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    Interview – Tess McCabe of CWC and Creative Minds Publishing

    Tess McCabe

    By Andrea McArthur

    Tess McCabe is a Brisbane-born, Melbourne based creative entrepreneur who has made Creative Women’s Circle (CWC) the inspirational community that it is. Recently, Tess has also founded a resource for smart working creatives called Creative Minds Publishing. A big thanks to Tess for sharing her thoughts with us.

    Can you give a brief description of your path to CWC and Creative Minds Publishing.

    From an early age I’ve been a  lover of printed things – books, magazines, posters, stationery – though it wasn’t until late high school that I could ‘name’ graphic design as the career path to follow. At that point I was pretty determined to make that happen, though I was also open to whatever opportunities came my way job-wise in the industry. So after a Bachelor of Design Studies at Griffith University in Brisbane, I worked for a big publishing house designing educational and non-fiction books. I also freelanced for small studios and my own clients creating brand identities, printed things and web stuff, and after a year of travel found myself working independently full-time in 2008 doing all of the above. As a ‘side project’ and as a way to meet people in my new home town of Melbourne, I took over coordinating CWC in 2009 from its founder Dearne Mills.

    CWC grew in hops, skips and jumps, and in 2011 I was looking for a project that could combine my love of print and my interest in the stories of other creative women. I’m really passionate about promoting the work of women in creative industries and shining a spotlight on their career achievements. Thus Conversations with Creative Women was born, which seemed like a natural progression for CWC. That really sparked my interest and zest for self-publishing, so Volume Two appeared two years later.

    I’m a keen observer and listener, and if I think that there is a need for a particular resource for the community of independent creatives I am so invested in to be realised, then I think of ways to make it happen. The launch of Creative Minds Publishing earlier this year is basically a way to put an umbrella over these ideas.

    CWC and Creative Minds Publishing

    Describe CWC’s core values?

    We value shining a spotlight on the creative work of women, because we feel that women are vastly under-represented on many platforms that promote the work of creatives. But we also value sharing and uncovering the truth that there are many varied paths a creative career can take, not all of them conventional and most of them incorporating all of the other messy life stuff that comes with being a creative lady e.g. making money; having a family etc.

    At what period did you feel CWC gaining momentum?

    Probably after the release of Conversations with Creative Women: Volume One, and the introduction of memberships and The Circle Database in 2012. Those things extended the reach of CWC and meant connections between creative women from all walks reached beyond Melbourne’s borders (which at the time was the only place we held our in-person events).

    Where would you like to take CWC in the future?

    To be honest, 2015 could be a fairly significant year for CWC!

    Event-wise, in 2014 we’ve had speaker events and Member’s Morning Teas in Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane and of course Melbourne, and next year I’d love to see these events being hosted in the other capital cities and major regional centres as well.

    As The Circle Database grows, it will be great to see more interaction between Members and more of their needs addressed through website upgrades and additions.

    Structurally however, there are some changes which I’m hoping to make that mean the community of Members we’ve built will get to take a lot more ownership over the future direction of CWC. This is all in the planning stages at the moment, but more than it being an exciting thing for the group, it’s the right thing to do for the future of CWC and its sustainability as well. Stay tuned!

    Morning Tea

    At a Member’s Morning Tea event at Mimi-Myrtle&Co. Photography by Martina Gemmola

    What is the next event that CWC is hosting?

    We’ve just had our last speaker and morning tea events in Brisbane, Melbourne, Newcastle and Sydney for the year over the last few weeks. Now it’s time for some resting, recharging, plotting and planning before we get back into the swing of things in February/March next year.

    How has networking helped you so far?

    I’m not a native Melburnian, so when I moved here 8 years ago I didn’t know very many people. Plus, 12 months after settling here I decided to become self-employed and work from home, which wasn’t a great strategy for meeting new people! Networks like CWC helped me get the support I needed as an independent business woman but has also gained me some very dear friends along the way. I’m a pretty introverted person by nature, and traditional networking doesn’t gel with me, so I really built CWC up to be exactly the kind of non-threatening networking device I wanted (and that I could see other people liked as well!). Yes I have gained a few clients through it, but mostly it’s given me a cushion of support and many, many bursts of inspiration as I fumble through my own business ventures.

