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Maker of the Month | Lauren MacDonald from Working Cloth

The intricate and old-world craft of quilting represents everything we love about the art of making - it encourages the maker (and viewer) to slow down and appreciate every hand-stitch. Lauren MacDonald has a gentle love for the history and culture of textiles and this is richly represented in her quilting practice Working Cloth. Her stitched creations are imbued with time and patience, and her colour palettes are subtle and calming. We are pretty much in love with everything she makes.

We interview Lauren to find out more about her practice...

Can you tell us a little about your self and your practice?

I am a quilt maker and designer and am currently based in Sydney. I am Canadian, and have spent the last 5 years living and working in London before moving to Australia this past March. I make, study and teach all things textiles. I have experimented with wholesaling and retailing my work, however prefer to work on commission. I enjoy working with a client to ensure I am making something they will love forever, or working on a self indulgent project in which I don’t have to worry about a piece’s commercial end.

When and how did you first get started in textiles?

I started sewing when I was 15 or 16 - and just made really naff hoodies for all of my friends and family with flannelette pockets. I continued sewing through my teens and ended up transferring out of a bioscience degree to study Human Ecology - I focused on material culture studies and textile science. I moved to London for an internship in fashion after my degree.

Can you describe those early days?

I was working as a studio manager and then as a production coordinator for different fashion labels in London. I learned an amazing amount from the designers and pattern makers I worked under - from admin and management skills, to practical sewing and construction techniques, to conceptual design and colour choice. I didn’t have time for a formal design practice of my own at the time. It was a few years of intense learning.

What has the journey been like since those early days?

I never expected to be doing Working Cloth. I quit working in fashion last year - which up until that point had been a huge part of my identity. I was visiting Australia with my partner at the time and felt really lost, confused and unsure what to do next. Working Cloth began from me trying to address some of those feelings.  I wanted to focus on the cultural and historical aspects which I had always loved about textiles and fashion, and to use a process I felt ethically comfortable with and could maintain long term.  Working Cloth has gone through many manifestations but ultimately it has given me a platform to work on projects which I love.

Can you give us some insight into your creative process and where you draw inspiration?

I usually start by mood boarding and then sketching. I have many files devoted to a particular texture or colour - a mood I would like to capture. I also have a load of vintage quilting books that I use as references for patterns and techniques. Sometimes I’ll find a textile I love and feel the need to include it and I just sort of go from there.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I am a bit of a night owl at the moment and end up sleeping until 8 or 9.  I’ll make a coffee and a bit of toast and do a bit of reading, then get ready to work.  I live in a one bedroom apartment and my studio is my lounge room. I have a few collaborative projects on the go at the moment, volunteer work, and another job, so Working Cloth functions as a restorative practice. I focus on it a few hours each day and keep up a consistent pace. I try to go for a walk or a swim everyday - it clears my head and helps me keep things in perspective. I find getting in the ocean is a pretty good cure-all for any extra stress or anxieties.

What are you…

reading? In Defense of Lost Causes by Slavoj Zizek

listening to? Ribbons by Lazy Day

watching? Cosmos - Carl Sagan’s 1980 mini series. I’ve already rewatched the 2015 ones with Neil deGrasse Tyson earlier this year and thought I should get into the original.

Can you tell us the first thing that pops into your mind when we mention the word …

Breakfast: Coffee

Weekends: Beach                      

People: Places 

Pause: Stop                 

Sound: Music   

Smell: Lavender           

Place: Home                

Texture: Satin         

Ritual: Swim          

Colour: Green   

What’s one thing you can’t live without at the moment?

The numerous friends and family members constantly being called and sound boarded off of and who are very patient with me.

Any advice or words of wisdom for other makers out there?

Document your process. It doesn’t have to be public or structured, and it doesn’t come naturally to me, but it is an incredible feeling looking back at where you’ve come from and how your practice has grown.

We are really excited about your upcoming workshop at Guild, can you tell us a bit about it?

I am running a quilted coin pocket workshop. It’s my second workshop at the Guild and I am very excited to be back. We’ll be making up little zip pockets using the fundamentals of Hitomezashi (one stitch) sashiko - a method of visible mending and embroidery that dates back to the Edo period.

Any other projects or news you want to share?

Yes! I have an exhibition coming up next month for part of the inaugural Sydney Craft Week. It’s at blank_space gallery in Surry Hills from October 7-13. It’s a multimedia exhibition featuring a soundscape by the incredibly talented Alyx Dennison. I am also working on a project called Electrocraft, with Laura Walsh of Sydney Makerspace Bobbin and Ink.  The idea is to introduce basic scientific concepts in a very simple craft project. For our first workshop we’re doing some circuitry in the form of light up LED cards and badges. The aesthetic is a bit 70’s sci fi - it’s very different than Working Cloth and a wonderful challenge in its own way.

You can follow Lauren on Instagram.

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Maker of the Month | Hilary Green

Hilary Green is a Melbourne-based artist who illustrates, animates, makes ceramics and zines, teaches children and (in her own words) cooks up too many ideas all at once! Her practice spans many disciplines and her sources of inspiration are equally diverse, ranging from Gumby to Osamu Tezuka. Regardless of what she is making at any given moment, Hilary's work has a distinctive playfulness which caught our eye and appealed to our inner child. 

We recently chatted to Hilary about her imaginative method of storytelling and her upcoming projects, including an animation workshop at Guild...

Can you tell us a little about your self and your practice?

