Inside the creative retreat of Julie Paterson, founder of ClothFabric

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Photograph by Marcus Arruzza

Over the weekend I was very fortunate to interview artist, fabric designer and founder of ClothFabric, Julie Paterson. Observing Julies creative process in her leafy Blue Mountains studio was a real treat, and I can promise you there is a very exciting post and my first vlog on its way! To tide us all over until the editing is complete, I’m sharing some quick snaps that we took of Julie’s home that she shares with her partner Amanda.

Upon walking in the front door, it’s clear that Julie and Amanda take great pride in this home and love to express their creative, down to earth spirit in every nook and cranny. Venturing across a random assortment of cleverly styled and layered floor rugs, the eye is guided throughout the open plan living area. Retro furnishings and timber details house an assortment of curious personal collections.

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Photograph by Marcus Arruzza

An Australian map and globe hints at Julie and Amanda’s adventurous spirit. The couple are planning many upcoming trips in a prized new vintage caravan, which we had a lot of fun with trying to help reverse up the narrow driveway. If only I’d thought to get a picture of that…

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Photograph by Marcus Arruzza

Their kitchen is admirable for being such a great example of working modestly with what you have. The lack of storage which would normally be perceived as a flaw in kitchen design, has become an unapologetic and quirky feature piled high with literally everything but the kitchen sink. I for one, was curious and pleased to see what crockery, pots and pans belonged to this home. Note the cheeky use of rope pull handles on the drawers and cupboards.

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Photograph by Marcus Arruzza

Situated just off the main living area, the visual journey continues with an eclectic gathering of artworks adorning the bedroom walls. Hung in a french hang style on one side and a bit more higgledy-piggledy on the other, the room becomes an intimate gallery. The floor, walls and ceiling are painted a soft white which opens up the space and allows for their collections to be shown to full potential. Taking pride of place on the bed is one of Amanda’s rescued blankets, which she collects from second hand stores. Julie tells me with humour that Amanda has amassed quite an extensive collection which you will notice throughout the home.

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Photograph by Marcus Arruzza

Completing the picture is an iconic Australian rickety screen back door. What’s not to like about the local map painted by Julie on red fibro, complete with gum leaves all over the ground?

A Designers Guide to Gift Buying

Ho Ho Ho!  The silly season is upon us and it’s time to find the perfect gifts for your loved ones.  As an Interior Designer, I spend a lot of time online hunting down the latest accessories and homewares.  I like to consider where and how the items are made, so you will find a common thread in my gifts of local design, local manufacture, sustainability and even a good cause.  Happy shopping.

FOR THE FESTIVE SPIRIT

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Clockwise from the top left * Large watermelon bowl, $330, http://www.samantharobinson.com.au * Posy gold vase, $168, http://www.designedbythem.com * sticthed cups, poa, http://www.keikomatsui.com.au * Antler wreath gold, $133, www.choosy.com.au * Looking for water redrust cushion, $150, http://www.clothfabric.com * Plume wall hanging, $165, http://www.xavierandme.com * Australian Christmas medium soy candle, $20, http://www.etsy.com.au * Bone servers, $100, http://www.dinosaurdesigns.com.au 

FOR THE HOLIDAY HOME

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Clockwise from the top left * Hand painted cushion, $185, http://www.bonnieandneil.com.au * New range of ceramics, poa, http://www.kwceramics.com.au * Mini parasol set marine, $59, http://www.bellamee.com * Frangipani soap, $9.95, http://www.stateofgreen.com.au * Isabella Wang Koi series plate, poa, http://www.potier.com.au * Vanda blue table cloth, $185, http://www.bonnieandneil.com.au * Range of ceramics by Dimity Kidston, poa, http://www.dimitykidstonceramics.com * Limited edition Beach towel, $150, http://www.dinosaurdesigns.com.au