    Has social media played a large factor in your businesses success as well?

    Definitely. When I took over CWC in 2009, blogs were becoming popular but the other platforms we are so accustomed to now either didn’t exist, or weren’t as widely used yet. The introduction of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and the ability for the CWC community to meet in person at events and then stay connected through those channels has been imperative to CWC’s success – they work hand in hand. Though if we could all agree to hold off introducing another social media platform for a while that would be great – it’s a lot to keep up with!

    Have any of your creative businesses been a product of personal projects coming to life?

    I suppose Creative Women’s Circle evolved from a side project into something I spend a lot more time on and take more seriously from a business perspective. I’ve learned to keep truly personal and fun projects out of the business sphere as much as possible, to that the pressure off and to ensure they stay fun.

    Have you always had your “Creative Minds Publishing” idea in the back of your mind?

    Having my own publishing company was not something I always intended to do. I tend to focus on 3-5 year goals, so professionally I know what I am working toward, but those goals are always somewhat vague (or have ‘feathered edges’ as I like to think). I have a very young family and my partner is also self-employed, and so professional goals at this stage of my life have to be fluid and flexible. I would go so far to say as I will probably always want to work in graphic design, in print, and spearhead my own projects with cool people, so that combination of things is what spurned Creative Minds Publishing. But I have no master plan for the brand just yet – I’d like to see it develop on its own first and then mould it from there.

    Conversations with Creative Women

    When did you decide to act?

    At the beginning of 2013, CWC held a speaker event with Melbourne intellectual property lawyer Sharon Givoni about protecting copyright for creatives. It was one of our most popular events to date, and afterwards over coffee Sharon and I mused that there wasn’t a single comprehensive resource available to creatives that explained the concepts she discussed in the workshop, and the issues her clients come to her with every day. With her interest in writing and mine in publishing, and our combined networks of creatives from which to draw inspiration and target the resource, it seemed like a natural next step to produce a book together: Owning It: A Creative’s Guide to Copyright, Contracts and the Law. Formalising an imprint under which to release the book in 2015 was the impetus for launch Creative Minds in August this year. Plus, it made sense to re-release my earlier eBook Graphic Design Speak in print (yay!) to welcome the brand to the world!

    Over the years how have you learnt your main business lessons. From trial and error, reading, workshops or bringing specialists in?

    Probably the biggest lesson is to listen to the advice and feedback of others, but know when to take that advice with a grain of salt, and also know how to vet those to ensure they have your best interests at heart. In the past I have screwed myself over by not trusting people enough, and been screwed by trusting people too much. It’s tough steering a ship whilst also drawing the map – you need people around you but it can take time to find the right support network.

    I read a lot, but not the kind of ‘business’ books you might think. I like memoirs, particularly comedian’s memoirs. Comedians are self-employed, creative, pursue a niche industry they are intensely passionate in – often for years before they find success – but at the same time they are acutely aware of the absurdity of life and how lucky they are to be able to do what they do for money. I like that attitude.

    Many of the little nuggets of advice that rattle around my head are from CWC speakers, or interviews on our blog or the Conversations books. I feel pretty lucky to have that constant injection of real-life advice from other women who are steering their ships in the same ocean as me!

    Graphic Design Speak

    And, what advice has stayed with you.

    I’m not sure if there is one specific piece of advice that is high above all the rest, but we all know that saying ‘no-one on their death bed ever wished they had spent more time at the office’. So probably the advice I try to keep front of mind these days is to work when it’s work time, enjoy family time when it’s family time, and relax when it’s relax time (and have a decent measure of all three in an average week!). That doesn’t always go to plan (I can’t help it if I come up with a great work-related idea when I am playing with trucks with my son!) but it’s important to keep trying.

    Walk us through a day in the life of Tess.

