Have you noticed a profusion of African inspired decor lately?
I know, it’s always been around but of late there seems to be a bit more of it and in all sorts of items. I don’t think we’re heading down the path of decorating a complete room in African style but more touches here and there. What do you think?
Perhaps it’s our climate and love of the outdoors that resonates so well with the African Safari Style which is then translated into our decor. There’s also a big push back to handmade items which any ethnic culture has valued for years. And African style is more simplistic which balances our love of technology and helps create a soothing, relaxing space.
Much of the strength of African Style emerges through texture. Natural fibres of Jute, sisal and seagrass are used for flooring while banana fibre and papyrus are used in woven baskets.
Rapee have recently released a range of cushions in bright colours and rich textures which would give an African lift to your room.
Lighting is warm and golden, utilizing rustic iron candelabra and wall sconces. Table lamps incorporate palm or pineapple motifs in their bases, whilst unique shades made from feathers or quills convey the safari ambiance.
Furniture features rich timbers with stylised accents or folding furniture which would be used on Safari.
These gorgeous pieces are based on the campaign furniture used on Safari and are available from one of our suppliers here in Australia.
Comfort is foremost in an African decor, with an overall effect of effortless luxury, a sense of adventure, but always relaxed and in harmony with nature.
Last week, with great excitement, I attended a Vignette Magic workshop with the queen of vignettes, Kara Rosenlund. Kara and her gorgeous husband, Timothy O were visiting Sydney from their home town (mine too) of Brisbane. ( I discovered Kara went to school just up the hill from my Queensland workers cottage!)
Kara is Australia’s modern day Gypsy. She travels around with her caravan, Frankie, collecting and selling her vintage and one off finds.
The workshop was held at Megan Morton’s “the school” which is a fabulous white space at Rosebery. There were so many exciting elements to the night that had me all a quiver.
Megan met course participants with Iced Tea Vodka Sodas which gave us time to mix and mingle, check out the interior of the famous Frankie and browse Kara and Timothy’s current collection. We were then ushered into the school and set eyes on our pre-workshop feast.
A scrumptious table of hand-churned butter, cheese, figs, honey on the comb, bread, dukka, hand made yoghurt and marinated olives was beckoning us.
But before we could tuck in, it was the perfect photo opportunity for all the instagrammers in the room. We had time to fill our plates and then take our seats for the main attraction.
It was magical watching Kara select items from her table of “bits and bobs” and place them on the mantle.
She’d add, take away, move and rotate the carefully chosen pieces until the story was complete. And her vignettes do tell a story. As a spectator, you are drawn into the scene and want to find out more.
Kara had lots of little tricks that she generously passed on. Tricks like scrunching up paper to sit in a vessel so the item you place inside sits up and can be seen. And leaving crummage. Little bits of floatsam such as petals under flowers and fallen leaves under foliage. It helps to connect the viewer with the vignette.
It was then time to create a vignette, watch on or go back to graze at the buffet table. I enjoyed watching the other participants create and then Kara waving her magic wand over them, twisting an item to the left instead of the right, popping something up on a stack of books, or adding some vital crummage. It was a very inspiring evening.
Before the trio took to the road again, Kara left us with her golden rules of vignettes. I hope she comes back soon.
If you would like assistance styling areas in your home, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.
I’m a HUGE fan of the fabrics and wallpapers of Florence Broadhurst.
I read the book on this amazing woman about 8 years ago and was fascinated by her life. She was a Queenslander and had the ability to turn her hand at whatever career she chose while travelling the world. One year she was a singer and dancer in China and the next she was a French clothier in London. And all this was back in the ’30′s and 40′s when women didn’t do things like that. She was so ahead of her time! And then she met an untimely death when she was murdered in her studio at Paddington in Sydney. The murder remains unsolved.
When she returned to Australia she set up shop and created hand printed wallpapers. These wallpapers and their patterns are still popular today. Her artworks have been recreated as rugs, clothing, homewares and fabrics.
And in June this year, you will be able to add those very same patterns to your home in soft furnishings. Australian home textile label, Rapee will release The Broadhurst Collection which will be available in five stories and a number of colourways.
These exceptional designs will be printed on premium fabrics using various techniques including: 100% silk jacquards, embroideries on 100% cottons, foil prints on 100% linens and prints on cotton linen blends. The palette extends to bolts of blue; tranquil sea foam, denim and periwinkle; as well as punchy coral and flamingo fuchsia. The collection also welcomes shades of yellow and high-wattage metallic which will help to create richness and playful elegance while putting a fresh spin on timeless designs.
The Florence Broadhurst collection will be sold initially through department stores and boutique homeware retailers, and will arrive in store from June 2013. Prices start from $99 for embroideries, through to $120 for 100% silk scatter cushions.
I can’t wait!
If you would like assistance adding a touch of Florence to your home, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.
