This month, as we celebrate the arrival of Spring, our store windows have been filled with lush greenery. But there's a twist. The potted plants are all handmade by Melbourne's craft queen and our friend Kitiya Palaskas! Today we ask Kit about her life as one of Australia's premier craft-based designers.
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Tell us about a typical day as a craft-based designer.
Every day is different! That's what makes my job so interesting. I work from home at the moment so my day usually begins with a walk to my local cafe for a coffee, then it's into my studio to go through emails, do some admin, and then get stuck into my projects for the day. On any given day I could be working on design or construction, delivering or installing a project on site, teaching a creative workshop, or shooting content. I thrive off a busy productive day but full disclosure, sometimes I can also spend hours procrastinating while watching Royal Family Dance Crew videos on YouTube... it's all about balance!
(Top) Kitiya in her studio // (Bottom) Kit has become known for her bright and bold felt illustration and typography creations
What has been one of your favourite personal craft or design projects to date?
Publishing my craft book Piñata Party. Writing a book has been a bucket list goal of mine since I was 12 so this was a huge personal achievement for me. At the same time, it was also one of the most challenging projects I've ever undertaken and I learned so much as a result.
(Top) Kitiya can make a Piñata like nobody's business // (Bottom) Some of the felt foliage that is currently gracing our Northcote, Fitzroy and City store windows!
What was the most fun thing about creating your felt Forever Foliage?
Watching my cats try to eat the leaves because they thought they were real plants! 😂
Your Real Talk Project is all about encouraging dialogue about wellbeing issues experienced by creative people. Tell us about how it began and what you hope it can achieve.
After struggling with various creative wellbeing issues for years (but never admitting it out loud) I realised it wasn't doing me any good to suffer in silence so I took a leap and started sharing my experiences online and in keynote talks at conferences I was invited to speak at. I received so much encouraging feedback and discovered that so many of my creative peers were also experiencing similar things, many of whom were also hesitant to talk about it. Real Talk grew out of a desire to contribute to opening up the conversation about mental health in the creative industry and forming a space where people could seek solidarity through shared experiences.
What's the best advice — personal or professional — you've ever received?
Everyone is on their own creative path, you'll get where you need to be at your own pace, and there's room for all of us to succeed in our own ways.
What are some of your favourite travel destinations for art & craft inspiration?
Mexico – hands down! The colour and vibrancy, richness and diversity in culture, playfulness, and pure joy for all things handmade are the ultimate inspiration for me. I could visit a thousand times over!
For Craft Victoria’s annual Craft Cubed exhibition, artist Louise Meuwissen took inspiration from our NIGHT BLOOM collection colour palette and using reclaimed jewels, beads and sequins, created a beautiful custom piece for our City store window. Join us inside her studio to learn more about her process and inspiration.
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Tell us about your creative background. What led you to the work you are creating now?
I’m trained as a painter, and for a time was making a lot of paintings focusing on consumption and waste. By the third year of my degree at the VCA I was experimenting with embroidery, and now I work predominantly with textiles and found objects.
Essentially I started this style of work by ‘painting’ with found materials – collected yarns, beads and textiles The work I make still has painterly concerns like texture, colour, composition.
These works were really well received, and I enjoyed making them, and so this element of my practice evolved from there. For the past 6 years I have been experimenting with and refining sculptural textile works and wearable objects.
I’m also a collector by nature, and have always loved the treasure hunt of second hand shopping at op-shops and markets. I’m attracted to objects that contain a certain level of care, communicate something of a specific time or place, or otherwise feel particularly precious. I love things that are handmade, have bold or unusual prints, are made from luxurious materials, or evoke some sort of nostalgia.
The visual language of dress has always fascinated me, and is something that I had a lot of fun with in quite a performative way, with my extensive collection of vintage clothing and adornment. I still have a lot of fun with dressing – but now I direct much of this energy in to the work I make.
What I make now feels more sustainable for myself and the planet, while incorporating these other important aspects of my life.
Your work is so detailed and intricate - how long does it take to complete each piece?
