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Entries Tagged as '// People'

Jes O’Brien Saddington

Wednesday, Aug 13, 2014

(1 comment)

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L: Jes O’Brien kitted up and on location

 

Ahoy! So Instagram proves once again that it is a goldmine for discovering local talent. I just can’t keep up with the accounts of a literally hundreds of Novocastrians who are up to all sorts of creative endeavours and posting examples of it on this little app. And this is where Jes O’Brien comes in. An ex-fashion PR turned make-up artist who’s also a dab hand at interior design, who just can’t seem to escape the ‘superglue’ effect of Newcastle.

 

 

Print JES O’BRIEN SADDINGTON  

 

Condensed CV:

Falling into the unlikely career path of a makeup artist was definitely not what I expected. In fact, if you had told my teenage self, that this is where I’d be, I would have laughed at you. I wear very little makeup. Very little. But long story short …

 

I have an art background. Got creative. Was offered a special effects scholarship. Declined. Travelled. Studied a short makeup course. Worked in short films. Fashion Week. Travelled & lived in Europe for three years. Worked in fashion PR & communications for Topshop HQ. Launched the original Kate Moss for Topshop line. Came Home. Based Myself in Sydney. Worked for Estee Lauder Group combining my PR & makeup worlds to launch a brand new line to the press and market. Makeup artist career now or never! 2009, launched freelance and have never looked back.

 

What has been your most memorable project?

The giant Kate Moss for Topshop launch is a hard one to beat. I have also worked alongside some of Australia’s crème de la crème in the makeup world on campaigns for Witchery, Seafolly & Bonds. I travel at least twice annually as a Creative Director for beauty of Californian line Cleobella. I feel really blessed and have had, and continue to get great projects.


What would be your dream project?

Anything involving Carine Roitfeld, or Lou Doillon – or BOTH! Possibly I have an obsession with the French?

 

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Makeup by Jes O’Brien. Photo – Matt Briggs

 

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Having the guts to launch my own business and lay it all on the line.

 

What is your most treasured possession?

Ah, that’s a tough one as I am a total consumer! But I would have to say I get very emotionally attached to my jewellery and wear the same pieces day in day out.

 

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

There is no typical days really. Saturdays are booked out 18 months in advance with weddings, so that’s my one strong consistent. Fridays are filled with trials and or weddings. Most days I am struggling to respond to my never-ending inbox with a 2-year old fighting for my attention. I do a creative shoot whether it is editorial, advertising or beauty, about once a month, and throw in a bit of beauty writing for good measure. All the other days seem to be a jumble of work, parks, play, cleaning and washing, that every other mother seems to be doing ever so effortlessly!

 

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Makeup by Jes O’Brien. Photo – Justin Aaron

 

What is your most valuable pearl of wisdom gained since starting your business?

It’s ok to say no. With your own business it’s really hard to turn work away. But in the never ending search to find the perfect balance of work, life, home, family and me time, I have learnt for you and your family’s sanity it’s OK, actually is a great thing, to say no sometimes.

 

Where do you derive creative inspiration?

From everywhere! It could be a colour, a pattern, a style, the sky. But I must say Pinterest is pretty damn amazing…

 

 Which other designers, artists or creative people are you most inspired by at the moment?

Amanda Reardon is my mentor turned lifetime friend; she constantly inspires me in makeup. I love anything Carine Roitfeld has had her magic hands at. There is also a fabulous creative hub of people in Newcastle that I have connected with. We all bounce off one another – that’s something I didn’t see here five years ago & gets me really excited.

 

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Makeup by Jes O’Brien. Photo –  for Cleobella

 

What are some of your favourite websites or blogs?

For makeup and creative inspiration I love fashiongonerogue.com

For beauty reviews intothegloss.com

For interiors I adore Real Living and thedesignfiles.com

I must admit I also have a slight addiction to Pinterest and Instagram as well.

  

Apart from your work, what other interests, passions, hobbies do you have?

In another life I would do interior decorating. I adore it. My poor husband is constantly putting up with me changing one room or another – buying and selling furniture. It’s definitely a passion. Also maybe it’s growing up in Merewether, but I am a beach girl, the ocean makes me happy. Sunshine, sandy salty hair, a day spent at the beach is a day well spent.

 

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 Jes O’Brien’s living room. Photo – Justin Aaron

 

How long have you been a Novocastrian?

Born & Bred. Wandered away for my early to mid twenties only to inevitably return – as do most.

 

Newcastle in a word?

Home.

 

What do you love and hate about living in Newcastle?

Oh, the things I love and hate about it are basically the same things! I love that I can run to the grocer and see everyone I know. I hate that when I run to the grocer I see everyone I know. It’s essentially a big city and a small town where everyone knows everyone, love it and or hate it. But at the end of the day I truly have a love affair with this town. It’s getting better and growing, in some fabulous creative ways. There is a fabulous sense of community and boy, our beaches are world class.

 

How is Newcastle different to anywhere else?

It’s not pretentious or too big for its boots. We have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world right here on our doorstep – believe me, I’ve searched. But the incredible thing about Newcastle is it has a superglue effect. You may leave but you always come back, or if it becomes a pit stop on your life journey it’s easy to get stuck.

 

Where are your favourite places in Newcastle / Hunter to:

 

+ eat

The Locale (28 Alma St, New Lambton)

Snows (Union St, The Junction)

Baked Uprising (21-25 Downie St, Maryville)

Hello Naomi (175 King St, Newcastle)

Napoli Centrale (173 King St, Newcastle)

 

+ drink

The Happy Wombat (575 Hunter St, Newcastle West)

The Edwards (148 Parry St, Newcastle West)

Coal and Cedar (Ed’s note: giving away the address would be giving the game away)

Admittedly it is rare this gal gets our her party attire anymore.

 

+ shop

Darby Street – I have been a longtime shopper at Scout and Abicus and you can’t go past Sanbah for any surfwear or cute boys gear.

 

+ play

The beach, anywhere from Merewether along to Bar Beach is where you’ll find me.

 

+ relax

The Royal Day Spa (1 KIng St Newcastle)

 

What is Newcastle / Hunter’s best-kept secret?

Burwood Beach. If anyone asks, yes there is a big sewerage plant there – it’s not worth the trek ;)

 

Website: jesobrien.com.au

Blog: jesobrien.com.au/blog

Instagram: @dazedbutamazed

 

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Jes O’Brien and family at home. Photo – Justin Aaron

 

Chris Brown

Friday, May 16, 2014

(1 comment)

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Photo – Chris Brown

 

Chris Brown’s exhibition Everyone I Know, Everything I’ve Seen opens Friday 16 May, 6:30pm at Diamant Coffee (formerly Churchkey Espresso, 488 Hunter Street, Newcastle). Check it out and drop by Watt Space for Art City and Newcastle Art Gallery for Novocastria at the same time.

 

Print CHRIS BROWN

 

Condensed CV:

Artist based in The Hill, working in film and digital photography. I have exhibited regularly in several galleries across Newcastle and sydney, participated in artist in residence programs , and have won several awards. I am a graduate of the University of Newcastle in Fine arts, specialising in digital and film photography, with a passion for alternative development techniques. I’ve been published in several Magazines including local publications  Newcastle Mirage, CUBS and Reverb.
I am a passionate advocate for community gardens and I currently work at Belmont Neighbourhood Centre as the Community Garden Coordinator – possibly the best job in the world.

 

What has been your most memorable project?

Definitely my film based projects TreeFingers and FlowerFace. These works were created in my final year studying Fine Art at the University of Newcastle. They were created using medium format colour film, employing negative sandwiching and double exposure techniques which created dreamy, fuzzy, layering effects. The project was so serendipitous – double exposures are difficult to predict because you never know how the film will react to different colours and intensities of light, but they came out perfectly!

 

What would be your dream project?

