Monthly Archives: November 2012

Creatively Speaking – Karen and Pepa of Shibori

It’s Friday and as such time for an interview with some more of Australia’s talented creatives, Karen Davis and Pepa Martin from Shibori whom I posted on earlier in the year.  So time to find a comfy spot, grab a cuppa and sit back and soak in the inspiration.

How would you describe your work and style?

“We are textile designers who use the ancient Japanese art of shibori in a contemporary way.” 

What, where and/or who inspires you?

“Imperfection, the beauty in things that are irregular and not perfect. Inspiration is all around you.”

Where did your love of Shibori work come from and what makes your style unique to you? 

Pepa and I both discovered shibori when we were textile students, but it was during trips to Japan that our love for this ancient art really bloomed. We like to take traditional shibori and modernize it by focusing on little sections, before oversizing and  simplify it. Colour is also important to us and it’s amazing what a well-designed, balanced colour pallet can do.

Which is your favorite personal project and why?

“All our projects have been lots of fun however our full sized hot balloon for Kelly Ross at The Gentry was pretty spectacular.”

What has been the most exciting point in your career to date and why? 

“Most definitely the publication of our book “Shibori Recreated” which is a photographic journal of the work of some of the most talented contemporary shibori artists in the world: diverse artisans, designers, fashion identities and textile collectors. It was a huge under taking and the relief when it was finished was intense.”

Do you have any major projects in the pipeline at the moment? Can you share these with us?

“We are really lucky to be working our dream jobs and are always taking on lots of interesting projects. Apart from the usual private commission pieces upcoming projects include Woodside Energy Perth Offices, a resort in the Maldives, working with African refugee and dyer Tigi and her Cara dyeing(African shibori) and a collaboration of scarves and throws with Little Dandelion designer Jacqui Fink. Also our second book, ‘Mulberry: tie-dyeing and shibori for rascal inventors’ will be published next year. It’s a how to dyeing book for children using dyes created from stuff in the kitchen and things found around the home. ”

What would be your dream commission?

“Actually our current collaboration with Jacqui Fink from Little Dandelion is a dream commission. Not only are we totally in awe of Jacqui’s amazing creations but also her philosophy does really resonate with us.”

If I were coming to visit your home town where would be the must stop place or places for me to visit ?

“The Marrickville organic markets are always a great way to start a Sunday, full of lovely fresh flavorsome food. But if nothing there takes your fancy you can always just wonder up to ocean Vietnamese on Stanmore road, they have some of the best Vietnamese pancakes in Sydney.”

I hope you enjoyed, have a great weekend…. meanwhile on with the colourful journey…

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My Kind of Advent Calendar- Hendzel + Hunt

Hendzel + Hunt is a  young, very vibrant design studio based in South London in the UK.  Using reclaimed and sustainable materials they specialise in manufacturing and designing bespoke furniture and their own range, inspired by their location, “Made in Peckham”.

Using their background in engineering “Hendzel and Hunt highlight the origins of a product using balance, proportion, and composition to transform rough materials into objects of desire.”  There are lots of fab projects on their website, but given it is beginning to smell a bit like Christmas I thought I would show the Advent Calendar – now this is my idea of the perfect advent calendar.  This project…. aptly named “The Advent Calendar” was commissioned by UK store Selfridges for Christmas 2011.

“It contains 24 doors with lots of surprises. Traditional wooden locks, catches, latches, twists and turns. The piece was commissioned by Selfridges & Co to hold 24 miniature pairs of shoes and bags”

Yes… now that is what I call and advent calendar….Meanwhile I am off to dream about the shoes, jewellery, chocolate I would fill it with!!
On with the colourful journey………

Posted by on November 28, 2012 in Art, Interior Design, UK, UK designers


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Sketch up your Interior – Maya Selway’s Kishu Vases

British object and jewellery designer Maya Selway has created a collection which evokes the requirement to look twice. Is it? Isn’t it????.

Maya at work

Using the inspiration of a half finished sketch, Maya has created the Kishu vase collection. On first glance you would be forgiven for thinking that the bowls and candle stick holders were just a doodle, but look again and you will see that they are carefully crafted ( and weighted) objects which can create a little statement on your shelf.  Perfect for the minimalist.

Whilst a few of the collection are purely decorative talking pieces, the vase does come with a shallow dish for water so you can hold a flower should you desire, and the candle holder is fully functional. These fun talking pieces have won Maya second prize in the Object category of the 2012 Interieur Design Awards at the Interieur design biennale in Kortrijk, Belgium.