Although in the Southern Hemisphere we are heading in to our warmer months, there’s nothing like a floor rug to inject colour and pattern into your living space.
They add warmth (both literally and physically), they define a space, provide sound dampening qualities and can hide imperfect flooring.
There are so many patterns and colours to choose from. All over patterns are great for under timber coffee tables while centre patterns work best under a glass coffee table or in an open space so the pattern can be admired.
I’m thrilled that the Sanderson range of rugs are now available here in Australia. They certainly have some great patterns and colours from which to choose. They are made from 100% wool and are inspired by the Sanderson fabric range and are certainly affordable ranging from $700 to $1400 depending on the size.
If you would like assistance choosing rugs and other decorator pieces for your home, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.
The brand new showroom for Domestic Textile Corporation was opened in Sydney on Tuesday night.
The new Showroom is brighter and lighter than its last incarnation and situated closer to the other fabric showrooms at Rushcutter’s Bay.
The red carpet was laid out for the guests and the Bellinis and Champagne were flowing.
The beautiful fabrics were on display too.
It was a lovely evening and a great way to start the life of the new showroom.
If you would like assistance finding beautiful fabrics for your home, contact us for assistance.
At last week’s Reed Gift Fair, soft furnishing company, Bandhini released their Spring Collection. I didn’t make it to the fair so jumped at the opportunity to check out the new range at their Sydney showing at Boyd Blue.
Tai Shaffler, designer of Bandhini showed me around her new collection which was beautifully displayed in Boyd Blue’s Sydney showroom. Boyd Blue is an agent to a number of suppliers and their “Trade Only” showroom is always a delight to visit.
I couldn’t believe how well the new Bandhini collection complements the Designer Boys‘ artwork. Or is that the Designer Boys’ artwork complements the Bandhini range? Either way, they looked fabulous together and I had to ask if they had collaborated.
Tai said no and she remembered watching the boys on The Block thinking that they would love her stuff. She explained that when the did finally meet at a trade fair, the boys pretty much took everything on display. Definitely on the same wave length, still now!
Bandhini’s products are all made from natural fibres and vat dyes. Embellishments are attached by hand in the traditional style and inspiration comes from culture and nature.
You can see the exquisite detail in the Mother of Pearl Lumber cushion.
Shells, buttons, pearls, tufts, coins, sequins, felt flowers, tassels and even a horse bit are all sewn on to the covers to give a textural look and feel to any bed or sofa. With so many colours and patterns there’s something for everyone.
You can purchase Bandhini cushions and other soft furnishings through Inside Out Colour and Design. Contact us with your preferences.
Many years ago there was a cute little homewares store in Cammeray called The Ginger Jar. Whenever my mother visited from Brisbane we would head out to a different area and visit all the shops. One such time, we stumbled upon The Ginger Jar and I fell instantly in love with an artwork by Robyn Kennedy. I had never seen anything like it before and it was made from gorgeous Asian textiles. I just knew the artwork would be a great addition to my collection of Asian furniture and decorator pieces that we had collected during our three years living in Hong Kong. So I bought it!
A few years later, I came across Robyn’s name again and visited her solo exhibition in Woollahra. Mum was down from Brisbane and we were both in awe of Robyn’s exquisite pieces. So much work involved in every single piece! Since then I’ve kept in touch with Robyn and am delighted that she has agreed to answer my questions on her life and art. I hope you enjoy this interview.
Can you tell me a little bit about your background and what led you to the beautiful textile artworks you create?
For many years I’ve had an interest in interior design and the decorative arts. In the early 90’s I worked for an interior design company as their CAD operator….I think quite good training for the intricate work I do now!
The samples library the designers used for selecting materials and finishes for their projects was well overdue for a major cleanup and luckily I worked that weekend! As the designers added to the pile of “rubbish” I promptly removed pieces that I found attractive, particularly the textiles and timber veneers. I couldn’t believe all the gorgeous materials that, once admired, were now destined for the tip as “discontinued stock”. I knew that if I could, I would create something beautiful with them, to let them live on and be admired once again.
The next few years saw a flurry of creativity coming from my dining room – hours spent experimenting with different techniques mixing textiles, papers, photographs and timber veneers with beautiful found objects from nature, and then weaving metallic thread and other embellishments into the work. All of these pieces were “miniature art” and perfect for the then very popular handmade card market, when cards were not only a beautiful message but also a gift to frame.
After returning from a year overseas I was keen to get creative again, but on a much larger scale! The first larger works I created were two Japanese style Kimono figures made from antique pieces of Indian textiles (collected on my travels), contemporary textiles, gold leaf and metallic thread…they were very gorgeous, aged in appearance and they caught the light beautifully. This style of work developed over time into a series of exotic women, inspired by the women and textiles from Japan, China, Africa, Turkey and Uzbekistan. This was the starting point for my life as an artist – that was 1998.
