A Doll Discussion with ABOE Designs

A Doll Discussion with ABOE Designs via Opinion9.com

Hello! Today for the Inspiration column, we have Jacqueline telling us about her wonderful world of dolls, delicate floral designs and more! I especially adore the dolls she designs, which you can dress up and colour in. Her work brings me back to childhood when all a girl has to think about are dressing up her dolls, and buying more clothes and colouring books.. and lazy play days. (yes, that would sum up quite a large portion of my childhood days too, haha!) So when I found Jacqui’s work on instagram, I had to contact her to find out a bit more on her process. I really appreciate the fact that her work started off (and still very much is) a source of inspiration not only for her, but also for her children! Let’s hear what she has to say.


Please tell me a little bit about yourself.

I am a 30 something, stay at home mum to three children. As a family, we have moved lots for my hubby’s work. This has meant that we have lived in quite rural isolating areas and I have been affected the most by this. Living away from friends and family and unable to really make a new social circle my children and our home really have been the focus of my life. As much as this is a blessing, I do struggle sometimes; feeling very much like Jacqui has just ceased and the Mummy has just been autopilot mode for all of these years. So, desperate to have a bit of ‘me’ back and to get back to a talent that I didn’t want to waste, I started ABOEdesigns.

A Doll Discussion with ABOE Designs via Opinion9.com

A Doll Discussion with ABOE Designs via Opinion9.com

I love your lovely dress up dolls and all your products really (bunnies, florals and all)! What got you started in making them?

My youngest was a tiny baby when I started ABOE. I had made lots of things for her and her room; just like I did with my other children. I always had other mothers asking me how I made these items and it seemed obvious to me to create products to encourage crafting and make the process seem less daunting and more fun to do. I began selling baby shower kits. Beautiful bespoke boxes filled with all the goodies needed to create unique decorated onesies. These pieces made such thoughtful keepsakes for little ones. I created example vests to show what the kits could create and to my surprise found the vests in demand too.

Wanting to create pieces to encourage crafting in all ages – and of course because I have three children I was also toying with a kit for the older girlies. It was after my eldest daughter was bought a gorgeous paperdolls set that the #colourcouturedolls became a strong idea! My daughter spent ages beautifully colouring the outfits. But her stubbornness wouldn’t allow my help and on cutting the pieces out there were accidents followed by tears 🙁 The outfits that did survive didn’t last long with the card ending bent or ruined somehow. So my daughter genuinely completely inspired the colourcouturedolls! It was producing something that she wanted to play with that wasn’t available.

A Doll Discussion with ABOE Designs via Opinion9.com

A Doll Discussion with ABOE Designs via Opinion9.com

A Doll Discussion with ABOE Designs via Opinion9.com

 

What was the hardest (and easiest) part while starting your business?

My work starts in the evenings when the littles are sleeping. Sometimes this can get frustrating, especially when I have lots of orders. I also panic sometimes because my family does come first and should one of my littles get poorly it means everything stops while I naturally dedicate myself to them.

I’m not sure I could describe any part as easy – well the coming up with ideas, what’s that saying “too many ideas, too little time!!”

A Doll Discussion with ABOE Designs via Opinion9.comA Doll Discussion with ABOE Designs via Opinion9.com

What makes you the happiest in your creative process?

The dolls and the dresses took over a year to perfect! I never imagined it would take that long; but I am a perfectionist! I draw every part of the dolls and their outfits. Including the prints for the dresses and even creating the dolls dress pattern myself. They really are made with such care and attention to detail. I find these initial stages my favourite! I like designing and drawing and I could sit and draw florals for hours; but as much as I love this part I cannot described the feeling of accomplishment on seeing all the finished components together – each time I package a doll I cannot help but smile!

A Doll Discussion with ABOE Designs via Opinion9.com

A Doll Discussion with ABOE Designs via Opinion9.com

A Doll Discussion with ABOE Designs via Opinion9.com

How do you balance your creative business along with regular life?

I enjoy the balance I have created in our lives now. On a daily basis I do all of the usual Mummy duties, the house hold chores, the school runs and play dates etc. Two of my children are at school and I have only my youngest at home with me now. On days that she is happily playing I can package orders, or do some sketches but if she doesn’t want me to then I don’t get to do any work. I get to be in ABOE mode when the littles are all sleeping.

A Doll Discussion with ABOE Designs via Opinion9.com

A Doll Discussion with ABOE Designs via Opinion9.com

Where do you see yourself in a few years?