    I’m working full-time hours at the moment while my husband does the stay-at-home-Dad thing, something we consider ourselves pretty fortunate to be able to swing. So my day starts when my son, who is two-and-a-half, wakes up around 7am. From there all three of us amble around trying to get fed and dressed in a reasonable amount of time. I leave the house around 8am and walk to my office in a shared studio space five minutes away. Once there, I tackle the to-do list that I have made the previous day, usually starting with emails that have come in overnight. On an average day I will do a couple of hours of graphic design work for clients (while listening to my favourite podcasts), a couple of hours of work on Owning It or another smaller publishing project, and some time on CWC (preparing a blog post, emailing with a speaker or event host, tinkering with the website, or sending out book orders or membership packs). I’m pretty head-down-bum-up productive – way more so than when I didn’t have a kid and didn’t have to shut down my computer on the dot of 5.30pm. When I leave the office I head straight home to hang with my family and catch up on the day, wrangle the kid into a bath and then into bed, and then have dinner with my husband. After dinner I might do a gym class (no more than twice a week though… I hate exercising but have come to recognise it’s a necessary evil!), or record an episode of The New Normal Podcast with my friend and neighbour Emma Clark. Weekends are family time and I’m pleased to say I’ve stopped doing computer work on weekends – there’s just no time (or energy) after toddler taming and it’s nice to return fresh after a break from the big screen on Monday morning. I still check email and social media on my phone pretty regularly though… can’t break that addiction unfortunately.

    What were you doing the last time you looked at a clock and realised you had lost all track of time?

    Sadly it was probably tackling a rather unwieldy email inbox or getting stuck on a design. How I DO like to lose track of time is painting, or reading, or meals with family and friends.

    - – -

    You can become a member of Creative Women’s Circle or view the titles under Creative Minds Publishing.

    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 image musings on Instagram @andyjanemc.


    Posted by: Andrea McArthur
    Categories: CWC news, interview, regular columns | Comments Off
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    Creative collaborations: Trish Chong and Rhonda Mason from Life:Captured Workshops

    LifeCaptured_BlogImage_Tealily

    By Christina Atherton

    Through their Life:Captured workshops, Sydney-based creative duo Trish Chong and Rhonda (Ronnie) Mason hope to equip others with the skills and resources to document their lives in beautiful and creative ways. They teach both the technical and emotional aspects of documentary photography right through to editing and workflow, photo book design and layout, journalling, memory keeping systems, life albums, and general organisation of photos and memorabilia. Today I ask Ronnie and Trish about the paths that led them to this point.

    How did you meet?
    We met many moons ago at a mutual friend’s baby shower, and then on occasion at weddings in the years that followed. But we never really connected until the beginning of last year when our blogs led us to catch up with each other over coffee, and talk of family photography and memory-keeping workshops began. We were drawn to each other’s drive and passion for what we loved, and found the opportunities we had in front of us allowed us to work together in a fun and creative environment.

    2013_08_23_LifeCaptured_PortraitB1

    2013_08_23_LifeCaptured_Landscape20

    What are your creative backgrounds?
    Trish: I’ve honestly never thought of myself as all too creative. In high school I enjoyed turning up the radio and figuring out maths and chemistry problems, and ended up choosing a combined law and finance degree because I had no idea what I wanted to do. Through university there came an opportunity to backpack around the world with friends and I brought an old film camera with me, a gift from my uncle who no longer had a use for it. Through those experiences, I developed a love for the medium of film and the joy of capturing people and places which has stuck with me ever since.

    Ronnie: My story is a little similar to Trish’s. I grew up thinking I would become a commercial accountant working for a big firm, and therefore ended up studying a combined law and accounting degree. From there I enrolled myself into a marketing graduate diploma and when I finished my studies, I worked from the ground up in a small marketing department for a large international organisation. As I took on more branding and creative responsibilities, I soon realised that my passion lay in graphic design. Through a number of intensive training courses, I learnt to use the Adobe Creative Suite design software pretty quickly and I was soon creating all our marketing materials in-house. When I quit work a couple of years later, I started up my own commercial design studio and ran that for seven years. Even though I no longer work for commercial clients, my love for graphic design remains and has carried over into my blogging and my memory-keeping endeavours.

