Celebrity, Interiors, Interview

Interview: Maddy at Billy Heckenberg

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The insanely talented Sydney-based designer Maddy Duggan is a genius in the soft furnishings world in my eyes. The business is named after her Great-Grandfather, William Heckenberg, and was shortened to Billy making it sound modern, perfectly reflecting her mixed style of old and new. Her passion and eye for art, design and photography  have merged into something rather marvellous.  A degree in Fine Art led her down this creative path. Spending a few years travelling around Europe after university also gave her the inspiration to start her own business (AND start her own family as she met her husband there too). That, combined with a love of architecture and industrial landscape seems like a recipe for success to me…

 

How long have you had your company up and running?

Billy Heckenberg has been up and running since December 2012, but it was quite a long time in the making. I had always dreamt of having my own company and for a long time thought it would be a leather accessories brand. It wasn’t until I decided to make a few cushions to sell at the markets that I found my true calling.

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Can you remember the feeling you got when you got your first order?

I was completely overwhelmed. There’s nothing more satisfying than poring you heart and soul into something, let alone putting it out there and having it be accepted. The order came from my incredibly supportive brother and his wife, who told me that they wanted to be the first customers I ever had, and I have never forgotten that.

What goals are you setting for the Billy Heckenberg brand at the moment? Could you see yourself expanding into bedding and other household items?

I have huge plans for the brand and I am so excited that I am only just at the beginning. Currently working on samples for bedding as we speak, and planning to expand into table wares, wall hangings and more bags. There is no limit really and I just love the feeling I get when I think about the possibility of new prints and products.

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How do you manage working on your own?

It can be hard at times to work on your own as there is no one else that can lighten the load, and if I don’t do it, it wont get done. On the other hand I love being my own boss and being free to make all the decisions about the business. I do have plans to start employing people soon and hopefully that will free up the time needed to spend on designing and making new samples, my favourite part.

It can be difficult to find new ideas. Where do you seek inspiration?

I have to say I’m quite lucky when it comes to creativity, I am always inspired and see inspiration everywhere. I never stop thinking about new ideas, prints, designs and ways to construct them. I am quite decisive and listen to my gut instinct and have learnt to cut things early if they don’t seem like they are going to work.

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Photography plays a huge part in your designs and you also studied Fine Arts which included painting, drawing and textiles. Which would you say you get the most enjoyment out of?

I do absolutely love photography. I took a huge break from it when I finished University, due to the fact that I was so burnt out, and only found my love for it again when taking the product images for my brand. I still love the whole process of having my photos printed onto fabric, designing and making that product, and then photographing it again.

What room in your house is your favourite?

I have to say I love our open kitchen living area. We only recently moved into this new place and I love the huge open area. The kitchen is sun-drenched all day and just has such a great feel to it.

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This might be an obvious one, but what colour combination do you love the most?

Of course this would be black and white. What can I say, I love contrast!

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Which brands / shops / designers do you love the most?

There are just so many incredible and talented designers out there at the moment, but my favourites would have to be Balmain and Sass & Bide. The intricate detail in their work is so spectacular.

So what do you have in store for next season?

I have just sent off my latest designs to be sample printed and fingers crossed they turn out the way I have visioned. Without giving too much away I have to say there are quite bold and will make amazing statement pieces.

Quickfire

If you could be anyone in the world for a day, who would you be?

I know I’m probably meant to say some sort of celebrity, but I have to say I would love to be my daughter Erin. She’s 3 and a half and it’s just such an amazing age and I would love to see the world through her eyes.

Favourite animal?

This would have to be dog. I have 3 staffies and they mean the world to me.

Which beauty item could you not live without?

Most definitely moisturiser, could not live without it.


I, for one, cannot wait to see her new designs!

Jx

 

 

 

 

 

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Graphic Design, Illustration, Interview

Interview: Amanda Wright of Wit & Whistle

The amazingly talented Amanda has been doodling, illustrating and designing pretty much her whole life but what started off as a hobby has turned into a very successful company, Wit & Whistle.

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Miss Wright talks houseplants, her dad’s humour and Bob Ross’ afro…

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Your love of art must have started at an early age. Do you remember the moment you realised that was the route you were going to go down?