While my youngest is still at home I will continue to grow ABOEdesigns. I’m uncertain what the future holds. My studies were in contour fashion (lingerie design) and surface pattern design; so I will always be doing something creative this is where my passion lies and I just love drawing and designing. Thanks to Instagram I have also developed my love for styling and photography and have had some product photography jobs, which I really enjoyed! ABOE designs is A Bit Of Everything! So I really am keen to develop and open to new avenues and ideas.

A Doll Discussion with ABOE Designs via Opinion9.com

A Doll Discussion with ABOE Designs via Opinion9.com

What motivates and inspires you the most?

ABOE began completely inspired by my children and my life with them and I’m proud of that creative detour. In the future I might return to what I know best. Although saying that, at the moment my current inspiration really is the wedding industry! Since eloping with my Hubby I cannot stop ‘pinning’ wedding themes and inspirations! I’m very keen to produce pieces for such special occasions and I have a major crush on tulle!! I think I’d be very well suited to this industry; quite often describing myself as ‘unashamedly girlie’ – a true lover of all things blush, letterpressed, gold foiling and of course peonies……just screams wedding doesn’t it 😉

A Doll Discussion with ABOE Designs via Opinion9.com

How long has making and designing been your hobby? How did you think you could convert your hobby into a business?

I have always been artistic. Never one to have phases of this career path or another it has just always been design that I have wanted to follow. I found my niche – lingerie when I was 16. However I found studying in the fashion sector very hard, it is an environment that very few thrive in and I preferred the free and messy art side of print and textiles. I don’t think for one second I ever had the arrogance enough to say im starting this business and it’s going to make it and be fantastic! I am simply a Mum who wants the enjoyment of creating and making and if I can earn a small income whilst staying at home with my babies then that’s just amazing and more than enough…for now 😉

A Doll Discussion with ABOE Designs via Opinion9.com

What’s your favourite food, colour and flower?

I am a chocoholic!! I cannot resist chocolate and am constantly on a diet as a consequence!! Blush is my favourite colour and peonies are my favourite flowers; I cannot resist all those ruffles!

A Doll Discussion with ABOE Designs via Opinion9.com

Could you share some advice for people trying to start a business?

After just two months of launching ABOEdesigns I received an email from a lovely company called Belle and Boo, announcing the launch of their Boo-tique. Where they collaborated with other designers to create new Belle and Boo inspired handmade pieces. I couldn’t help but send them an email and ask if they would consider a collaboration with my baby shower boxes! This would be my first piece of advice to any other start ups – be brave!! You never know until you try! To my delight they loved the boxes and a special edition was created and is still currently for sale on their website www.belleandboo.com.

 

I launched the colour couture dolls in July and the response has been amazing! The colour-in products have completely surpassed the baby products which I have now had to stop doing in order to keep up with demand for the new products. My second piece of advice would be don’t be afraid to evolve! My initial products becoming part of a very saturated market meant it was actually exciting for me to concentrate on the new unique products!

 

Another piece of advice is to be open and honest with your customers if you are able. Thanks to social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter it is possible for people to get to know you, the person/the mummy behind the makes and not just your products and I think people would be pleasantly surprised at how much customers can be supportive and understanding!! The Instagram community in particular being my favourite and most supportive!

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Find ABOE Designs over on instagram | twitter | blog | etsy

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Miniature Art with Geraldine

Miniature Art + Jewelry with Gemnesis- a creative maker interview with Opinion9.com

Hello everyone. Today for the Inspiration column, it’s all about macarons. And cake. And cupcakes. And chocolate dripping, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries piled on fondants and cream…well, you get the idea. It’s a sweet interview! Geraldine makes these deliciously detailed desserts.. out of polymer clay. And obviously, you can wear them and once you put them on, you feel an urge to go out and treat yourself to a nice slice of cake etc. Ha!

Let’s get down to the matter: She sells her lovely little creations in her shop called Gemnesis. And, she’s going to be sharing a little bit about her creative process and her inspiration. Seriously, I’m always in awe of the ‘fine’ details in art and she makes miniature desserts too?! Consider me a fan. Now on to what she has to say…


Please tell me a little bit about yourself.

Hello. My name is Geraldine and I am 24 years old. I am currently taking my degree in early childhood and at the same time building my business selling my creations.

Miniature Art + Jewelry with Gemnesis- a creative maker interview with Opinion9.com

 I love the delicate details in your polymer clay creations! Could you share the story of how you started using this particular medium?

Since young art has always been my favourite subject, particularly- painting. However, I always loved creating things with my hands. About 8 years ago, I chanced upon this tutorial that used polymer clay to create cute animals. Together with my mum, we went to the store and she got me my first set of polymer clay kit and an oven.