My name is Hilary Green and I live and work creatively from home in Coburg. In short, I am a teacher, an illustrator, ceramicist and animator.  My practice is spread across a few mediums, I think because I get distracted easily but also because each one inspires me in a different way. I currently have been making playful ceramic pieces which I carve illustrations into and am selling them through my website. I have also started making larger pieces for exhibitions. My animation practice has molded into ceramics as I love animating creatures to promote the pieces I make and bring them to life as I see them. I also work in a school where I am able to teach animation and zine making to children and am constantly inspired by their stories. My own illustrations and zines and are featured on my website. My work mostly focuses on connecting with characters I imagined as a child but also revealing their flaws and disillusionment with reality.

When and how did you first get started in drawing and animation?

 I got started drawing as soon as I could hold a pencil and ever since I saw Gumby on television I loved animation. After studying Fine Arts I believe I really started using animation when working with children. Animation was the ultimate storytelling tool. With illustration, I designed a few t-shirts and sold them online while I was travelling in 2009 and also made up my mind to one day illustrate a picture book.

  

Can you describe those early days?

Quite confused. I had finished my degree in fine art photography and started teaching children and loved it but felt very isolated creatively. Social media wasn’t as big then and it took a while before I made sense of how to use it to connect with other creatives and build my portfolio online. I remember after a long break from drawing, putting work  on instagram for the first time actually took a bit of courage but I thought then - and still think now - oh well it’s all me, so let the world see it and see where it leads.

What has the journey been like since those early days?

I have to say, since using social media and connecting with other creative people online, at markets and galleries, I have more than anything gained confidence in myself and the creative community in Melbourne especially. Opportunities arise and change my course but I feel it has been so valuable to see changes in my practice online which helps me reflect.  My focus now is to hone in on what I feel passionate about by telling stories through all mediums and inspiring a childlike imagination wherever I can. There’s something disjointed in the world of adults and children. We are all people and I want to explore that in my work more.

Can you give us some insight into your creative process and where you draw inspiration from?

I have learnt that sometimes inspiration comes in the form of mistakes. When I started painting on ceramics I found that the form of the mug made me think of different creatures. I saw ears in handles and sharp teeth around where your fingers would be.  In planning, I carry with me everywhere a little notebook to storyboard animations and future zines which helps before tranferring that to ink. Lately I am inspired by old childhood books ‘Catwitch’, Shaun Tan’s books, Dororo by Osamu Tezuka and Alessandro Sanna’s illustrations. Mainly I am inspired by my own childhood and all the wonderful children I have met.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Depending on the day I try to balance my different projects. I find I like to start the day with a big breakfast by the fire in the kitchen and a coffee in the sun with my housemate Amy. I then straight away go to the studio to check my ceramics, either preparing clay, carving or glazing.  I then may need to post an order or drop off ceramics at Northcote Pottery for firing. Regularly checking my emails, updating social media and my website are also in there. When I can, I try to edit photos or scans of illustrations from the night before. In the late afternoon I might to go for a walk, cuddle my cat or go to the market and do a big cook up. I find the only time I can draw or animate is after dark so I sometimes have a hot bath and relax before I go back to creating.

   

What are you...

...reading?

Budda, a graphic novel by Osamu Tezuka

...listening to?

Perfume Genius

...watching?

Twin Peaks

Can you tell us the first thing that pops into your mind when we mention the word …

Breakfast: Bacon

Weekends: Sunshine

People: Heads

Pause: Statue

Sound: Crackle

Smell: Smoke

Place: Backyard

Texture: Stone

Ritual: Bath

Colour: Gold

What’s one thing you can’t live without at the moment?

The fireplace in my kitchen. It’s the heart of the house.

Any advice or words of wisdom for other makers out there?

Play, I think when we play, make mistakes and keep creating, we are defining the edges of a magical thing that exists outside of our plans. But also be aware of what you like and follow and perfect that more.  Connect with as many makers as you can to support and be supported.

We are really excited about your upcoming workshop at Guild, can you tell us a bit about this?

I’m so excited to be sharing my love of animation. This workshop will give a solid introduction to planning an animation, making clay and paper models, getting used to animating on a device and a behind the scenes look at how I animate with a more professional set-up. I love giving people ideas so it would be a great workshop if you want to aim at animating your own product or even if you want to try a different medium for a change. Animating is so fulfilling and I hope my love of it rubs off on you.

Any other projects or news you want to share

I have my first SOLO show coming up at Brunswick Street Gallery  ‘Childlike’ opening on the 21st of July.

I am also excitedly working on a playful women’s fashion label called ‘SHY HERO’ which I design with two other magical women. This will be released in a few months and features my illustrations on some of the fabric. Keep your eyes out lovely ladies! 

 Follow Hilary on Instagram

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Maker of the Month - Lemons Ceramics

We've been stocking the work of Lemons Ceramics by James Shaw since he first started selling his wheel thrown pots. It's been a joy to watch the label develop, refine and mature over the last two years. Lemons Ceramics has an organic and sensual feel to it - no two pieces are ever the same. You can feel the human touch in every cup, bowl and vase.

We are launching his new BUMP range at Guild next weekend - aligning with our Mother's Day pop-up. The new collection features pastel, textured hues and soft curves which encourage you to hold the vessels snuggly in your palm. Below we interview James about his practice and preview his new collection...

Can you tell us a little about your self and your practice?

My name is James Shaw, a New Zealander living in Melbourne since 2012. I started making ceramics under the name Lemons Ceramics two years ago. My work is simple and organic in form, playful and expressive. At the moment I work at Cone11 as a studio tech, study and try to dedicate as much as I can to Lemons. I work and live in Coburg in reach of the incredible Gnocchi from Dicey’s (they haven’t paid me to write that I just really love their pasta).

When and how did you first get started in ceramics?

I was taught the basics a couple of years back by my partner at the time. I knew I had an interest for it years ago before I moved countries but never committed to anything. It’s pretty bizarre sometimes when I think about it now.

