Ingredients

Visit the Life Instyle website for all credits and collaborators

Life Instyle

Method

I thought you might be interested in reading a little about the campaign I created for Life Instyle Melbourne that is running from August 3-6th. For registration please visit the Life Instyle website and I hope to see you in Melbourne. Please come and say hello.

Life Instyle is celebrating its 15th edition by presenting a luxe creative concept in collaboration with stylist Claire Delmar showcasing the fine detail and design you can expect to discover this season……………

When the Life Instyle team approached me to style a brief that encompassed words such as “timeless”, “simple”, “beauty” and “essential”, I felt immediately drawn into the story; my brand evokes those very words. My styling business focuses on still life, it is where my passion lies, and as the campaign images began to take form in my mind, I couldn’t resist the team’s offer.

I connect with elements around me in terms of images, and have always thrived on analysing components and creating a visual strategy.  I am someone who thinks in pictures – every word conjures up a visual dialogue that excites and inspires me, and keeps me returning to the styling world. I am sure most of you are aware that set design and photo shoots are far from glamorous. The design is inspiring, but the logistics of packing and unpacking and building sets, are laborious and physically draining. However, the moment that image comes to life, all the sleepless nights in the pre-production phase and the nerves around post-production feel utterly worthwhile.

Life Instyle has always shown great initiative and I have fond memories of the first trade fair that I attended as a member of the media, working in publishing. At the time, it really stood out as “one to watch” amongst buyers and suppliers as it was so thoughtfully curated.  Over the years I have seen Life Instyle fair develop into a well respected trade event.  I was thrilled when asked to be involved in the 2017 creative concepting for the event because I personally love the story they tell, appearing to effortlessly combine a creative and individual edge to product presentation.

As a photographic stylist I think in scenes, still moments, or photographic captures, so I began the creative process by breaking the stories into spaces within a home that were relevant to both the suppliers and buyers. I then considered the set similarly to planning a home. Starting with the “shell” or the “bones” –  the floors and walls – and working up to the “smalls” – furniture, ceramics-  utilising the triangle effect/a little akin to a pyramid in the shape of idea formulation. As I was shooting in a studio, I didn’t focus too much on the practical elements. I tend to build stories as if they are real situations but often add an element of play when translating them in studios. I do seem to be drawn to set builds, possibly by the enjoyment I gain from adding a sense of the “illusory”.

Once the stories were set, the latest colour trends were considered, however it wasn’t my main focus. I didn’t want the lasting impression of the campaign to be trend or fad-driven, but to emulate beauty and simplicity that could hold it’s own. With that in mind, I kept reverting back to the initial brief – reflecting always on the key words:

timeless – an element of past, present and future,

simple –  uncomplicated in form, nature, or design; without much decoration or ornamentation,

beauty – a combination of shape, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight, and

essential – absolutely necessary; extremely important.

It was now that I turned my attention to the seasons and brought warmth through a deeper colour palette, carpets and velvet curtains.

As we aim for a life filled with quality over quantity, selecting products for the home is now more considered. We live fast-paced lives and desire products that are user-friendly in function, aesthetic to the eye and ones that can be rotated throughout our life, ageing gracefully. These ideas infiltrated my selection of furniture, accessories and soft furnishings for the campaign.

As with my individual style that has developed over time, as a stylist, I’m constantly learning and evolving with every shoot. I am humbled by the words offered by the talented author and curator Karen McCartney at the opening of my STILL Exhibition:

Claire has an ability to source with great care and place the pieces in intelligent, thoughtful ways, that honour tradition, but are far from predictable. She also has the restraint to know that less is often more,  and to find the optimum dynamic between objects – never over-styling or over-working.” 

I hope the final images conjure up the key elements that were the foundation of the brief, and starting with products showcased by the event’s suppliers, you are inspired to curate your own collection. There is so much strength and experience behind each participating brand. And it is events like Life Instyle that promote collaboration, which is vital in giving an idea credibility, and in making a vision become a reality.