My dream project would have to be large format black and white photographs. By large format, I mean prints that are 10 meters high and 15 meters wide. Detail and texture of that magnitude is so immersive! Seeing something like that hanging at the MCA in Sydney would be pretty spectacular.

 

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Photo – Chris Brown

 

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Photo – Chris Brown

 

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Probably what I am doing at work. I coordinate Habitat in Harmony Community Garden at Belmont Neighbourhood Centre and over the last 3 years have seen it’s transformation from a weedy mess, into a bio-diverse, engaging, safe, productive and loved place for the whole community.

 

What is your most treasured possession?

My plate camera, ‘Percy’. She is 101 years old and takes the most spectacular images. The negatives are made by hand on pieces of glass which are treated with an array of different coatings and chemicals.  It’s a labour intensive process, but it’s worth it.

 

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

Quickly checking emails and a cup of tea, then I head into the garden and help organise the jobs for the day with our volunteers. After that I could be doing anything from turning compost, planting potatoes, writing management reports to teaching a permaculture class. It’s a very dynamic (and BUSY) place to work.

 

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Photo – Chris Brown

 

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Photo – Chris Brown

 

Where do you derive creative inspiration?

From people, largely. There are few things as inspiring as someone with a positive outlook on life. I often find myself searching for a certain mood, which could be found in a song, a landscape, in a person, a story. I would describe that mood as being a mix of peace and chaos, confidence and vulnerability, fleeting glances and expressions, and what I like to call ‘exhale moments’, times when you just stop, take a second to have a deep breath, withdraw into your own mental space and say to yourself “Oh my god. Okayyyy, keep going”. Like a 2-second head space recombobulation.

 

Which other designers, artists or creative people are you most inspired by at the moment?

I am  very much inspired by my friends in the local art community. Neal Booth, El Hanlon, Rebecca Noel Holmes, Philip Solman, David Hampton, Kate Parker, Helena Smithe, Artist as Family, Beau Idaho, Belinda Howden, Brian Fuata, Andrew Johnstone and a zillion others.

 

What are some of your favourite websites or blogs?

It’s Nice That, but does it float, Synaptic stimuli, Today and Tomorrow, 50 Watts, I like this blog and AdBusters among many others. I keep my bookmarks in a folder I call ‘brain food’.

 

Apart from your work, what other interests, passions, hobbies do you have?

I am a passionate community garden advocate and I love sharing and absorbing knowledge relating to how we are going to navigate through the shit-storm which will be the end of cheap fossil fuels. I love permaculture, urban agriculture, native bees, swimming at the ocean baths, freecycle, couchsurfing, travel, tea cosies and nanna blankies.

 

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Photo – Chris Brown

 

How long have you been a Novocastrian?

Since I was 2yrs old.

 

Newcastle in a word?

Promising.

 

What do you love and hate about living in Newcastle?

I love it’s scale – it’s so bicycle friendly.

I dislike negative nancies. This place is so beautiful! Go and see the world and get a bit of freaking perspective.

 

How is Newcastle different to anywhere else?

Newcastle has this fantastic balance of city/country town. The CBD isn’t filled with gigantic high rises (YET!) and people are friendly and relaxed.

 

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Photo – Chris Brown

 

Where are your favourite places in Newcastle / Hunter to:

 

+ eat

Delucas  Pizza (159b Darby St, Cooks Hill)

 

+ drink

The Lass O’Gowrie Hotel (14 Railway St, Wickham)

 

+ shop

I vehemently detest the big supermarket chains and I avoid them like the plague. The organic fruit and veggie guy in the Hunter St Mall (Wed to Sat, 8:30am – 3pm)  is fabulous, and so are the Newcastle City Farmers Markets (most Sundays, Newcastle Showground, Broadmeadow).

 

+ play

Various green spaces across Newcastle and the small but beautiful coral reef at Nobbys Beach.

 

+ relax

At home surrounded by my many indoor plants and precious things.

 

What is Newcastle / Hunter’s best-kept secret?

The spectacular view and native species living on Shepherds Hill Reserve.

 

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Photo – Chris Brown

Shelagh Lummis

Saturday, Feb 15, 2014

(3 comments)

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The painting ‘Horizon Study’ for which Shelagh Lummis received a Highly Commended in the 2013 Newcastle Emerging Artist Prize. Photo – Shelagh Lummis.

 

Ahoy! I would wish you all a Happy New Year, but it’s mid-February so I think I’ve missed that boat. Things have been rather busy in my corner of the world. So busy in fact that I took these photographs of Shelagh Lummis in OCTOBER and have only now had the opportunity to pull her long-ago answered Q&A together with the pics into a post. I totally suck.

 

What doesn’t suck is Shelagh Lummis who’s quite obviously a very patient person. Not least of all because of how long it’s taken me to get this post up, but rather because her practice of painting only began after a long career as a Personal Assistant at the University of Newcastle! Taking a redundancy in her stride Shelagh signed up for some art classes at Newcastle Art Space with a friend. Discovering a talent for abstract landscape painting Shelagh enrolled at Newcastle Art School and then returned to UoN, not as a secretary, but as a full-time student in Fine Art. In that time she’s received high praise for her painting skill.

 

I came across Shelagh’s work at an exhibition at the Uni’s Watt Space Gallery during This Is Not Art Festival last year. Shelagh was one of nine students who set up studio spaces within the gallery as part of an ‘Artist in Residence‘ exhibition. I was equally entranced by her works as I was by her in person – she is so encouraging, telling me that it’s never too late to discover a hidden creative talent . You just have to commit to the learning.

 

My priority will be to re-commit to posting stories of creative Novocastrians with a hell of a lot more timeliness than has been the case recently.

 

Print SHELAGH LUMMIS

 

Condensed CV:
For most of my working life I have undertaken various secretarial positions, enjoying those most where there seemed to be a culture of autonomy. When I first arrived in Newcastle I found part-time teaching work at Belmont TAFE. My longest and most interesting employment was at the University of Newcastle where I worked in various departments between 1990 and 2005. I was offered a redundancy from the University in 2005 which I accepted and started taking art classes shortly thereafter, leading to enrolment in a Diploma in Fine Arts at Newcastle Art School in 2007.

 

Awards:

Finalist, Newcastle Emerging Artist Prize (NEAP) (2013), Highly Commended.

Recipient, $1,000 Ford Scholarship, Newcastle Art School (TAFE) (2011).

Finalist NEAP 2012, 2009, 2008.

Sandhills Community Garden Exhibition, Winner People’s Choice Award (2008).

 

What has been your most memorable project?
Taking on an art career.

 

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L: Shelagh Lummis and Leo at the door of the backyard studio in Hamilton South. R: A recent work rests above an antique credenza in the living room. Photos -Siobhan Curran.

 

What would be your dream project?
An artist trip to Antarctica.

 

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I consider that I’ve had a fortunate life with many successes, including raising my family. No one achievement really stands out.

 

What is your most treasured possession?
Anything I have that belonged to my parents has a special place in my heart.

 

What does a typical day at work involve for you?
While I’m a student at the University of Newcastle completing a Bachelor of Fine Art, my days usually incorporate some kind of research, experimentation, and journaling. If I have an exhibition coming up then I’m usually in and out of the studio all day.

 

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L: A work in progress sits on an easel. R: Framed pieces are from a series inspired by a residency at valley called Promised Land near Bellingen. Photos – Siobhan Curran.

 

What is your most valuable pearl of wisdom gained since starting your business?
Mistakes are a good thing as long as you learn from them.

 

Where do you derive creative inspiration?
Mostly from our environment and the way the atmosphere of places can change according to weather or light. Our changing landscape has the ability to generate new ways of looking at it.