Oh, thank you! I try to make them as detailed and intricate, and dense as possible. It really varies based on the scale of the work, the scale of the beads, and whether I am working in a colour palette that is more complex or subdued. I take a lot of care in the beads I select in each piece, forming the composition as I work. With the addition of every bead, I have to make a choice. But on average, I would say that to make a small wearable piece takes me between 4-30 hours, whereas the biggest sculptural piece I have made, Ecologies of Time, 2018, took 9 months to create.
Excitingly, the piece I have just made for the Obus City store in the Nicholas Building is the largest wall piece I have made! This piece took a couple of months to make from start to finish; from meeting with the incredible Obus team at their High St head office and looking at samples of the new collection, to conceptualising the piece, seeking materials and finally making the work. I hand sew all the sequins and fabrics individually. So, it takes a while!
It's sometimes difficult to tell the size and scale of a piece when we see images online. What is the smallest piece you've worked on, and the largest?
The smallest pieces I have created small stud earrings – little wearable sculptures – these measure about a centimetre across, and the very largest Ecologies of Time, 2018 has a diameter of a meter. At the moment most of the pieces I have been making are sculptures for the body. I have been making brooches and bangles, and these are usually about 7-15cm in diameter. I am excited to start some really large scale exhibition pieces in September!
Louise used textiles from our NIGHT BLOOM collection as inspiration for her piece.
You use preloved and reclaimed beads and accessories in your work. What draws you to working with these materials?
Beads are in abundance, and there’s the thrill of the hunt. I also get gifted a lot of them.
I’m drawn to objects that circulate in society and are targeted at women that are highly labour-intensive to manufacture, but also highly disposable – like jewelry. I’m interested in unpacking the complexities of the dynamic of how we sell images to people, of how we sell aspiration and notions of beauty. I hope to use these discarded materials, both high and low brow, to make works and sculptures that walk a fine line between ugliness and beauty - and have a sense of accumulation and weight.
Louise Meuwissen's installation will be on display in the Obus City store window at Shop 5, 37 Swanston Street Melbourne until the end of August, as part of the Craft Cubed Festival.
Your work is currently on display in the Obus City store window for the Craft Cubed Festival. What was the inspiration behind the work you created for this space?
I was really inspired by the bold forms, colours and painterly compositions of Obus textiles. I wanted to make a large scale work that would compliment the spring collection, and respond to the architecture of the Nicholas Building (the ceiling is amazing!). Undulating circular forms and voids are a consistent motif in my work. I was thinking a lot about yearning and desire, about eyes and looking, and about peacocking.
How do you integrate art into your everyday life?
I treat being an artist like my job – I love what I do, and it’s the main focus of my work life. Everything else fits around it. It’s more of a question of how I shape my life around my art!
My partner is a writer, curator and artist too. So it’s something that we do a lot of together, it surrounds everything that I do – I’ve made a conscious decision to build a life around art, and so work at it every day.
See more of Louise’s creations online at louisemeuwissen.com or on Instagram, and of course at our city Shop 5, 37 Swanston Street Melbourne until the end of August.
Our store staff work extra hard this time of year bringing the cheer to your Obus visit. We spent a few minutes with these lovely ladies to find out what they are rockin' and loving this Christmas!
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Alter ego: I take photos, sew, craft and experiment baking vegan treats!
Fave festive tune: It’s gotta be something Michael Buble right?
Fave Xmas tradition: Probably Christmas crackers.. I think sitting around the dinner table, awkwardly sat next to a relative you perhaps don’t know that well, a Christmas cracker always helps to break the ice and everyone has a laugh!
Secret skill: Embroidery! I haven’t done much, but I seem to have a knack for it.
Alter ego: Painter... Well, thinking about painting. Next year will be the year of exhibiting!!
Favourite festive tune: Little Drummer Boy by Boney M. (My mum would play their Christmas album every Christmas, it would drive my brothers and I crazy... Now I play it every year and I totally love it!! So does my daughter.)
Favourite xmas tradition: Having to come up with meaningful gifts that have a cash limit. I love it because it forces you to be creative and thoughtful...
Secret skill: I asked my daughter and she said "You're amazing and cool... ;). And I make a mean green curry !
Alter ego: When I'm not at Obus I'm a full time student chipping away at a Bachelors degree in Youth Work, striving to do better at keeping my house plants alive and being a cat mum to my baby Rosco.