Where do you find your inspiration?
The obvious and most immediate inspiration usually comes to me from a piece of fabric I particularly love, and more recently photographs I’ve taken on my travels. However, I do find inspiration everywhere – flowers, butterfly wings, exotic birds, sea shells, rock pools, autumn leaves, light, shadows, reflections, expressions of love, dreams, the female form, fashion, jewelry, art, architecture, interiors, Japanese style….and heaps more!
You use gorgeous textiles in your artworks, where do you find them?
As mentioned earlier, the start of my collection was in the early 90’s with textiles from the Interior Design industry. I found that many of the large fabric wholesalers were keen to give away boxes and boxes of old textiles – heaven!
I’ve also discovered the beauty in antique hand stitched textiles from India (Rajasthan wedding gowns), Turkey and Uzbekistan. Travelling to these countries is not so frequent, so I make sure I buy plenty whenever I’m there.
Can you briefly explain your design process?
In general it’s quite a spontaneous process which starts with a gorgeous piece of textile or more recently a photograph. I try to visualize what would enhance this “feature piece, the focal point”. I’m thinking colour, pattern, texture, what shapes I’m going to use, will I introduce sheer fabrics and the like. Having selected the materials I then build the image layer by layer using acid free adhesives. Finally I apply all the embellishments – I particularly love this part of the process as this is when it all comes together and it starts to sparkle and speak to me!
Do you have an all time favourite piece that you have created?
It’s always the piece I’m working on, although a number of the works pictured are my favourites.
Is there an artist (or artists) that you love right now?
What’s next for Robyn Kennedy?
Although the ‘exotic women’ series are still very popular, I do enjoy experimenting with many other styles and techniques. In my most recent exhibition, I introduced photographic collage using photographs from my travels which were overlaid with sheer textiles and embellishments. I plan to explore the ‘photographic collage’ in more detail, seeing what I can create in a smaller format using photography, textiles and papers…. and of course intricate detail. My next solo exhibition (date still to be decided) will be a series of small works.
In March 2013 I will be exhibiting at the Balmain Watchhouse with 2 good friends, Karen Visser who captures beautiful imagery through photography and Grazyna Wollman who creates the most amazing kaleidoscope of gorgeous patterns and colors. My works in this exhibition will be current and past works, so it’s a good opportunity to see the development of my art over a number of years.
If you are interested in embarking on a journey of textile art, Robyn runs workshops at her home in Sydney. Contact Robyn for more details.
It’s that time of the year again when KAS Australia hold their Warehouse Sale.
I love KAS for their fun and colourful designs at great prices. And when they are on Sale, I love them even more. It’s the perfect time to find some new soft furnishings for Spring.
If you can’t get to the warehouse in Sydney, then you can shop online and still take advantage of the sale.
Have a great weekend shopping up a storm.
If you would like assistance finding soft furnishings and other decor for your home, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.
Artist and Designer Bethany Linz spent five years in the Mokum Studio as Senior Textile Designer. She is responsible for many of Mokum’s more exquisite and embellished designs. Recently Bethany has decided to go it alone and spend more time on her craft and in particular, printmaking and embossing. I spoke with Bethany to gain a little insight into her world.
Can you tell me a little bit about your background and what led you to creating exquisite designs?
Since I was four I knew I wanted to be an artist and, with the help of my creative mother and Steiner school education, I was lucky to fuel that dream. After my school education I studied art in Newcastle, where I was very fortunate to have acclaimed artists such as Michael Bell and John Morris as teachers. I have also been very lucky to have travelled a lot and experienced different cultures. I think having such a creative up-bringing and then designing in the Mokum studio helped push me that little bit more and helped to make me the artist/ designer that I am today.
Where do you find your inspiration and how do you transfer that to a design?
Like most artists/designers, inspiration can hit me at any moment – to me it doesn’t even have to be visual, I can be inspired by smell, music and novels. When I’m feeling a little lost for inspiration though, I know I’ll always find it in the Gallery of New South Wales in the Australian section. It’s not just the artworks that inspire me, it’s the artists that never gave up on their dream and defied the odds and became part of our history.
When you create your designs, do you have an end use or product in mind?
Having worked in the Mokum studio for five years, I learnt how to forecast trends and design textiles for specific applications, for example upholstery or feature cushions, so naturally with my art I also keep interiors in mind. I make lots of my embossings very neutral but, because I love colour, I like to create some that are a little more ‘out there’, just to please myself and if they never sell, I’ll be happy to hang them on my own walls.
What is your favourite part of designing?
I really enjoy the researching at the beginning of the process, I love history and I find that art has always been at the heart of it and documented better than any other form of history. I also find at the end of the whole process the most rewarding part of being an artist/designer is looking at the finished product – after all the hard work that’s both physically and emotionally exhausting – and being satisfied.