FOR THE NATURALIST

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Clockwise from the top left *  Gold bee notebook, $10.95, http://www.appleandbeeshop.com, Marigold floor rug, $485 , http://www.armadillo-co.com * Trio of herbs, $8.95, http://www.stateofgreen.com.au * Charlie Sandford rocket candle stick, $99, http://www.gormanshop.com.au * Check green cushion with ribbon trim, $155, http://www.bonnieandneil.com.au * 100% pure beeswax ‘make your own candle‘, $120, http://www.queenb.com.au * Porcelain tableware, from $55, http://www.littlewhitedish.com.au * Sisal pot belly floor basket, $289, http://www.countryculture.com.au

 

FOR THE BACHELOR PAD

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Clockwise from the top left * Handmade ‘Bent Ply’ newspaper/magazine rack in Australian blackwood timber, $238, www.etsy.com.au * Monsieur Chapeau sculpture, $110, http://www.brideandwolfe.com.au * Bright beads ‘Africa’ pendant light, $395, http://www.marzshop.com * Water colour plate small black, $65, http://www.bonnieandneil.com.au * Indigo maya cushion, $80, http://www.walter-g.com.au * Laundry bag ‘boy’, $29.95, http://www.appleandbeeshop.com * Antler wall decal gold, $45, http://www.choosy.com.au * Interlocking wine rack 9 bottle set, $68, http://www.choosy.com.au

Guest Post on The Interiors Addict with Liane Rossler

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The most exciting revelation in interior design at the moment is the gaining momentum of sustainable practices. Both designers and consumers are becoming more aware of the consequences of purchasing a mass produced cheap thrill. There is a renewed appreciation for the beauty of handmade objects and their skilled makers. We’re seeing truly innovative recycling projects everywhere, from our neighbours’ DIY to the latest online homewares store. It’s trendy to ‘upcycle’. It’s even trendier to do so whilst retaining good design and style.

With a vast array of projects on the go, Liane Rossler is succeeding at promoting local artisans, contributing to the recycling movement and sharing her knowledge as an advisor to the design industry. A creative pioneer based in Sydney, Liane has a reputation in the industry for her kind and generous spirit which is so apparent in her projects. I was lucky enough to interview Liane to find out what she is up to and to share her thoughts on the future of design.

The broad range of projects you are involved in is nothing short of inspiring. What are you working on at the moment?

I’ve been curating ‘Here and Now’ at Carriageworks for 2013 as part of their artistic program. It includes commissioned works by artists and designers for three projects: Useful, Totes and Lucky. 

I’m working with Sarah K on our Supercyclers project, making some Plastic Fantastic pieces for an exhibition in Italy. I’m doing an architecture workshop with my husband Sam for SCAF and their Fugitive Structures exhibition. Then there’s a design advisory day in October with Sydney Living Museums and The Garage Sale Trail (happening 26 October).

I work with a number of organisations and am onThe City of Sydney Retail Advisory Board, Creative Services Advisory at Sydney Living Museums, Editorial Advisory Board at ARTAND Australia, and Advisory Board at &Company. I’m an ambassador for 1 Million Women, for The Garage Sale Trail and am a member of The Voiceless Council. I’m also working on a variety of creative advisory, retail advisory, business and educational projects, as well as other independent design projects.

Your projects are diverse, but all share the common goal of taking action for a better future through creativity, considered living and good design. What are your hopes for the future of design and creative innovation in our society?

I’m excited by all the possibilities that design and creative innovation bring to society, and love discovering new ways of thinking that can make life better for others. I hope that people continue to create innovative and thoughtful ways to address the challenges that we face, and that the new wave of good things overcomes some of the not so good things.

What is your advice for lovers of all things design and interiors? How can we consume responsibly?

We all love to surround ourselves with beautiful things, so I think it is important that when we buy we think about how something was made, what it’s made from, who made it, where did it come from, how long it will last, and where will it go. There should be beauty in how something is made as well as what it looks like

I am a big believer in supporting local artisans and utilising honest, sustainable materials. I’d love to know who your favourite local artisans are and what materials are inspiring you at the moment?