Favourite festive tune: All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey (of course)
Favourite xmas tradition: Watching Christmas movies such as Scrooged and Love Actually with my partner and/or housemates, eating pink zooper doopers and taking my niece, Isabella to see the Christmas lights up around my house in Princes Hill.
Secret skill: People always underestimate me in a game of Scrabble
Alter ego: When I'm not at Obus. I'm spending a little too much on going out for lunch and dinner and discovering new places to shop and have a wine! Still a newbie to Melbourne :)
Fave festive tune: I'm gonna have to be twins with Nikki and say All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey - it is such a good tune and also reminds me of that scene from Love Actually!
Fave christmas tradition: I always have brunch with my parents and open presents together in pajamas! Also, always having an Xmas arvo nap.
Secret skill: I can do a very clumsy back flip!
Left-Right: Kylie Zerbst (Obus founder/creative director) and Kerryn Moscicki (Radical Yes founder/creative director)
The Obus x Radical Yes collab has launched, and we're thrilled to partner with this conscious Melbourne brand to bring you a range of comfortable, practical and beautiful statement shoes.
Both Obus and Radical Yes are fiercely independent, female-owned businesses, committed to creating high-quality products that last. Kylie Zerbst, Obus Creative Director, and Kerryn Moscicki, Radical Yes creative director talk about this values-aligned partnership, how their customers influence their designs, and the wardrobe items they keep returning to.
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Tell us about the idea behind this collaboration, and why does it make sense for Radical Yes and Obus to collaborate on this footwear range?
Kylie: Radical Yes had been on our radar for a while as a company committed to the ethics and environmental standards we value in our own business. We also really love their design sensibility and the way that their products transcend current trends. While we have always manufactured the majority of our clothing in Melbourne, it’s increasingly difficult to produce footwear here. We admire Radical Yes's dedication to responsible offshore manufacturing and producing in small quantities, like we do.
"We admire Radical Yes' dedication to responsible offshore manufacturing and producing in small quantities, like we do."
Kerryn: We were so floored when Obus came to us to talk about a footwear collaboration because we have always admired their work. For me personally, I have looked to them as an inspiring example of an iconic, independent Melbourne brand who have been doing their own thing and doing it well for a really long time. We believe our customers have a shared set of values and a similar aesthetic so the idea of using Obus palettes on our silhouettes was a no-brainer.
Kylie: Yes it’s been a dream collab - it doesn’t feel like work when they’ve made the whole process so easy!
Running your own businesses, can you take us through your approach to workwear? What’s essential to you?
Kerryn: Flat shoes! I walk to work and on the way drop my kids at kinder and school, so my workwear garments are very focused on functionality and pragmatism. My outfits tend to be very simple in palette mix - lots of navy, charcoal and camel tones - to help disguise the inevitable kid stains. But then some days I also love to be super comfortable in a vintage oversized knit and denims. The common theme is always a flat shoe.
Kylie: I love colour and pattern. Similar to Kerryn, the Obus studio is local to my neighbourhood and I’m often arriving to work after walking my son to school. For me, I dress to express my personality but also feel comfortable all day. I love accessorising a casual linen or wool pant with a chunky knit, tailored shirt and statement earrings. The clothing we make at Obus has women who want professional and versatile clothing as its primary focus - it’s fun to consider all the combinations an Obus collection can offer for workwear, especially with these shoes in the mix!
"It’s fun to consider all the combinations an Obus collection can offer for workwear, especially with these shoes in the mix!"
What do you think is the edge that small businesses in the fashion landscape have over the big players?
Kerryn: Being truly connected to the customer, having more empathy with their needs and lifestyles rather than pushing product for the sake of meeting 'stakeholder demands'. I believe you can tell when product has lost its purpose and is just filling an 'assortment matrix' to meet stock turn targets. Maybe it’s idealistic, but I believe this is why customers are seeking out and responding to smaller makers who are producing from a place of passion before profits.
Kylie: We’ve always been a small and agile team at Obus, and I think this has helped us weather a few storms over the past 20 years. We can be responsive to trends, to manufacturing snafus, and in communication with our customers. Like Kerryn says, we can also get to know our customers really well - our stores are a mainstay of Melbourne’s inner north, and getting to know our local customers over the years is a bigger part of our overall design process than they probably realise!
