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JOURNEY #54: ARCADIA
As we collectively seek out balance and panacea, we travel to a new world; an idyllic juncture filled with innocence and creativity. Breathtaking silhouettes, emblematic florals and a delicate colour palette create a sense of tranquility. Welcome to Arcadia.
VIBRANT EAR CANDY
Hand-sculpted in Melbourne by our favourites
Flock Curiosity Assembly.
Bold. Light. Playful, and Unique... Sound like you?
On this blog, you'll find recipes, tutorials, tips, downloads and more from Obus lovers across Australia.
It's time to sit back, relax and enjoy!
Meet Lani and Zara ~ mother and daughter, Obus lovers and the creative duo behind Aurora Art.
Inspired by motherhood and influenced by their diverse Australian and Papua New Guinean heritage, we get to know the women behind these stunning artworks.
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Tell us about your journey to launch Aurora Art?
Being Mother & Daughter, we are very close & have always dreamt of working together in our own small business. We have always created artwork for our own home, family and friends.
The timing seemed right last year and we decided to take a leap of faith and commence working full time on Aurora Art. Zara (my daughter) was getting closer to finishing her Fine Arts degree and I (Lani) had recently had my fifth baby and decided not to return to teaching. We were very grateful to be able to work on over 100 paintings last year and also launch our prints. We are excited for what the future holds!
How does cultural values influence your art?
We are from a diverse cultural background and we are definitely influenced by our culture. My Mum is from a small PNG island in the Torres Strait and growing up she spent some time living in Papua New Guinea.
What kind of projects have you worked on recently? What was the most rewarding?
The launch of our fine art prints and being invited to be stocked on the BlockShop were recent highlights for us. We have been very humbled that people have embraced our art.
How has Covid-19 changed the way you work, and how have you adapted to these challenges?
We were in a lockdown in Melbourne for a lot of 2020, which meant that we were able to set up our home studio. We have a gallery in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne which is open by appointment, however, we have since been able to work predominantly from home and focus on online as a result of Covid-19.
What 3 words would you use to describe your personal style?
Colourful, eclectic & feminine.
What are you currently reading?
Becoming by Michelle Obama
How do you incorporate sustainability into your everyday?
In our home we love up cycling and making over old furniture. Within Aurora Art we only create our prints when an order is placed so there is no wastage. Our suppliers are local small businesses & we physically collect our framing and prints from them every week, so that unnecessary packaging can be avoided.
Name 3 empowering females you'd love to have dinner with & why?
We would love to have dinner with Oprah, Michelle Obama & Alicia Keys. All three women are strong black women making a difference in our world. 🙌🏽
What brings you joy - big or small?
Family is our biggest joy. Being a big family there is always lots of noise, laughter & joy!
ABOUT LANI AND ZARA
Lani is the founder and owner of Aurora Art. She holds degrees in Business (Marketing) and Education, and is a Director of various companies.
Zara is completing a Bachelor in Fine Arts and as a professionally trained artist, her work has been exhibited at Melbourne Museum and various galleries across Australia.
Oh, hey there. I’m Sofia Levin, a food and travel journalist based in Melbourne (more so than ever given international travel is currently off the cards!). I write for publications such as Good Food, SBS Food, Lonely Planet and Broadsheet, but I spend most of my time encouraging people to #EatCuriously, that is to learn more about other cultures and celebrate diversity through food.
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My website, Seasoned Traveller, is on track to be live early 2021 and will feature lesser-known restaurants, food experiences and culinary travel advice that you won’t find elsewhere. It comes as no surprise that I’ve decided to compile a list of fiction and non-fiction food books for one of my favourite labels, Obus.
Rest assured that these are not just for food lovers; they contain stories that will transport you to other countries and centuries, enlightening information and ways to broaden both your mind and kitchen skills. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
Here are some of my recommended reads...
