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    Creative collaborations: Trish Chong and Rhonda Mason from Life:Captured Workshops

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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
    Posted on

    Studio visit: Kate Pascoe Squires of Kate & Kate

    By Amanda Fuller

    Kate & Kate is run by Kate, and well, Kate. Not only do the two share a name, they are also business partners, sisters-in-law and best friends and they share a passion for blankets!

    Launched almost one year ago, Kate & Kate offers beautiful blankets knitted from super-soft, breathable cotton. The business is run from the Kates’ homes in Melbourne and Sydney.

    Recently, I had the privilege to visit Kate Pascoe Squires in her Sydney home studio which was formerly an architects office. The space, which Kate shares with her husband, is filled with light and has a lovely view over the rooftops of her Bondi neighbourhood. She shares more with us below.

    What is your background? How did you arrive at Kate & Kate?

    I studied public relations at RMIT University in Melbourne and jumped straight into the industry. I focused on all the fun stuff – food, restaurants, providores, wine, spirits. You get the idea. It wasn’t until I had my second child that I realised the PR lifestyle was just too much of a juggle for me. I was definitely ready for change. I wanted to do something creative, something tangible. I just can’t believe that blankets were my calling!

    (The other) Kate’s background is fashion. She has worked across all sectors of the industry – retail, production, design and wardrobe, she did it all. Like me, she realised once her first son was born, that working in wardrobe was not going to work. The hours were ridiculous.

    We were both looking into separate individual pursuits when we came across our manufacturers. Within half an hour, it was decided – we would go into business together and blankets would be our thing.

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    What do you think makes for a creative working space?

    Both of us do most of our work from our home offices. Our work and personal lives are so intertwined and our work spaces really reflect this. We have to work to keep creative, but that’s what makes this whole thing so amazing.

    We do find that getting away together really boosts our creativity. We don’t get to do it as much as we’d like, but we take what we can get! Our trip to India at the start of the year was incredibly inspiring – we are still working on designs based on the inspiration we pulled from that trip. Where to next? I’m saying New York… but we’ll see.

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    Describe a typical day for you.

    Wake up or get woken. Serious Instagram scrolling. Emails. Mental plan for the day ahead. Corral the kids downstairs. Husband too. Shower. Vortex of getting kids dressed, serving breakfast, school lunches, packing bag, screaming for everyone to get out of the house and school drop offs. More emails. Design. Inspiration. Liaison with our manufacturers, retailers, stylists, media. Phone calls. Emails. Pilates. Kids, food, wine.  And repeat!

    You have just launched the Kate & Kate baby range – what lead to this?

    We had customers and retailers asking for them! The fact that Kate was pregnant at the time we were designing didn’t have anything to do with it – ha ha ha!  We like to design with flexibility in mind, so our baby range still has a fairly adult aesthetic and is slightly oversized, so the blanket can be used as a throw over a chair or basket down the track.  We don’t want anyone purchasing a Kate & Kate item and it becoming redundant.

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    What are your favourite Kate & Kate products right now?

    I’m totally mad for neutrals right now – actually, always. The Sea Tangle blanket in snow white and silver birch is my favourite from the current collection. Kate is loving The Kiss baby blanket in the blue grotto… but it sold out before she could get her hands on one!

    What inspires the Kate & Kate aesthetic?

    We find inspiration everywhere.  For colour, we seek inspiration from the catwalks.  Style.com really gets our creativity flowing. We can trawl for days searching for that perfect colour combination. For design, we seek inspiration in the everyday. The shape of a building, the fold of an envelope, a bunch of shadows… these are all things that have inspired our recent designs. We love getting a peek into other people’s everyday via Instagram too – if that doesn’t get you inspired, I don’t know what will.

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    Thank you Kate for welcoming me into your space to get a peek behind-the-scenes of Kate & Kate and where your inspiration comes from. Thank you also for sharing with us about yourself, your partner-in-design and your utterly gorgeous blankets! Discover the on-trend, luxurious range for yourself at the Kate & Kate website.

    Amanda Fuller is a passionate blogger, avid graphic designer and social media aficionado who has been designing since 2004 and just celebrated her 5th year blogging. Her blog Kaleidoscope is a place of inspiration and beautiful resources for women bloggers and creative business owners. Amanda offers design services such as logo design, blog design and eBook design, helping other women present their passion with style. You can find her on Facebook, Google+ and Instagram @AmandaFuller.

    {All images by Amanda}

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    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: bricks & mortar, guest blog, virtual visit | Comments Off