Both Obus and Radical Yes create quality products that are designed to transcend seasons and last the test of time. What’s a favourite item in your wardrobe that is still going strong?
Kylie: This Winter I’ve loved my Obus Cocoon coat from a few years ago. It’s a bold lilac purple, collarless cocoon coat and always gets lots of comments!
Kerryn: I have a few key items from our collections over the years. My 'Saturn Returns' trainers in wool lined shearling are a definite go-to in Winter. My 'Little & Often' Day Heels are also an easy slip on that I return to almost daily. They look ace with opaque tights and denims. Can’t wait to wear the new lilac ones Kylie dreamed up for us!
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Meet Keryn - she’s an adult-education teacher working with new Australians, and lives in regional Victoria. She’s a creative whiz, always travelling (she's skiing in Nevada as we speak) and, sources say, an excellent dancer.
What neighbourhood do you live in and what do you like about it?
I moved to Yackandandah in north-east Victoria in 2010 after living in Hughesdale in Melbourne for 30 years. Yackandandah is a progressive, community minded town of about 1200 people. It has a music festival each March and is working toward providing all its energy needs sustainably. It also has great cafes (2) and pubs (2), and a cooperative that runs the petrol station and funds local activities with the proceeds. It's a great place to live.
What is your day job and what do you love about it?
My day job is teaching English to migrants and refugees at TAFE NSW in Albury. I love helping newly arrived people, many of whom have come from difficult backgrounds, to learn English, get a job and settle into Australia. It's very rewarding.
Do you have a passion project or hobby?
I love making things and I collect handmade pottery, fabric, and art from all over the world. Nothing expensive, just things I like the look of. I have made clothing and soft furnishings all my life. I also love renovating houses and furniture. My most recent project was recovering a 1960s Grant Featherstone dining suite.
When did you first start shopping at Obus (and can you remember the first piece you purchased?)
I only discovered OBUS a couple of years ago. I was immediately blown away by the fabrics and prints. But I believe my first purchase was a pair of shoes which I have worn to death and never fail to be complimented about when I do.
How does wearing Obus make you feel?
Wearing Obus makes me feel happy and inspired. I love it when people ask me about the great clothes and I can tell them about about this great Australian company.
Is wearing locally made clothing important to you, and if so, why?
I think it is important to wear local but I am not obsessed with it. I do like to support local makers though and am pleased to have a local connection to the maker where possible.
What’s your favourite thing to do on your days off?
Mostly I like making, restoring and refurbishing all kinds of things but I also love walking my dog Mickey, going out for coffee with my partner and looking for bargains at Op shops.
My favourite podcast/radio show is: At the moment I am loving The Real Thing podcast which is an ABC radio podcast about ordinary Australians.
I’m currently reading: The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
I’ve just finished watching: The latest season of Hometown which is a home renovation show
My favourite place I’ve ever travelled to is: India. In Particular Ladakh which is in the north, near the border of China. We have been there a number of times to go trekking in the mountains and I recommend it to anyone who loves to trek. I also recently walked the Kumano Kodo in Japan and spent time in Kyoto which was fantastic.
I love to sing loudly along to: … Wow, trying to pick one song is really hard. I love anything by George Michael though. I think singing and dancing is one of the most fun things you can do and it's free!
I love the saying: It's not what we start that matters - it's what we finish.
My super power is: Finding amazing bargains at Op shops.
And O Design’s Yumi Ando is happily consumed by her ceramic jewellery business during her waking hours, and her love and attention to the form is evident in every piece she creates. But jewellery design isn’t a simple leap from formal study into manufacture, or learning all you need and then jumping right in with commercially accepted ideas.
We visited Yumi in her home jewellery studio and she shared with us her path from growing up in Japan to relocating to Australia, studying interior design then finding her way to a self-taught ceramics practice, and what keeps her regularly inspired.
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Did you study ceramics or jewellery design, or are you self-taught?
There isn’t much ceramic or jewellery related formal training under my belt aside from short-courses from time to time in Melbourne, and some basic pottery classes I took in Canberra over a decade ago. Luckily, I am blessed with a good eye for things, a knack for detailed manual work, and perhaps a fair serving of patience.
