regional roundup: melbourne [part 4 of 4]

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today marks the close of our melbourne regional roundup (check out part one, part two, part there, or click here to see them all). thank you to all of the wonderful designers who participated (and make this column such a pleasure to work on)! it’s impossible to feature everyone, so if there’s anyone we missed, please give your melbourne favorites a shout out in the comments section below, as this is just the beginning of our exploration down under. stay tuned for a melbourne city guide coming soon, but if you’re looking to explore more australian design in the meantime check out modamuse, indie arts & design, rose street market and holly’s list of australian bloggers, which all provided great inspiration for these posts. make sure you CLICK HERE to check out today’s featured designers – alex earl, shannon lamden {auntie cookie}, abigail crompton {third drawer down}, mirian bereson, and katherine bird {hungry girls}. . . sydney roundup up next! -anne

{i heart melbourne by lara cameron. . . check out her feature in part one}

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Alex Earl

1. Where are you from? Where do you live now?
i was born in the Adelaide hills, lived most of my early life in rural victoria, and now i live and work in melbourne.

2. Describe your work
i design and make lighting and furniture, from a wide range of different materials, my lighting is mostly based on natural forms- flora and fauna, and my furniture is quite contemporary, with a few ranges stemming from the exploration of the potential of cnc technology and the fusion between machining and hand customization.
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3. How is your work influenced by where you live?
i grew up on a large property in bushland, and i guess a lot of my influence comes from the time i spent there as a child, exploring and playing. My father had a huge shed full of tools, and i used to make my own toys from whatever i could find. i’ve lived in melbourne since i was fifteen, so i guess the urban environment has influenced me more and more, so that now i combine natural forms with mass producible elements, rather than approaching from a purely craft-based direction. I think there is great scope for marrying natural elements- timbers etc- with things like plywood and acrylic…
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4. Where do you go in Australia when you want to feel inspired?
i don’t really go anywhere to get inspiration, i get inspiration from lack of sleep and making mistakes- where something i was trying to make ends up working as something completely different. I try to leave the city as often as i can and i feel most at ease when i’m by myself in the wilderness somewhere- which is basically how i spent a lot of time as a kid. There are some beautiful areas quite close to melbourne- a place called Wilson’s Promontory is pretty popular but also amazing, it’s one of the few coastal areas in victoria which hasn’t been ruined by over development and a fifties beach holiday shack mentality.

5. How would you describe the Australian design scene?
I don’t really get involved in the design scene, i just like making things, and try to earn a living from it. (I find a lot of people i meet in ‘the design scene’ a bit pretentious- I think there’s a huge difference between those people who design things because they find themselves compelled to do it, and those who are in love with the ‘scene.’ ) Having said that, i think there are a lot of people in Melbourne who are genuinely passionate about what they do, and i think the culture here is supportive of that, and makes it possible for people to make a living from their talent, imagination and hard work.

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6. If you could go anywhere where would you go?
If i could go anywhere i would be where i am now, i’m doing what i’m doing here because i love it. If i wanted to be on a beach somewhere, i’d probably just go, then i’d get restless and want to come back and start making things.

For more of Alex’s work, check out his website here.

CLICK HERE FOR THE REST OF TODAY’S DESIGNERS….

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Auntie Cookie

1. Where are you from? Where do you live now?
Born and raised in Melbourne and have no intention of moving anywhere! I love Melbourne. I live here with my partner, our two little girls and two little dogs.

2. Describe your work
I would describe my work as happy little things mucking about! Not too serious, always ready for a laugh and all lovingly handmade and totally user friendly.
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3. How is your work influenced by where you live?
I think the basic colour palette I use is a definite reflection of living inner city. I have limited amounts of green space around my home, so I don’t have that ‘ inspired by nature’ aesthetic. I like contrast, simple shapes. Melbourne is also a pretty crafty city – there are a lot of little cottage crafters making themselves known, it definitely pushes me to work harder, make more and get my wares out there.

4. Where do you go in Australia when you want to feel inspired?
Not far at all! I’m very lucky to be a 10 minute walk away from Melbourne CBD, all I need to do is wander the laneways
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5. How would you describe the Australian design scene?
Vibrant, hyperactive, everywhere you look. The craft scene is totally bustling. Although Im not always active within it – I feel very connected to it.
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6. If you could go anywhere where would you go?
New York. Its been 10 years since I was first there and I’m still thinking about it. Childfree. With time and money to loiter and wander.

Click here to visit Aunty Cookie and see more of Shannon’s work on Etsy and Flickr.

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Third Drawer Down

1. Where are you from? Where do you live now?
I am from Melbourne. And I now live in Melbourne. In-between, I have also lived in Melbourne.

2. Describe your work.
I have a multi layered practice where we publish limited edition artworks by artists onto textiles and ‘Decalart Mania’ (aka Letraset), a product development agency that designs souvenirs for art galleries, and side projects like “IDEA”, “Hi Art” and “Art as Art Project”…ohh, and opening a museum of art souvenirs store in Fitzroy next month.
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3. How is your work influenced by where you live?
The remoteness and rich cultural influences coupled with a supportive craft community makes Melbourne an easy place to have adventures within. I live within a grid of what I do, and spend more time on the internet developing dialogues than speaking to people on the phone – so really, it is my street that influences me the most.
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4. Where do you go in Australia when you want to feel inspired?
Gertrude Street in Fitzroy, Melbourne.