    2014_06_04_Workshop3_Landscape5

    How did your collaboration on Life:Captured come about?
    As mothers, both of us realised how much each passing moment leaves behind as we travel through this world at the speed we now do. We were passionate about memory-keeping for ourselves, but also wanted to share this with others who may not have the same skills and experience as we do to make the whole journey enjoyable and easy to do. We both had a love for the tangible and wanted to teach others that it wasn’t really too hard to make beautiful keepsakes for themselves that they, and their loved ones, would treasure dearly now and in the years to come. It seemed only fitting that our combined skills of photography, organisation, and memory-keeping would be able to fill a niche that was not readily available in the current creative market.

    What roles do you each play in the business?
    Trish: Ronnie is definitely the organised one in the partnership and she handles most of the paperwork and record-keeping. We share the communication and correspondence and keep to our strengths through the teaching elements. My aim is to simplify the elements of manual photography, breaking down both technical and emotional components and putting it all into practice, with a live shoot of a family during the workshop itself. We later teach our participants how to edit these same images using Adobe Lightroom software and reference them again whilst mocking up an album or layout. Following the workshop, I try and have images ready for both our blogs as well as for our sponsors to use to say thank you for their generous contributions.

    Ronnie: Trish does a lot more than she’s giving herself credit for! She’s been liaising with most of our sponsors, and it was through her network and contacts that we were able to lock in RAW Space as the venue for our first two workshops. She also does all the photography work while I’m the one who works on the design of our marketing materials. Honestly, I love working with Trish’s images. I think her photography and my design style are a good match. At the workshops, I teach an intensive crash course in photo organisation using Adobe Lightroom; my goal is always to equip our attendees with the ability to catalogue their entire personal photo library – both past and present. I also give a talk about memory keeping outlining methods of memory keeping that I find to be meaningful and effective to give our attendees ideas to develop their own framework for memory keeping. To wrap up the day, I also run through my fundamental principles for graphic design in the context of creating photo books, and I teach a mini session in learning the basics of Adobe InDesign.

    Life captured

    Trish and Ronnie have recently launched their online portal, where they offer online classes to complement their Sydney-based workshops. See more at lifecapturedinc.com

    {Photos by Trish Chong}


    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: creative collaborations, interview | Comments Off
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    Studio visit: Nicole Phillips, typographer and letterpress printer

    By Jo Hoban

    STUDIO-VISIT-NICOLE

    In the 80s, Nicole Arnett Phillips spent her school holidays fossicking around the dusty corners of the press room of the New Zealand Herald Newspaper, where her Dad worked. Letterpress was long-gone, but the old machines and equipment remained, and Nicole would lose herself playing amid the traces of days gone by, discovering old pieces of type—her ‘treasures’—some of which she has kept to this day. These formative years impressed Nicole (letterpress pun intended) with a passion and curiosity for design and typography, both where it had come from and where it was headed. She studied Art and Design, majoring in Typography and Book Design, at Auckland University of Technology and the uni subsequently published her related dissertation entitled ‘Form’d’. This propelled Nicole into an exciting design career working for a range of global brands, marketing/design groups, publishing houses, and built environment organisations, in both New Zealand and Australia, where she’s now settled.

    Albert, the 1872 Albion hand-iron press against the backdrop of Nicole’s inspirational studio wall.

    Albert, the 1872 Albion hand-iron press against the backdrop of Nicole’s inspirational studio wall.

    By 2009, Nicole was tiring of the long hours, feeling like she was “an extension of her Mac”, and could no longer ignore the voice in her head that was crying out: “I need something analogue, I need more movement, and I want to connect with my design production!” She started her own design consultancy, Nicoleap, working from her home studio. And she bought her first antique letterpress—‘George’, her 1860s treadle-powered, Gordon Franklin Old Style press. These days Nicole has 5 large machines housed in a backyard Print Pavilion, purpose-built by her clever husband, Mike. It’s a long, black rectangular shape that discreetly trails along one side of her backyard. Neat, industrial and aesthetically pleasing, it’s like a mini letterpress museum unexpectedly nestled in Brisbane’s southern suburbs. Except this is no museum – this is the active workspace of a curious, contemporary creator! Nicole’s commercial design consultancy is now complemented with her personal letterpress research and experimentation; she explains that her ‘passionate letterpress practice’ adds value for her clients by making her a more engaged designer.