Can you describe those early days?

They were investigative, emotional and igniting. The birth of an object from mud and your hands is crazy rewarding. I’ve always been curious and tentative towards textures. Tactility and the hands on nature of clay makes working with the material so enjoyable. I remember making the first pot by myself without any help and it was just so satisfying.

What has the journey been like since those early days?

It’s been a pretty weird and wild one. A lot of hard work, a lot of investment - financially, physically, mentally - a lot of incredible people, a lot of stress, and a lot of enjoyment. I try to take every day as it comes and just focus on making work and developing my skills and knowledge. It’s hard when you’re not always motivated to work, but I’ve learned to push through and keep focused and excited about what I’m doing next.

Can you give us some insight into your creative process and where you draw inspiration from?

Everyday for me is a little different. But my days are torn between throwing, uni, work and all the other bits and bobs you do with a small business. Plus drinking a lot of coffee and eating a lot of food. I love cooking, it relaxes me and I love a challenge of making something different and delicious.

What are you...

...reading?

I’m stuck in a uni headspace, so at the moment a whole bunch of essays and articles about Colonisation and Art. I’ve just read Anthony Byrt’s This Model World which discusses some really interesting New Zealand Contemporary artists and their practises.

...listening to?

I’m always listening to ABC radio, I have a big crush on Jon Faine. 

...watching?

I refuse to watch anything that doesn’t have dragons and white walkers in it.

Can you tell us the first thing that pops into your mind when we mention the word …

Breakfast: toast

Weekends: a myth

People: people needing people

Pause: that amazing crazy radio in Bananas and Pyjamas from the 90s

Sound: little boom speaker next to me

Smell: pasta

Place: forest

Texture: rough

Ritual: toothbrush

Colour: blue

What’s one thing you can’t live without at the moment?

Embarrassingly 4G on my phone…I’ve got to get a new phone asap

Any advice or words of wisdom for other makers out there?

Go see and make as much art as you can and talk to people about what they love doing and why.

Photos by Rob Corica and James Shaw.

Follow Lemons Ceramics on Instagram. View Lemons Ceramics range at Guild.

 

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Maker of the Month - Linsey Rendell

Linsey Rendell is one of those people that has many projects on the boil and always has interesting stories to tell about her adventures. We first met Linsey when she came into Guild to shoot and write an article for Broadsheet. She was warm and friendly and knew how to make as feel comfortable in-front of her lense - we instantly liked her. Since then she has done many of our product photoshoots for our website and newsletters. Each time she manages to produce beautiful results with limited resources. 

Linsey is teaching a 'Photography for Ceramicists and Makers' class at Guild on Saturday 29 April where students can learn basic lighting and editing skills to get professional looking product photos for web and print marketing. There are two places left for this hands-on class, so jump onto our website and book yourself a spot.

Below we showcase some of the lovely images Linsey has taken for us, and we ask her about photography and life...

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your practice? 

I’m a freelance writer and photographer. My stories generally explore ideas within food culture, farming and design, nurturing further conversations across sustainability and social and environmental change. These days, I find most of my ‘freelance time’ is spent producing Broadsheet’s travel stories, and writing and shooting for Peppermint Magazine. My Peppermint stories mosey from profiles of Melbourne ceramicists, shoemakers and fashion designers to features on farmers, social activists and environmental issues. I also work behind the bar at Market Lane and run their social media accounts, and occasionally play assistant to other photographers. My ‘studio’ is essentially a combination of my flat in Kensington and cafes (Long Street Coffee is a favourite) and bars (Clever Polly’s, Sunmoth, Neighbourhood Wine) for a change of scenery. 

When and how did you first get started in photography?

I was lucky enough to have photography as a subject in high school. Back then it was all film-based photography and we shot everything in black-and-white and developed it ourselves in the darkroom. We only started to play with digital SLRs right at the end of year 12. So I learnt the basics—line, composition, light direction, exposure—slowly, making each click of the shutter count. After I finished my journalism undergraduate degree, I took night classes at the Brisbane College of Photography and Art to upskill my manual SLR knowledge to the digital realm, along with learning to edit in Photoshop. My mum kindly gifted me a Canon 1000D when I was 22, and I used it tirelessly that year. I quickly outgrew that base model, and upgraded to a 7D the following year. That body was my sturdy companion for five years, until a friend recently sold me his 5D. It’s been a very slow progression to build up to this point—it’s an expensive passion to pursue!  

What has the journey been like since those early days? 

In my honours year, I created a magazine from scratch, completing all of the writing and photography, so I could bring these to disparate skills of mine together on a page. That project landed me a job editing a weekly digital publication in Brisbane, where I continued to both write and shoot for three years. This was a very fast-paced environment, so I learnt to shoot quickly and efficiently. In my mind the work was merely ‘good enough’, but my ‘good enough’, luckily, was impressive to others. I shot portraits, interiors and food, and developed the beginnings of what I suppose is my editorial style. Since moving to Victoria and becoming a freelancer, I’ve tried to push myself to slow down and consider each shot, but it’s something I struggle with constantly, especially when time is limited. I still shoot food, interiors and portraits, but I love shooting landscapes and nature. I produce a lot of travel stories, so I’m lucky to get out to national parks and coastal regions regularly. I’m trying to train my eye to pay closer attention to light and shadow and lines and shapes, and to make pictures out of these tiny moments.  

What does a typical day look like for you?  

