Studio visit: Kelsie White of K Gets Organised

Kelsie_1-700 Kelsie White packages a new set of cards in her home studio in Northbridge, Perth.

By Kristen Marano

Kelsie White is changing the stationery game with her cheeky sayings and fresh designs. Her cards challenge the need for an occasion to send a sweet note with lines like ‘You’re my favourite blanket stealer,’ and her sleekly-designed paper pads encourage people to make to-do lists they’ll actually fulfil.

White’s childhood enthusiasm for stationery kick-started her paper goods business K Gets Organised in 2014; she has since created a collection of more than 100 products that fuse black and white sleek typography and cheerful watercolour designs such as popsicles and doughnuts.

At only 23 years old, White is a creative woman on the move who is constantly connecting and creating. White designs and packages in her bright sunny studio in the hip neighbourhood of Northbridge, Perth, sells her paper goods at local market stalls, and keeps learning as she completes her graphic design degree.

White is also the event host of the Perth chapter of Creative Women’s Circle, and she will launch the second event of the year this week. We recently chatted about how she got her start in stationery, her creative process, and where she plans to take her business next:

What attracted you to paper goods? 

I'm what I affectionately call a stationery addict. I also love a good card stock, a hardbound notebook with the perfect paper inside, and writing out my to-do list every day. There is nothing better than sending and receiving a hand-written note from someone. The nostalgia and old world charm of stationery and hand writing, from getting your pen license to writing your wedding vows, really brought me to stationery; it has made creating and designing for special, heartfelt moments so beautiful.

Take me through your creative process.

I usually draw from a real life experience. My favourite yellow water-colour card reads, 'You're just so bloomin' lovely', and I made it with my beautiful girlfriends in mind. I was studying and working as a florist at the time and loved giving them little left over flowers from my shifts. That’s how I created the card.

A lot of my illustration work also comes from people around me. I recently drew some lovely popsicles for a local business called Delish Ice. I love the owner Katie and I’m so happy to have her as a friend; it was so much fun to draw happy little popsicles while thinking about her passion, drive, and kindness.

I also love to draw from current trends; my latest planners feature doughnuts, indoor plants, and popsicles.

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Sketches, and water-colour designs mark White’s studio walls as inspiration and new works in progress. 

What puts you in the mood to create?

A great cup of coffee, a beautiful cafe, and Wi-Fi. With all of these things, the world is my oyster.

You're successfully running your own business at such a young age. Who has influenced and inspired your journey as a small business owner? 

I really wanted to be my own boss and push myself to try something new. I had never studied business or run a business before.

I've been studying art and making art since I was very young, and I wanted to get back into creating while I was at university; I started making planners to help motivate me to complete my assignments. From there I launched a tiny collection of five planners and now have more than 100 products under my belt. This was not an easy journey, but it is by far the thing I’m most proud of doing in my life.

My role models include Anna Rifle Bond from Rifle Paper Co., who I was lucky enough to meet in London last year at a stationery conference (they exist!), and Sass Cocker from Ask Alice in Melbourne. They both really inspired me to go out there and create beautiful paper goods.

What can we expect from K Gets Organised in the coming months?

A really big and exciting change that will launch around February 2016.

In December, White will depart for a creative getaway through Europe and the United States. To follow her journey and get regular behind-the-scenes posts, check out her Instagram.

Kristen Marano is a digital nomad living in Perth, Australia. Kristen interviews women in business. 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.

 

Studio visit: Hayley Welsh, Street Artist

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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.

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

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.

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.