Let me now your thoughts…. meanwhile on with the colourful journey….


Posted by on November 27, 2012 in Art, Interior Design, UK, UK designers


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Shaken Not Stirred – We have been expecting you Mr Bond

I must admit I am not too good at keeping up with “franchise” movies, I would not be able to tell you a character from the “Twilight Saga” if my life depended on it, and I have never watched a Star Wars Movie (well right to the end anyway!)……but there is one hero, that despite changing his looks a number times over my lifetime, has never failed to drag me to the cinema….. and that would have to be Mr Bond… James Bond! 007 Licence to kill if you please.  When living in London I used to go past the MI6 building everyday, alas I never saw that Aston Martin hurtling out of the building, nor the Lotus Esprit floating up in the Thames….

So with the excitement of Skyfall (which as usual starts about 3 weeks later in Australia than the rest of the world), I thought it would be fun to share an exhibit from earlier this year by artist Arina Orlova entitled James Bond: Kills and Kisses.

Arina Orlova

Orliova has depicted the six incarnations of James Bond, Connery, Lazenby, Moore, Dalton, Brosnan, Craig..  They have no faces, however it is clear to see which one is which …..see if you can guess. Each image has two figures, the black numbers depicting the total numbers of enemies that Bond has Killed and the red figures being the number of kisses that they have had!.

Not to be forgotten are the Bond girs who help Mr Bond remain shaken but not stirred!  Those depicted in red were the ones who met their maker!

I hope that you enjoy…meanwhile I must get back into my Aston Martin and get on with the colourful journey…..


Posted by on November 26, 2012 in Art, UK, UK designers


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Creatively Speaking – Adam Jones – Quercus and Co

I have posted a couple of posts on Quercus & Co which is a newly established wallpaper company in Sydney.  Adam Jones the founder and creative talent behind the beautiful wallpaper has kindly agreed for me to interview him and, well time to grab a cuppa, sit back and relax and read on……

How would you describe your work and style?

“I started Quercus & Co earlier this year to design and print wallpaper. I love pattern in general but it’s the all-surrounding eye bending nature of pattern on walls that specifically interests me. I also have a penchant for paper and the quality of marks on paper – inky washes, scratchy charcoal, soft pencil, painterly blobs –it’s these qualities I like to bring to wallpaper. I print with the latest professional inkjet technology onto premium non-woven wallpaper. The digital revolution is incredibly exciting and of course in all honesty, I do love the old school techniques… but a hand-painted watercolour over an entire wall …this is easily done with digital printing.”

What, where and/or who inspires you?

“There are so many things… I’ve devoured magazines like World of Interiors for years – I love the eccentric aristocratic interiors; early/mid 20th artists, both their work and their homes – check out Edward Bawdens house  – just delightful!

Edward Bawden’s House

The V & A museum and its textile collection and now Pinterest – it’s brilliant how you can follow through links and find the original images, great for research.”

Where did your love of wallpaper design come from and what makes your style unique to you and Quercus & Co?

“I grew up in the 70s in the UK and like many families our house was covered from top to toe in colour and pattern. Even our ceilings had painted polystyrene patterned tiles (I don’t think these would get past fire regulations anymore let alone the style police). I became short-sighted in my teens and was convinced it was because I had stared at the wallpaper for too long – my eyes would go blurry trying to figure out the pattern and how it had been put together. My grandfather was a jigsaw puzzle fanatic and customized his kitchen table with layers of shallow shelves so that he could work on several pictures at a time. Designing wallpaper is like solving a puzzle, moving the motifs around until they slot into place.  As you get older different influences in life pop into your mind and you think ‘ah, that’s where that came from’. I went on to art school and completed a degree at Goldsmiths College, London.

The ‘Quercus style’ is hand-drawn or painted, or hand-crafted, very ‘wabi-sabi’. The designs are printed with a professional inkjet printer in our Redfern studio. I’m very excited about digital printing technology, the possibilities are endless and as with all technology it’s changing at a fast and fabulous pace but at the end of the day it’s basically ink on paper.”

Where did the name Quercus & Co originate from?

“Quercus is the botanical name for Oak Tree, a genus of tree found all over the world and loaded with history and superstition.”

Which is your favorite personal project and why?

“It’s always the next one. My head is constantly swimming with ideas, the hardest thing is staying focused – and completing – what I’m working on.”

What has been the most exciting point in your career to date and why?