 

Which other designers, artists or creative people are you most inspired by at the moment?
The recent exhibition of Philip Wolfhagen at Newcastle Art Gallery was very inspirational. Wolfhagen’s engagement with his environment is clearly shown in his work. Another artist I like very much is painter Euan MacLeod, a kiwi now residing in Australia.

 

What are some of your favourite websites or blogs?
Sadly I don’t blog much. However, I am on Facebook which has been a fantastic way of keeping in touch with family and friends I’ve made while at Art School.

 

Apart from your work, what other interests, passions, hobbies do you have?
I enjoy travel, fine food and wine, walking, animals and gardening. I always have a camera with me, snapping whatever gives me inspiration, including the amazing skies we have in Newcastle.

 

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The tools of the trade. Photos -Siobhan Curran.

 

How long have you been a Novocastrian?
My husband and two children moved here from Sydney in 1983. I was raised in New Zealand and moved to Australia in 1973.

 

Newcastle in a word?
A coat of many colours (I know, that’s 5 words!)

 

What do you love and hate about living in Newcastle?I love the friendliness of its people and the diversity of activities available. What I hate is the sad and run-down look of parts of Newcastle, and I don’t mean just the CBD. I believe that even if a building or building site is unused, an owner should be responsible for its continued maintenance. I don’t think environmental aesthetics assumes enough importance with the powers that be in Newcastle. And the appalling situation our Gallery finds itself in saddens me a great deal.

 

How is Newcastle different to anywhere else?
Newcastle’s ‘otherness’ stems from its unique position on the coast. Its working harbour means that residents are treated to the fantastic sight of huge ships being towed in by tugs. It has miles of surfing beaches and is very close to wonderful vineyards. However, the natural gifts of the place include large coal deposits, which means that heavy industry must coexist with our local environment. There’s a lot going on but to me Newcastle retains the feel of a country town.

 

Where are your favourite places in Newcastle / Hunter to:

 

+ eat

Leaves and Fishes (Lovedale Rd, Lovedale)

 

+ drink

Le Passe Temps (75 Hunter St, Newcastle)

 

+ shop

I don’t much like shopping!

 

+ play

Anywhere I’m with friends

 

+ relax

At home

 

What is Newcastle / Hunter’s best-kept secret?
Then it wouldn’t be a secret …

 

Website: www.shelaghlummis.com.au

 

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Corners of Shelagh’s studio. Photos -Siobhan Curran.

 

Sophie Smyth

Wednesday, Aug 7, 2013

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L: Self-watering mini planters made from recycled wine bottles R: Sophie Smyth at her Wickham studio with recycled bottle light pendants ready to be hung.

 

Wickham is such a wonderful pocket of Newcastle where industry and residential collide and it’s so close to the CBD, waterfront and Islington Hamilton. Quaint weatherboard cottages sit side-by-side with auto-repair workshops and woolsheds (auctions and Pigeon Coop Studios long gone). There’s The Lass, Croatian Club, Sourdough BakerFig Tree Community Garden and its neighbouring playground, Dark Horse Espresso inside of French Patina Studio which overlooks the Greenway Street art wall, The AlbionFishermans Co-op and Wickham Motorcycle Co. Oh and I nearly forgot Inner City WinemakersArts Systems and of course, The Wicko! I often lament not buying an old warehouse there fifteen or even ten years ago.

 

Another little creative enterprise that has make Wickham its home is a stone’s throw from The Lass and is occupied by three women, one of whom is Sophie Smyth of Vintage Last Tuesday. Sophie’s designs mainly focus on lighting (including dip-dyed string shades not photographed here, but available via Sophie’s Etsy store), however there is also a clever range of leather bags and planters included in the mix. As for two others in this trio, I have an another excuse to come back to share their goings-on.

 

favicon SOPHIE SMYTH

 

Condensed CV:

I am an industrial designer, graphic designer and artist and received my Bachelor in Fine Arts/Sculpture from Sydney College of the Arts, Rozelle in 2007. I then went onto further study in design at TAFE and finally, Enmore Design Centre to study product design. My work would then bring me into contact with some of the best architects and interior designers in NSW in my role as a decorative and architectural lighting consultant for well-respected designer retailer, Dedece in Darlinghurst. It is here that my love of lighting was cemented and in the creation of Vintage Last Tuesday, I can now finally combine all of my loves, focusing on handmade, unique and sustainable design.

 

What has been your most memorable project?

Working with local craftsman, Neil Keats, a wood turner who helped realise my Turned series of recycled wood drop-pendant lights. He is a gentleman and a true artisan.

 

What would be your dream project?

I would love to do more interiors for hospitality. You can be so much more free and creative. I also am currently working on curating a new space in Newcastle for artists and other creatives to rent studio space. A collective of creative people in one place, sharing ideas and resources. I hope this becomes a reality because it would be so great and it’s so badly needed in Newcastle. Watch this space!

 

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Having the courage to quit my job and move cities to follow my dream.

 

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L: Sophie shares her studio space with Jess Coleman aka The Wedding Designer and Emma Guy from Dreaming of Stepford. R: A sweet little bottle pendant.

 

What is your most treasured possession?

My kitten Hunter. He tolerates my constant overbearing love and cuddles with patience.

 

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

It’s pretty varied from day to day but a studio day involves, getting up and out and coffee’d by 9am. Spend the day at the warehouse/ studio either sewing bags, working on a project or researching. Maybe a gym visit and home for dinner at 6pm. There is also A LOT of trips to Bunnings. I may as well live there.

 

What is your most valuable pearl of wisdom gained since starting your business?

Don’t expect everything to happen all at once and quickly. Take one task at a time and work on that, then move to the next. Be methodical. I personally struggle with that.

 

Where do you derive creative inspiration?

I constantly flood my mind with images. These all seem to merge and I can hopefully take the best of each and make something new. Also my work is often inspired by the material itself. I like to use recycled, repurposed and found objects wherever I can.

 

Which other designers, artists or creative people are you most inspired by at the moment?

For leather bags I cannot go past frrry. He’s a designer out of Amsterdam and I LOVE his stuff. Kate Stokes from Coco Flip is an amazing Australian designer and also Jess Coleman  from The Wedding Designer and Emma Guy from Dreaming of Stepford. I share the warehouse with these girls and they are such hard workers and so talented.

 

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R: The Stepford / Wedding Planner / Vintage Last Tuesday shopfront (by appointment) L: VLT’s sunshine-dipped trolley table.

 

What are some of your favourite websites or blogs?

I am a Design Files junky. Also Pinterest, Instagram and I look at Juxtapose, Share Design and Lost at E Minor.

 

Apart from your work, what other interests, passions, hobbies do you have?

I like to swim (but only in the summer!) but mostly I love hanging out with my friends and eating. Eating and drinking are definitely hobbies of mine. My talented boyfriend Graeme Townsend from Casa De Loco never disappoints on the cocktail front. ;)

 

How long have you been a Novocastrian?

Well I was born here but we moved to Sydney in 1996 and I have just made it back in January this year.

 

Newcastle in a word?

Changing

 

What do you love and hate about living in Newcastle?

I love the closeness of your friends and everything to you at any one time. I love the beach and the lifestyle. I hate the drivers…. For some reason people are terrible drivers!

 

How is Newcastle different to anywhere else?

Newcastle isn’t afraid to be itself. Whether you love it or hate it, it is what it is.

 

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L: ‘Turned’ Sophie’s locally made wooden long drop pendants. R: The warehouse space utilised for props storage for Sophie’s studio mates.

 

Where are your favourite places in Newcastle / Hunter to:

+ eat

Saluna (137 King St, Newcastle)

 

+ drink

Casa De Loco (10 Pacific St, Newcastle)

 

+ shop

Darby Street

 

+ play

The Lass O’Gowrie (14 Railway St, Wickham)

 

+ relax

Newcastle Baths

 

What is Newcastle / Hunter’s best-kept secret?