Each day starts with making coffee at home for myself and my partner. Breakfast is really important—I can’t eat gluten or dairy and I’m predominantly vegetarian, so eating a nourishing meal in the morning keeps me sustained throughout the day. If I’m heading out on the road for stories, I’ll be photographing various venues all day and meeting people and hearing their stories. Then when I return to the city, I’ll spend one or two days writing up the words component of the story, and one day editing the photos. I try to make a dance class every Monday evening, and Melbourne Cinématèque on Wednesdays, but it’s not always possible. I definitely find I have more headspace and feel physically more able when I’m practising yoga, but life has been rather upturned of late and I’m still trying to re-find rhythm and space for these important rituals.  

 

What are you...

ReadingKrista Tippett’s Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living, and Bruce Pascoe’s Earth.

Listening to? Podcasts! Namely Design Matters with Debbie Millman, 99% Invisible, Hidden Brain, On Being with Krista Tippet, Longform and Memory Palace. 

Watching? The intriguing and obscure films screened at Melbourne Cinématèque  

 

Can you tell us the first thing that pops into your mind when we mention the word 

Breakfast: Miso, avocado, kimchi and eggs 

Weekends: Slow mornings, natural wine evenings  

People: Community  

Pause: Sunset 

Sound: Jazz in the morning 

Smell: The salty ocean 

Place: Anywhere good friends are  

Texture: Linen 

Ritual: Morning coffee 

Colour: Indigo  

 

Any advice or words of wisdom for other makers out there? 

You can be angry at the system, or you can get inside the system, and change things from the inside out. "The best way to complain is to make something" ~ Seth Godin on Design Matters. 

I’m an optimist and my partner is a realist, which is helpful in balancing out each other’s strong opinions. But everyone needs hope. Hope is what creates change. “It’s much more radical, much more daring and much more dangerous to hope" ~ Mary Karr. 

We are really excited about your upcoming workshop at Guild, can you tell us a bit about it?  

The workshop is designed to give ceramicists and makers a few insights and skills to up their own photography, so they can shoot their products and improve the look and feel of their websites and social media accounts. Hiring a photographer can be expensive, and when we’re all following our dreams and just scrapping by, there usually isn’t money around for investing in really polished imagery. So the workshop will allow makers to do-it-themselves. I’ve done trades with ceramicists in the past when they have a whole collection they’d like to shoot. But sometimes you just need one or two images to submit a proposal for an exhibition or promote a studio sale. After the workshop, makers will feel confident that they can produce these images on their own.  

Any other projects or news you want to share?  

My partner Björn, his brother Sascha and I also produce a journal called Scrag End. It sits within the food culture and food futures space, but mostly we just love telling people’s stories and pairing these with beautiful imagery and film. It’s predominantly a print publication, but printing a magazine off your own back is expensive. So we redesigned the website to turn it into a space where we could continue to publish stories even if we don’t have the money to put them on a printed page. There are a couple up there now, and we’re hoping to add more very soon (yet another ‘spare time’ project!) Take a look: scragend.com

 

Photography by Linsey Rendell

You can follow Linsey on all her adventures via Instagram

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Maker of the Month - Edith Rewa

The lovely Edith Rewa is launching her new collection Field Trip at the end of this month. We are hosting the Melbourne launch party and we couldn't be more chuffed. You are invited to join us for a celebration drink here at Guild of Objects and be the first to see Edith's highly detailed Australian botanical illustrations jump of the page and on to her silk scarves.

Thursday 30 March | 5pm - 8pm

This month we interviewed Edith about her practice and her new collection.

Can you please tell us a little about yourself and your craft?

My name is Edith and I like plants!

I am a Textile designer and Illustrator, stirred by all things botanical and Australian.

I currently live in Blackheath in the Blue Mountains were I spend most of my days drawing natives, working on my label and doing client based freelance work. Bush walks, swims, bike rides and coffee intersperse work as well as trips to the big smoke or interstate to keep me sane from a solo work space!

How did you first get started as an illustrator and textile designer?

My first real love of illustrations and textiles started in high school where a warm and wonderful teacher introduced me to printmaking and more aptly, screen printing- the most satisfying process to combine the both. I stumbled across the Textile Design degree at RMIT almost by accident and have felt pretty lucky to be learning and fumbling my way into a career in it from there on! I started off in a commercial design studio in Sydney before migrating to full time freelance life in Blackheath in The Blue Mountains with a whole lot of drawing along the way.

Can you give us some insight into your creative process and where you draw inspiration from?

My inspiration is almost always centered around place. Landscape and observations and learnings of the flora and fauna within. Bush walks and travel keep my mind and drawing hand pretty darn excited. There is a reoccurring urge to share and showcase native specimens that might not otherwise be overly noticed or geographically possible in our day to day lives!

What does your studio look like?

It is usually always a bit of a muddle of piles of books, plants in varying states of decay, sprawled pens and half finished drawings. There will reliably be a pile of scribbled ‘To Do’ lists lying around, a cordial soda water and sweet treat. My studio is very much a working reflection of the project I am working on at the current time. I like to use my walls as giant mood board and gallery space to help me jot out ideas or keep my mind on track.

 

Any advice or words of wisdom for other makers out there?

I am going to cheat and share some words from John Olsen that stuck with me from his recent exhibition (You Beaut Country)… 

 ‘’Stay with your dream and learn to play’’  

We are really excited about your upcoming launch at Guild, can you tell us a bit about your new collection and how it came together?

I can’t wait to share it with you all! It has been a long one in the making as I have been travelling about Australia and drawing and learning about places and plants in between other work over last year.

Here is a little project snippet…

Field Trip exhibits a world I found to be alive and erupting with colour, pattern and incredible plant peculiarities. I learned about desert places previously unknown to me, excitedly illustrating my way into the landscape through the flora and fauna.
These designs push the Eremeophila neglectas into the spotlight, challenging the idea that ‘there is nothing out there’, wanting our arid land plants to be noticed and applauded. The silk scarves exhibit a landscape I explored in a series of trips into arid Australia. Fragments only, but I hope they take you there.