    Nicole Aug 2014

    Nicole Aug 2014

    When I visit Nicole’s home, the sun is shining and natural light streams into the print pavilion through two segments of the roof and walls made of clear Perspex. The walls are dotted with inspirational quotes and printing experiments, tools abound, shelves of furniture (specific press equipment) are organised within easy reach, numerous drawers of type are on hand, and of course her antique crew of gentlemen are lined up along one wall. Nicole has kindly offered to demonstrate a letterpress printing process using ‘George’, so we print and chat…

    Nicole spreads her soya-based ink over George’s platen...

    Nicole spreads her soya-based ink over George’s platen…

    ...and later activates the treadle-powered printer with her foot.

    …and later activates the treadle-powered printer with her foot.

    A freshly printed ampersand.

    A freshly printed ampersand.

    Can you tell us more about George?
    I try not to play favourites but I print on my Gordon Old Style press more than any of the others. It’s a really versatile press and you’re really engaged with working it. George is the one that I really cut my teeth on. He’s inky and greasy, and he’s not perfect, but I love him! This machine was actually the first ever treadle printing press, so it was a really important letterpress machine.

    What about the other four gents?
    There’s Albert, an 1872 Albion hand-iron press; Sergio, a 1910 Italian Saroglia proof press; Harvey, a 1960s Heidelberg Windmill Platen T; and Milo, a Miehle V45 vertical rotary cylinder press. Each press does a different thing well, and I value the history and legacy of the machines.

    What are the constraints when letterpress printing, and is it hard to be experimental?
    There are constraints’a’plenty, so being experimental is a necessity. I enjoy trying to use an old format and tools in new ways; that excites me. For example, it’s possible to recreate something that’s so easy using InDesign, such as a flipped letter, but you have to stop and think “How can I do that with a physical piece of type? Well, if I print that onto a sheet of plastic and then I print that sheet of plastic onto the paper, I’ve got a reverse!” It’s creative problem-solving and it’s so much fun. You can achieve exciting things with dusty old type if you’re creative and want to push the boundaries. Once I’ve mastered a technique, I think ‘Ok, what’s the next thing I can do with that?’

    Nicole’s machines lined up in her print pavilion.

    Nicole’s machines lined up in her print pavilion.

    You decided not to be a commercial letterpress printer quite early on. What draws you to the older presses?
    Commercial letterpress printers mostly use Heidelbergs, which are super-precise, automated and efficient—awesome machines for this reason. I tried this, but preferred being more physically involved with the process. Operating my older machines is a real workout; printing with George, I get a sore bum and sore arms and need to stretch out! I wanted to get ink under my fingernails and experiment with making and taking something apart, and have the freedom to try something and then stop and rearrange if I didn’t like it. It’s not viable to commercially print on these older presses, so if my clients want letterpress, I’ll do the design work then refer them to a commercial letterpress printer.

    Along with your commercial work, you’ve been teaching occasional workshops at Designworks College and have started publishing your own journal—Typograph.journal. Tell us more.
    My workshops offer design students the experiential nature of letterpress printing. The more teaching I do, the more I’m interested in knowledge-sharing. This shaped the idea that I thought there was a need for a journal less about visual eye-candy, and more about candid process and conversation. I think a new design discourse is required, and that in this information-saturated era the form that information takes probably matters more than it ever has before.

    Nicole perusing Volume 1 of her Typograph.journal.

    Nicole perusing Volume 1 of her Typograph.journal.

    Nicole’s home-based studio is overflowing with design books, and organising them by colour works best for her.

    Nicole’s home-based studio is overflowing with design books, and organising them by colour works best for her.

    You can visit www.nicoleap.com.au to learn more about Nicole’s design work, and check out www.typographher.com for the latest info on Typograph.journal. For more insight into Nicole’s letterpress experiments you can follow her on Instagram @typographHer.