Miniature Art + Jewelry with Gemnesis- a creative maker interview with Opinion9.comHow do you maintain the balance between regular life and your work?

I only started getting serious about setting up my own business late last year as I had a full time. Before that, it was just a hobby I loved and my shop was to sell my creations to others who would love them as much as I did. To be honest, when school gets busy, my shop is usually very empty. I do try my best to stock up whenever I’m free so I usually start crafting when I have the time again.

Miniature Art + Jewelry with Gemnesis- a creative maker interview with Opinion9.comWhat was the hardest (and easiest) part while starting your business?

I think everything about starting a business isn’t easy, from having to produce the product from scratch, to setting up a shop and marketing, everything takes time and experience. Mistakes will be made for us to learn from them. But the easiest part would definitely to be able to do something you love to do.

Miniature Art + Jewelry with Gemnesis- a creative maker interview with Opinion9.com

Miniature Art + Jewelry with Gemnesis- a creative maker interview with Opinion9.comWhat makes you the happiest in your creative process?

Looking at all the delicious dessert online and offline and in my own style, making them into delicious looking polymer clay jewelry. I can never say no to desserts so it excites me that I can gather inspiration and eat at the same time.

Miniature Art + Jewelry with Gemnesis- a creative maker interview with Opinion9.comCould you give us a glimpse in a typical day of your life?

I usually start my morning on the wrong side of the bed because I am definitely not a morning person. It takes me at least 2 hours from waking up to be fully functional.

Depending on how my day is planned, I would either head out, start on my creations or study. If I am home the whole day, it would consist of lazing in bed A LOT. What can I say? I love my bed. The rest of the day would be alternating between working and lazing around.

Miniature Art + Jewelry with Gemnesis- a creative maker interview with Opinion9.com

Miniature Art + Jewelry with Gemnesis- a creative maker interview with Opinion9.comWhat qualities are needed to keep up and also enjoy running a creative business?

The first most important thing is you have to have the passion for what you are doing. A handmade business would require you to turn your hobby into a business. Thus, you need to have love for what you are doing in the first place. Secondly, what you are selling should be something that you really enjoy making. I started out with a lot of trial and error. I tried out making animals, little people and that are even of my own creations (big head dolls with round bodies and hands with no feet at all.). It was only in recent years that I realised that I loved making delicious looking desserts the best. This made my clay making even more enjoyable.

Miniature Art + Jewelry with Gemnesis- a creative maker interview with Opinion9.com

Miniature Art + Jewelry with Gemnesis- a creative maker interview with Opinion9.com

Miniature Art + Jewelry with Gemnesis- a creative maker interview with Opinion9.com
Where do you see yourself in a few years?

In a few years, I hope to be able to make this business my full time job and focus on what I love to do the most.

Miniature Art + Jewelry with Gemnesis- a creative maker interview with Opinion9.comWhat motivates and inspires you the most?

DESSERTS! As well as the love and support I have gained from my love ones. They are the ones who paid for my materials when I was out of money and also encouraged me to pursue what I love. I also love looking at other polymer clay artists’ work. When I am out of inspiration, looking at others’ work can actually motivate me to do more!

Miniature Art + Jewelry with Gemnesis- a creative maker interview with Opinion9.comHow long has jewelry making been your hobby? How did you think you could convert your hobby into a business?

I started making jewelry when I was around 16 years old and it has stuck with me since then. I wanted to do something I love so I thought it would be a good idea to convert it into a business.

Miniature Art + Jewelry with Gemnesis- a creative maker interview with Opinion9.comJust for fun: What’s your favourite colour, flower and food? 

I love, love the colour pink!- so much I have to restrain myself from getting pink clay and creating all pink desserts. I love sunflowers the most because of their bright happy colours. If I would have to say my favourite food, I can eat nuggets everyday.

Miniature Art + Jewelry with Gemnesis- a creative maker interview with Opinion9.comHow did you come up with the name for your shop?

I am really bad at coming with shop names. Before I got things serious, I came up with a few names myself. My first shop name way back in 2011 was Treasure Whispers then, Hut of Presents and I even tried to use my own name for a shop name.

My sister was the one who gave the name. It sounds like genesis which means a beginning and gem at the front is to show how much my creations mean to me, just like gems.

Miniature Art + Jewelry with Gemnesis- a creative maker interview with Opinion9.com

There’s a great emphasis on sweet treats in your work. Do you think you’ll explore other elements/themes later on?

If I were to explore other themes, they would definitely be cute looking miniature animals.