I’ve been drawing ever since I could hold a pencil. In kindergarten I asked my mom to help me make business cards that said “artist” on them. I can’t remember ever wanting to do anything else.

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How important do you think it is to be crafty and creative in this crazy technological day and age?

Very important! Making something tangible and real gives me much more satisfaction than creating something on-screen.

How would you describe your design style and how do you think it’s evolved over the years?

My design style is clean and organic. When Wit & Whistle first opened I created most of my designs on the computer with my pen tablet, so my earlier work lacked the organic, hand-drawn qualities that my current designs have. Each of my newer designs began as pen and ink drawings in my sketchbook.

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Some of your cards have made me laugh out loud. Do you think it’s important to have a sense of humour when designing?

Absolutely! In design school I was able to incorporate a lot of light-heartedness into my work. For one project I enlarged a close-up photograph of my toes to 3 feet high and another project was all about Bob Ross’ afro. Once I graduated and started working at a firm everything had to be so serious that I just wasn’t enjoying my work. I’m thankful that Wit & Whistle allows me to use both my design sensibilities and my sense of humour.

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Now, I’m a massive interiors addict. Which items in your house do you most love?

My houseplants! I have at least a couple dozen scattered around the house, and they make my space feel homey and lived-in. I’d live in a greenhouse if I could.

Which room is your favourite and why?

The great room is my favourite. Our living room, dining room, and kitchen are all in one open space with a wall of windows overlooking the forest. I love being able to bird watch from the couch.

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What is your favourite colour combination?

Right now I’m really into emerald green, soft grey, and white.

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Do you think your interior design style reflects the work you do?

I hope so. I try to mix a bit of humour into my interiors. For example, my mantle features a framed “danger ZOMBIES run.” print, and I spelled out “poop” with vintage letterpress blocks in our guest bathroom. My love of muted, neutral shades also comes through in my home.

Outside of designing/illustrating what sorts of things inspire and influence your work? Films, books, people?

My dad’s sense of humour has rubbed off on me as I’ve grown up and can probably be blamed for some of my more off-colour card designs.

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Give us a day in the life of Amanda Wright…

Every morning after breakfast I make tea and go down to my studio to ship orders, restock, and do other necessary stuff like that. I try to reserve my afternoons for creative pursuits like sketching, photography, blogging, and such.

Just because…

Favourite animal?

My dogs of course! Giraffes are my second favourite, since they are tall and awkward like me.

Favourite holiday destination?

So far Iceland is my favourite, but I’m happy to go anywhere that will let me earn a new stamp in my passport.

Which album could you not live without?

“Far” by Regina Spektor, or really any of her albums. I love her quirky lyrics that are so much fun to sing along with while I work.

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Amanda and I share a love of giraffes so my love for her has grown a whole bunch more!

Here are her deets: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest.

Check her out!

Jx

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Celebrity, Interview, Music

Interview: Salt Cathedral

The very awesome Salt Cathedral give me the low-down on their past, present and very exciting future.


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Firstly, why are your songs so bloody catchy? I’ve had Move Along in my head for about 2 weeks straight. It’s keeping me up and I’m tired, so so tired. I just want to sleep!

I guess that is a compliment so I would say, thank you! but I guess we are not aware of that. We just write our songs without that intention and sometimes they are catchy and other times not so much!

You seem to dabble in genres. How would you describe your style of music? I suppose it changes depending on what you’re all into at that time?

I think our music could be described as pop and our new material is greatly influenced by electronic music. You are right, it does depend on how we are feeling or what we listen to, we have a constant urge to reinvent our music and try to not repeat ourselves.

How long have you all been playing together? 

We’ve been playing for two years.

Why did you go from Il Abanico to Salt Cathedral?

Because we found it was very difficult for people in the US to pronounce/remember our band name, we just wanted something more accessible that wouldn’t get in the way of the music.

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Growing up, what artists did you listen to?

I didn’t grow up listening to that much music, it was never a thing in my house. The Beatles and Beethoven were the only records my dad played. Later on I got in Jazz.

Juliana, do you write everything? How do you go about the writing process?

No, I don’t write everything. Nico and I co-write all our music. There is no specific process, we just write everyday, sometimes alone, sometimes together and then we work on finishing ideas.

Where’s been your favourite place to perform?