When I moved to Melbourne I studied Interior Design and Decoration at RMIT and I thought my career path would travel pretty straight in that direction.. however I was wrong. [I realised] ceramics provides almost everything I appreciate in an artistic sense. Flexibility to work with organic forms, immeasurable options in design, colour and feel, the ability to grow the stories of my pieces and their development over time.
It has taken many years to learn all of the techniques and little details that go into my making process. Hours of experimentation, trying different combinations of raw materials, adjusting firing temperatures, selecting the best tools for particular effects - it has been a self-taught process. Part of the joy and excitement with ceramics is the unknown. No two pieces are ever truly identical. Sometimes things go wrong, leading to disaster or sometimes an unexpected revelation, and other times everything goes wonderfully. I think you grow as a person through all this, and your designs naturally change with you, like a constant evolution from one idea to the next, with a thread of continuity between them.
Part of the joy and excitement with ceramics is the unknown. No two pieces are ever truly identical. Sometimes things go wrong, leading to disaster or sometimes an unexpected revelation, and other times everything goes wonderfully.
Can you tell us if/how the history of ceramics in your native Japan influences your work?
My cultural background incorporates a country and upbringing which highly respects craftsmanship and functional design. But the Japanese influence on my work is probably mostly subconscious. As I’m creating things, it never really crosses my mind and the pieces are formed instinctually. That is to say, I don’t purposefully set out to stamp a Japanese influence or traditions upon my work, but when they are there and prevalent, I accept them. One can’t simply ignore one’s upbringing or home, as I consider my work a very personal endeavour, so naturally some of my heritage is going to show.
Every once in a while, I like to return to Japan and visit my family, letting my eyes feast on the whole experience. The craftsmanship of old homes and temples, beautiful gardens, dynamic little art galleries, traditional paper and fabric shops all excite me and add to the brush of fresh air. It is also an opportunity to collect some unique tools and materials for my work, which brings a little piece of home into everything they touch.
From the beginning of my journey with ceramics, I never set out to attempt to conform with tradition or work through firm stages of mastery with the medium. This is the creative side of my personality perhaps, and also the influence of Australia’s pride in freedom, nature and individualism at play. I work within my own personal world where each piece is a direct reflection of who I am, as a person, and the stories I’d like to tell.
You have a beautiful studio workspace! How have you set it up to help with inspiration and production of your work?
The great benefit of incorporating your workspace into your home, is that it need not be a dry, simplistic or depersonalised zone. My studio, although rather cluttered at times, is a place for me to escape into things I love to do, surrounded by things that I adore. This isn’t to say that sometimes I don’t escape to the soft comforts of the lounge, and keep our rabbit company while whittling away at some work.
My studio, although rather cluttered at times, is a place for me to escape into things I love to do, surrounded by things that I adore.
A large window has become a leaning-post for an all-too-large mass of plant life, between which I have a view of the neighbour's garden and the odd foraging blackbird. The walls and most of the unused areas have become homes for artworks and other objects of inspiration. Being an older house, storage is severely limited. As a home for slabs of clay, tools, brushes, glazes, and not to mention thousands of small pieces in varying states of completion, I’ll be honest and use the word “cluttered”. It's not a chaotic space by any means, everything has its place, there just aren’t many empty places available. It's organised, workable, and intimate.
What does a typical day involve for you?
One might expect that by working in a home studio, that each day might blend into anonymity, but it's not the case. There are always personal challenges to climb, be they forming the initial pieces, firing, glazing or assembly, and no two days have the same schedule.
The process is organic. There aren’t eight hours in a day when you operate like this, sometimes there are only a few, sometimes there are twenty-four. Either way, the most important thing is to enjoy the process, relish the freedom and make ample time for experimentation. This is probably the most important and enjoyable part of the process, making time to play and bring some new ideas to life.For a portion of most days I’ll also quietly tap away on a laptop.
What is your favourite corner of the world and how does this inspire your creativity?
The adventurous side of me loves to travel, and trips away always lead to returning home with a head brimming full of fresh ideas. A little space and time away is a wise investment, and a break from studio life can really help put everything back into perspective.
