Welcome to another Indie Art & Design feature interview! This time round, we are graced by the virtual presence of Alana & Sara from stationery label Poppies For Grace.
I Hi there girls! The new web site looks fantastic – what sort of response have you received to the new design?
PFG The site is doing really well, we're getting a great amount of internet orders without specifically setting up online purchasing. By the end of the year we’d like to have something more official set up. Our web designers skill to capture our style and put it onto a manageable, user-friendly site has delighted us. Finally we have a site to be proud of!
I You have such a large selection in the new Poppies collection – did these come together all at once or have you been gradually building up the new range over many months?
PFG The new poppies collection happened rather quickly. Its always an effort to get the image in my mind onto paper..however this time round it happened in a matter of weeks.
I Do you have any particular favorites – either favorite cards styles or design characters e.g.. the birdie Alfred?
PFG Sara's favorite is our Alfred berry card... it was the middle of summer and we escaped to the cool of my kitchen to work. I drew a little bird, cut him out and put him in my hand... alfi was born. I adore the entire alfred range, the colours came out better than I'd hoped. And who doesn't love a scolloped image!
I Quite a few of your products are hand assembled & stitched which must take a lot of work! I imagine that your stockists & customers really appreciate the handmade aspect of these details… Is this something you do yourselves & how do you manage the workload?
PFG Yep, we do all the assembling ourselves. When it's a busy week all I can say is thank goodness for Mothers, our mums are such great workers! We also have another friend we employ two days a week to help us pack orders.
Sara does most of the sewing, and we have a friend who sews for us for a few hours a week. The workload is getting bigger, so we will have to start thinking of employing some more helpful hands.
I The subtle textures & colours of paper goods are so lovely – what sort of papers and printing methods to you use to make the most of the medium?
(I love the effect of the white botanical images on the natural coloured background – have these been screen printed to achieve this effect?)
PFG Our printing is all offset and digital. We would love to add things like screen printing and letterpress to our range, however there are other brands like 'me and amber' and 'chapelpress' doing a really great job of these areas already. So we're happy to keep it simple.
I Not only do you provide us with contrasting textures on individual cards – you have also assembled boxed sets and three exquisite writing sets, Sycamore's Handwriting, Three Little Birds and Lovely Day. Tell us the story behind these offerings!
PFG The imagery for these sets came about really quickly, the rest came a little slower. Sourcing suppliers is a tricky business, and being young women, who look 16, its hard to be taken seriously. We got there in the end though, and we are really happy with the finished product. Adding writing sets and boxed cards to our collection meant that poppies became a stationery brand, enabling us to target the gift market more successfully.
I Where do you find your inspiration? From your own garden perhaps?
PFG My garden is a jumbly mess of wonderful things like lilac, roses and wisteria, and just outside its gate is 50 acres of orchard. Living and working in this environment is definitely my inspiration.
I How do you find working together? Do you each take on separate roles, e.g.. drawing, assembling, marketing etc, or do you both take part in every step? Have you been able to make the business a full-time pursuit, and if so, do you have to be super-organised to keep it all under control?
PFG Organisation is not my strong point, but I'm learning. As poppies is full time now for Sara and I we split up roles. This way more gets done. Sara is the business brain (thank goodness) and I am the illustrator, anything outside these areas we share. Working together is easy, we've been friends for 13 years, so we know each-other idiosyncrasies fairly well!
I The mobiles & garlands are a beautiful three-dimensional addition to the Poppies For Grace avian lineup. Do you see these as an extension of your paper goods range, or are you planning to grow this section of the business into a large part of what you do?
PFG The mobiles and garlands began as gifts for friends, Abigail (one of our favorite little girls) has kissed every bird we've made, which has meant these birdies have become rather precious. We're going to continue selling the birdies online, but to keep them as personal as possible we won't be offering these to stores.
I On the new Poppies web site there are 'coming soon' pages for both prints and wedding products. I'm sure many Poppies fans are looking forward to seeing what goes up! Can you tell us about these awaited additions or is it all under wraps until launch?
PFG We're keeping it a secret. Just for fun!
I How would you like to see Poppies For Grace develop in the future?
PFG We've enjoyed watching poppies develop naturally, we're just trying to keep up with it now. We are so happy to be in so many wonderful stores, and it's fantastic receiving emails and letters from people who are loving our things. What more could we ask for really. We are doing what we love.
I Thank you so much Alana & Sara! I'm sure all of our Indies will love reading about your gorgeous paper goods.
There's an exciting new art & textiles exhibition opening tonight (Tue 23.10.2007) at Kudos Gallery (Paddington, Sydney) and you're all invited! "Sensory Bodies" is a collection of works by Kate Scardifield and Jennifer Tapia. Both of these young artists have meshed new technologies with textile traditions to create an artistic exploration of the historical and cultural multiplicities of gender and identity.
"Tapia's recent works incorporate audio scapes with hand embroidery & intricate embellishments, whilst Scardifield's ephemeral fabric silhouettes evoke a corporeal sense of uncanny." I'm intrigued by the the artists' use of materials & am looking forward to seeing more at the exhibition. The opening is from 6pm-8pm this evening (Tuesday, 23.10.2007) and continues to 27.10.2007.