That it’s an awesome place to live (people don’t know)!


Website: vintagelasttuesday.com.au
Etsy: etsy.com/au/shop/vintagelasttuesdayau
Facebook: facebook.com/vintagelasttuesday 

Leila Rudge

Wednesday, Jul 24, 2013

(3 comments)

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L: Illustrator Leila Rudge in her home studio. R: Leila’s drawing desk with materials and references at the ready. Photos – Siobhan Curran.

 

Leila Rudge. What a star. She emailed me a couple of weeks back to introduce herself and because I instantly fell in love with her illustrations (be sure to check out her blog, link at the end of this post) and the lady herself after reading this ‘interview’ I hoped she’d take part in a TNF Q&A. Not only did she turn around the Q&A in a matter of days, she had no qualms with my request to visit her studio to see where the magic happens. Model interviewee!

 

As you may have noticed I have been trying really hard this year to include original photos for posts on The Novocastrian Files to sit alongside participant’s Q&As. It’s a lot more work, but I think that it’s worth it. Especially on occasions such as when I headed over to Leila’s apartment in Hamilton that she shares with partner Trystan Eeles (who is playing a gig with his band The Buzzard Mix at The Terrace Bar, 529 Hunter St, Newcastle West, this Friday evening).

 

Here I was thinking I was going to be taking a pic or two of Leila in her home studio. What I hadn’t counted on was the most adorable apartment I had clapped eyes on in a long, long time. From the moment I arrived at the front door, painted entirely in green chalkboard paint with an elaborate door-knocker expertly drawn in chalk for decoration, I knew there was more magic behind that door than I had at first supposed…

 

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L: Who doesn’t love a purpose painted calendar on their office door? R: The cosy reading nook in the studio. Photos – Siobhan Curran.

 

Print LEILA RUDGE

 

Condensed CV:

I completed an Illustration degree at Bath Spa University, and then jumped on a plane to Australia. Hello sunshine!

 

In 2009, I illustrated my first children’s book Duck for a Day, which was shortlisted for the CBCA Book of the Year Award – Younger Reader’s category. No Bears, my second collaboration with Meg McKinlay also popped up on the shortlist in the Picture Book of the Year and Early Childhood categories of the 2012 CBCA awards. The sequel to Duck for a Day, Definitely No Ducks was released in early this year alongside Ted, my first solo project.

 

What has been your most memorable project?

Definitely Ted. I get a warm and fuzzy feeling seeing him hanging out in bookshops.

 

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L: Studio details R: Leila gets busy on character studies for a new book. Photos – Siobhan Curran.

 

What would be your dream project?

Something to do with illustration and food. And travel. Perhaps a travelling food journal? Hmmm… Back to the drawing board.

 

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Turning my picture book obsession into an occupation.

 

What is your most treasured possession?

A big box of support from friends and family…

 

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Leila works on character studies for her next book. Photos – Siobhan Curran.

 

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

Lots of drawing. And tea. And emails. My studio is freezing so keeping warm is usually high on my agenda. (Ed’s note: I loved that Leila is wearing Ugg’s in her portrait!)

 

What is your most valuable pearl of wisdom gained since starting your business?

Sometimes it’s best to stop worrying and start working.

 

Where do you derive creative inspiration?

It seems to pop up in all shapes and sizes. Newspaper clippings, old raffle tickets, overheard conversations and brown paper bags.

 

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Lounge room details. Photos – Siobhan Curran.

 

Which other designers, artists or creative people are you most inspired by at the moment?

On a recent tour of the bookshops in France, I was blown away by Beatrice AlemagnaIsabelle Arsenault and Anne Herbauts. Picture book perfection.

 

What are some of your favourite websites or blogs?

My New RootsSeven Impossible Things Before BreakfastLove and LemonsThe Design FilesFine Fine Books, Weekday CarnivalPikalandSF Girl By Bay. Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in cyberspace…

 

Apart from your work, what other interests, passions, hobbies do you have?

Sketching ticks all those boxes but other fun things include morning yoga and afternoon walks. All things foodie. Drinking tea and curling up with Grand Designs

 

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Entry to Leila’s apartment with an alcove that doubles as pantry. Photos – Siobhan Curran.

 

How long have you been a Novocastrian?

Five years and one month…

 

Newcastle in a word?

Goldilocks “Just right.”

 

What do you love and hate about living in Newcastle?

The empty spaces…

 

How is Newcastle different to anywhere else?

It’s exciting to watch a city take shape… Newcastle has only just begun.

 

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The kitchen has been recently renovated to include cement counter-tops and Ikea cabinets. Photos – Siobhan Curran. 


Where are your favourite places in Newcastle / Hunter to:

 + eat

Subo (551D Hunter St, Newcastle) is super special.

 

+ drink

Caffestry (143 Pacific St, Newcastle) has an amazing assortment of teas.

 

+ shop

MacLeans Booksellers (69 Beaumont St, Hamilton) is my happy place.

 

+ play

Merewether Baths (Henderson Pde, Merewether) are perfect for a dip.

 

+ relax

Lauren Ozard (165 Darby St, Cooks Hill) is a massage magician.

 

What is Newcastle / Hunter’s best-kept secret?

This week – A spot in the garden at Goodness Me Organics (617 Glebe Rd, Adamstown). Next week? Who knows…

 

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Leila and Trystan’s bedroom. Photos – Siobhan Curran.

 

Website: www.leilarudge.com

Blog: leilarudge.blogspot.com.au

Facebook: www.facebook.com/leilarudgeillustration

 

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L: The bright bathroom recently renovated with butcher and pennyroyal tiles. R: An exit with a handcrafted message. Photos – Siobhan Curran.

 

Lloyd Kellett / One Man’s Trash

Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013

(3 comments)

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Lloyd Kellett’s out-of-work-hours business, One Man’s Trash, now with shopfront at The Emporium. Photos – Siobhan Curran

 

The latest round of Renew Newcastle projects at The Emporium (the former David Jones) on Hunter Street Mall have turned up some cracking talent for all to see (Thu – Sat). On a recent visit I was particularly taken with the treasures inside One Man’s Trash. Lloyd Kellett not only builds race-winning billy carts but assembles lighting, furniture and homewares pieces using reclaimed timbers and spare parts that are positively Burton-esque.

 

If necessity if the mother of invention, Lloyd is its father…his industrial inventions are indeed necessary for anyone who appreciates fine craftsmanship.

 

favicon LLOYD KELLETT

 

Condensed CV:

Gyprocker and bricklayer by trade, in building industry for the last 20 years. Working a day job as a sign installer currently. Began building furniture in December 2012 as we needed a desk for a nook in our home, found some materials in the shed and it has evolved from there.

 

What has been your most memorable project?

Building Tiny Dancer – the second fastest billy cart in all the land.

 

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Top: Billycarts Tiny Dancer (front) and Toe Cutter (back). Photo – Brett Piva. Bottom: Camera shy Lloyd at it in his workshop in Wallsend. Photo – Mel Kellett. 

 

What would be your dream project?

Turning One Man’s Trash into the day job would be the ultimate goal. Any project that came along with that would be great.

 

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

The fit-out of our storefront on a tight budget and timeframe.

 

What is your most treasured possession?

My collection of collections.

 

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L: One Man’s Trash desk, office chair with castors, desk lamp and organiser. R: Laboratory aromatherapy oil burner. Photos – Siobhan Curran.

 

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

Well the day job Monday to Friday involves sign installation and all that comes with that. Once I knock off of an evening I am either to the shed to work on custom orders, projects etc or out to an install. There is also phone calls to return, emails and quotes to do.

 

What is your most valuable pearl of wisdom gained since starting your business?

Sleep is overrated.

 

Where do you derive creative inspiration?

From rusty, discarded items. I see the potential and make it up from there in my head.

