Monday, August 31, 2009

Tourism Victoria Daylesford TVC

Speaking of rural creativity and general gorgeousness... how incredible is the new ad campaign for Daylesford in Victoria? I am so impressed!

Great work by the agency and production company (stunning art direction!), and wow, what a brave move for the client! Pats on the back all round. Love it.

TVC for Tourism Victoria / Daylesford. Music by Melbourne singer / songwriter Paris Wells.

More of this, please, advertisers! If only the retail sector would catch on.

SoHi Magazine

SoHi Magazine - inaugural issue!

The Pfahl House on the outskirts of Bowral - photographed by Julian Wolkenstein

Southern Highlander Tamara Maynes' beautiful work for her Six Week Boutique is featured in the first issue

Rebecca Wolkenstein is one particularly efficient multi-tasker. You might remember I profiled Rebecca's creative agency here a while ago... and then of course there's her ingenious creative house-swapping website Caravan, which has grown in leaps and bounds since it launched only a few short month ago! (Caravan also generously sponsors The Design Files - please share the love and pop over to check out all the incredible homes that have been listed in the last couple of months!)

ANYWAY Ms Wolkenstein's latest stellar side-project, in collaboration with likeminded Southern Highlands-based creatives Sarah King and Sara Silm, is SoHi magazine. It's a beautiful, visually rich, yet supremely understated quarterly publication which documents the creative people, places and seasonal happenings in NSW's Southern Highlands, where Wolkenstein lives with her husband and 2 kids. Fashion, architecture, food, craft and the seasonal garden will be beautifully captured and covered in each issue.

All SoHi's editorial decisions come back to three core values - inclusive, SLOW and community. Of course, there is also always a link to the Highlands region. The project is funded by advertisers, however the editors are very selective, mainly relying on relevant tourism and retail advertisers - such as Plane Tree Farm and Bemboka Blankets. Rebecca and co. made a decision early on that they would not take advertisers in real estate, motoring or anything environmentally unfriendly - and they give 10% discounts to anyone with mindful business practices! .... in other words - no loud, ugly classified or endless real estate pages! This uncompromising commitment makes for a truly inspiring, beautifully edited read.

There's been such a buzz about the SoHi launch issue... I keep reading lovely 'tweets'(?) about it on Twitter... and after receiving my copy last week I can absolutely see why!

The magazine is printed in a limited edition of 2000, however all content from the mag can also be read online at Don't miss it!

Sue Blakebrough's house in Mittagong - photographed by Julian Wolkenstein

Friday, August 28, 2009

Interview - Sally Campbell

Sally Campbell with some of her talented collaborators in India - such incredible colours!

Fabrics drying in the sun

The finished product - Sally Campbell quilts

You might recall my photos of Sally Campbell's beautiful textiles at Design:Made:Trade in Melbourne a month or so ago.... It was so, so lovely to meet Sally in person... I've admired her from afar ever since reading a lovely article about her in Vogue Living a couple of years ago... (you can download that article from Sally's website here - it also has some gorgeous shots of Sally's Sydney home!)

Sally is such an inspiration! After 25 years working as a set and costume designer in the Australian film industry, Sally's passion for beautiful textiles eventually inspired her to produce her own collection. Sally's unique textiles are truly exquisite, and as they're hand-crafted, no two pieces are ever quite the same. Personally I feel so inspired by Sally's career move from film into textile design...! It's good to know what creative opportunities can come from years spent working in the film industry!

Sally set up her business in 2005, and now travels to many remote communities in India each year with her husband Greg in tow. She has discovered the incredible talents of women in many different regions - from exquisite applique work in the desert near Pakistan, to natural dye block printers in Rajasthan, village weavers in Bengal, and intricate hand embroiderers in Lucknow. Sally hopes her business can play a role in keeping these ancient crafts alive amidst what she calls the 'manic rush to modernisation'.

Thanks so much to Sally for her time and all these beautiful images! For more info on Sally's work, or to buy her products online, please visit her website!