Miniature Art + Jewelry with Gemnesis- a creative maker interview with Opinion9.com
What would an ‘ideal’ day be like for you?

My ideal day would be: at home with the people I love, eating tasty cakes and working on my creations with fun and laughter at the same time.

Miniature Art + Jewelry with Gemnesis- a creative maker interview with Opinion9.com
What’s the significance of art in your life?

Art is something I can find happiness and solace in when I’m sad. When upset, creating things with my hands makes me forget about the worries and stress that I face. It also makes me happy and I see how a piece of clay can slowly turn into something that can look so beautiful.

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Find Gemnesis here: Instagram |  Facebook | Etsy | Blog 

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Real Life Lettering Inspiration Vol. 1


lettering inspiration vol 1- interview with real letterers via Opinion9.com

Hey everyone. This feature has been long due and I’m excited to have it published here today.

For Surely Simple, over on my instagram (@surelysimpleblog), I started a lettering/drawing challenge and I was so happy to see others participating in it too! I always love to get someone else’s perspective on things, and what better way than to ask all the amazing letterers/ artists over on IG!

There’s something so motivating about reading people’s views and their outlook with whom you share a common interest- and here of course, that interest is art! So, here are 5 different people (in no particular order), all with their own perspective and take on lettering. Enjoy!

(To see their lettering/ artwork, head on over to #surelysimpleart and #surelysimplelettering.)

Let’s hear what they have to say about lettering, life, art and more!

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AMY

Please tell me a little bit about yourself.

 Southern girl from Arkansas with a passion for travel. Very close to my family although I have no children of my own. Well, unless you will allow me to count my two cats, Ruby and Roxanne! My dad was quite the sketch artist even though no one really knew. I have never taken a formal art or lettering class but love practicing every day. I feel like my own style is a bit scattered and often seek focus in my life.

lettering inspiration vol 1- interview with real letterers via Opinion9.com

What sparked your interest in lettering? What do you feel about your progress?

As a young adult, I remember saying that I wish I could have a job where I could just write pretty things all day and so at 47 years old I am doing so as a hobby. I look back on my work from when I first started in March 2015 and can see a remarkable improvement.

 

What are your hobbies? (apart from lettering, of course!)

iPhone photography, watching old black and white horror movies.

lettering inspiration vol 1- interview with real letterers via Opinion9.com

Favourite art tools and supplies?

Tombow dual brush pens, Tombow fude, Pentel sign pen, Gelly roll pens, chalk pencil, watercolors.

 

Any people you look up to in the art / lettering / calligraphy field? Or just generally in life?

Lauren from Renmade Calligraphy, Sharisse from Pieces Calligraphy, Lisa Congdon.

lettering inspiration vol 1- interview with real letterers via Opinion9.com

Any advice for lettering enthusiasts you’d like to share?

 Just start! All you really have to have is paper and a pencil or pen.

lettering inspiration vol 1- interview with real letterers via Opinion9.com

Can you recall any memory that brings a smile to your face?

I love all the positivity and support my IG community offers. It’s so nice to read all the comments and watch each other progress.

 

Do you plan on pursuing art professionally, or is it just a hobby you love?

It’s a hobby but plan on opening an Etsy shop soon.

Social Links-

Instagram – @lilylanecreations

Pinterest – Amy Davis   @hulatree

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DUSTY

Please tell me a little bit about yourself.

I am a mom of 2 kids (11-Laurel and 14-Lily) and wife of 18 years to Michael. I am a teacher–I spent many years as a special education teacher in Cincinnati, Ohio, but now I am an associate professor at Eastern Kentucky University in the College of Education working to teach the next generations of teachers.

lettering inspiration vol 1- interview with real letterers via Opinion9.com

What sparked your interest in lettering? What do you feel about your progress?

My mom was (and still is) very arts/crafts-y…she used to do calligraphy when I was little…little framed quotations or certificates at work. I always loved it. I tried to learn as a teenager but didn’t have much success. I’ve been seeing so much more lettering around lately and I was reminded of how much I loved the way handwritten art looks. So I signed up for @ckelso ‘s better lettering course in November and just started practicing. And practicing. And still practicing.

 

What are your hobbies? (apart from lettering, of course!)

I am a potter in some of my free time and a meditator in other parts of my free time…otherwise, I think I spend more time than I realize driving my kids around!

lettering inspiration vol 1- interview with real letterers via Opinion9.com

Favourite art tools and supplies?