 

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Locket necklaces available at One Man’s Trash. Photos – Siobhan Curran.

 

Which other designers, artists or creative people are you most inspired by at the moment?

Not really into art or anything like that so don’t know of any sorry.

 

What are some of your favourite websites or blogs?

The freebies section of Gumtree is a personal fave.

 

Apart from your work, what other interests, passions, hobbies do you have?

In my spare time I am into billy carting, music and eating.

 

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The incredible assemblage of Lloyd’s lamps. Photos – Siobhan Curran.

 

How long have you been a Novocastrian?

Originally from Tamworth and Gunnedah, I moved here about 20 years ago. That makes me a legit Novocastrian, I think.

Newcastle in a word?

Changing.

 

What do you love and hate about living in Newcastle?

The people. Everyone knows everyone.

 

How is Newcastle different to anywhere else?

The variety. The beaches, the history, the suburbs. So much to do for all kinds of people.

 

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L: Another of Lloyd’s lamps – they are very photogenic! R: A little fascination with skulls x homewares throughout the store. Photos – Siobhan Curran.

 

Where are your favourite places in Newcastle / Hunter to:

+ eat

T&Ps Fire Station Pies (31 Union St, Cooks Hill)

 

+ drink

I don’t actually drink. My other half loves the coffee and eats from One Penny Black (cnr Hunter & Morgan Sts, Newcastle) though.

 

+ shop

Auld & Grey (92 Maitland Rd, Islington)

 

+ play

No time for that!

 

+ relax

My workshop with a project or seven on the go.

 

What is Newcastle / Hunter’s best-kept secret?

People will need to come visit our great city to find out!

 

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Bookends perfect for some vintage reads. Photo – Siobhan Curran.

 

Shop: One Man’s Trash , The Emporium, 185 Hunter St, Newcastle. Thu 10am – 6pm, Fri 10am – 5pm, Sat 10am – 4pm.

Facebook: onemanstrashaustralia

 

Ali Wanchap / Jude

Wednesday, Jul 3, 2013

(2 comments)

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L: Knitwear label Jude by Ali Wanchap R: Irresistibly soft Smith jumper. Photos –  James Bennett.

 

This week I had the pleasure of meeting Ali Wanchap, the bright spark behind Jude, a knitwear label with a distinctly sophisticated down under aesthetic designed in Newcastle (Adamstown specifically!) and produced in Australia.

 

Ali attributes school holidays at her family’s wool farms in Northern NSW and South-West Queensland as the driver behind the idea to start Jude, “I have been privileged enough to be surrounded by creative, hard working people in my family, feet firmly planted in the dirt of the Australian bush. Out of this heritage my great love for wool has blossomed and has set me on this journey”. Ali’s grandmother has always utilised wool from the family farm to hand-spin and dye yarn to produce one-of-a-kind knitted jumpers and dolls that were always in high demand.

 

Ali has taken that proud family heritage to a new level with Jude using Australian-grown wool milled and dyed in Italy which is then brought back to Australia for machine-knitting in Melbourne to become the latest designs conceived by Ali in her Adamstown home office. Her family heritage saluted as each design is named after family properties or much-loved horses.

 

The range of super-fine merino wool pieces includes knitwear for women and baby, plus blankets and cushions that feature modern geometric designs in classic colour-ways. But it’s the handsome sulphur-crested cockatoo and a sweet wattle and gumnut motif of several pieces that add a distinctly Australian edge. Forget any thoughts of itchy wool jumpers you may have endured as a child. After road-testing the soon-to-be-released Kaloola kimono I can attest that wool has come a very long way. It’s like wearing a warm hug!

 

Not only is Ali a fellow Sydney transplant to Newcastle but she has whole-heartedly embraced her new-found Novocastrian status. Even the latest Jude A/W campaign is 100% local talent and location. Model Bonnie Richardson (those eyebrows!), photographer James Bennett, make-up artist Jes O’Brien and creative director Kelly Sharples, together with Ali, utilised the stunning backdrop of the Watagans for Jude‘s current season location shoot. Stunning work all round.

 

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Jude Avery sulphur-crested cockatoo jumper. Photo – James Bennett.

 

Print ALI WANCHAP

 

Condensed CV:

Grew up in Brisbane, finished uni and moved to Sydney shortly after. I started my real working career in Public Relations after a short-lived attempt at acting in Sydney, and stayed in PR for 8 years. Worked a few years out in the big bad world of fashion PR, then 4 years ago started my own consulting business AlphaWhiskeyPR, which is still going today. I moved to Newcastle in 2009 looking for a fresh start, and to take on a new challenge – to get my commercial helicopter pilot license, which I completed in 2011. Amongst this,  I had always dreamed of starting my own knitwear label inspired by my family history of wool farming and production. I started putting Jude into action throughout 2012, and officially launched the label in April this year.

 

What has been your most memorable project? 

I have been lucky enough to work with some amazing businesses over my PR career, however I must say starting Jude has definitely left a bright, bold exclamation point on my list of projects to date. Flying solo for the first time in the chopper was pretty memorable too – probably because I was so scared.

 

What would be your dream project?

I am pleased to say that I am doing it now, with Jude.

 

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Having the courage to follow my dreams. And not only just follow them – follow through with them.

 

What is your most treasured possession?

My puppy dog Bosley.

 

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Soon to be released Jude Kaloola kimono (my pick! So luxurious!). Photo – James Bennett.

 

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

My days are so varied, but it mainly involves loads of emailing, packing and sending orders, managing my online store, seeking out new opportunities and new products, dealing with manufacturers, printers, suppliers, contractors, going to meetings, cuddling Bosley and watering my pot plants for a bit of zen time. (Is that odd?!)

 

What is your most valuable pearl of wisdom gained since starting your business?

Don’t cut corners or compromise your standards for the sake of a quick gain or a quick fix, make the smart decisions today so you don’t pay for them tomorrow.

 

Where do you derive creative inspiration? 

My creative inspiration comes from many places – my dreams, my family, the Australian landscape, and often the tiniest of random details can get a whole idea or concept flowing.

 

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Jude Clarence jumper featuring fine cable knit body. Photo – James Bennett.

 

Which other designers, artists or creative people are you most inspired by at the moment?

I am inspired by people who put themselves out there and are giving it a go. I have two dear friends that have started their own businesses in the Newcastle/Hunter region recently too – Kelly Sharples of Arnley and Tegan Brideson of Tegan Asha Bridal and they inspire me every day with their passion, hard work and dedication.

 

What are some of your favourite websites or blogs?

I love the Cool Hunter to marvel at the amazing imagery and design finds. Although a lot of the time it makes me feel very un-cool….And when I need a bit of a high fashion fix I go to The Sartorialist, which is an amazing blog that sparked the craze of ‘street style’ fashion photography.

 

Apart from your work, what other interests, passions, hobbies do you have?

As mentioned previously I have a bit of a passion for flying, although recently I haven’t had a great deal of time to commit to it. Horse riding is another great passion of mine that I wish I had more time to enjoy. I do however always seem to have time for traveling and exploring new places…. I tend to get itchy feet if I’ve walked the same ground for too long.

 

How long have you been a Novocastrian?

I have lived in the Newcastle/Hunter region since 2009. I’m not sure if I pass as a true Novocastrian quite yet. I’m told I have another 20 years to go till I’m there.

 

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Clockwise from top left: ‘I love the crimpy goodness of raw merino wool’ says Ali at uncle Brent Finlay’s sheep station in SW Queensland. Autumn/Winter 2013 season planning. Where dreams turn to reality, the manufacturer’s machines in Melbourne. Ali with Gem the mustering dog at the family farm, Cooinda, in SW Queensland. Photos – Ali Wanchap.

 

Newcastle in a word?

Misunderstood.

 

What do you love and hate about living in Newcastle?