It would probably have to be this show we played in Toronto at a 150 capacity bar where there were probably 300 people. Everyone was going crazy and there was a naked girl dancing on the bar. We like when crowds have a big energy.

What kind of hobbies do you all have bar music?

When we have time we read books, watch movies and eat great food.

What’s up next for Salt Cathedral?

This February we are going on tour with Cibo Matto. Also, we will be releasing and EP this spring which is fairly different to our past material.

Just because…

Favourite meal on the table?

Every time I eat something great I say “This is the greatest thing I’ve ever eaten”. But I guess Indian food as well as Sushi are top two!

Favourite place you’ve ever travelled to?

India !

Favourite animal?

Elephants.

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Interiors, Interview

Interview : Jonna Saarinen

This wonderful designer has such a natural flair for screen-printing that I couldn’t help but want to know more. Her bright and bold prints can’t help but put you in a good mood!
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Living the London lifestyle must be quite a change to growing up in your hometown. How do you think growing up in Finland has influenced your designs?
My whole final year at the Royal College of Art was influenced by childhood, and growing up by the sea in Finland and this collection became the base of my current work.
I am hugely influenced by many things from those days, from the Moomins to my own grandmother, whose amazing style of hand knitted cardigans, bright dresses and aprons – her style was the inspiration behind my Hundreds & Thousands collection – you can never have too much print!
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Did your love of art and design start at an early age? Do you remember the moment you realised that was the route you were going to go down?
I have always been into creative things, and as a child I really loved drawing and carpentry (though I was rather bad at it) – I was quite sure for about 10 years that I would become a carpenter.
I got more into design as a teenager, but I have only been screen printing since 2005, after being given a ‘screen printing for beginners’ set as a Christmas present.
Where do you find and seek inspiration?
Most of my inspiration comes from my own childhood and memories, but I do also find being by the seaside and going on adventures incredibly inspiring. Nothing really beats a road trip with no certain destination!
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Some people can be afraid of using bright colours and patterns when decorating. What advice would you give them?
There is nothing to be scared about, and you can always start by adding colour with small items rather than painting the walls. They are easy to remove if you get tired of them and a good way of testing what works for you.
I’m a massive interiors addict. Which items in your home do you most love?
I have a large wool tapestry that my great aunt made in 1950, and it is amazing with lots of different pastel colours. It hangs in our stairway, and I love it!
A lot of my furniture is either inherited or second hand, and I adore items that have a story behind them.
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Which room is your favourite and why?
Would have to be my bedroom, it has the most gorgeous 1960s flower wall paper, and as we are on a hill, views over Kent & Surrey. Its like a summers day everyday in that room!
Which colour combination do you love most?
Oh, difficult! I am such a lover of colour, that these can change daily, but at the moment I am loving red and baby blue (the colours of my newly decorated kitchen) and orange & yellow.
Tell us a bit of your latest collection and what you’re working on at the moment?
The latest collection is a continuation to the original Hundreds & Thousands table top collection, and I am currently working on new designs and items that will be added to the line later this spring.
Its always really exciting for me to be creating something new, and even more exciting when you get to launch it to the public.
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What do you most enjoy about what you do?
I do love screen printing, and that is the most important thing about my work.
The screen-printing process must have been tricky when first starting out, what tips would you give us if wanting to give it a try?
Just go for it! The more pressure you add, the sharper your images will be, so its good to get someone to hold down your screen when you first start.  Also always practice on an inexpensive material, so it doesn’t matter if it does not go right he first time.
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Give us a day in the life of Jonna Saarinen…
A lot of emails and coffee, screen printing and looking after my plants and garden – every working day is different! On a lucky day I am drawing by Baltic sea in Finland or exploring the British seaside in my VW Camper!
Just because…
Favourite ice-cream flavour?
Oh it must be ‘salmiakki’, which is Finnish salt licorice mixed with vanilla!
Celebrity crush?
As an old Oasis fan, I will have to go with Noel Gallagher.
First CD/record/song you ever bought?
Wow, it was a cassette! Trash by Alice Cooper if I remember right, I was a bit of a wild child!
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Take a peek at her Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages to keep up-to-date with her gorgeous designs!
Jx
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Celebrity, Interiors, Interview

Interview: Saša Antić

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Photography: Jonas Ingerstedt

There aren’t many stylists whose personalities can really be seen in their work, but interior, fashion & prop extraodinaire Saša Antic seems to ooze character, substance and texture in all of his creations.