I have inexpensive pencils, markers, and watercolors from Michael’s (craft store) for most of what I’ve worked on in my short time learning–but I JUST GOT a set of Tombow dual tip brush pens this week and I am really enjoying how much easier it is to move from thick to thin lines with it! However, I still lack confidence with them so much more practice is needed!

 

Any people you look up to in the art / lettering / calligraphy field? Or just generally in life?

I’m new to handlettering and calligraphy and am mostly learning folks through instagram. Some of my favorite folks to follow on IG (and I know there are LOTS more!) for lettering are: @alejandro.olarte, @art.by.rim, @surelysimpleblog (of course!), @lilylanecreations, and the more collective @artoftype. For calligraphy I love to see what @thepostmansknock, @bienfaitcalligraphy, and @piecescalligraphy put up daily. I love that you’ve added the #surelysimpleart hashtag because I tend to lean more toward little illustrations rather than true lettering or calligraphy and my favorite IG to watch for that kind of stuff is @jean_jullien.

lettering inspiration vol 1- interview with real letterers via Opinion9.com

Any advice for lettering enthusiasts you’d like to share?

I’m still too much of a novice to offer anyone ELSE advice 🙂

 

Can you recall any memory that brings a smile to your face?

Of course! Isn’t that why we create?

 

Do you plan on pursuing art professionally, or is it just a hobby you love?

This practice, for me, helps me remember the human side of life–when I just work and parent and ‘to do list’ my life I’m just not very fun to be around. But when I take time to create–even if it’s not great–I find so much more pleasure and beauty in all my ‘to do’ lists. So, it’s a hobby I love because it helps me to love life right back.

instagram: @dustycolumbiae

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DIANA

Please tell me a little bit about yourself.

Looking back I can see that my passion for graphic design and typography began as a teen. Back in the day, I used to pore over teen magazines and study the contents of their layout designs cool words that were stylized and photographs. I then cut them out and staple the cutouts to my bedroom walls creating a unique collage or wallpaper. It was quite a site.. Oh, my mother just loved that –HA!

What sparked your interest in lettering? What do you feel about your progress?

I’ve always loved calligraphy and would practice from a calligraphy book I got as a birthday present. I tend to be an impatient person and feel that my lettering progress is slow, or rather not as fast as I’d like. I realize it takes time and really plan to hustle to practice drills and focus on my calligraphy/lettering in 2016.

lettering inspiration vol 1- interview with real letterers via Opinion9.com

What are your hobbies? (Apart from lettering, of course!)

Other hobbies include painting, photography, and I recently started a mixed media art class online that I am really enjoying.

 

Favourite art tools and supplies?

I have many favorites.. but I really love my brush tip markers. The Pentel Fude Touch Sign Pen and the Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen (soft and hard) to be exact. I like that they are small and very easy to control. I also like the Nikko G nib with a straight holder.

lettering inspiration vol 1- interview with real letterers via Opinion9.com

Any people you look up to in the art / lettering / calligraphy field? Or just generally in life?

I follow many talented lettering artists on Instagram. Some of my favorites are: Amanda Pel Arneill (@amandaarneill), Victoria Rothwell (@designhouseofmoira), and Bianca Mascorro (@biancamascorroart). These ladies have an IG account full of beauty.

 

Any advice for lettering enthusiasts you’d like to share?

My advice would be to not be afraid to put yourself out there to network with others. The lettering community really is a supportive one and are there to cheer you on. Another piece of advice is to not get discouraged it takes a lot of practice and remember that it’s going to take time to get to the level others are at.

 

Can you recall any memory that brings a smile to your face?

Whenever I am mentioned in a post or receive an actual comment on a lettering piece I posted always brings a smile to my face.

 

Do you plan on pursuing art professionally, or is it just a hobby you love?

For now I’m lucky enough to have my art as a full time hobby. I often get judged by some family and friends and it used to bother me, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to let their opinions get in the way of my happiness. 🙂

 

Social Media Links:

Instagram > @olive.blossom.design

Blog> www.oliveblossomdesign.com

Twitter > https://twitter.com/Olive_Blossom_

Pinterest> https://www.pinterest.com/Olive_Blossom/

Facebook > https://www.facebook.com/OliveBlossomDesign/

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KRISTINE

Please tell me a little bit about yourself.

I’m Mary Joy Kristine Rocamora, 25, married and a Mommy. I’m a 3rd year Psychology student but I’m planning to take up my old program/course, which is teaching.

 

What sparked your interest in lettering? What do you feel about your progress?

I got inspired when I saw some lettering posts on Instagram. I know that in constant practice, I will improve more.

lettering inspiration vol 1- interview with real letterers via Opinion9.com

What are your hobbies? (apart from lettering, of course!)