Tell me a little about your background – what path led you to what you’re doing now?

I worked for 25 years as a set and costume designer in the Australian film industry. The nomadic life gave me an endless passion for travelling the world and collecting textiles. Filming in India I met wonderful people who introduced me to an interpreter with textile contacts ...this led to many adventures into the desert of Rajasthan and visiting all the villages famous for block printing in natural dyes and applique (cut work).

You spent many years working in the Australian film industry as a set and costume designer, before taking the plunge and starting your own textile business. What prompted this brave move!?

Recovering from throat cancer gave me heaps of new courage and confidence to try a new career. Textiles and travel were the obvious magnets beckoning me.

Your textiles are handcrafted in India… how did you go about initially setting up relationships with Indian artisans, and what challenges have you faced in dealing with craftspeople based so far away?

I ploughed naively into the whole business armed with passion, enthusiasm and determination. Not realising for a second the endless difficulties. Everywhere we went there were different dialects and difficult interpreters. I was confronted with class and caste problems plus enormous distances between villages. Our modes of transport are beyond... tuk tuks, camels, rusty Ambassador cars, trains and planes. And the heat is to be believed.

There is always so much to learn from all the different crafts. Trying to find the best artisans and always experimenting with new ideas. I only discover the problems through hands on experience. There are constant hiccups and hilarity. All my years working in the film industry has been invaluable, as every day there is a crisis. All problems have to be solved right now.... it's all about spontaneity. It doesn't get easier but is mostly challenging, fun and inspiring.

How is your business structured? Do you outsource any key tasks, or employ fulltime staff aside from the India-based production?

My business consists of me and my brilliant husband Greg. He is the chief organiser and planner. We have the help of a few amazing people in Sydney.... with graphics, sewing, prop making, web-site and people to lift and shove huge boxes full of textiles. We take it all one step at a time as it always evolving.

Where do you turn for inspiration – fine art, travel, books, magazines etc?

My inspiration can be found in a leaf, vegetable, flower or frock. Travelling keeps the juices flowing full of wonderment. Am constantly inspired by humour, art, nature, books, friends and family... also strangers. Thank goodness I am inspired by something every day.

Which designers, artists or creative people do you admire?

I admire Japanese designers. Endless textile artists from Japan, India and Africa. I love painters from all periods including my sister Cressida Campbell's woodblocks.... the list is endless.

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

In Sydney - as soon as my eyes open I get my look together for the day, do my exercises and then I rock into life. Every day is different. It could be taking photos for the web-site, sending off orders, creating new designs, visiting sewers and answering endless e-mails and phone calls to India.

In India - the day begins travelling to a remote village in Bengal or Rajasthan overseeing production of weaving, stitching and blockprinting. Checking orders, experimenting with dying new colours, discussing new designs. All the while throwing down endless amounts of water under a giant hat to stave off the heat....and generally marvelling at my wonderous new life.

What are you most proud of professionally?

Creating a new career for myself and doing my bit in helping to keep eco friendly traditional crafts alive, hoping to give more employment and education to the families I work with.

What would be your dream project?

I am already doing my dream project. My aim is to make people more aware of the beauty in handmade naturally dyed textiles.

What are you looking forward to??

Leaving for India next week and heading into the heat and monsoon.

Sydney Questions –

What are some of your favourite Sydney retailers who stock interesting textiles and soft furnishings?

Chee Soon and Fitzgerald, Society Inc and Planet... and my fave textile shop Edo Arts who specialise in old Japanese textiles.

What/where was the last great meal you ate in Sydney?

Last night at the Zen Japanese restaurant in Randwick celebrating the end of our sale.

Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning?

On the verandah sipping a coffee and eating a croissant with my mothers home made marmalade while I read the papers.

Sydney’s best kept secret?

Wonderous walks and swimming at Little Bay.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fat Loves Art

Fat Loves things.... things like Music, Literature, Fashion and Art.