Born in Stockholm, Sweden, it’s no wonder why I, and so many others love his taste and sense of style. H&M, IKEA, Elle Decoration and a whole bunch more have had the pleasure of working with Saša and I thought it would be rude not to find out a little more about him and his impeccable taste…

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You’re self-taught. How did you start out and how did you learn your techniques?

I started out as an assistant to different fashion stylists and then I started doing some freelance work myself. I’m a very dedicated person and when I set to do something I work my ass of to get it. I have never ever gotten anything for free. I have learned by doing and working hard. I believe that you either have it in you or you don’t. I always believed I had it.

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What do you think makes a good stylist?

I think it helps if you love photography and see your work as a piece of art. You also need pretty good imagination and you need to be pretty fearless. I also think a good stylist should be like a chameleon. You need to be able to style in different styles and not only be a one trick pony…

Before you start a project, what processes do you go through?

It depends on the project. But overall – light panic sets in and that usually develops into 10,000 thoughts, that develops into inspiration and sketching and then I get this kick ass feeling and start to work!

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How has your own personal interior style developed?

I have always had great taste. It just became more expensive…ha ha.

You’ve worked on shoots for some amazing clients, such as Elle Decoration and H&M Home. Which features or projects that you’ve worked on are you most proud of?

I’m proud of H&M Home and a shoot a recently did for Iittala. Kosta Boda is another client that I’m very proud of. I’m also proud of my social skills, my fearlessness and my gut feeling.

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What are you passionate about?

I love ceramics, art, photography, music, theatre, nature, poetry and food.

Can you reveal any secrets, tips or tricks in your line of work?

Do your best, have fun, work with fantastic photographers, don’t be afraid and always be humble.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

In the end you only have yourself…so stay true to yourself no matter what.

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Any exciting projects in the pipeline? What’s next?

I just got an agency representing me and my work, so that’s pretty exciting. And I’m always looking forward to my lovely trips to New York, the city I love!

Quickfire:

What music album could you not live without?

Erotica/Madonna

Favourite animal and why?

Horse, it is a powerful, beautiful, strong and lovely creature!

What’s the best gift someone’s ever given to you?

My mother gave me my life and I love her for that!

Awww, that last question got me, what a sweet heart. He’s got an amazing portfolio as well as Pinterest and Tumblr too. Be sure to check him out! How do you like it?

Jx

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Design, Interiors, Interview

Interview: Sam Dubeau from Have & Hold Design

Life should be celebrated.

That is the motto of Have & Hold Design by Sam Dubeau and I agree! Although slightly regretting the fact that I’ve celebrated a little too much recently. Ah well! That’s what you get when your birthday AND Easter fall on the same weekend.

Anywho! I have been a huge fan of Sam’s work for a little while and wanted to know more.

Sweet Nothing‘s celebrates her crafting success and we get to know her inspirations, techniques and her thoughts on the DIY revolution.

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: What do you most enjoy about your job? :

I really enjoy the flexibility of my job, both in terms of schedule and the type of projects I take on. I love lots of variety, so it excites me to have clients with different needs and approaches to the work they’re looking for. That’s what makes the projects so interesting. They are all so unique!

 : When did you decide that crafting and illustrating was the route for you? :

Well, I don’t feel it was one particular moment per se. But the decision that solidified this path was the choice to enter a very focused Graphic Design program in University. To be honest, I didn’t even know what “graphic design” was when I entered the program, but based on the program description and my history with various art studies in high school, it felt like the right choice. When I began studying, I immediately knew it was the right choice. The choice to primarily work with handmade techniques came in my later years of university, when I was craving to experiment outside of the computer.

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: You design stationery, create event decor as well as promotional and brand logos. You do it all! Which would you say you get the most enjoyment out of? :

That’s such a tough question! I enjoy them all, but it’s the clients that really make the difference. The relationship with the client is so important to the process, it can really make the experience that much more enjoyable. I think the most rewarding of all the work is definitely for weddings. You know how special this event is for those involved, so to see and hear about how your work was enjoyed by so many people–it really takes the cake!