Aside from lettering, I also read books during my free time.

 

Favourite art tools and supplies?

I love my colorful pens! My collection! 🙂

 

Any people you look up to in the art / lettering / calligraphy field? Or just generally in life?

My father. He is really good at lettering, drawing, dancing, singing and cooking!

 

Any advice for lettering enthusiasts you’d like to share?

Just keep on trying and practicing. Look for inspiration!

 

Can you recall any memory that brings a smile to your face?

My elementary days. Whenever I think of those days, I can’t stop smiling. Those were the times when I used to join quiz bees and dance contests.

 

Do you plan on pursuing art professionally, or is it just a hobby you love?

Art is really just my hobby but I’m sure that I can use it more when I go back to teaching. 🙂

 

IG: @mjhappycorner

Twitter: @mjkristine

….

KATRINA

Please tell me a little bit about yourself.

Hi! I am Katrina Andrea Ong or Trina for short. I am from the Philippines and I am a recent graduate of Bachelor of Science in Accountancy and a frustrated interior designer (since I wanted to take Interior Designing for college but I’m not that good in drawing lol).

lettering inspiration vol 1- interview with real letterers via Opinion9.com

What sparked your interest in lettering? What do you feel about your progress?

What sparked my interest in lettering is when my aunt joined a workshop just earlier this year and I saw how beautiful her works were and envied her so much, I wanted to be like her instantly! Lol. She influenced me to take some workshops too and now I’m hooked! Addicted is an understatement. Lol! My family thinks I have gained progress in this lettering “career” of mine but for me, I don’t really see the difference/progress. I feel like it’s just the same, haha!

 

What are your hobbies? (apart from lettering, of course!)

Apart from lettering, I love doing punch art. I used to sell those during my elementary years and earned so much from it since it was such a trend knowing how elementary students are given projects that often needs creativity and a bit of scrapbooking.

 

Favourite art tools and supplies?

I have about a hundred punchers and I am still continuing to collect them. I love collecting craft stuff like washi tapes, ribbons and other cute stuff that catches my eye. I don’t even use them now that I’ve graduated but the sight of them just makes me happy.

lettering inspiration vol 1- interview with real letterers via Opinion9.com

Any people you look up to in the art / lettering / calligraphy field? Or just generally in life?

I look up to my aunt (my mom’s sister-in-law) who has introduced me to this world. Her works inspire me to strive harder and aim for progress. Also, I look up to my (other) aunt (my mom’s sister), the interior designer who loves to explore and learn more about the world of creativity who, when she does, excels all the time. She really amazes me because he first time she has learned about calligraphy and took a workshop, her works seems like she’s been doing it for years now. Such a fast learner!

 

Any advice for lettering enthusiasts you’d like to share?

An advice I could give to those starting in lettering is that for me, I think it helps a lot when you have a calligrapher or someone in the same field who inspires you to pursue your career. Never stop learning about it and not just in learning but in loving it too. It’s such a stress reliever. I would not ever wonder if you get attached to it the same way I am!

lettering inspiration vol 1- interview with real letterers via Opinion9.com

Do you plan on pursuing art professionally, or is it just a hobby you love?

If only I could pursue this art professionally, I would. Fingers crossed!

instagram: @katscribbles

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Watch out for volume 2- and hop on over to @surelysimpleblog to participate in the monthly lettering and drawing prompts. To see more of their lettering work, check out this link.

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Modern & Minimal Design With Kirralee & Co

Modern & Minimal Design With Kirralee & Co- an interview via Opinion9.com

Plants on walls are kind of a big thing nowadays. If you’re looking for fresh ways to add plants to your home- then you’re going to like Kirralee & Co. I discovered her work and was instantly drawn to the simplicity, the raw minimalism and the functionality in her creations.

Kirralee is also so inspiring! I really enjoyed getting to know about her creative process, and I think you will too!

Let’s hear what she has to say! Modern & Minimal Design With Kirralee & Co- an interview via Opinion9.com

Modern & Minimal Design With Kirralee & Co- an interview via Opinion9.com


Please tell me a little bit about yourself.

My name is Kirralee Robinson and I was born and raised in Brisbane, Queensland. I am happily 10 years married and we have 3 little munchkins aged 7, 5 and 2. My work life is a juggle of many different areas of creativity. I am an art installer, a gallery assistant, beginner framer and I am owner and designer of Kirralee & Co.