 

If you could do anything tomorrow what would you do?

Roadtrip! I just got my licence last week (finally!) so I am brimming with excitement to adventure to all the places a bike and train can’t get me!

If you could teach your kids one thing, what would it be?

Always make time to get to know the plants around you. They will teach you to stop and look and learn and breathe.

What are you reading at the moment?

The Blue Plateau by Mark Tredinnick (It’s beautiful)

If we rummaged through your grocery bag, what would we find?

Mostly sweet things

The first thing that pops into your mind when we mention the word:

Breakfast: eggs

Weekends: play

People: pals

Pause: I wish

Sound: The yellow tailed black cockies feasting and flying about our street at the moment. They have such a prehistoric screech!

Smell: sensitive

Place: learning

Texture: linen

Ritual: post office

Colour: brown, my favourite.

Whats one thing you cant live without at the moment?

A to do list

What are your words of wisdom?

 It is ok to say no!

Photos by Georgie Blackie and Nick McKinlay.

Find Edith Rewa on Instagram and in the Guild Shop.

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Maker of the Month - Regina Middleton

Regina Middleton's simple and reverent jewellery is influenced by her explorations along the coastline near her home in Torquay, Victoria. She uses objects which she finds washed up on the beaches to cast and create intricate pieces in silver and porcelain. We think her latest collection 'Collect, Imprint, Adorn' is a stunning reflection of how jewellery can communicate an essence of history, place and the evolution of time.

We interviewed Regina about her practice and work...

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your practice?

I have been making jewellery for nearly ten years, and although my practice has very much evolved in that time I have always been enamoured with found materials and have felt a natural pull towards creating pieces of adornment. I live in Torquay with my husband and our very loved dog Ary. The ocean shoreline is where I find most of my inspiration, may it be in colour, shape or form.

When and how did you first get started as a Jeweller?

The first summer after high school finished my best friend and I spent every day at the beach, eating salad, sun baking and beach-combing in between swimming in the beautiful Indian Ocean. A few friendship pieces were made with what we collected, and I was hooked. Shells with holes were my favourite as were curiously weathered forms! From there I went on to complete a bachelor of design majoring in jewellery at Curtin University in WA, and an honours in fine art at Monash University.

What has the journey been like since those early days?

Moving to Melbourne nearly ten years ago saw a massive shift in my practice. With the ocean being so far from my immediate surroundings I found inspiration along the street, in parks and the dumpster at Uni. For some time I was exploring up cycling electrical and telecommunication wires. The colours were insanely inspiring.

Looking for beauty in the abandoned has always run through my practice. As is the connection between time and place and objects that have been able to mark that experience, or at least spark a memory of that time.

The obscured history of an object has always held my intrigue. I think that is why weathered forms with text always excite me the most. Imbued within them is an allusion to the their history.

Can you give us some insight into your creative process and where  you draw inspiration from?

My creative process tends to begin with a hunt, a gathering, a collection of sorts. From there I love sorting my finds. Familiarising myself with their differences and putting them together like a puzzle. I find this is great way to explore their forms further and establish which stand out and speak to me the most.

Shape, form and detail are driving factors, influencing the starting point. Interestingly, there are certain shapes that I find over and over again; the way the plastics breakdown and weather produce similar results.

I can’t help but also see the comparison between the way in which my holdfasts (the anchor that many seaweed species use to fasten themselves onto the oceans floor) could be branches, twigs, veins, antlers, etc. Nature is about repetition and this has always spoken to me.

The repetitive nature of making jewellery is also where I find my zen. 

Any advice or words of wisdom for other makers out there?

Keep at it, immerse yourself in your craft and the people within it and don't be afraid. Trust your instincts. Explore, play and breathe. 

We are really excited about your upcoming workshops at Guild, can you tell us a bit about these?

My upcoming workshops at Guild will be exploring our connection to materials and found objects. We will be casting an object/objects/materials to create a precious ring or pendant in silver. Participants are more than welcome to bring their own objects or I will have some for them to sort through and find what they connect with the most to choose to cast. The objects I bring will be clearly recorded and grouped into where they were collected from and when.

I really hope I can share the idea of mementos; markers of time and place as precious things to be held onto. We will also be able to explore leaving impressions from these objects in wax and in turn creating a ring or pendant to be cherished or gifted with the intention for another to cherish.

Any other projects or news you want to share?

I am working towards a solo exhibition later this year with that which the oceans rejects, that which I find along the high tide lines. It will be about time, place, sentiment and materiality. The works will be both wearable and not so wearable.

My precious plastics will also be taking shape into explorations outside of adornment for the body. I am hoping to create some new artworks and prints from my drawings and placements of found objects.

Photography Credits: From Top - Images 1,2,3,5,7 Timothy Marriage | Image 6 Kristoffer Paulsen | Image 4,8,9 Regina Middleton.

Find Regina on Instagram and in the Guild shop.

Regina will be running two workshops at Guild on Saturday 4 March, 2017 - 'Make a Silver Ring' and 'Make a Silver Pendant'. We are offering a 10% discount if you book two or more spots in her workshops before Valentines Day (14 February). 

 

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Maker of the Month - Vivien Hollingsworth

Vivien Hollingsworth from Flos.Botanical Studio gets up a 3am to go to the flower market. She chooses to do that with her own free will. And we are so glad she does, because the result of Vivien's trips to the flower market are absolutely stunning. We love receiving her weekly, seasonal posies at Guild - they are always a surprising combination of textures, colours and fragrances.