I love the relaxed lifestyle, the fact that you can get almost anywhere in 10 minutes, and the beautiful coastline scenery. I don’t really hate anything about Newcastle, I guess I’m frustrated by the stunted progress of the CBD area, but having said that there are some pretty amazing little shops and businesses starting to appear, which is encouraging.

 

How is Newcastle different to anywhere else?

Newcastle has such a unique mentality and lifestyle. It is in an elite category of cities that can boast they are built seaside, around such a stunning coastline. The passionate patriotism of Novocastrians is quite intoxicating and very unique too.

 

Where are your favourite places in Newcastle / Hunter to:

 

+ eat

The Bistro (102 Darby St, Cooks Hill) for its beautifully comforting yet innovative cuisine.

The Burwood Inn (77 Berner St, Merewether) for its gorgeous pub atmosphere

And my house because there is nothing quite like a home-cooked meal.

 

+ drink

Bar Petite (5/5 King St, Newcastle ) in the east end

Tyrrells Cellar Door (1838 Broke Rd, Pokolbin) the best wines in the Hunter Valley, in my opinion.

Cambridge Hotel (789 Hunter St, Newcastle West) for a beer and a dose of rock and roll.

 

+ shop

Colosseum Antiques (116 Maitland Rd, Mayfield)

Betty Mim (176 Darby St, Cooks Hill)

And of course the Jude online store

 

+ play

Burwood Beach on a sunny day

 

+ relax

The banana lounge parked in the sun in my backyard.

 

What is Newcastle / Hunter’s best-kept secret?

Its lifestyle. So many people outside of Newcastle have an out-dated perception of what it is and what it has to offer – and I think most Novocastrians are happy with that. Their secret is safe for a little bit longer.

 

Website: www.judeaustralia.com

Blog: www.judeaustralia.com/jude-files/

Shop: http://www.judeaustralia.com/shop/

Facebook: judeaustralia

Instagram: judeaustralia

 

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Clockwise from top left: Ali Wanchap at home in Adamstown. A sneak-peek of the new season range. Hard at work in the home office. Equine inspiration from a childhood spent on family wool farms. Photos – Siobhan Curran.

Annemarie Murland

Wednesday, Jun 12, 2013

(2 comments)

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Annemarie Murland’s series ‘Colour as Form’ is available to view and purchase at a pop-up exhibition at her studio at Newcastle Community  Art Centre, this weekend only. Photo – Siobhan Curran.

 

There was a group show of Newcastle-based artists at The Lock-Up Cultural Centre earlier this year entitled ‘Popped’, expertly pulled together by Gillean Shaw with less than two weeks notice! One of the many talented artists whose work was represented was Annemarie Murland and the two pieces on display really pulled me in.

 

Not being familiar with her work I was surprised to discover later that these paintings were a departure from her usual style. As we chatted in her studio at Newcastle Community Arts Centre yesterday afternoon I discovered that Annemarie has, up until 2010, been working solidly on a PhD, and therefore submerged in a world of painting inspired by the Aran jumpers and plaid blankets knitted by her Irish ancestors. There are examples of this work hanging in her studio and it’s a gratifying experience to have permission to touch paintings! Those examples are very tactile with woven threads, both real and imagined painted onto canvas.

 

As Annemarie’s work has turned more recently to lecturing first year painting and drawing students at the University of Newcastle, she has been influenced by the basic principles of painting she is teaching her students. She explains to me that when learning to paint, the first step is to understand that painting is not about the subject, but about the paint itself; colour, shape, texture, space and other factors that my non-artist brain knows very little of. This ‘back to basics’ approach with her students has enabled Annemarie to come full circle with a series of studies that has a wealth of painting experience behind them.

 

I love them.

 

Perhaps inspired by the ‘Popped’ pop-up exhibition in combination with a growing sense that people are looking for opportunities to engage with artists beyond admiring their work on a wall, Annemarie Murland is hosting her own pop-up exhibition of paintings and works on paper from her private stockpile in her studio THIS WEEKEND only. Go quickly and soak in the studio atmosphere and the paintings. You will not be disappointed!

 

Annemarie Murland Studio Pop-Up Sale

Studio 8, Newcastle Community Art Centre

246 Parry St, Newcastle West

Friday 14 June to Sunday 16 June, 10am to 5pm

 

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L: Annemarie Murland in her studio. R: Another piece in the ‘Colour as Form’ series waiting to be framed before the weekend. Photos – Siobhan Curran.

 

faviconANNEMARIE MURLAND

 

Condensed CV

Born in Glasgow, I migrated to Australia in 1990 with my Australian husband, making Newcastle my permanent home. I commenced studies at the University of Newcastle in 2000, where upon completion of an undergraduate degree, I received the Faculty and University Medal for excellence in Fine Art. I continued my studies, gaining a Doctor of Philosophy, Fine Art degree in 2009. I’m now currently employed as an academic in the discipline of painting and drawing, a postgraduate supervisor and an early career researcher whilst also maintaining a professional art practice.

 

What has been your most memorable project?

My PhD.

 

What would be your dream project?

That’s a big one – probably to take my current projects back to Scotland and Ireland where they would take on new narratives.

 

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Apart from raising two great daughters – managing to successfully reshape myself here in Australia.

 

What is your most treasured possession?

That’s difficult – my memory

 

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

Teaching, researching, painting, corresponding, washing, cleaning and eating.

 

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L: The framing line-up continues. R: Works hang at the rear of the studio. Photos – Siobhan Curran.

 

What is your most valuable pearl of wisdom gained since starting your business?

Simple – there is nothing you cannot do if you are passionate enough. And don’t listen to gossip.

 

Where do you derive creative inspiration?

It’s in everyone you just need to tap into it.

 

Which other designers, artists or creative people are you most inspired by at the moment?

Locally my mate Pablo Tapia, a fab painter, and Kiera O’Toole who I am collaborating with on a few projects. Also the Fine Art students at the University of Newcastle who keep me on my toes.

 

What are some of your favourite websites or blogs?

I generally use websites and blogs for research – of which there are plenty but do like to look at the on line shop www.theoutnet.

  

Apart from your work, what other interests, passions, hobbies do you have? I love to swim with my mate Mary Riley during the summer months and travel OS when possible

 

How long have you been a Novocastrian?

I have lived here 22 years. Does that qualify me as a Novocastrian? If so, can I see that in print?

 

Newcastle in a word?

Crusin’

 

(I am trying to imagine someone with a Scottish accent saying this :) )

 

What do you love and hate about living in Newcastle?

Love the ease of living here. It is so uncomplicated. And what do I hate?  Well, hate is such a strong word but I don’t like that there is no real city center.

 

How is Newcastle different to anywhere else?

For me difference lies in that Newcastle is so far removed from my personal experience of being shaped by a big city [Glasgow] that everyday I am reminded of how different Newcastle is.

 

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L: Brushes drying in front of the space heater R: A small work waits to be hung. Photos: Siobhan Curran.

 

Where are your favourite places in Newcastle / Hunter to:

+ eat

That’s hard as there are great restaurants around but for great coffee and a chat I love 3 Bean Espresso (103 Tudor St, Hamilton).

 

+ drink

Surfhouse Merewether (5 Henderson Pde, Merewether) and The O’Leary Tapas bar in Curry Street Merewether (my wine o’clock friend’s place!).

 

+ shop

Around Darby Street.

 

+ play

Beach walking and I do like to cycle around Honeysuckle with my husband, Jack.

 

+ relax

For a treat I love a massage and facial at Temple Beauty (42a Patrick St, Merewether)

 

What is Newcastle / Hunter’s best-kept secret?

All the fab artists who live and work here.

 

Website: www.annemariemurland.com
Blog: www.marianthread.com

 

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L: Newcastle Community Art Space R: Annemarie locks up the studio before heading off to watch the Lions play! Photos – Siobhan Curran.