My Co. includes my husband who offers technical support on the hardware side of things; he makes jigs and shows me how to use the tools. I am also fortunate enough to be surrounded by creative friends who have offered their time, skills and encouragement along this journey. I honestly couldn’t do what I’m doing without them – support like this is just so vital for any new venture.

Modern & Minimal Design With Kirralee & Co- an interview via Opinion9.com

I love the minimal yet powerful styling in your work.

Thank you. It’s the ultimate compliment when people just ‘get’ what you were going for.

Modern & Minimal Design With Kirralee & Co- an interview via Opinion9.com

It’s so cool that you worked as a florist too. I find it rather interesting that you see the beauty in a single stem- in contrast to the number of plants/flowers that a regular florist has to add in an arrangement. Can you share a bit more about how your present style of arrangements at Kirralee & Co has evolved?

Floristry is akin to any other client-driven creative business. When it comes down to it, most days your own personal taste has very little to do with the end product. I think I became visually tired after so many years of bright clashing colours and always found a kind of peace in just the greenery – in particular, the lush leaves and the variety of textures found mixing them. We would go to fancy floral display shows and I remember test tubes being used there – there was a great appeal for me, probably because it was generally unseen in day-to-day shop life. In floristry, the customers always need to see value for money and there’s always a need to balance quantity and quality. In the places I worked for our customer base didn’t really value the intricacies of design so we rarely sold anything design heavy.

I think when you mix these experiences with the creative drive of an artist you would probably come up with what I make today. I feel like I can have a bit of creative control now over what goes on people’s walls. I also like that there’s an option now of displaying flowers in an elegant and simple way; you don’t have to be a florist to use these vases.

Modern & Minimal Design With Kirralee & Co- an interview via Opinion9.com

Modern & Minimal Design With Kirralee & Co- an interview via Opinion9.com

How do you maintain the balance between regular life and your work?

All of my daytime work hours in art galleries are really unpredictable and Ash is a paramedic so our family schedule is quite unique. We have to be really flexible but also very disciplined. I guess I’ve just learnt to take the time out for my creativity and give it 500% when it’s there. We maintain balance by being aware of everyone in the household (kids too) and their needs and each having something that is just our own, and taking turns doing this. Because of the shift work I may make nothing for a month, then only make and photograph for two weeks straight…and it’s all okay because we all love each other and have this common understanding that this is how we help each other to succeed.

Modern & Minimal Design With Kirralee & Co- an interview via Opinion9.com

What was the hardest (and easiest) part while starting your business?

I find the ideas part to be the easiest. Before Kirralee & Co, I used to procrastinate about finishing anything and to be honest this is the first project I feel like I’m really pushing through – mainly because I just love it. Photography and website related things were hard at the beginning and the financial part is really tough because it’s very new to me. But ideas are really easy.

Modern & Minimal Design With Kirralee & Co- an interview via Opinion9.com

What makes you the happiest in your creative process?

There’s so much that I love, like the grains in the wood and problem solving a new design- but mostly I find joy in creating something in my head and then being able to hold it in my hands – the faster between these two, the better. There is something really special about making the intangible a reality. Other people liking and buying it is just a bonus really!

Could you give us a glimpse in a typical day of your life?

We have a lot of regular things that get done, but never in the same order… My day always starts with coffee, then there’s housework and school / daycare, lots of playing outside. I have learnt to design in my head while driving or going for a walk with the kids. If I’m not doing something, I’m planning something so that the times I can get to the shed I’m very productive…. The nights that Ash is off on shift I try to use by either watching something inspiring, designing on paper, or sanding / finishing the vases.

Modern & Minimal Design With Kirralee & Co- an interview via Opinion9.com

Modern & Minimal Design With Kirralee & Co- an interview via Opinion9.com

What qualities are needed to keep up and also enjoy running a creative business?

I think vision is really important – being able to see an end result in your mind’s eye that others can’t see can really motivate you to keep going, even when it looks impossible. I find the easiest way to enjoy your own creativity is to spend time with other people’s creativity. I frequent movies, performances, dinners, and gallery openings … anything (legal) as long as I am trying new things and engaging my senses in new ways. This keeps my brain engine warm and the rest of my life fresh.


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Where do you see yourself in a few years?

I have a bunch of very specific ideas on where I would like to end up, but I’m also really open to where life leads. I would be happy if any of these things happened: Buying a house, not buying a house, stocking Kirralee & Co in some national and international stores, owning an artist run space, landing a job as a gallery exhibitions officer, travelling with my art and/or design work, installing some great art shows around the world, travelling with my family, travelling with my husband, helping artisans in Mexico make some real money from their crafts, moving to Melbourne for a few years.