We're also super excited to have our first flower related workshop by Vivien coming up on Sunday 11 December. She is teaching Native Wild Wreath Making and we can't think of a better way to decorate our doors for Christmas. There are still some spots left, so if you are interested in making a gorgeous, fresh wreath this year then you can book your spot here.

We interviewed Vivien about starting her floristry studio and how she finds her inspiration...

Can you please tell us a little about yourself and your craft? 

I am 27 and I am a florist. I work full time in my business Flos.Botanical Studio.  I live and work out of my home in Northcote, I have a studio space out the back of my house and two very kind housemates who let me take over our backyard with my work. I grew up in beautiful lush Warragul in Gippsland but have lived in Melbourne for 8 years now.  I studied floristry at Holmesglen Tafe and before that I did a double degree in Visual Arts, painting and Arts, visual culture.

When and how did you get interested in floristry? 

I have always loved flowers, my mother is an avid gardener and my extended family are berry growers. I grew up with a love and understanding of the seasons. It wasn’t until I finished my degrees and was working in uninspiring arts admin and considering what to do next that I decided on a whim to enroll in floristry. Once I began I knew that I only wanted to be a florist. It is the perfect medium for me; I love the pace, the connection to the seasons and getting to make impermanent compositions.  When I was painting and sculpting my work was often about site and landscape. Now working with flowers I get to make work about the same thing and it completely satisfies my creative energies.

Can you describe the early days of setting up your business?

I have been working for myself full-time for just over a year now.  It has been far more challenging and rewarding then I could have imagined.  The flower scene in Melbourne is very close and supportive, I have been lucky enough to freelance for some really talented people who have been extremely supportive while setting up my studio. I have consciously tried to cultivate clients who suit my aesthetic and work with brands and people who I respect. The flower industry and be quite commercial so trying to carve out a space where I can be both financially viable whilst maintaining my creative practice has been a balancing act.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Working with flowers creates a certain rhythm.  On Thursdays I head to the market around 3am and collect and buy for my jobs that week. I really love going to the market and I find all the characters you meet there really energizing. I love seeing all the surprising and seasonal blooms as they start coming in with the change of weather.

Once I get back to my studio I have some breakfast, begin conditioning the flowers and organising them for the jobs. Then the fun part, I being making my arrangements for the weekends jobs and weddings. As well as my day to day routines I also regularly head out of town. I have family in Gippsland and the Dandenong’s so I am especially attached to those regions and try to go to both at least once a season to see the landscape change.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

For colour pallets I look to the landscape and gardens. I am often working to a brief and design from a client or bride which can be a great inspiration and challenge to work with. I try to find ways to tweak the pallets and integrate a more natural but also surprising composition.  I also like to draw from art, particularly the Dutch masters and Australian landscape artists as well the constructivist and contemporary artists who work with still life. I am also heavily inspired by those around me, especially my friends who are practicing artists, and the beautiful produce of the flower growers at the market.

If you could do anything tomorrow what would you do?  

Move the country and plant paddocks of rambling roses.

If you could teach your kids one thing, what would it be? 

To learn the importance of growing and making things, and the skills to do it.

What are you reading at the moment? 

I am dyslexic so more than reading I listen, to Radio National, podcasts on politics, history and feminism and the occasional audio book when I can sit still long enough.

If we rummaged through your grocery bag, what would we find? 

Avocados, liquorice and probably some snips - I always have a pair of snips in-case I find something beautiful to cut.

Can you tell us the first thing that pops into your mind when we mention the word …

Breakfast:  coffee

Weekends:  work

People:  support network

Pause: weekends in the Rhodendron Garden

Sound:  The birds on mums Deck

Smell: Lilly of the Valley

Place: Mum's garden

Texture: Grasses

Ritual: Seasons

Color: Burnt Orange

What’s one thing you can’t live without at the moment? 

Snips, hot chocolate, garden roses and burgundy foliage.  The dream combo.

What are your words of wisdom?

Surround yourself with smart talented and motivated people and will encourage you. We all have something to offer and once you find your medium work hard to get better at it. We owe it to each other to share our passions and skills.

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Vivien is running a Native Wild Wreath Making workshop on Sunday 11 December - book your spot here.

Flos.Botanical Studio stocks seasonal flower posies at Guild. You can secure your weekly bunch here.

Follow Flos.Botanical Studios on Instagram.

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Photos by Bobby + Tide and  Samee Lapham (Radical Yes)

 

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Maker of the Month – Claire Lehmann

Claire Lehmann is a graphic artist and ceramicist who studied art history and multimedia and is now exploring the industrial design of ceramics. She is influenced by architecture, sci-fi and 1970s interior design. Her work reflects her interests in shape, texture, process and weight.

We are looking forward to the reveal of Claire’s most recent work in a joint exhibition with Georgie Moyes entitled 573° this month at Guild of Objects from November 17–19.

Please come help us celebrate the launch of Claire and Georgie’s exhibition at a special preview on Thursday November 17 from 5–8pm.

Can you please tell us a little about yourself and your craft?

I’m 38, I live in Northcote and I alternate between ceramics and freelance work as a graphic artist/retoucher. I’m in my last month of studying a Diploma of Ceramics at Holmesglen Tafe. I previously studied a Bachelor of Art History and then Multimedia. I’ve always made art, but cut back when I started working in design. So after 13 years in front of a computer I’m finally circling back around – older, slightly wiser and definitely better at Photoshop. I have a studio in North Melbourne and have been making ceramics for six years. My focus was initially on tableware, but now my focus is shifting towards lighting and hopefully more sculptural, non-functional ceramics.

When and how did you first get interested in ceramics?

One of my sisters asked me to do a short course with her at Carlton Arts Centre. I turned up and within six months I’d moved to part-time work so I could spend the rest of my time making ceramics. It was a convergence of my love of homewares, using my hands and a challenge.