Angela Hailey / Studio Melt

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

(2 comments)

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Just some of the range of gifts and homewares available Anglea Hailey & Suzy Manning’s shop Studio Melt. Photo – Froxy.

 

I have been a big fan of Renew Newcastle even before I moved to Newcastle in 2011. ‘Citizen activism / creative capital / making things interesting’, which is how I see RN working, is a triumvir that warms the cockles of my heart. So I count my lucky stars to have ended up working with Marni at Renew over the last year or so.

 

Every person that is involved in Renew projects are a creative force to be reckoned with. None less so than Angela Hailey and Suzy Manning from Studio Melt. Now ‘graduates‘ of the Renew Newcastle scheme (having signed a commercial lease within six months of their retail/workshop foray with RN) for near on one year. Whenever I happen to pass through Hunter Street Mall I always stop by and am guaranteed a tempting curation of homewares, art and jewellery. It’s my go-to shop for gifts. The added bonus is the smiles and conversation that inevitably play out which always makes me late picking up my gözleme for lunch. I mean, you’ve seen how long the gözleme line can get, right?

 

As friendly as they come, I walk out of Studio Melt wondering if I really did just agree to start surfing lessons at Nobbys with Ange so we can keep up with Suzie’s wave riding talent. These ladies are the real deal. Ange proves so below.

 

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Angela Hailey getting some laughs out of a customer. Photo – Froxy.

 

favicon ANGELA HAILEY

 

Condensed CV:
I’m staring down the barrel of turning 40 at the end of the year, if only I felt that grown up! After finishing school I spent a couple of years traveling before returning home to begin a degree in marketing. With that degree I worked far too many hours a day in my 20s coming up with all manner of ideas for convincing people why they needed everything from a premix can of Jim Beam to removable storage for their computer. But somewhere along the line I started evening art classes, then more art classes and all of a sudden I realised they were the highlight of my week. So – I chucked my job in and went to art school. Never looked back.

 

What has been your most memorable project?
Definitely opening Studio Melt (a workshop/retail space) through Renew Newcastle. I honestly don’t think I would have attempted a project like this if I had had to take out a commercial rental lease and invest in the stock up front. Opening through Renew Newcastle gave me the opportunity to test out our idea without a huge initial investment and allowed us the time to gradually build up our stable of artists and stock before transitioning to a commercial lease.

 

What would be your dream project?
I feel so consumed and stimulated by what I’m doing at the moment, it’s hard to imagine a ‘dream project’ being too far from what I’m doing. I would love to get my hands on a one the really iconic old buildings in the city – like the old Victoria Theatre on Perkins St and turning it into a really expansive version of what we are doing now. and converting upstairs into furnished apartments for shorts stays in Newcastle.

 

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Just a small range of jewellery on display by artists that include Angela and Suzy plus Francisca Rendic, Aimee Sutanto, Alison Jackson, Amy Robson, Christine Battochio, Danielle Sweeney, Emma Kidson, Katrina Freene and Thea Fortmann. Photo – Froxy.

 

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I think what I am most proud of is my decision (in my late twenties) to walk away from a well-paid corporate job to go to study full-time at art school. I had never thought of myself as particularly creative but slowly I had begun to paint, draw and sculpt and was enjoying it more and more. Eventually, I finally decided that creating things rocked my boat much more than my proper job. Art school was like kindergarten for adults. You got to try everything and it didn’t matter whether what you made was any good – I was hooked. I majored in Jewellery and Object Design and here I am 12 years on.

 

What is your most treasured possession?
Despite the fact I have a store with some really beautifully crafted things, many of which I am starting to take home – I would have to say that my family. I have a really lovely husband and two lovely rambunctious boys. Everyday I see how different they are from each other and their parents and it’s just fascinating stuff.

 

What does a typical day at work involve for you?
Begins religiously at One Penny Black with a coffee and a chat to one of the many other regulars trying to gear up for the day. I spend a lot of time managing the artists and stock in the shop, looking for new things to bring in, but I do try and sit at my bench and pick up some tools to make some of my own jewellery for a portion of every working day, because I like to think that’s still why I am here. If I’m honest though, I spend a lot of my day talking to people who come into the shop. I have a LOT of enthusiasm for explaining the stories behind the objects and artists we have in the store, the potential of the Newcastle CBD, the success of Renew Newcastle. Its a wonder I get anything done really.

 

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Studio Melt combines shop and studio. Photo – Froxy.

 

What is your most valuable pearl of wisdom gained since starting your business?
Oooh goodness, I think running a business is glorified common sense. There are always people and services out there who know what you don’t and it’s just a matter of finding them and picking their brains. I think the most valuable thing I’ve learnt is the hardest step is having the faith to have a go, the rest is solving problems as you go.

 

Where do you derive creative inspiration?
I remember my first studio project at art school was making something to respond to the concept of space. I thought – ‘What?’ They asked us to come up with ten ideas, refine the best five and then actually make the strongest one. I spent 3 years doing this. Art school nowadays isn’t focused on teaching to skills to make, but instead teaching you how to use anything and everything as a starting point and develop a concept accordingly. Challenging, when you graduate and you can’t make a brooch, but great for your creative thinking. What do I derive creative inspiration from now? Sometimes architecture, sometimes form, repetition, materials and sometimes just playing around with bits and pieces I’ve found.

 

Which other designers, artists or creative people are you most inspired by at the moment?
One of the most unexpectedly rewarding things I have found in having the retail store are the artists and craftspeople I come across, now that I have applied myself to looking! We have a collage artist called Hollie Chastain from Chattanooga, Tennesee – whose work I find indescribably beautiful. I love the design and quality of the screen-printed cushions and wooden products from Melbourne duo Bonnie and Neil. I love the work of all 24 of the jewellers we have, who use such a variety of skills and materials, it kills me. I’m also a sucker for beautiful furniture and love almost everything at Great Dane and Jardan.

 

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Altered antique plates make a gloriously kooky feature wall. Jewellery by Stampel. Photo – Froxy.

 

What are some of your favourite websites or blogs?
Absolutely definitely The Design Files. I just love the clean and clear presentation, the photography is awesome and if you scroll back through – you will see I have nabbed a few ideas from products and artists from Lucy’s wonderful recommendations. When Lucy came to visit Newcastle last year we had only just opened. I subscribed then and have been an avid fan ever since.

 

Apart from your work, what other interests, passions, hobbies do you have?
I’ve told you about my inability to stand up on a surf board. I love to read when I can stay awake and I would like to disappear overseas every year for the rest of my life to explore the world.

 

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Fish wall mount wire sculpture by Sophie Toupein & Jesse Neale. Photo – Froxy.

 

How long have you been a Novocastrian?
We moved here about 6 years ago from Sydney. Best thing we ever did. More than slightly nervous everyone in Sydney would if they knew how good it is here.

 

Newcastle in a word?
Emerging/Evolving

 

What do you love and hate about living in Newcastle?
I really love the potential Newcastle has – especially in the city area. There are now some really creative people coming out the woodwork due to great initiatives like Renew Newcastle and taking advantage of the relatively cheap rents in the city to do some fascinating and unique projects. I don’t really hate anything about living in Newcastle, but perhaps sometimes I wish I could push the fast forward button on the city renewal through sheer impatience.

 

How is Newcastle different to anywhere else?
For me it’s a wonderful life by the beach, with all the vibrancy and opportunities offered by a city but without the ‘rat race’ of a really big city like Sydney. But ssssshhhhhhh!

 

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Photo – Froxy.

Where are your favourite places in Newcastle / Hunter to:

+ eat
One Penny Black (cnr Hunter St Mall & Morgan St, Newcastle) or le petite deux (27 King St, Newcastle) for lunch and subo (551D Hunter St, Newcastle) for dinner, thanks.