Following on from my last post, Meet Tyrone will be part of a group exhibition titled "Animal Conclave", opening this Thursday evening (18th Oct) at Blank Space Gallery in Surry Hills. On display will be new works based on "Animals
in 3D", (the theme of Meet Tyrone's current season tees & hoodies). I'm really looking forward to seeing more of Bill Chen's artworks. He combines his talents as a 3D animator, graphic designer & artist to produce captivating three-dimensional artworks such as the one featured on the flyer above.
Meet Tyrone will be joined by SMC and Striker - the three independent artists collaborating to fuse a rustic earthy theme with street style.
I haven't yet seen the work of SMC and Striker, but the exhibition info describes them as follows:
"SMC is a self-taught artist who uses character based styles & images, concentrating on simple black definite lines & a minimal colour palette...
His influences include 60's comics, cubism & Japanese pop art."
"Like his squid brethren that hide amongst the rocks of the ocean, 'Striker' hides amongst the citizens of the city... Half man, half squid, 'Strikers' images are on the darker side of the ocean."
The exhibition runs from Thursday 18th - Wednesday 24th October. I'll look forward hearing your comments!
Hope Street Markets was certainly a popular desination on Saturday 6th!
I braved the hayfeverish winds sweeping Sydney that afternoon, and made my way to 182 Campbell St - a frosty white building which was positively glowing on the inside with a dizzying mix of colours, stalls & design enthusiasts.
A wonderful mix of indie products were on offer. Downstairs were labels such as People Like Us (who gave me a plastic wind-up walking owl), Kara Smith with her delicious handmade handbags, Made by White with their chirpy perspex jewellery friends, Ellenade with her assortment of handmade hats, 0049 Design, Dark Cloud Silver and many others...
0049 Design (whose stall is pictured above) uses 100% wool-felt to produce
a multitude of "living accessories" featuring screen printed graphics and/or German typography. The crisp designs look really striking against the soft textured felt. The diary & book covers were perhaps my favourites - all designed to be reusable, so when you fill your latest sketchbook with doodles & ramblings you can transfer the cover straight onto a new one. Among their other products are bookmarks, sunglass cases, felt storage boxes and keyrings - one of which features the outline of a very cute sausage dog! These gorgeous felt goodies would make lovely original gifts.
The Dark Cloud Silver stall looked very luxurious with their shiny silver pendants & rings displayed against a slinky black background. The microphone, headphones, spraycan & turntable designs pictured are beautifully crafted and offer something completely different from the usual fare. They've combined the "urban" with the "precious" to create an intriguing range of jewellery pieces which are truly unique.
Here is the Imok artwork I wrote about in last week's post! The Imok girls had an upstairs stall where their characters came to life under the natural afternoon sunlight. The stall was busy with colour, and the canvasses were surrounded by t-shirts, hats & accessories - all sharing the Imok philosophy "I’m ok…if you are?".
The indie flavours continued upstairs with labels such as Fine Cloth, Little Angry Fang and Meet Tyrone (whose stall is pictured above). Designer Bill Chen has recently released his Spring Summer 07|08 collection titled "Animals in 3D". Featuring four different prints, 'Diamond Horse', 'Anubis', 'Reindeer' and 'Swallows 'n' Feathers' - each design is an experiment with popular geometric art, lines, shapes and patterns.
The Diamond Horse design from Meet Tyrone was my favourite, and is pictured in detail above (printed in silver on a white tee). Bill also creates some amazing artworks - just look at the surface texture pattern on the piece below! He's having an exhibition starting later this week - so stay tuned for my next post for details...
FREEBIES FOR INDIES! On offer this month is a wonderful selection of goodies from Magic Jelly - our first Indie Art & Design Giveaway. Thanks to Karena for donating the products pictured above: "Floyd's Epiphany" Limited Edition Mixed Media Print, "Stuff No. 1" Limited Edition Print, "Magic Jellies" and "Heart Attack" Hand Printed Gift Cards, Coaster featuring "Sunday Morning" and a set of matching Magnet, Badge and Keyring in a brand new design!
To enter the Indie Giveaway, all you need to do is register as an Indie Art & Design user. All registered Indies will automatically be entered into the draw. At the end of October, (on Halloween!) we'll draw one lucky name from a hat - a pointy black one perhaps... We'll then email the winner to ask for a postal address & the Magic Jelly prize pack will be posted off to its new home. (All Australian and overseas Indies are eligible.)
Let your friends know & good luck to you all!
Indie art & design is the digital baby of graphic design duo Carolyn & Martin (who are now also mum & dad to adorable Liam and Camille). Since 2006, we have showcased the work of Australian independent artists & designers on our blog, and we stock a large variety of beautiful and unique products in our online store.
We take a great deal of care with your orders, and have many return customers who love our range and service. We specialise in art and illustration (now including the work of the talented Amy Borrell and Dan Adams), and unique handmade pieces such as porcelain jewellery and objects by Irene Grishin Selzer of Iggy and Lou Lou... We have aso recently expanded our range of clever and thoughtful kids' products - from the ever-popular B&W Baby Mobile to exquisite clothing by Knuffle Kid, and delightful soft books and toys from Growing World.