The Last Days of Cafe Leila by Donia Bijan
This is a beautiful tale about Noor, an Iranian woman living in San Francisco who returns home to visit her aging father at his cafe in Tehran. Three-generation-old Cafe Leila has been a rock and home for many during Iran’s turbulent history, and this moving story of food, family and identity is simultaneously heart warming and heart wrenching. Make sure you have the nearest Persian restaurant on speed dial to make a booking – you’ll want to eat jewelled rice and fesenjan (pomegranate chicken stew) after reading.
Dark Emu: Black Seeds: Agriculture or Accident? by Bruce Pasco
This is such an important book for every Australian to read. Aboriginal author and academic Bruce Pascoe released it in 2014, but it’s been the topic of much conversation since. Through research, original journal entries and other means it re-examines first encounters with First Nation Australians and turns everything we were taught in school on its head; evidence suggests that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were not “hunter gatherers”, but instead heavily involved in agriculture and cultivating the land.
Appetite by Philip Kazan
This novel is widely regarded as the taste equivalent of Patrick Suskind’s Perfume (another of my all-time favourite books). It’s a historical novel set in Florence and Rome that follows Nino Latini, who can taste what others can’t, from teenager into adulthood. His experiences are intertwined with a love story and the food descriptions are gluttonous and stunning. Nino’s palate in an age of consumption and hedonism is both a blessing and a curse, but I don’t want to give too much more away!
Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl
Last year American food writer Ruth Reichl released a memoir called Save Me The Plums: My Gourmet Memoir. It’s a brilliant insight into the evolution and excitement of food writing, but I recommend you first read Garlic and Sapphires (actually, read all of her wonderful books). Garlic and Sapphires is one of my favourites because it’s a real-life romp. It details the efforts Reichl went to remain anonymous when reviewing for the New York Times, during which she completely embodied her characters. She’s clever, fun, overtly sensual and most importantly, makes you want to eat.
New Voices on Food edited by Lee Tran Lam
I’m involved in a group of journalists who gathered during lockdown to brainstorm ways to improve the diversity of food writing in Australia. This book, published by Somekind Press and edited by my unstoppable friend, Lee Tran Lam, is one of the results. It’s an anthology of deeply personal food stories from people of underrepresented backgrounds that will lend a dose of perspective and give you an insight into other cultures through food. Expect to see more of this sort of thing in the future – our culinary landscape is richer for it.
In Praise of Veg: A Modern Kitchen Companion by Alice Zaslavsky
If Obus made a pattern from a cookbook, it would be this one, so I’m sneaking it into my reading list. You might know my mate Alice Zaslavsky from her MasterChef days or her cooking segment on ABC News Breakfast, but it doesn’t matter where she’s been or that I might be a little bit biased, because this bible of a cookbook belongs on the shelf between your Ottolenghi and Stephanie Alexander – and you’ll probably use it more. Vegetable-forward but not at the exclusion of meat and seafood, it’s organised by colour and is as vibrant as the author. For example, if you have onions to use up, flick to the brown section and make the ‘Any kind of Onion’ Tarte Tartin. If it’s good enough for Nigella Lawson, it’s good enough for you.
ABOUT SOFIA LEVIN
Sofia Levin is a culinary travel journalist and the founder of Seasoned Traveller. She encourages people to #EatCuriously in order to celebrate difference and learn more about other cultures through food.
Meet Obus lovers, Celeste and her dear friend and co-owner of Natural Supply Co, Sarah. Like us, these two ladies pack all their orders themselves, and are equally committed to minimise as much waste as possible every day.
From limiting packaging from suppliers, reusing what they can and aiming for a zero-waste approach to business, they embrace the slow living lifestyle, and look for quality over quantity in all aspects of their lives.
Passionate about providing natural, yet delightful, beauty, skincare and lifestyle products, we asked Celeste to share some of her best tips on how to make small changes to take care of ourselves and our environment.
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Kermit the Frog may sing ‘it’s not easy being green,’ but, with a little preparation, I beg to differ! Over the past couple of years, I’ve been making conscious decisions to try and reduce my family’s impact on the environment; avoiding single-use plastic in particular, which has crept into so many facets of our day-to-day lives without us even really noticing. But not anymore!