Artwork by Emily Valentine

Artwork by Nicholas Jones

In conjunction with Melbourne Spring Fashion Week (which is nearly upon us... starting Sept 1!), Melbourne's favourite local-fashion retailer Fat is launching a series of fun events called 'Fat Loves', sharing their love for local Music, Fashion and Literature and Art.

Fat Loves Art will showcase the work of 4 local artists, with exhibitions in each of Fat's four Melbourne stores running from Sept 1 - 7. The artists featured include Design Files favourite book sculptor Nicholas Jones(!), jeweller / taxidermy sculptor Emily Valentine, multidisciplinary artist Tess McNamara and illustrator/animator Polly Dedman. More info on the Fat Blog.

Fat is at Chadstone, the GPO, Brunswick st Fitzroy and Chapel st Prahran.
I'm sure you already know, but anyway.

Nicholas Building Open Studios - Tonight and Tomorrow!

My shots from last year's Nicholas Building Open Studios event...

Tim Fleming's 'flatland' studio

Last year I found out about the Nicholas Building Open Studios event at the very, very last minute, and had to dash out the house immediately with camera in hand to get down there in time! Whoops. This year I am luckily a little better prepared!

Now in it's 5th year, The Nicholas Building Open Studios event is part of Craft Victoria's Craft Cubed festival (until Sept 12th).

You can catch the Open Studios event both tonight and tomorrow night, between 4pm - 9.00pm. It's such a great opportunity to snoop around the Nicholas Building... if you've ever been curious about all the creative happenings behind closed doors in one of Melbourne's favourite artists' haunts, this is a must-see!

You can re-visit my coverage from last year's event here.

For the full line-up of this year's open studios, see here. For more info, visit the Nicholas Building blog.

Nicholas Building Open Studios
Nicholas Building
Cnr Swanston st and Flinders Lane


Thursday 27th August - 4pm - 9pm
Friday 28th August - 4pm - 9pm

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New things at Five Boroughs

The new counter area at Five Boroughs - designed and built by owners Steph and Kyle

New set-up... love that perforated screen behind the counter area... also how cute are those hand-printed gift cards and wrapping paper?

These vintage cabinets were re-worked by Kyle to turn them into shop display-cases - he added glass tops and drawers to display Five Borough's unique range of jewellery and industrial nik-naks.

I've posted about the fabulous Five Boroughs before... this gorgeous little shop is owned and run by young designers Stephanie Fleming and partner Kyle De Kuijer. This super-creative pair also create screenprinted textiles for their soft furnishings range Holly Daze on site at the back of their shop.

Steph and Kyle share a 1950's-inspired aesthetic and much of their creative output reflects their passion for this era... they're also an extraordinarily prolific creative team, whose talents perfectly complement one another. Day to day, Steph takes care of most of the buying for Five Boroughs, whilst Kyle's skills are in graphic design and serious DIY! - he takes care of most of the store's signage and shop fit-out stuff. Look at the beautiful signs hand-painted by Kyle below! Such attention to detail! Love it.

Hand-painted signs by Kyle. Yes hand-painted!

Recently Kyle and Steph also shrank their back workshop area to make way for even more retail space... if you haven't visited recently you must check it out! They also bought some fantastically wacky modular glass shelving for the window (pictures below), which they found at an old shoe store which was closing down in Williamstown. Isn't it perfect? Lucky!

Re-purposed glass shelving soiurced from an old shoe shop in Williamstown.

Artwork by American artist Barry McGee

Holly Daze cushions

Love these little vintage letters everywhere! Steph and Kyle scour ebay for vintage finds from the USA... maybe this is why Five Boroughs always looks so unique and very different from other Melbourne stores! The 'Pancake Zoo' hand-made resin brooches (top image) are $18 each and are by Japan-based designer Shawn Chen. The ceramic NY coffee cups are $25 each.