There is something about the allure of South East Asia which always calls, and I’ve been lucky enough to spend time in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia over the years. It is eye opening to visit craft-villages and see some of the historic and commercial pottery districts in these countries, and appreciate the hard-working way they create such ornate and beautiful work. Obviously quite a few pieces from these countries have become part of a personal collection.
Anything can be inspiring really, it's just a case of opening up to what's around you, and taking the feelings home and transferring them into your art.
The natural world, be it through scenic views, mischievous animals or sunlight upon rice-fields has always felt very healing in these countries, especially if you endeavour to leave a majority of tourists and commercial facilities in your wake.
My husband and I are avid explorers, and can often spend hours poking around on an unexpected detour if something catches our eye. We’ve ridden an old scooter around the Golden Triangle, stopping to watch elderly ladies weaving on an old loom. We got terribly lost once on a walk in some of Thailand’s highlands, which eventuated in a swim in the Mekong (not a smart decision), an endless uphill hike, and eventually a ride home in the back of a local’s old truck. These kinds of trips always bring funny stories and fond memories home.
We don’t always really need to travel too far however. There are some favourite places in Victoria where we like to dig out the old kayak, rattle our bones on corrugated dirt roads, dip our feet in a river, investigate where gold was once mined or dig around for a few spears of worthy quartz.
Anything can be inspiring really, it's just a case of opening up to what's around you, and taking the feelings home and transferring them into your art.
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Say hi to Yumi on Instagram @and_o_design
Flock Curiosity Assembly is Stacey Rutigliano and Sarah Byrne. With backgrounds in fine art, jewellery, 3D design and photography, the friends bring a variety of creative skills to their jewellery-making tables. As retail colleagues years ago, they quickly realised their aesthetics aligned and their love of resin could be more than an after-work creative pursuit. Flash forward ten years and with 3 young kids between them, they’ve found themselves working in their ‘dream job’ and couldn’t be happier.
We caught up with the Flock ladies at Stacey’s Reservoir studio to learn a little bit about working with resin, their studio setup, and how they have each incorporated motherhood into their small business day-to-day.
How did you meet?
We both met while working at an inner city jewellery shop about ten years ago. We use to sell a lot of amazing contemporary jewellery from all around the world and some of the most exciting pieces we saw (and often bought!) were bold statement pieces.
How did you decide upon resin as a primary material and what do you like about it?
Sarah had experimented with resin and contemporary jewellery design concepts while studying, mostly as a means of dabbling a little bit in casting, mold making and colour play. Resin wasn’t a widely used material in those days compared to its popularity and availability today, so skills were either self taught through experimentation and from awesome kitschy jewellery making books from the 70’s found in local op shops.
We were inspired to have a play with resin one day after work as a means for a creative outlet as well as to make our own jewels that we could wear to work. It was the perfect material that could translate the ideas we had for our own pieces plus it was accessible and not too expensive to work with.
We started simple with small vintage inspired pieces, but as we are both from quite creative backgrounds, we didn’t stay there for long. We started to sculpt our own unique pieces and use resin not just because it was the perfect medium for creating form and shapes, but also as a medium for exploring colour, pattern and texture. We more we played, the more we learnt how to manipulate the material and stretch its boundaries. We apply equal importance, if not more to the design of our pieces too, making sure that everything we create is unique and considered, and of course, something that is fun and enjoyable to wear!
It is a material that can be applied in so many different ways that will always produce unique results in every pour.
Like most materials, the extent of what you can make with resin is limitless, but the beauty of this material is that you can apply it with an equally limitless array of colours, textures and shapes. It is a material that can be applied in so many different ways that will always produce unique results in every pour. We love to challenge our colour palette at every studio session too, and even between the two of us, we rarely produce anything remotely similar. There is nothing more exciting in the studio than popping out a batch of set castings to see what we have made. Half the challenge is not keeping the pieces we have made!
Tell us about your workspace/studio. How have you set it up to help with inspiration and production of your work?
We both have our own home-based studios, which is a necessity with small people in our lives. But we get together once or twice a week to make together at each other’s studios. One of the perks of working in a partnership is getting to hang out together as well as bouncing ideas around so that we always have something new and challenging on the go.