 Modern & Minimal Design With Kirralee & Co- an interview via Opinion9.com

What motivates and inspires you the most?

I believe that things can always be better no matter how good or bad they currently are and this is what really gets me out of bed each day (after coffee). Kirralee & Co exists because I believe there’s a simpler and more sustainable way of decorating our homes. And I make art because I have things to say that could be important to someone somewhere. On the days where nothing creative is going right, I usually turn on a documentary about another artist, doesn’t matter who, and hear the stories of their days that don’t go so well and the success they still have just from pushing through. Something usually stands out to me and I go to bed ready to try again the next day.

Modern & Minimal Design With Kirralee & Co- an interview via Opinion9.com

How long have you been interested in floral arrangements and home design? How did you think you could convert your hobby into a business?

My motivation for being a florist wasn’t because I particularly liked flowers but because I wanted a creative job I could do during my study. 10 years later, I can happily say that the more I work with flowers and foliage the more I like them. My interest in home design came about because I spent 2014 learning about ethics and sustainability in fashion and it motivated me to make some changes in our family, not only with clothes but everything we consume. I designed the first vases as an answer to my own question about how we could decorate more responsibly.

I had several of my friends say, “hey! You should sell these, I would buy one!” So I listened. I also signed up to an Etsy challenge where we were given advice on setting up an online store and given support and mentoring through the process. That was a real turning point for me.

Modern & Minimal Design With Kirralee & Co- an interview via Opinion9.com

What’s your favourite colour, flower and food?

Yes I know, it’s a shade, but, black. Always black.

Favourite flower changes all the time but currently hydrangea.

Mexican food, chocolate, cheese, wine, repeat.

Modern & Minimal Design With Kirralee & Co- an interview via Opinion9.com

What are some topics and trends inspiring you nowadays?

I’m really loving all the Palm Springs related Instagram accounts, @palmspringsstyle , @meganmckean, and @modernism_week, they have inspired a collection I’m currently working on. I’m also always interested in learning more about living sustainably / minimally / essentially, we have a long way to go there.

https://www.instagram.com/modernism_week/

(bright hues for Kirralee’s next project! ^)

What would an ‘ideal’ day be like for you?

Any day where I feel like I’m at least one step ahead of where I was that morning is good. BUT if I can indulge myself a little, ideally I would have a coffee, kiss my husband and kids, head off to a work shed / art gallery / studio and work hard with my hands while listening to good music, more coffee, get sweaty, complete something, come home and shower, put on pretty clothes then head to an event or date with my husband.

Modern & Minimal Design With Kirralee & Co- an interview via Opinion9.com

What’s the significance of art and design in your life?

As long as I can remember, I have been involved in making things, dreaming, crafting, thinking… My parents were wonderfully supportive of all my quirks and always taught us that being a [__name any suit job__] isn’t necessarily more important or significant than being an artist. I have tried to ‘give up’ being a creative a couple of times but I always come back. Even during the seasons of time, where I’m not able to get into the studio I find my cooking amps up in creativity (sorry family). I just know I will be working with my hands and in art galleries for the rest of my life. It’s part of who I am. Now it’s going next level as well with having three kids, all of whom are showing signs of being creative, I’m really looking forward to growing this with them.

https://www.instagram.com/modernism_week/Where do you source your plants and other elements in your work?

I have just started growing some tropical plants at home, which I’m sure will feature in my work in the future. Other than that I source the single stems from my garden, around my neighborhood and the work shed, as it is surrounded by a lot of gorgeous greenery. I also buy the occasional stem from my local florist, (particularly when I have a specific photo in mind).

The test tubes are sourced from a variety of places. Although I would love to make these myself this would increase the cost of the pieces significantly and there are plenty of people out there already making them. Apart from the factory few I have bought, a lot of them have been given to me. I’ve had a few people say things like this to me, “I’m a hoarder and I’m not going to use this, but it seems you will!”

Modern & Minimal Design With Kirralee & Co- an interview via Opinion9.com

What makes a satisfied customer?

A happy customer gets more than what they expected. Each order I send is gift wrapped with care and sent as soon as possible with a note straight from me. Wherever I can, I add in a stem of foliage so the vase can be used straight away.

Modern & Minimal Design With Kirralee & Co- an interview via Opinion9.com

What would you like to convey to a customer through your work?

I would like people to see that good quality design can transcend trends. It’s worth looking around for small businesses and makers because the service and quality is much more personal. I think having a home decorated with handmade items can fill a space with love and warmth and this is what I hope for my designs.

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Find Kirralee and her work here on her website | instagram| etsy.

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