LOVE the 'Holly Daze' lettering in the workshop! Inspired by California's 'Hollywood' sign (of course!). I Also love Kyle's mural on the back wall... which he insists isn't finished (apparently the orange needs another coat? I think it looks awesome).

Steph and Kyle name their screenprinting inks after American 1950's cars? I think? Must admit this is not my strongpoint... but allegedly 'Berty', 'Goblin' and 'Chevy Mauve' will have significance to any vintage car enthusiasts!

Check out Steph's amazing vintage key ring collection displayed in the workshop!! Awesome or what? It's an ongoing project.... they just add more rows as more keyrings are discovered!

Thanks so much to Kyle and Steph for letting me photograph their workshop and store... You can check out their blog for all Five Boroughs news! And stay tuned next week for a peek into Steph and Kyle's lovely home! It is tiny, but seriously gorgeous. VERY excited.

Five Boroughs

345 Lygon st

East Brunswick


Tues - Sat 11.00am - 6.00pm

Sun - 11.00am - 5.00pm

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Behind the scenes at The Australian Ballet

Behind the scenes photos by Teagan Glenane.

In recent weeks I have been very fortunate to have struck up a relationship with the Australian Ballet... you may have noticed that their current show, Concord, is sponsoring my site at the moment, and I was lucky enough also to receive some tickets to opening night last Friday! How lovely is that?! Thankyou so much Kate and Kitty at the Aus Ballet! It was a truly inspiring and very eclectic show, and I felt so special to be there!

ANYWAY I am actually not writing to plug Concord... (although it was amazing!) instead I feel compelled to draw your attention again to the incredible Behind Ballet blog... I know I've mentioned it before but it is just so well put together I just can't recommend it enough! So many large companies and cultural organisations try and do the 'behind the scenes' blog thing and it just doesn't work - I guess because so often it is not properly planned, curated and prioritised. Not so with the Behind Ballet blog! This is an absolute treasure trove of stunning behind the scenes photographs, profiles on all the beautiful dancers, videos, and more. Some of the absolute gems to be discovered over there at the moment include :

- Incredible behind-the-scenes videos of the dancers and choreographers rehearsing Concord, and discussing this challenging performance. These videos are so amazing! It's utterly mesmerising watching the dancers in their rehearsal environment, concentrating so hard to master each dance. It's also really interesting to see the dancers in a new light... and to see them as real people....!

The video above documents rehearsals for the ultra-contemporary Dyad 1929. Also do check out this other beautiful video documenting the more traditional and very entertaining Suola di Ballo (both works are part of Concord).

From the Scuola di Ballo video by Melbourne filmmakers The Apiary. Top - Choreographer Alexei Ratmansky. Bottom - dancer Dana Stephenson.

The Behind Ballet videos are by super-talented young Melbourne filmmakers Gavin Youngs and Lily Coates - aka The Apiary.

- A peek into the costume / set department - a world of mannequins, metres and metres of beautiful textiles, and a collection of Phillipe Starck Ghost Chairs...! photographs by Teagan Glenane.

The Australian Ballet's scenic designer Scott Matthewson at work. Photo - Teagan Glenane.

Costume department details. Photo - Teagan Glenane.

Do pop over and check it out... I know nothing about dance at all and I could easily lose myself for hours in the Behind Ballet blog!

ps. Also I have a major girl crush on dancer Dana Stephenson. She is too gorgeous for words. Hee! I think it was those lovely videos... ;)
Get your own Australian Ballet crush here.

Dana Stephenson rehearses.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sesame Magazine

All images from Sesame Magazine issue 7. Photo - Thuy Vy, Styling - Nadia Barbaro

Photo - Thuy Vy, Styling - Nadia Barbaro

Photo - Germain McMicking and Thuy Vy, Styling - Nadia Barbaro

Do you know about Sesame Magazine? Sesame is an online magazine published by the super talented, incredibly driven Nadia Barbaro, who I happened to go to uni with many moons ago! By day, Nadia works as a wardrobe stylist in TV-land.... but in her own time Nadia co-ordinates all the content for Sesame Magazine, styling many of the photo shoots herself, not to mention managing all the other behind the scenes stuff like pulling in models, photographers, contributors etc. It's a HUGE task and one I can totally relate to! Great work Nadia!