Our studio setups are both pretty similar. There is messy space (where the resin magic happens!), a cleanup space (where the evil sanding happens), a polishing space (where everything is drilled or buffed, ready for findings), and a finishing space (where a lot of the jewels are finished off with their final magic touches). It’s hard to keep everything in the studio so it’s not uncommon for both of us to extend our studios into the kitchen, office and lounge room where we can do our finishing and packaging whilst watching Netflix into the late hours of the night!
Sarah: My studio is mostly practical rather than inspirational at the moment. I’ve just started using my space properly after moving house and taking time off to have a baby. It becomes such a dirty space so quickly with dust and resin everywhere (despite all the exhaust fans) that it seems a shame to put nice things in there! Having said that, a lot of inspiration comes from the mess, ironically, especially in the resin pouring area, where all the drips and resin mess can produce some pretty interesting colour combos that often end up in a pair of earrings!
Stacey: I share my workshop/studio with my husband’s man den… though he has been pushed to the back half of the shed! The front part has got a few big tables and is a nice big space that we both work in a few times a week. We also have an employee who comes and helps us finish all our gems and work with us at a few of our markets. She has also been known to wrangle a baby or two!
A selection of Flock studs for Obus' Autumn 2017 range
What does a typical day involve for you (especially now that you're both mums?)
Sarah: I’m still finding my feet a little as my little one is only a few months old and isn’t aware of this thing called day sleeps. I’m currently learning a new skill called time management (ha!) so that I can get as much done as I can whilst still doing mum duties! Early on, the best words of advice came from Stace: learn to work at night! But theoretically, on a typical day, after breakfasts and feeds in the morning, if I’m not heading over to Stacey’s place to work, I ‘might’ get a few hours of work done in the morning, usually casting or studio work, checking the previous nights pours or running a few errands. I would usually work inside in the afternoon either photographing new stock for our Etsy shop, or office work or orders (aka clean work!). Bath time and meals and bed time around 6:30 and then if I’m not too knackered, back into the studio again in the evening! Of course, this rarely happens this way!
Early on, the best words of advice came from Stace: learn to work at night!
Stacey: 4.30/5am: 1st child enters bed 6.30/7am: 2nd child quickly (not so quietly) enters room/bed, which is when my husband leaves for work! Then it’s breakfast time: coffee for mumma; Porridge, toast + milk for Frankie + Piera! After this it’s day care drop off for Frankie, and perhaps a stop at the post office to post some online orders from the day before. Back at home Piera has morning sleep usually for a few hours (if I'm lucky... Fingers and toes are always crossed for this time). Then I'm like a well oiled machine answering emails, packing orders, editing photos for online.... if I'm really organised I can even prep dinner. In the early afternoon my husband gets home from work so he takes Piera so I can get a few hours of studio time until 4pm, until work usually stops for a few hours so we can hang with the kids and do dinner and bath time!! After the kids are in bed, sometimes I sneak back out to studio for a few more hours or do some computer work if I'm not too knackered.
What is your favourite corner of the world and how does this inspire your creativity?
Stacey: Creativity is all around us! Social media has a lot to do with my inspiration I think… the Internet is a bubbling pot of goodness. This year I have been lucky enough to travel overseas twice, once to New Zealand and a month later, to India with my sister, starting in Dehli and then to Rajasthan. That place oozes inspiration. It's a visual feast for one’s eyes, overwhelming the senses with its colours, architecture, smells (often offensive), beautiful textures, fabrics etc.
People that we meet at the markets, and in our travels, they inspire us to make for them. Especially those who enjoy playing with fashion and aren’t afraid to try something new.
Sarah: My corner is a big one and encompasses so many places, people, and objects. Recently a lot of my inspiration comes from my environment, my everyday travels through the 'burbs, the city and nature, even my own backyard. I also love all things vintage and have plenty of borderline hoarder collections of completely useless but beautiful objects throughout my home that I have found over the years. These alone trigger the old creativity button in the brain! And of course there are people! People that we meet at the markets, and in our travels, they inspire us to make for them. Especially those who enjoy playing with fashion and aren’t afraid to try something new. Nothing is more exciting and rewarding than seeing people wear and enjoy the things you have made with your own two hands (or four, as it is in our case!).
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