Photographer – Chris Chen

Ingredients

Plates from Montmartre Concept Store

Vessel from Space Furniture

Linen from Hale Mercantile

Plates from Montmartre Concept Store

Jug from Montmartre Concept Store

Linen with black trim from Montmartre Concept Store

Light from Spence & Lyda

Chair from Montmartre Concept Store

Cup from Studio Enti

Plate from Batch Ceramics

Bowl from Batch Ceramics

Jug from Montmartre Concept Store

Plates and bowls from Batch Ceramics and Studio Enti

Tray from Space Furniture

Vessel from Space Furniture

Bowls from Studio enti

Plates from Batch Ceramics

Plates from Montmartre Concept Store

Bowl from DEA Store

Kris Road bowl from Planet

Bowl from Alana Wilson Studio

Plate from Montmartre Concept Store

White linen table runner Montmartre Concept Store

Check napkin Montmartre Concept Store

Society linen from Ondene

Bowls and cup from Studio Enti

Chair from Montmartre Concept Store

Black & White

Method

I feel this story is pure & simple whilst also being graphic & detailed. I was inspired to shoot this after being drawn into a new retail store in Mosman called Montmartre Concept Store. It is owned  by the lovely Virginie Fontes whom some of you may be familiar with, as the original owner and founder of Honey Bee Homewares .

Virginie and I have worked together in the past on magazine shoots and I have always admired her fabulous French style and was excited to see that she had just returned to Australia after two years back in her hometown of Arcachon, near Bordeaux in France.

I love all things French and Montmartre Concept Store does not disappoint, its beautifully clean aesthetic and products are an inspiration. I urge you to visit, it’s a lot closer than a trip to Paris and yet it’s a little bit of France in the most sophisticated and elegant of ways that is quintessentially Virginie.That each piece is hand picked, edited and chosen with love is evident throughout this carefully curated collection.

The end result of our shoot encompasses a clean palette that is strengthened through texture and purity of form. My amazing photographer  Chris Chen and I try to invoke mood, on this occasion  from the deep dark blacks to the crisp white by incorporating  details such as the black thin lined trims, a splash of gingham and the use of tissue paper as texture, resulting once again in a nod to the painterly masters of the 17th century. A theme that I find keeps resonating with my style.

Here is a little bit about Montmartre Concept Store from Virginie herself.

THE CONCEPT: MADE IN FRANCE 

Travelling back to France regularly Virginie is able to source antiques and products made in France by small manufacturers. Products that are still made the traditional way, products that tell a story all whilst  following the latest trends from Paris. “I have always loved the mix of old / vintage and modern / contemporary pieces” VF

THE STORY:MONMARTRE IN MOSMAN

The idea of a concept store emerged when French friend and jewellery designer Emilie Costechareyre of Elvis et Moi jumped on board. Montmartre houses an exclusive jewellery workshop (E+M atelier), French antiques. homewares, textiles, linens, French designer clothing & shoes for women and kids, beauty, fragrance, gifts, decor, objects, art and French conversation classes.

“We want to re-create a piece of France and give our clientele a real French/Parisian shopping experience; Montmartre in the heart of Mosman”. VF

@montmartrestore

Photography – Chris Chen

Please also visit Vogue Living online to read my styling tips

Ingredients

Please visit the Kate & Kate

website for all

product details.

 

Cushions

Throws

Blankets

Linen

 

Carnival

Method

I have a strong passion for fabrics and creating striking effects with table settings, as you would know from following ‘The Palate Project’ and I have always admired from afar the beautiful brand that is Kate & Kate  so I was thrilled when they contacted me to style their Winter 2017 Campaign.

It was a collaboration with the talented Sarah-Jane and Juliette from Arent & Pyke and the Carnival campaign was shot in one of their recently designed homes. I touched base with both brands to find out a little more about how the new collection and this successful meeting of the minds came about.

Kate &Kate 

Tell me a little about how you interpret the Carnival collection.

The Carnival collection is so fun – it had a slightly nostalgic feel, but is jovial in nature.  It has us wanting to gather our friends, laugh, tell stories, feast and drink wine.  Heaven.

How did the collaboration come about?