Can you describe the early days of setting up your business?

Initially, it was all about repetition and learning from lots and lots of mistakes. I’d take orders and figure things out as I went. I’d stick to shapes and colours I knew I could manage and I was definitely being risk-averse. Studying ceramics has been great because I’ve tried things I wouldn’t have attempted otherwise and that’s definitely opened up my practice and my interests. I named my business Sunday Ceramics after Sunday Reed who is a personal hero (and was a mega babe). I think my interest in opacity, weight, structure and material tolerance ties in with my love of design. In another life, I would have studied industrial design but I think I’m glad I didn’t. I kind of enjoy approaching these areas with no knowledge and no set ideas. Things just happen organically. And when a shape doesn’t work, I problem solve – do I change the design or do I change the process? The problem solving keeps it interesting.

What does a typical day look like for you?

On pottery days I wake up, have a nice breakfast, do life admin and get to the studio around 10:30am. I like to have different projects going at the same time and I move between them. Usually there are chats and coffees with other studio people, some Radio National and history podcasts, and then suddenly it gets dark and it’s pens down, the day is over. I guess I go into the zone for 5–6 hours and when I come back hopefully some nice ceramics have been made.



Where/what do you draw inspiration from?

I’m interested in shape and texture and I draw inspiration from architecture, art and design. I also love collecting interior design books from the 1970s and 80s.

If you could do anything tomorrow what would you do?

I’d go to the beach and read a book and try to forget about my to-do list.

If you could teach your kids one thing, what would it be?

I try to teach my nieces and nephews to be kind and to have fun.

What are you reading at the moment?

Longform. Always. When I’m on holiday I read books, but in the meantime it’s all about longform journalism.

If we rummaged through your grocery bag, what would we find?

The usual stuff – vegetables, cheese, but also maybe a screwdriver or some random pottery tools.

Can you tell us the first thing that pops into your mind when we mention the word …

Breakfast: slow scramble
Weekends: studio time
People: smiles with friends
Pause: never
Sound: rain
Smell: my lover’s hair
Place: my garden
Texture: hands
Ritual: ceramics
Color: white

What’s one thing you can’t live without at the moment?

The supportive and creative people around me.

What are your words of wisdom?

Life wisdom: Be kind. Try to listen. Trust that it’s all going in the right direction. Ceramic-specific wisdom: Even if things fail, put them in the bin, learn and move on. Aka let it go.

573° Exhibition Open Hours:

Launch Night | Thursday November 17 5–8pm

Open Friday November 18 and Saturday November 19 from 10am to 5pm. 

 

Find Claire on Instagram and online.

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Maker of the Month – Georgie Moyes

Georgie Moyes is a Melbourne-based ceramicist, utilising hand-building techniques and the wheel to make pieces inspired by the natural world. Harmony and balance are at the forefront of her work as she makes larger pieces which challenge ideas of function and purpose.

We are so excited to be showing Georgie’s work in a joint exhibition with Claire Lehmann entitled 573° this month at Guild of Objects from November 17–19.

Please come help us celebrate the launch of Georgie and Claire’s exhibition at a special preview on Thursday November 17 from 5–8pm.

 

Can you please tell us a little about yourself and your craft?

I live in Coburg, which isn’t too far from my studio in North Melbourne where I practise ceramics. I feel lucky to say that I spent my earlier years growing up in Warrandyte on a large property with farmland and creeks nearby. I always spent a lot of time outdoors in the garden searching for blue tongues and absorbing as much of my mum’s knowledge about plants as I could! After finishing high school, I started studying psychology but realised it wasn’t for me and decided to take some time out to travel. When I came back I did some short courses in dressmaking and sewing, and I then started taking ceramics classes at Carlton Arts Centre and my interest in clay just kept evolving. Now I am finishing my Diploma of Ceramics at Holmesglen Tafe.  

When and how did you first get interested in ceramics? 

I guess it’s really been embedded in me and something I’ve appreciated for a long time. My mum and my uncle have such an eye for one-off pieces and beautiful antiques. When I visit my mum’s house now, I spend ages looking through all of her knick knacks and the precious things she’s collected over the years – a lot of which are ceramics! My uncle has always given me the most incredible gifts. Everything has always felt like a treasure from another land! So I’ve always had a great appreciation for ceramics and handmade things. My gran also used to make ceramics at Potters Cottage in Warrandyte and she still has a number of the beautiful pieces she made with glazes she formulated herself. So naturally my mother enrolled me in weekend ceramic classes around the age of 11.



Can you describe the early days of setting up your business?

I initially started taking throwing classes at Carlton Arts Centre. I loved these classes, because I was just happy to be making something with my hands. I wasn’t doing it for an outcome, it was just to play and be immersed in something new. Though I soon realised ceramics can’t just be a casual affair, it demands attention and perseverance. I became obsessed with the process, and how much you really have to nurture your work if you want it to make it. It was all a lesson in patience and practising non-attachment. I was going 3-4 times a week, but I wanted more. I needed to know more about hand-building and glazes, which lead me look into Holmesglen. At the moment I’m trying less to focus on the outcome – whether a piece will be functional, where I imagine it to be placed or how it fits into the world, and instead to just feel it out and be open to things changing along the way. Since the start of the year, I’ve been lucky enough to gain a studio space with other potters and shared equipment, which has been amazing! It’s so good to be surrounded by people who are using the same medium but in so many varied ways.

What does a typical day look like for you? 