5. How would you describe the Australian design scene?
Not sure.
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6. If you could go anywhere where would you go?
Tokyo – this is my world of all worlds and only 10 hours away by plane and 1 hour in time difference, so no jetlag at all. It has everything in extreme, plus the people are super nice.

Click here for more work by Third Drawer Down.
Collaborations with David Shrigley, Camilla Engman, Gallagher Studio and Royal Art Lodge.

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Miriam Bereson

1. Where are you from? Where do you live now?
I was born in Melbourne and I live in Melbourne. It is home. I live with my family in the heart of St Kilda. This one suburb is full of extremes, culturally and aesthetically. I can walk out my door and be hit by a variety of aromas sounds and sights. We also live next door to a park with huge gum trees and rosella birds that sing all day long. There is a strong community base with everything necessary within a 2 km radius.

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2. Describe your work
My work has always reflected how I live my life. I have always produced products I’d like to use. My yearly planner was created to provide some sanity in my life. It gave me the ability to view the full year in one single glance. Each year the format remains the same however the colour pallet changes from year to year. Most planners are rather ugly or business like. I wanted ours to be something you would want to hang in your home or office. I hope we have achieved this. Another example would be the development of the alphabet and numbers frieze – products that have evolved through having children of my own (a surprisingly challenging project).

My starting point is usually line drawing or collage. I love them both. My background is in fine art.

3. How is your work influenced by where you live?
My work is not so influenced by where I live but more how I live. The major aspect of my work is naturally inspired by my children’s needs. It means that the creative expressions at home are real and tangible. Ironically as I write this I look up and see my product (magnetic objects) being used to hold up my daughters art work! My favourite tools are a wad of clean paper, a collection of pens and a pair of sharp left handed scissors. Given these tools and I could pretty much create anywhere. One of the line drawings I have sent you was drawn whilst travelling in a taxi.
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4. Where do you go in Australia when you want to feel inspired?
With little kids in toe I do not get to travel the way I used to, however, if we are away I am drawn to gum trees and open space.

5. How would you describe the Australian design scene?
We have the breadth and distance of physical land time and space to have a strong sense of objectivity. Australian designers are fearless and therefore experimental. We emerge through the inspiration of the sea and land and the strong multi cultural environment that is part of our every day life and community.
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6. If you could go anywhere where would you go?
Where we would I go?? My immediate response would be to delve further into my artwork. However, I would love to explore central Australia and also Scandinavia.

Click here to see more of Miriam’s work.

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Hungry Girls

1. Where are you from? Where do you live now?
I grew up in the coastal Victorian town of Warrnambool, and after a 10 year stint in the big smoke of Melbourne, I am now back home. So far, the country life is treating me well. The grass is green and the air is crisp. There really is nothing like a sea breeze!
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2. Describe your work
By day, I am a graphic designer but by night my fangs grow, I sharpen my pencils and I moonlight as an illustrator. While most of my time is spent looking at pixels, I love old fashioned drawing. It would be a dream come true if I could survive drawing pictures! My latest project is a handmade cookbook. Together with 2 other lovely and talented friends, Rachel Pitts and Leah Holscher, we have self-published The Hungry Girls Cookbook.

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3. How is your work influenced by where you live?

We live in a material world, as Madonna once said. I am influenced by the images, advertising, people, pets and interiors around me. I also find inspiration in quirky people doing interesting things. It?s great walk to past somebody wearing an out-there but oh-so stylish outfit. Or going to tiny cafe? in a laneway that has been lovingly decorated, and getting a delicious coffee.

4. Where do you go in Australia when you want to feel inspired?
Inspiration comes in many forms. The kitchen – A bare branched fig tree outside my window in late Autumn. The newsagent – A stylised fashion shoot in Vogue, complete with bejeweled gowns and parrots. The gallery ? A traveling exhibition of beautiful hand-woven baskets from Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory.
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5. How would you describe the Australian design scene?
I think the design scene in Australia is really exciting. We have people creating beautiful objects and images all around us. I am noticing a shift back the appreciation of the hand-made object. In a mass produced world there is real value in something that has been lovingly created. Whether it is fresh produce, straight from the farmer to you, or a hand knitted scarf.

6. If you could go anywhere where would you go?
Anywhere? That’s a big question! I would go somewhere over the rainbow with a picnic basket full of delicious cheese, a great bottle of red wine and my lovely husband, Henry.

Click here to see more from the Hungry Girls.

Alex Charchar

I cannot thank you enough for this series! I moved away from Melbourne about 18 months ago and have missed it every day since.

Thank you for bringing me back home and to the artists I left behind

Bec

it is sooo exciting to see an international interest in Aussie desingers! I’m from Sydney and can’t wait to see which designers you highlight! Thankyou for this little expose of down under!

Bianca

fantastic, I just love reading about all these creative people. Thank you so much for sharing this!

Allison - printcandy

Thank you so much for highlighting some of Australia’s talent. I discovered your site while living in LA and now back home in Sydney I am thrilled to see an interest in what Australia has to offer!

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