers or prop makers on TV, film or music videos. I would also like to license my artworks for use on products.

    tina-van-den-broek_AnzacBiscuits

    Thank you Tina for your time and sharing your story with us! Follow The Food Artist adventures on Instagram @thefoodartist and Facebook /TheFoodArtist or for more foodie goodness and to see Tina’s work, visit www.thefoodartist.com.au.

    _

    Andrea McArthur (www.andyjane.com) has a passion for all things visual and works as a Senior Graphic Designer in Dubai. Type is her true love and goes weak at the knees over beautiful design. You’ll find her sharing design related musings on Instagram @andyjanemc.

    Tags: Art, artist, business, food, Interview
    Posted by: Andrea McArthur
    Categories: interview, regular columns | Comments Off
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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
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    Creative collaborations: Natalia Hayllar and Lisa Madigan

    By Christina Atherton

    KINFOLK_AVALON_0342

    The power of collaboration is becoming more evident as creatives around Australia team up to produce unique and sometimes one off events and experiences. Joining forces with a fellow creative provides endless possibilities as well as a platform for bringing together ideas and utilising each one another’s skills.

    Today we chat to two Sydney creatives, blogger Natalie Hayllar of eat, read, love and artist Lisa Madigan about their recent collaborations and why two heads are better than one…

    What are your creative backgrounds?

    Lisa: I’ve been working as a professional artist for over a decade but there are many more strings to my bow. Styling, floristry, food, entertaining, events, travel and interiors are all passions of mine andare a natural complement to working as a fine artist. I’m a beauty seeker, an atmosphere creator, an experience cultivator, with the eye, hand and heart of an artist.

    We all know that as a creative, you need to be able to adapt whilst staying true to who you are and your own unique story. I think we’re both very much about enhancing the experience of the good things in life and celebrating the things we love.

    Natalie: I have no formal creative training. I always wanted to do graphic design but ended up studying Psychology and a Masters of Science in Nutrition at University. I went on to become a dietician and later studied marketing. A corporate communications and marketing career followed but Ihave always preferred the more creative aspects of marketing.

    After I had my first son, I bought myself a digital camera and taught myself photography, at the same time starting my eat read love blog. Initially this was a creative outlet just for me, a stress reliever and a place for me and my friends to connect on simple pleasures. But then the inspiration I found online and the subsequent connections with wonderful creative people opened my eyes to a whole new world and Icontinued blogging and taking photos. For me it’s great to have found ‘my tribe’ and to connect with people that have shared passions. Social media and attending creative courses has definitely helped build those lovely connections.

    How did you meet?

    Lisa: A couple of years ago I had a store and gallery in Berry which Natalie discovered thanks to her love of the South Coast. A few regular visits and great chats later, it was my delight to work on the branding of Natalie’s blog eat read love and watch it blossom. We struck up a friendship and the rest, as they say, is history.

    Natalie: I spend a lot of time on the NSW South Coast and stumbled upon some of Lisa’s work in a South Coast magazine. After popping into her gallery and store in Berry to say hi I just knew Lisa would be the right person to help me design my branding. Many champagnes and ‘anchor’ coffees later, a great friendship has formed.

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    How did your collaboration on the eat read love pop up dinner series and Kinfolk events come about?

    Natalie: I wanted to try something new for eat read loveso started a series of intimate pop up dinners in Sydney last year. I asked Lisa to be my special guest artist and help me style the first pop up event. It was so much fun and we worked really well together as a team so I asked Lisa to co-host the launch of The Kinfolk Table cookbook with me late last year. The long table lunch in the country at Lisa’s cottage worked really well, so when I was asked to be the Kinfolk Sydney representative, Lisa was one of the first people I called. I realise my creative and styling limits so it’s always great to bring in the experts and let people do what they do best rather than trying to do it all yourself. Lisa has done an amazing job with all of the event styling and the Kinfolk L’esprit de la Mer event in Lisa’s home town was really special for both of us.

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    What roles do you each play in these collaborations?

    Lisa: My role is the creative eye, the environment shaper, the stylist, the florist, the designer and occasional co-host.It’s my delight to conceptualise, create and set the perfect scene. I make gorgeous early morning market trips and spend hours bundling up blooms. I create floor plans and source props, I work on little details and special touches, I design and produce printed materials then whip it all into beautiful shape for the event. For me, putting together aesthetic cohesion is so much more than just making things look good, it’s about making things feel good and threading a story throughout the experiences we’re creating, seamlessly and it’s my role to make them shine.