At the moment I can’t go a day without yoga, and I can’t go a day without time in my garden. These two things are crucial to my productivity and joy. Usually I’m up and in the garden by 8am and at the studio by 10am – coffee in hand and listening to PBS Radio. I’ll usually sit around on Instagram for a while and then go over what I did the day before, and plan what to do for the day. I’m currently building a lot of larger vessels. Usually around 3pm, Claire (my studio wife) and I have a brie and cheddar break, then we’ll get a second wind for a few more hours or it’s time to head home. After a day at the studio I head to yoga, and then it’s home to slay all the snails and slugs in the veggie garden.

Where/what do you draw inspiration from?

Mainly island life, tropical living, tropical plants, tropical animals, tropical beauties, tropical feelings. My happiness is heavily synced with how much time I spend around nature, so I draw a lot of inspiration from the natural world and living within our means alongside nature. I love to look back in time at how ancient cultures used ceramics in ritual and offerings.

The value and worth placed upon objects and belongings inspires me to make. I love how simple things like a stone or seed can resonate with me so much, so I try to make things with this in mind, that everything is special. But there are a number of artists who really inspire me – Maria Gazzard is one with her beautiful forms, as well as paintings by Paul Gauguin. Also the ceramic works of Salvatore Fiume – so dreamy! And the forms of Ancient Grecian urns and all the treasures from the Aegean Sea.

If you could do anything tomorrow what would you do?

As disgusting as it sounds, I’d probably elope to an island in the Caribbean with my boyfriend. 

If you could teach your kids one thing, what would it be?

How to grow food!

What are you reading at the moment?

Island by Aldous Huxley, and my god it’s good!

If we rummaged through your grocery bag, what would we find?

Bonsoy, Derry-O organic brie, liquorice, sweet potato (ALWAYS), tahini, dates and vermicelli.

Can you tell us the first thing that pops into your mind when we mention the word …

Breakfast: coffeeee!
Weekends: garden
People: rather not
Pause: breathe
Sound: rain
Smell: rice
Place: bed
Texture: sand
Ritual: ceramic
Colour: green  

What’s one thing you can’t live without at the moment? 

Yoga.

What are your words of wisdom?

Trust that every little thing that happens (good or bad) is leading you to where you want to be. 

573° Exhibition Open Hours:

Launch Night | Thursday November 17 from 5–8pm

Open Friday November 18 and Saturday November 19 from 10am to 5pm.

 

Find Georgie on Instagram.

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Maker of the Month – Kim Russell

We’ve been big fans of Kim Russell’s work for a long time. Brooke and Chela shared a studio with Kim many moons ago. We enjoyed sharing a space with such an intuitive and whimsical creative soul - truly an artist who dances to her own beat. Kim began her creative practice making small, limited-editions of jewellery, but has since moved on to clay, making one-of-a-kind sculptures which ooze personality, movement and spirituality.

We are so excited to be showing Kim's exhibition of new works entitled 'Masks' this month at Guild of Objects from 22-30 July 2016.

Please come help us celebrate the launch of Kim's exhibition at a special preview on Thursday 21 July from 5pm - 8pm.

We recently interviewed Kim about her work , her practice and her perspective on life and creativity.

Can you please tell us a little about yourself and your craft?

I designed and made jewellery which I loved but I'm influenced by materials so working in a studio with ceramicists led me to creating with clay.  I make small sculptures and feel like I'm on my own little exploration of surrendering and letting it unfold.  I'd love to make large sculptures one day but have no idea how to go about that so for now it's fun playing with form and shapes on a small scale.  My craft goes hand in hand with many of my spiritual practices.  I love the spontaneity and immediacy of clay.

Do you have design philosophies that guide your practice? 

Get out of my head and into my body and let the creativity flow.

What does your studio look like? 

I have an alter with candles, rocks, crystals, palo santo and other trinkets, but besides that it's pretty bare. I don't like too much visual stimulation when I'm making.  Being surrounded by trees is all I need.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

From stimulating conversations...

The other day I was walking through the forest and came across a guy watching a lyre bird.  We started chatting.  He composed music and I said I made sculptures.  We spoke about nature, creativity and the ways of the Universe then thanked each other and continued in our opposite directions, both knowing that we had crossed paths for that moment to creatively inspire one another.  I live for those synchronisations.

What does your perfect day feel like?

It doesn't matter what order but it would include.....meditation/dancing/yoga/walk in nature/eating healthy meals/snacking on sweet treats/cups of tea/connecting with friends/making lots of sculptures while contemplating life's mysteries.

Who's work do you admire?

It changes all the time but at the moment it's Jean Miro and John Byrne.  Oh, and Bjork and Patti Smith, they are constant inspirations.

If you could do anything tomorrow what would you do?

Fly to the magical lands of Peru.

If you could teach your kids one thing, what would it be? 

I would probably want to nurture their curious and free nature and hope they would never lose it.

What are you reading at the moment?

Mysteries of the dark moon by Demeter George

If we rummaged through your grocery bag, what would we find?

Vegetables, chocolate, tea, nuts, Danish sweets.

Can you tell us the first thing that pops into your mind when we mention the word …

Breakfast...yum                 

Weekends...relaxing

People...mix bag

Pause...keyboard

Sound...healing

Smell...nature

Place...travel

Texture...tactile

Ritual...necessity

Color...black

What’s one thing you can’t live without at the moment?

Living in the forest

What are your words of wisdom?

Tap into your own unique gifts and don't follow the crowd.  It doesn't matter if your work isn't always popular.  Evolution and growth of your own practice feeds your soul.

 

Exhibition Open Hours:

Launch Night | Thursday 21 July 5pm - 8pm.
then
10am - 4pm on the following days in July
Friday 22  / Saturday 23 (closed Sun/Mon/Tues)
Wednesday 27 / Thursday 28 / Friday 29 / Saturday 30

 

Find Kim on Instagram, her website, and the Guild shop

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