    Words and interview by Jo Hoban. Jo is a freelance editor and copywriter with a background in publishing. She loves collaborating to produce meaningful content that delves into people’s creative processes and spaces. Jo posts images that inspire her on Instagram @jojohoban.

    {All photos kindly taken by Ross Pottinger.}


    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: interview, regular columns, virtual visit | Comments Off
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    Interview – Samantha Dunne of Dunne With Style

    By Andrea McArthur

    Interview Samantha Dunne

    A creative that does it with style and a smile. Dunne with Style is the culmination of Samantha Dunne’s creative ventures. When asked to describe her blog and business Samantha says that some days it’s decor making, some days it’s event styling and some days designing projects.

    Tell us about your creative journey so far.

    Dunne with Style started as a small side project, a little Etsy store selling cupcake toppers after my daughters first birthday. It soon grew to include an ever-changing range of handmade event décor including cake toppers, backdrops, fabric ‘poms’ and paper flowers.

    The past 12 months has seen Dunne with Style grow a few branches and expand to include creative collaborations and projects such as The Creative Exchange (a creative mail swap) and Create (a subscription based box of creative inspiration).

    My love for detail and décor has led to numerous event collaborations with the talented cake artist Debbi of Studio Cake and we have just launched our collective event design and styling company Ivy & Oak.

    Dunne with Style

    What lead you to starting Dunne with Style?

    Dunne with Style came to life just after my little girl turned one. The first 12 months as ‘new mum’ was a whirlwind for me, my life had catapulted from a self-confessed organised control freak exercise physiologist to a stay at home mum with a baby who rarely slept and took away my ability to control everything. I spent my time wondering if I was ever going to feel like I’d achieved something in the day and how I could balance my new life at home with my innate desire to be connected. Connected in the way that I had a place, a venture and a passion. Being creative gave me a sense of accomplishment and then the feedback I received through social media to my initial products was so supportive that I finally felt a sense of pride and purpose again.

    Has your blog influenced your entrepreneurial spirit?

    My blog has given me a platform to share and interact with like minded creatives and its led to me feeling connected to a community of people I’ve never met. It’s this community that’s inspired me to start turning a few crazy little ideas I had into realities. I knew that if I could bring to life projects like The Creative Exchange I could connect this community that existed in the online world on a deeper level and hoped that I could enrich their lives through creativity as mine had been.

    Congratulations on one of your latest projects, Create, I saw that box one is already sold out. Please tell us more about this venture, how it started, how you choose your creative curators and how we can participate in creating with Create.

    Create is a quarterly subscription box for creative inspiration curated by leading Australian creatives. The ‘Create’ box is the culmination of two elements, a selection of creative supplies chosen by the box curator – items to inspire a creative project or a little workshop in a box, and a limited edition piece of work from the curator.

    Create grew from a desire to be able to connect creative artists and the audience that not only loves their work but is inspired by their entire style and ethos. I wanted give people the opportunity to not only be inspired by the work of our creative idols but to receive a tactile box of products selectively curated to inspire you to get creating.

    The first two artists to come to Create were simple choices for me. Laura Blythman was the curator of Create box #1 and Gemma Patford is currently curating box #2 (on sale until the end of September). Laura & Gemma are both artists whose work I love, but who I’m inspired by for their willingness to connect to their creative community. They both have a knack of sharing not only their work as a finished product on the shelves but through social media share a snapshot into the creative process, a look at the creative mess on their bench, the cuttings, the paint splatters and its these insights into their days that I find really inspiring.

    Create Box 1

    Photography & styling by Catherine Grace 

    Create Box – Laura Blythman

    Photography & styling by Catherine Grace 

    Do you have a favourite project that you have worked on with Dunne with Style?

    I’m terrible at choosing favourites! The Creative Exchange has probably been the most rewarding project to be a part of and I’m continually humbled by it when people comment on the ‘community’ that I have connected and created.

    The Creative Exchange began in January 2014 as a little idea that I initially flagged as ‘crazy’. I wanted a way to take the Instagram ‘family’ of creatives that I had met and connect through more than just inspiring images. I wanted to be able to share tactile creative inspiration and thought what a better way to do so than through the gift of giving. So I set up a creative mail swap, where people were allocated a fellow creative to ‘Insta-stalk’, as we call it, (in a completely positive stalking fashion!!) and put together a ‘creative exchange’ gift, items to inspire them to get creative.