    We both wear a lot of hats, such is the nature of collaborating, there’s fluidity and an enjoyment and flexibility in each of our skill sets.We both do whatever we need to do to ensure the magic happens.

    Natalie: As a host I bring together the team of people, partners and sponsors, promotion of the events, managing the invitees and venue requirements, working to just make it happen and ensure everyone is having fun along the way. I am used to working on deadlines and just do what is needed to get it done. While I always have a vision for how I want the event to look, I realise my styling limitations and therefore trust Lisa wholeheartedly to work her magic with the table settings, flowers and design elements. We work really well as a team and it helps that we have a similar aesthetic. Regardless, Lisa will always surprise me with an amazing element of the styling that I just go wow, I would never have thought of that but it looks fabulous!

    It’s now time to startplanning for our tropical pop up in Bali in August and the next Kinfolk event in October. I can’t wait to do something completely different again in a new location and with a new theme.

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    What’s the best thing about collaborating with each other?

    Lisa: Trust, friendship, synergy and fun! We each know that we’re both passionate about creating beautiful and memorable occasions in every way and trust each other completely to do what has to get done, there’s a great synergy in the way we both work.

    We both spend a lot of time in preparation and that process is always an exciting one where we both bring our ideas and prowess to the table, we’re both quite detail oriented and organised, so there’s an enjoyable ease to it all, we’re also lucky to have one another to sound board off.When it comes to pulling it all together, everything flows so well, there’s great respect for what we each do and we love what we do!

    Natalie: Ditto. It is always great to have a sounding board and bounce ideas off each other too. I remember the night before the most recent Kinfolk dinner in Avalon neither of us had had much sleep the week prior: we were both exhausted and were ready to make it all happen. We just sat peacefully in a little wine bar and said ‘ok, let’s do this, we will sleep tomorrow!’ On the day we’re often just buzzing with adrenaline as its go, go, go but to sit and enjoy a meal once it’s all set up, and to see the end result in the photographs and video footage is always exciting.

    What future collaborations do you have planned?

    Lisa: I think we’re both still swooning from our last Kinfolk dinner, but there’s absolutely more to come! We’re excited to be heading to the beautiful Villa Sungaiin Bali this August for another eat read love pop up so stay tuned for the visual feast that is to come on that front. I’ve just had an exhibition in Adelaide collaborating with Poet’s Ode and while I don’t want to give too many secrets away there’ll also be something exciting happening at my Kangaroo Valley cottage later in the year too.Always new and exciting things on the horizon so stay tuned!

    Natalie: After many years attempting to juggle my career, motherhood and eat read love as well as all of the Kinfolk and pop up dinner events I realised I am no longer able to do it all and still sleep. So I have just taken the plunge and started a yearlong ‘career break’ so I now have time to focus on following my creative heart. I hope to sign up to some more courses, travel a lot more and learn some new photography skills along the way. I am also going to be writing a lot more for some new and exciting publications and planning an extra special milestone birthday to NYC. The eat read love pop up dinner series will continue this year with our first international pop up dinner in Bali in August. Who knows, it could be a Paris pop up next…!

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    On a quest to live a more creative life, Christina Atherton loves any type of crafty projects 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 PR for one of Australia’s leading tourism organisations, spends her time as a mama, wannabe photographer and magazine junkie.


    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: creative collaborations, interview | Comments Off
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    Interview – Kelly Holcroft of That Vintage Caravan

    By Andrea McArthur

    Kelly Holcroft

    Kelly Holcroft’s path to owning and operating Sydney’s first caravan bar, ‘That Vintage Caravan’, is one of passion, a desire to put heart and soul into doing what you love and an unplanned business. After falling for a caravan intended solely to store the remaining items from her “vintage extravaganza” wedding, Kelly’s first caravan “Sweet Jane” was converted into a pink Travelling Teahouse, never actually to be used as storage. From that time ‘That Vintage Caravan’ was born and Kelly has been adding to her family of travelling caravan’s with the recent addition of “Spencer” (a more masculine character!).

    Usually a creator of experiences for her guests, today Kelly shares some of her own experiences on her ‘That Vintage Caravan’ journey with us!

    Kelly, please describe the concept of ‘That Vintage Caravan’.

    Our set up is perfect for those looking to create a memorable experience for their guests – one that is talked about for years to come!