The current issue of Sesame was launched only last week - it's full of glorious eye candy and lots of local talent... including contributions from previous Design Files interviewees Beci Orpin and photographer Louisa Bailey. It's fantastically curated I have to say - the perfect mix of slick fashion shots, cutsie illustration, interviews, interactive snippets (you get to 'colour in' a Beci Orpin drawing!), and even a splash of carefully edited video and animated content!

Beci Orpin's 'Colour Me' illustration! Fun!

And, oh yeah, there's an interiew with me in there too! Ha ha. Go to the 'blogs we love' section to check it out!

Please pop over and visit Sesame Magazine issue 7!

...and stay tuned for an interview with Nadia B soon!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Interview - Dawn Tan

Artist Dawn Tan in her VCA studio space

All illustrations/artworks here by Dawn Tan

Dawn Tan loves sandwiches so much she made this super-cute zine about it! You can buy one here for only $6.50!!

Mmmmm cheese sandwich.

I have to thank gorgeous Ebony Bizys of Hello Sandwich for introducing me to the beautiful work of Melbourne artist / illustrator Dawn Tan! Thanks Ebony!! Dawn's smudgy watercolours with delicate inky outlines are so engaging and so beautiful... and I adore her everyday subject matter - food and commercial packaging! Never has a Neutrogena foam cleansing product looked so lovely!

I also LOVE all Dawn's super-cute responses to my questions below! They made me giggle more than once as I put this interview together... It's not hard to pick up on Dawn's infectious energy and her love of good food! I was so excited to hear that her dream project would be to create an enormous human-height book filled with illustrations of pancakes, sandwichs, cakes, danishes and hot chocolates :) Awesome!

It was also extremely funny also to hear how Dawn's boyfriend tricked her into consuming ridiculous amounts of food during her 'All in a Day's Worth' project, in which she painted every single item she consumed in one day. He did it just so she had to draw more items! Ha ha! Cheeky!

Anyway enough of my babbling... read on for a very entertaining insight into the work of Singaporean-born, Melbourne-based artist and VCA art student Dawn Tan! Also be sure to visit her sweet blog and online shop to nab yourself one of her gorgeous little zines! ($6.50! - Hello!? What else can you buy for $6.50?)

Thanks so much for your time and all the beautiful images Dawn!!

Tell me a little about your background – what path led you to what you’re doing now?

Hello! I come from a tiny little country called Singapore. I was doing a design diploma back then when I decided to try my hand at becoming a part-time teacher, teaching art to kids at a little Japanese art studio. I relished the idea of being a designer and having to meet clients and all, but the rushing of deadlines and working in front of a computer all of my day wasn’t exciting me much. Instead, I found my part-time art teaching job to be more fun and engaging! Spending a lot of my time painting with kids, filling my hands with clay, paper collages, etc just made me realize how I really love the whole hands-on physical aspect of art. I spent a lot of time in the studio, just painting and learning from my colleagues who were all established Japanese artists. They taught me a lot when I was there. I was teaching yet learning at the same time! Just the thought of having my hands stained with paints after a long day at the easel, simply made me happy. And everything just kind of took off from there! And soon after, I decided to pack my bags and go for what I really love doing, and that’s to paint. I enrolled and got into The Victorian College Of The Arts/VCA and here I am, in Melbourne, schooling and exploring new stuff everyday, and I’ve been painting ever since!

Your work looks familiar! Where have we seen your drawings before…? (ie which publications, ads or exhibitions have featured your work?)

The wonderful Ebony Bizys from Hello Sandwich did a feature on me before, and so have a few other bloggers around the blog world. The blogging community is awesome! We bloggers share good art and crafts with each other. It’s great that way!

What have been some of your favourite drawings, special projects or collaborations?