 

+ drink
The Burwood Inn Hotel (77 Berner St, Merewether). Walking distance from home, feels like a very groovy living room, excellent food too. Waiting desperately for a wine bar in the CBD, a few coming and I will be first customer.

 

+ shop
Hunter Valley Design (149 King St, Newcastle).

 

+ play
Definitely at the beach, all year round. Am even trying to learn to surf myself – wish I was as flexible as my kids. My ‘pop’ looks like more of a drunken stumble to standing.

 

+ relax
Relaxing is for the weekends and gotta the perfect relaxation for me is a bike ride to breakfast, swim at the beach and then the afternoon at home pottering about with the family. Lucky nearly the weekend, there goes my work ethic.

 

What is Newcastle / Hunter’s best-kept secret?
Hmmm, beyond the amazing pool of talented creatives that I have hinted at – I would say the architecture of the buildings in the city is not-so-much a secret but something that until these buildings are restored and activated again, goes largely unnoticed. Bring it on, I say.

 

Website: www.studiomelt.com.au
Shop: 119 Hunter St, Newcastle NSW 2300
Facebook: www.facebook.com.au/studiomelt

 

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The friendly exterior of  Studio Melt in Hunter Street Mall. Photo – Froxy.

Rachel Elizabeth Duffin

Thursday, Apr 11, 2013

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Rachel Elizabeth Duffin in her home studio. Photo – Bree Sanders.

 

I first chanced up Rachel Elizabeth Duffin (RED) when she provided a pop of colour at the corner of Scott & Watt Sts via a colourfully painted traffic signal box. Urban Smart Projects is the organisation behind this particular street art project (you can check out other examples in Newcastle here). After liking her Facebook page and subsequently discovering her colourful postcards and wooden brooches at Olive Tree Market I noticed RED’s signature hairstyle at in In Conversation event at Newcastle Art Gallery (Del Kathryn Barton – fabulous exhibit!) and made my IRL introduction.

 

favicon RACHEL ELIZABETH DUFFIN


 

Condensed CV:
Currently studying to become a high school art teacher.
2011: Bachelor of Fine Arts, University of Newcastle
2010: Advanced Diploma of Fine Arts, Newcastle Art School

 

What has been your most memorable project?
In early 2012 I had my first solo exhibition Through These Eyes at Watt Space Gallery. Although put together in incredibly short notice, it was such a validating experience to see my artworks together in the one space (and I had never realised just how colourful my work is until then). It also gave me the chance to do some larger-scale mural pieces which I would love to do more of.

 

Being involved in the Urban Smart Projects ‘Art Box’ project last year was a really fun experience too and so far I have received lots of positive feedback which is a really nice feeling. Leslie Duffin (my mum) and I are currently in the process of collaborating on another box at Mayfield. There are also some things in the pipeline that might be added to this list in the future.

 

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L: Rachel hard at work. Photo – Bree Sanders. R: The traffic control box at cnr Watt & Scott Sts by RED. Photo – Rachel Elizabeth Duffin.

 

What would be your dream project?
In the long term, I keep coming back to the dream of opening up art-on-walls/art books/interesting things kind of little shop. I would love to have some work published in something like Frankie or similar too.

 

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
The last 5 years of study have been quite full on and I’m proud that I’ve made it to where I am. Life is finally starting to fall into place and I honestly don’t think I have been happier – that feels like an achievement!

 

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 Studio details. Photos – Bree Sanders.

 

What is your most treasured possession?
If our house was burning down, I think our animals would be the first saved – my cat, Scout, and two ferrets, Alice & Bear – along with photos and my journals.

 

What does a typical day at work involve for you?
Right now study consumes a large proportion of my time along with part-time work. Unfortunately, my creative pursuits have taken a bit of a back seat but this year I am going to make sure there is plenty of designated creative time.

What is your most valuable pearl of wisdom gained since starting your business?
The phrase ‘work hard and be nice to people’ has always stuck in my mind and I try my best to live by it.

 

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 A portion of product on offer at Rachel’s stall at Olive Tree Market. Photo – Rachel Elizabeth Duffin.

 

Where do you derive creative inspiration?
I’m drawn to everyday things, inner conflict, outward feelings and I guess I’m inspired by anyone that explores similar ideas in various forms. Making artwork for me is about trying to understand my immediate environment. Sometimes it takes a particular situation or event to spark inspiration and you never know when it is going to happen. I find that getting the ball rolling is often really difficult but once it starts it sort of snowballs.

 

Which other designers, artists or creative people are you most inspired by at the moment?
To be honest, I feel so lucky to have such creative people in my life whose determination to succeed at their individual endeavors forever reminds me to lift my game. Bree Sanders (photographer) & Brooke Stevens (painter) are a creative power couple
David Kurzydlo (an amazing painter), Ari Mayger (graphic designer), Boatfriends (making beautiful sounds) and so many others that I could be here all day. I’ve always been inspired by the words of ee cummings, Tracey Emin, Del Kathryn Barton, Catherine Campbell and Eva Hesse, too.

 

What are some of your favourite websites or blogs?
+ Etsy, so many creative people sharing their wares
+ This is Colossal, it really is.
+ Goodnight Little Spoon, always sharing interesting things

 

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 Rachel Elizabeth Duffin, ‘Restless (1)’, 2009.

 

Apart from your work, what other interests, passions, hobbies do you have?
I guess my free time is used for, but not limited to, reading, lunch/op-shopping dates with my nan, catching up with friends, making it to galleries when I can, writing letters and lately I’m doing my best to live a healthier life.

 

How long have you been a Novocastrian?
My whole life, although technically I grew up in Lake Macquarie (about a 20 minute drive from town).

 

Newcastle in a word?
Potential.

 

What do you love and hate about living in Newcastle?
I definitely feel like the things that make Newcastle so great are the same things that can make me dislike it a little at times. There’s a great sense of community but at the same time everyone knows each other and it’s often hard to meet new people who don’t link to you somehow. There isn’t too much traffic but at times it would be nice to see more people around. I guess you could find pros and cons of anywhere you go. Newcastle will always be home, regardless of where I end up down the track.

 

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Rachel Elizabeth Duffin, ‘Radial Blame (1)’ (Left) and ‘Radial Blame (2)’ (Right), 2010.

 

How is Newcastle different to anywhere else?
Nothing is ever very far away. It’s conveniently located at a handy distance from lots of things.

 

Where are your favourite places in Newcastle / Hunter to:

+ eat
I don’t know that I have a favourite but anywhere along Darby Street or Honeysuckle is usually delicious

 

+ drink
Bank Corner (2 Bellevue St, Newcastle West)
Rolador (1 Beaumont St, Hamilton)
One Penny Black (cnr Hunter & Morgan Sts, Newcastle)
Suspension Espresso (3 Beaumont St, Islington)

All of these places have great food too.

 

+ shop
Centenary Antiques Centre (29 Centenary Rd, Newcastle) . So many hidden treasures.
Etsy. Online shopping destroys my bank account.

 

+ play
The Lass O’Gowrie (14 Railway St, Wickham)
The Terrace Bar (529 Hunter St, Newcastle)

 

+ relax
Merewether Baths (Frederick St, Merewether) – nothing clears the mind better than the ocean

 

What is Newcastle / Hunter’s best-kept secret?
I think the Bogey Hole (Shortland Drive, Newcastle) is often forgotten about but it’s a beautiful place to hideaway.

 

Website: www.rachelelizabethduffin.com.au

Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/racheleduffin
Facebook: www.facebook.com/rachelelizabethduffin
Tumblr: www.tumblr.com/blog/rachelelizabethduffin

 

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L: Rachel Elizabeth Duffin, ‘Those From Which I Came (Daughter)’, 2011. R: Rachel Elizabeth Duffin, ‘Those From Which I Came (Father)’, 2011

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