    Available for hire our beautiful vans are stylish, charming and offer a unique service. They’re perfect for a wedding, engagement party, bucks or hen’s day, kitchen tea, bridal shower, birthday corporate gig, product launch, Christmas gathering – any occasion really! From our handsome vintage mobile bar (Spencer) and delightful travelling teahouse (Sweet Jane) we offer a range of catering options to suit all tastes and budgets – including a simple drinks package morning or afternoon nibbles or a full morning High Tea experience. We’re on wheels so can bring our old world style to you at any place or time. ‘That Vintage Caravan’ is also available to attend fairs, festivals, fetes and as well as private photo shoots.

    That Vintage Caravan

    Can you share your vision of a great event or gathering?

    A fabulous party always has a theme or includes an element of surprise (like a vintage caravan bar)! It also involves great company, great music, great food (and wine) and gives people a reason to unite and celebrate in the name of FUN!

    Have you always had a passion for vintage?

    I love collecting things with a history or a story. It makes them more interesting and precious. I also love a bit of up-cycling. There’s nothing better than giving old stuff a new life. As a child I was constantly crafting so I think it is just a natural progression. I got a new sander for mother’s day last year – it was the best present ever! What led you to making the leap from events to ‘That Vintage Caravan’ business owner? I have worked in finance for the last 7 years and that’s the main reason I started this business. I needed something else in my life other than numbers… a creative outlet and a project that I was passionate about.

    The leap wasn’t planned. Things slowly came together after my hubby and I got married. The wedding was a vintage extravaganza. Following the big day I found it hard to part with my special treasures. My collection in fact continued to grow. With our little house bursting at the seams we (my hubby) decided I needed more space and suggested a caravan would be a good space to store my bits and pieces. And it just went from there!

    The first van was purchased from the Southern Highlands (it was never used as storage). Sweet Jane is a Travelling Teahouse. She took about 9 months to convert. My handsome Spencer (a mobile bar) followed about 9 months later. He’s the new man in my life!

    What skills have you brought over from your previous career experiences into ‘That Vintage Caravan’?

    I have been in communications, events and marketing for last 20 years so I guess I bring all of those skills with me. I’ve worked across a variety of fields including the not for profit sector, financial services and local Government. In what seems like a lifetime ago I was also a teacher.

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    Photography by: JR Interactive

    How did you devise the caravan’s personalities, Spencer and Ms Sweet Jane?

    The personality for each van came easy. Spencer is named after the Charlie Chaplin (aka Sir Charles Spencer). He was a strong, iconic character who made people feel happy… and that’s what I want my business to do. Jane gets her identity from Jane Austen one of my all time favourite authors.

    What are your favourite events to work on?

    Hard to say really, I love all of the parties that I do for different reasons. We’ve helped celebrate weddings, engagements, Christmas parties, baby showers and hen’s days. Actually I did a 100th birthday not so long ago. That was pretty spesh! Not many get the chance to be involved in such a significant event. It was a really beautiful day, filled with love and joy.

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    Photography by: Gabriela Colebrook Photography

    What does a typical day at work involve for you?

    I am a bit of a night owl and do my best work late in the evening. My biz is a one lady show so I do it all. I still work 3 days a week (in finance) so I just try to fit things in where I can. There is no routine. I am very lucky to have a supportive partner and a great family who help me – which makes things so much easier.

    Where to from here with That Vintage Caravan?

    I’d love a fleet of vintage caravans. That’d make me a happy little camper!

    What advice do you have for others who might be considering a jump into a small business?

    An old boss once told me ‘fake it till you make it’ nobody really knows what they’re doing so smile, be confident and just keep going! And you know what? It’s true!

    I use this saying when I start to feel lost or insecure things about how ‘wonderful’ everybody is. Creating a business is daunting. There are so many things to learn and just when you think you’ve got it under control something else pops up. You need to be true to yourself, trust your instincts and work hard!

    Thank you Kelly for your time and sharing your story with us! For more vintage goodness follow That Vintage Caravans’ adventures on Instagram instagram.com/thatvintagecaravan and to find out more details about Kelly’s unique setup go to www.thatvintagecaravan.com.au.
    _

    Andrea McArthur (www.andyjane.com) has a passion for all things visual and works as a Senior Graphic Designer at StartJG Middle East – Dubai. Type is her true love and goes weak at the knees over beautiful design. You’ll find her sharing design related musings via Twitter and Instagram @andyjanemc.

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    Posted by: Andrea McArthur
    Categories: interview, regular columns | Comments Off