    When I launched the idea I was petrified no one would be interested and had everything possible crossed just to get 20 people to participate. In the first 2 days I had 30 people sign up and by the end of the two weeks sign up period I had a list of 70 people who joined the exchange. I was blown away. As we started to share the project on Instagram, I was flooded with enquiries of running a second exchange and expanding it to include overseas countries as well. In April I ran the second Creative Exchange and connected 140 people from Australia, NZ, UK and the USA.

    To watch a community develop, grow and interact in the way it has and to hear from people who have made connections and friendships, learnt new skills, picked up old pastimes has been so rewarding and exactly what I wanted to achieve with the exchange, except it’s on a scale that I truly never imagined.

    How has your digital voice grown and changed since you first started blogging?

    I feel my digital voice has changed a lot since I first started blogging which has led to a very recent revamp of my website and blog to allow me a fresh platform to share what I now feel is an authentic and valid voice. I think I’ve always thought I had a story to tell but it’s only of late that I feel that I have a valid voice and I’m really looking forward to having a concise platform to share my dialogue.

    Any advice for others considering a creative business?

    Just start.

    There is so much information out there about what to do and what not to do, but I think you can get caught up in all of the ‘advice’ and spend way too much time (and often money) planning for something that you need to approach as more of a journey. Start small and stay authentic, do what’s close to your heart and what you truly feel passionate about: honesty radiates.

    You can’t keep a good woman down! Thinking out loud, what would be your dream project with Dunne with Style?

    I’m such a dreamer, so I could almost write a list here! My big dream is to be able to take the next step in connecting the creative communities in more face to face settings. I would love to be able to facilitate Creative Exchange participants to be able to meet the exchange-ee’s they have connected with. I would love to spend more time creating amongst like minded people in inspiring settings and am always dreaming of my next collaboration.

    Popsicle Party

    Styled by Dunne with Style, photography by Lee Bird Photography 

    How do you fit everything in to your week, with a blog, business, kids, husband and still be smiling in every photo?

    If you truly love what you do then the smiling part is a given. I think a lot of the ‘juggle’ is about mindset, I frequently say everything that needs to get done will get done and for everything else there’s always tomorrow. Each day I prioritise all of the non-negotiables – the things that must get done – and then I’m realistic that everything else will have to wait. I don’t really define my work hours from my family hours and whilst plenty of people tell me that I should, I started Dunne with Style to be able to stay at home and look after my kids and I love that it has stayed that way. When I’m creating products in my studio there’s always little fingers dabbling in my ‘scraps’ under the desk and when I’m on a styling job I often have a mini assistants attached to my hip or following me around like a shadow. I’m blessed to have a supportive family who are always there to help with the juggle but I really want to show people that you can be a stay at home mum and live out your dream… the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

    You are an inspiration for fulfilling your ideas. What inspires you? Please tell us about some of your creative resources (or passions).

    I read, I watch, I listen.

    I find the written word alluring and powerful and I love to hear people’s stories. I can generally be found looking for reassurance, grounding and inspiration from some of my favourite bloggers such as Teacups Too.

    I’m also a really visual person, and whilst a lot of people talk about finding social media quite uninspiring I am a self confessed Instagram and Pinterest addict, simply because I’m forever blown away by the beauty that can be captured in a single square frame. I love the diversity that I can flick through in 30 seconds and that it can be something as far removed from my own craft or skill set but I’m still inspired by their choice of colour, texture or shape.

    I think musicians are amongst the most passionate people about their craft and whilst my musical skills might have a lot to answer for I find most creative blocks and staleness can be cured by a good playlist.

    - -

    Thank you Samantha for your participation and words of inspiration. If you would like to find out more about Create or Dunne with Style view Samantha’s blog at www.dunnewithstyle.com. You can also see Samantha’s styling treats on Instagram (@dunnewithstyle).

    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 image musings on Instagram @andyjanemc.

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