“Having only started this new venture less than a year ago the exciting points are still the small things – each time I see the printer churning out my designs I feel thrilled, and again when I see the wallpaper installed in a room, which can be kind of weird, it has a very different energy than when it’s in the production process – soft and gracious, it feels like someone else made it!”

Do you have any major projects in the pipeline at the moment? Can you share these with us???

“The latest collection Caravan is inspired by vintage textiles. I ran out of time to explore ‘Shibori’, so this is on the list to finish very soon.

I designed a 4m high scenic-chinoiserie style gold wallpaper for Fat Noodle in the Treasury, Brisbane. It’s being installed this month, I’m excited and nervous!”

Preparation work for the Brisbane Restaurant – Work In progress

If you could have your wallpaper displayed anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be displayed?

“I love wallpaper in people’s homes and personally prefer it on all walls not just as a feature. It would be lovely to see it in a grand historic home.”

What would be your dream commission?

“A beautiful, boutique hotel – patterned entirely throughout! It would be great to explore the shift in mood and colour from the reception area to the dining room, the hallways and bedrooms.”

For someone coming to visit your home town where would be the must stop place or places be for them to visit ?

“I take new visitors on a drive along the coast from Clovelly to Watsons Bay. The Gap is one of my favourite places in Sydney, dramatic and sublime no matter what the weather.  Lunch at Kitchen By Mike

Kitchen By Mike

Bourke St Bakery

or coffee and cake at Bourke St bakery – easy, low key and very much what locals like to do. White Rabbit Gallery always has something amazing on show.”

Describe your perfect day

“A perfect work day is when I’m drawing or painting a new design, usually on the weekend when I can legitimately shut off all other aspects of the business. Firstly pottering around at home, watering the plants, eating a relaxed breakfast and then later in the day my partner will pick me up from the studio and we to go the beach – Little Congwong on Botany Bay. Just an hour or so of late afternoon Sydney sun is enough to feel like you live on permanent holiday.”

Now as much as I love your work, I love cooking and am always eager to find out a new recipe… what is your favorite dish to cook?

I’m not a great cook but do enjoy experimenting, even unsuccessfully! This is a fool-proof modest dish and very easy to modify depending on what you have in the fridge.

Vine ripened cherry tomatoes

Kalamata olives

A few cloves of garlic

Torn pieces of proscuitto

Fresh or dried oregano

Liberal amounts of extra virgin olive oil


Crumbled feta

Basil leaves

Pop all the first ingredients onto a baking tray in the oven and roast until the tomatoes are browned and the prosciutto crispy. Toss with the fettucine and sprinkle with feta, basil and a dash more olive oil.

Variations can include added eggplant, zucchini, capsicum, chilli or swap the prosciutto for  anchovy or pepperoni or chorizo! The better quality the ingredients, the tastier the flavour.


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Colour Me Crochet – Anne-Claire Petit

A little bit of fun today… I bet you cannot look at these images with at least a little smile on your face!!

Dutch textile designer Anne-Claire Petit began her career as a designer for the clothing label Esprit, before taking the plunge and setting up on her own. Soon, Anne-Claire Petit Accessories, became well-known for its shawls and other fashion accessories. But her creative talents have not just stopped there.  Feeling a little constrained by the seasonal cycle that comes with fashion, Petit has focused on a children’s and homeware which is bright with colour and fun, and is sure to ignite the inner child (after all why should kids have all the fun).

Here are a few tasters, and even more exciting for us Aussies is that she will be exhibiting at the Sydney Life In Style in Feb 2013…. who says these are just for kids!!!! From animals to vegetables, cuckoo clocks to record players and TV’s nothing is out of limits…..


Fruit and Veg

I want them all,  I love the cuckoo clock and would be quite happy to snuggle up on a toadstool with the crochet rug looking at my endless vase of knitted flowers…. Happy Thursday!

Meanwhile on with the colourful journey.


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Plating up a Scene – Molly Hatch

I really love this recent project by ceramicist Molly Hatch which is influenced by 18th century historical etchings from the archives of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the collection archives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.  Each “Plate Painting” is a grouping of hand-painted plates which make making up a larger image of the historic originals.

I am forever fascinated at where people obtain their inspiration and the new ideas they come up with as a result!

Molly Hatch

If you prefer something a little smaller then you may also like to have  look at Molly’s other collections from little gift tags to tea pots….. even a tea cup which helps you to tell your fortune….

Let me know what you think…… meanwhile on with the colourful journey….


Posted by on November 20, 2012 in Art, Interior Design, US Designers


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