: What and who are you inspired by? :

Oh, so many! Jessica Hische and Ashley Meaders are two talented ladies I follow regularly. They are an incredible inspiration of women in this industry just absolutely rocking what they do best. Then there are all those fantastic bloggers out there. That list would go on for ages. The first person to ever inspire me though to do what I’m doing is my grandmother. I learned to work with my hands through her. Whether we were in the kitchen baking something from scratch or in her room sewing together, I was always learning to put love and care into what what I do.

: When you go about illustrating, what process do you go through? Do you have a particular technique? :

Most of my illustration is typography. Handlettering is something I’ve been developing techniques for for a while now. I always try to start on a grid at first to keep the letters in a reasonable relationship with one another, but eventually I exercise the natural freedom of my hand and rely visually on what looks best. To sum that up: I start with a set of rules, then I work on breaking them down.

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: Give us a typical day in the life of Sam Dubeau. :

I wake up and first thing I check my emails and try to organize the To-Dos for the day. A cup of coffee or tea is usually involved (or maybe in the afternoon if I’m too focused to make myself a cup the morning). When my little pug Roxy wakes up, we go for a walk. (Yes, you read that right. She sleeps in later than me.) I usually go back and forth between working on my computer and at the craft table. In the afternoon, I take another walk with Roxy and have lunch for a little break. Then I am back at my desk until the evening. Most weekdays I coach skating in the evenings, so I’ll head to the rink before dinner for a few lessons, then come back for some much needed couch time with my partner Mike and Roxy. With the last couple hours of the day, I try to fit in a bit of extra desk work. Working from home is a challenge in this sense because you never really leave work, so it’s tempting to just keep going, especially if you love what you do. That is why breaks are really important to me. Even if it’s just 10-15 mins here or there. It makes getting back to the work that much more invigorating because I’ve taken a moment to “breathe”.

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: It’s so easy to go out and buy items these days, how do you feel about the importance of crafting and being able to make your own products? :

Good question! I think if you love crafting, you should do it. If you’re just crafting to save money, you probably shouldn’t be crafting and let someone else do it for you or just buy the item or service you’re in need of. I have a very strong opinion about this because I feel a lot of people think crafting is always ‘cheap’ and ‘easy’. This is not always the case. Some crafts take a much higher skill level and attention to detail. Other crafts are designed to just be fun or maybe an easy fix for something at home. So with the DIY revolution taking place, I really ask people to consider what makes the most sense for them? Crafting also takes a lot of time and patience in many instances. If you realize that a craft is beyond your skill level, budget, or time allowance, I encourage buying from experienced crafters or Etsy sellers, who are doing it out of love and with a conscious consideration for the materials. The bottom line: craft because you love to craft.

Sam’s Sweet Nothing’s…

: When you’ve had a hectic week, what do you do to unwind? :

Movies. I love watching movies curled up on the couch at home. Baking or cooking is always something that helps me unwind too. I have always loved being in the kitchen and experimenting with food. Food makes me happy.

 : What is your favourite flavour of ice cream/gelato? :

OH! Perfect follow up question. Cookie dough ice cream can heal pretty much anything. But in the summer, a nice tangy gelato like pink grapefruit or mango is the bomb.

: What is your most treasured possession? :

My computer. Mainly because it connects me to everyone and everything and I am head over heels with the Internet. It also allows me to do much of my creative work, so I would say it’s pretty important to me. But if we’re talking importance (and not something that I would necessarily call a possession), I would say that my pug Roxy is a treasure in her own right. She fills my days with love.

: What is your earliest memory? :

Either drawing or painting as a child or watching my grandmother sew.

: Where do you see yourself in 10 years time? :

Still doing what I’m doing, just being better and more established. We get better everyday.

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Interiors, Interview

Interview: Nikki McWilliams

Hellooooooo,
The wonderful Nikki McWilliams took some time out to talk to me about her deeeeeeliiccciouss cushions and much much more.

SNEAK PEEK:
Why biscuits?
I love them.  My mum told me that when she was pregnant with me, she’d crave an entire packet of Chocolate Digestives everyday. I think I must have loved biscuits before I even knew what they were!

Aren’t they amazeballs? Have a peek here for the full interview on Style Inside!

Enjoy!

Jx

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