It has definitely got to be my ‘All In A Day’s Worth’ project! I basically drew and painted every single item I used in just one day and made it into a little book, which I later turned into a zine! It was oh so super much fun because my boyfriend, after knowing what the project was all about, decided to trick me into consuming so much food, just so to make me draw even more items! It was crazy! Haha. I had to be true to the project and not cheat. So I drew them all! I couldn’t stop painting because of my fantastic amount of consumed items. It was such a silly, crazy but funny project and I had so much fun. So it was all worth it.

PS: You can buy this zine of mine from my online shop over at

Where do you turn for inspiration – nature, travel, books, magazines or the web etc?

Quaint Cafes! I don’t quite know why but I think it’s always the food and smells that inspires me and makes me think harder about more exciting projects. Other than that, I’d say Nature. When I first arrived in Melbourne, I’d walk an hour to school each day and back, and along the way, I’d pick rocks, twigs that came in funny shapes, leaves, just tiny nature bits really. These sort of stuff serves as an inspiration to a lot of my work. And I really like going to the David Jones Food Hall, just to look at beautiful food packaging. I love packaging!

Which designers, artists or creative people do you admire?

Catherine Campbell’s sweet girls never fail to make me smile. Sarah Mcneil’s fantastic pencil drawn girls and animals, Laith Mcgregor’s biro men, and of course, Edward Ruscha’s text works. But you know what’s my all-time favourite? Quentin Blake! He’s my favourite!

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

I spend most of my weekdays in school, in my studio working on my own self-driven projects. I am the sort who likes having 7 projects on the go, all at the same time. I’d spend some time on each and hop from project to project. This way, it helps me to make sure I don’t get stuck on one project for too long, which is not a good thing because I get bored and my ideas run dry.

What would be your dream creative project?

To be able to create a giant (human-height) full-coloured illustrated book! Filled with all the food, pancakes, sandwiches, cakes, danishes and hot chocolates, I’ve tasted from different lovely cafes around in Melbourne. You see, I really love just sitting and painting in cafes. There’s always something new to discover, be it the people, smell or even new items on the menu!

What are you looking forward to?

To start on my dream-creative project after I finish my current project. Haha! I’m in the midst of making a tiny tippi tent out of fabrics patch-worked together. And also, I would really love for the day to come when I start showing in Melbourne galleries. Or galleries around in Australia would be awesome too! I’m hoping a chance would pop up soon! Just the thought of it excites me!

Melbourne Questions

Where do you shop for the tools of your trade?

I get most of my supplies from Senior Arts Supplies at Degraves, just because it’s near, the staff’s friendly and it’s on Degraves street (My all-time favourite street in Melbourne! ) I sometimes pop by Art Spectrum for watercolour book blocks. They have the best there!

What/where was the last great meal you ate in Melbourne?

Over the weekend, my boyfriend brought me to Melba at Langham Hotel for a ginormous buffet meal. We were so stuffed at the end of it all. It was fun and the flatbreads that were made on the spot were Delicious with a capital D! But if you’re thinking of something more affordable, try Fandango in North Melbourne. They have one of the yummiest flatbread wraps around. I keep thinking about going back! PS: I like flatbreads!

Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning?

At a quaint cafĂ© having brunch! I try and make it a point to explore new cafes/places every week. It’s fun and makes Melbourne even more exciting!

Melbourne’s best kept secret?

There’s this little push-cart waffle stall in Degraves Street. It’s at the entrance to the subway and I think a French guy runs it. They sell wraps too if I’m not wrong. It’s a push-cart + tiny corner sort of shop. I love the waffles there and the guy’s always so friendly and polite. He greets you with this huge ‘Bonjour!’ when you arrive and ‘Merci’ when you leave. It’s really sweet! And they have this wall at the side, all plastered with notes from all over the world. It’s kind of … kitschy in my opinion. Don’t know why, but it’s funny. Haha. You should go visit and buy yourself a yummy waffle!