I know it can be overwhelming to get started on a more eco-friendly lifestyle; I have had a lot of people contact me about this, as I’ve shared my progress and tips on Natural Supply Co’s Insta stories. But I really believe the ‘progress, not perfection’ mantra. I am not perfect. I don’t pretend to be perfect; plastic still comes into our home. But I really believe that if we all make a few small changes, we can make a difference to the environment.
So to that end: here are some tips to help you make some positive changes in 2021!
Get a bread bag
Taking a reusable cotton bread bag to the bakery, and getting your loaf sliced directly into that, means saving a single-use plastic bag for every loaf you buy. That’s about two a week for my family; which means we are saying ‘no thanks’ to about 104 plastic bags a year. It all adds up!
Switch to a biodegradable dish cloth
Next time you need to throw away your manky dish cloth, don’t replace it with a plastic one from the supermarket; buy a biodegradable version instead. You can use it just like your normal kitchen sponge, but when you’re finished with it, you can pop it into your compost instead of sending it to landfill. We love the fun prints from Retrokitchen; I’ve been using my two on rotation for 12 months, and they’re still going.
Invest in a reusable coffee cup and water bottle
The trick is remembering to keep these with you when you’re on-the-go! I swear by the stainless steel Frank Green cups and bottles, which are coated in ceramic on the inside so your drinks taste just like they would in a cup at home. They’ll also keep your drinks hot (or cold) for hours on end. Plus, a lot of cafes will take 20c to 50c off your coffee price when you BYO cup, so if, like me, you drink a lot of coffee, it won’t take long to pay for itself.
Ditch the plastic toothbrush
By switching your toothbrush to a bamboo or corn option, you can save a lot of toothbrushes from ending up in landfill, where they will take hundreds of years to decompose. You can pop your bamboo toothbrushes in the compost when you’re done with them; just snap off the bristles first. I love this pretty pink one!
Take reusable produce bags to the supermarket
We all know to take our shopping bags to the shops now, but have you got a stash of reusable produce bags, too? These are really lightweight so they won’t affect the cost of your shop, but you can use them over and over again instead of bringing your fruit and veggies home in plastic. We stock a few varieties, some that are made out of recycled plastic bottles; talk about going full circle! You can just chuck them in the washing machine when they’re dirty, and use them forever more.
Ditch the single-use makeup remover wipes
We get it; taking off makeup at the end of the day is one job too many for some of us. The good news is, Biologi have made it easy with their reusable microfibre makeup removing cloths. Just wet them with warm water, use them to remove your makeup, then rinse them out – and repeat tomorrow! They come in a pack of three, in a mesh bag so you can chuck them in the washing machine and not lose them! We swear by these beauties for simplifying life, and looking after the environment at the same time. Plus, they can be used thousands of times, which will save you big bucks in no time at all.
Switch to cold water
Did you know that by switching from hot to cold water in your washing machine, you can greatly cut down on electricity bills and reduce your environmental impact? According to the 2019 American Cleaning Institute Sustainability Report, about 90% of the energy used by a washing machine goes toward heating the water. But new product innovations mean a laundry cycle can now be done using cold water with no loss of performance, greatly reducing energy use. The difference to the planet is huge: if each household used cold water for four out of every five wash loads, they would reduce their annual CO2 emissions by 392kgs – that’s the equivalent of planting more than one-third of an acre of forest. If everyone made the same switch, the overall reduction would be vast. Can you imagine?
I hope this has given you a few ideas on easy ways to make more eco-friendly choices. We’re always happy to chat about the right eco-friendly switches for your situation, so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you’d like some help!
ABOUT CELESTE ROBERTSON
Celeste Robertson is one-half of local small business Natural Supply Co, which she co-owns with Sarah Scott.
Natural Supply Co is the destination for all things natural, organic and zero waste, stocking all eco-friendly products mentioned in this article. Geelong customers can shop at 5 Rutland St, Newtown or online at naturalsupplyco.com.
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