I agree! I love materials innovation and I’m besotted by fungi and all the great things it can do. Other natural materials like algae hold huge potential. Wood and stone are always beautiful. I love seeing natural materials developed and used in unexpected ways.Sunlight is a pretty inspiring material and I love seeing all the developing technologies in solar power.

Local artisans like Dale Hardiman and Henry Wilson do consistently thoughtful and interesting work with sustainable materials, and artist Sarah Goffman does transformative work with everyday materials. I love the Tjanpi weavers, who create magic from local materials.

What’s next?

In 2014 I’m looking forward to more time to develop the design projects I’ve been working on, as well as more Supercyclers projects and a new Happy Talk project. I love working on all the advisory projects and look forward to seeing them continue to develop.

Here and Now: Lucky, by Liane Rossler

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This morning I popped down to the Carriageworks in Eveleigh to visit the latest instalment of Here and Now: Lucky.  Lucky has been curated by Liane Rossler to feature works by Australian and New Zealand creatives.  The concept is to explore the idea of luck and interpret their findings through design and art.

My favourite creation was the hanging bells called ‘let the pure wind release you’ by Tiffany Singh.  A concoction made from fabulous natural materials –  brass, copper, clay,  twine, beeswax, paper, flowers, leaves and natural dyes, these unusual objects really caught my eye!  Made in collaboration with other artists, the aim is to keep the ancient tradition of Kharki (bell making) alive.

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Other fun standouts were bronze knuckles and gold plated chicken wishbones, with wishes attached!  It’s well worth the visit.

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Please have a look at my guest post for The Interiors Addict on Liane Rossler and her latest projects….

http://theinteriorsaddict.com/qa-with-liane-rosler-on-sustainable-design

Styling your dining table: keep it simple.

One thing I know is key to successful dining table styling is to keep it simple.  Unless you are a skilled stylist, too many colours, styles, complex centrepieces and crafty gimmicks found on Pinterest can get all too much.  I’ve found some lovely images (ahem… some on Pinterest) that I think are good examples to learn from.

The settings in the first two images have kept a muted and soft colour palette, introducing interest with layering and textured details.  The centrepiece sets the natural theme for the table and has been left on its own – not too fussy!  Light timber is echoed in the tableware and table itself.

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Height can be cleverly introduced with sparse florals or twigs, like the beautiful magnolias below.  Guests will be able to see each other past this centrepiece.   Again, the colours are kept simple.

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Any excuse to use your collections (as mentioned in my previous post… Styling your collections: the kookier the better!) can be very effective and add a personal touch, such as these vases, brought to life with fresh florals.  I think any setting deserves some sort of living feature, if not florals then fruit or vegetables can add a fresh element.

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Finally, candles will add a warm finishing touch to any setting.  I love candelabras and candle sticks as they are romantic and entrancing as they burn down.  Tea lights are handy in adding a bit more light and sparkle.  There are some great safe candles out there which are battery operated and flicker continuously, a great option if you have flammable decorations nearby.  Just remember to dim the lights and enjoy everyone looking their best in a soft glow…

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Styling your collections: the kookier the better!

I am a firm believer that happiness lies in the simple things.  It’s amazing how much joy a person can find collecting, organising and then just admiring whatever objects their heart desires.  I like to collect teapots, with best intentions to use them though I rarely do.  If you saw my balcony, you might say I collect (and obsessively grow) plants.  It doesn’t matter what you collect so long as it gives you a thrill – and the kookier the better I say!  Collections can be used to great effect in styling your home and showing your personality.

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Imagine the person who owns this collection?  I bet the thought made you smile… even if in a slightly odd way.

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Fornasetti plates look more like artwork here than a collection and is a good example of how a collection can be styled to really add something special to an interior.  The subtle monochrome palette, warmed up with timber, allows the artworks to take centre stage.

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This collection isn’t all the same object, but could be more of a theme like their favourite finds at a flea market.

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A simple and inexpensive display such as this one can be made more interesting with some fresh flowers.

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I’ve been thinking of starting two new collections, pottery and hand held clocks!  What do you collect?