Is colour an important part of your design or is texture more important?
Years ago, when I was walking through a gallery with one of my mother’s friends, she asked me what artworks I was drawn to. After observing my choices, we both discovered it was colour that drew me to each one, not necessarily the subject matter. With my own work I love to apply different colours to the same design and see how dramatically the colour can change the mood. It’s amazing how colour can make a design look completely different.
Who is your design idol?
What does a typical day at the office involve for you?
Every day I need to divide my time up so I can spread myself across my work evenly. I’m currently finalising my embossings for my forthcoming solo exhibition in Sydney (at the “breathing colours” art gallery, Balmain from 25 September to 6 October 2012). I’m also illustrating my second children’s book , which I must admit is extremely challenging, but can be very rewarding.
What’s next for Bethany Linz?
I would love to establish myself more as an artist and keep creating more embossings. In the near future I would also love to create a wallpaper collection that ties back to my art, but at the moment it’s just a dream.
Do you remember those lovable boys from series 1 of The Block? After appearing on the show in 2003, Gavin Atkins and Warren Sonin were highly sought after for their interior design and property styling skills and established Designer Boys Interior Design. After almost a decade of assisting clients Gavin and Warren followed their creative talents and built a wholesale art business that provides original designs and exceptional service to interior designers, architects, decorators, hotels and specialty retail stores.
The boys recently launched their new catalogue full of gorgeous pieces. I asked the duo a few questions about their inspiration for this collection.
Who is you design idol?
It’s Mother Nature of course! We are constantly inspired by her magnificent work and beauty all around us. Living in the Byron Bay hinterland we are constantly reminded about the beauty of nature & how the palette changes with the seasons. One of the biggest reasons is when you sit in a beautiful natural setting, like a rainforest, you feel uplifted, calm & exhilarated all at the same time. This is a true sign of great design – energetically it changes the way you feel in a very positive way! Mother nature will always be our idol & it’s ashamed that so many people are losing touch or even frightened of nature.
What is your top tip for buying artworks?
We love to purchase artworks that are textural & with a touch of nature – it helps reconnect you to nature & you feel very grounded. When you view an artwork it should make you feel good inside. It should have nothing to do with the price tag… It could be an emerging artist or a decorative piece that you personally admire. It’s in the eye of the beholder…
What is your favourite room in your current home?
Now that’s hard one! We’ve just finished building our home & it’s an 1880′s farmhouse which we have extended and made contemporary for today’s living – so many rooms are our favourite – it was custom to all of our needs. The living room is particularly special with large windows overlooking a magnificent valley – wherever you sit in this room you can see the rolling green hills, the cows grazing & the sky. At night we light our oversized stone fireplace. It sets the ambience for the entire room.
How does living in the Byron Bay Hinterland influence your designs?
We live on 60 acres & surrounded by nature everyday. It’s truly inspiring for us. We are at our happiest & most creative when we have time out from our busy lives just to recharge ourselves on our hinterland property. It’s what we define as our new luxury – having the space & the solitude to reenergise our creativity – that’s priceless. This luxury has nothing to do with money or expensive labels. It’s all about taking time out with nature, to be mesmerised by it’s beauty. So many of artworks have been inspired by the beauty around us. The textures in particular!
Your art collections are very textural. Is texture something that needs to be included in a room design?
We love mixing textures in our own interiors and we did for a long time when we doing interior design & decorating for clients. On the mood board, clients would often question why we use so much textures in our design palette & with many of them clashing. We would always say that you will need to trust us & of course, the finished product would always be a proud moment, when clients would often ask why they feel so good in their rooms we create for them. Our secret is the use of texture, symmetry & balance in all of our designs. All of artworks are about the use of textural materials made from natures and showing them their best.
Your latest collection includes a range of colourful prints. Is there a reason you’ve introduced so much colour into your range?
Weaving colour into any ones life is true magic – it makes you feel good, but not too much. Some designers can go over the top with colour and it can make you feel uneasy. We like using a splash of colour in our designs to uplift the spirit and to create a focal point in a room. In this art collection we’ve introduced the beauty of colour through sophisticated water colours. The reaction has been overwhelming and we must agree colour is the NEW black!
What’s your favourite piece from your new collection?
Everyone has a favourite Designer Boys artwork and we’ve created our art collection to meet the diverse range of tastes from our clients. However, the Lexington Collection is one that stands out. It is a strong geometric design that is made from soft cow hide, silver foiling & mother of pearl shell. It is all handcrafted and designed by us. It’s very sophisticated and was a big seller at Decoration & Design in Melbourne.
I’m sure you will agree the pieces are just gorgeous and I can’t wait to use them in my next interior. Thank you Gavin and Warren for providing such beautiful artworks and answering my questions.
If you would like to include one of these pieces in your home, contact us for details.