We had read in an interview that the Sarah-Jane and Juliette had an interest in textiles (no surprises there!), so we decided to contact them to see if they’d be interested in a collaboration.  Us contacting them was completely out of the blue… and we never thought they’d say yes.  So when we received that late night interview expressing their interest in working with us, we seriously could not believe our luck.  That was more than two years ago, so it’s been a long time in development – but I think the complex nature of the designs reflect this development period.

What was the brief to Arent & Pyke?

We really let creativity lead us and the collaboration took on a life of its own from the word go.  We did want some hand drawn illustrations included in the linen collection, which Arent&Pyke delivered beautifully through creative Evi O.  On top of that, we wanted to ensure this collection had loads of texture – cotton, alpaca, leather, linen – and the girls ensured everything integrated perfectly.

Do you intend on building the K&K Brand further and collaborating with other designers?

Absolutely.  We will continue to evolve the Kate & Kate brand and what we offer.  We have so many ideas, but it’s about developing and executing them to the highest standard.  Good things take time, right?

In terms of collaborating – yes, we would love to work with more creatives. It’s incredibly inspiring and creatively fulfilling.  It is also generally loads of fun.

Arent & Pyke

What inspired the design?
Sarah-Jane and I have always been drawn to fabrics that are artful, painterly and expressive, so naturally when the collaboration was devised the incorporation of a dramatic and distinctive print was paramount. (The print that you see on the pom pom linen throws, tablecloths and napkins) We desired a  punchy, graphic print in the collection that we knew would be a new direction for K&K. We then workshopped various ideas with our design team in the studio before approaching graphic artist Evi O to help us execute the final artwork. We wanted it to be reminiscent of the scratchings, musings and brushstrokes of so many of the artists we refer to and are influenced by in our design work. Colour also plays a very important role in our interiors, so the colour combinations in the blankets were also workshopped ad nauseum!!
Why were you drawn to these fabrics and materials?
Gorgeous textural and slubby linen, light as a feather alpaca and the fine weaves of the cotton blankets were devised to allow the collection to have diversity in colour, print and texture.
What made you select the beautiful colour palette? 
The colour palettes are combinations again that we are drawn to in our interiors projects, so transferring these to soft furnishings for the home made absolute sense. Melon and Olive, Ink and Mustard…colour combinations are a continuing obsession!
 ………………………………………………………………………….
If you would like to know more about the styling concept please see my story on the Kate & Kate Blog and visit the Kate & Kate website to view and purchase the entire range from cushions, blankets, linens and more.

Photographer – Jason Loucas

Ingredients

STILL

Method

Since last October I have been meaning to set aside some time to write a post on my ‘Still’ series exhibition that was shot with Felix Forest. With two small kids, shooting, designing, running a business, instagram (that is always last on the to do list) I find it hard to find a spare minute to blog so apologies for the delay in writing this post.

‘Still’ is a group of 15 limited edition photographic works and was produced in collaboration with photographer and friend Felix Forest.

I mentioned on the opening night hosted by Becker Minty at Puddleduck in Elizabeth Bay how special it was to have met Felix. He shares a similar passion and fascination for Flemish still life paintings and wanted to explore the medium and I was very grateful that he saw value in getting me involved. It’s a very special feeling when you collaborate on a project and when you first see the captured image and know you are on the same page, it’s like a flash of magic.

Felix and I were extremely honoured to have Karen McCartney Author and Curator open the exhibition and her kind words were really appreciated.

Karen said in her opening speech ” the poetry of two talented people coming together to create something quite magical. What these images  are about is the best in creative collaboration. When two aesthetics and skill sets merge, when the singular vision has room for both points of view, for a mutual understanding that allows a concept to evolve, shape-shift and become its own distinct entity.”

For a little more information here is an exert from the ‘Still’ press release.

These painterly photographs reference the classical structures and symbolism of the 17th century still lifes painted by Flemish masters such as Vermeer. Insects appear throughout, a theme that suggests both nature’s bounty and impermanence of life. Light falls on objects as if through time. Within the deceptive simplicity of these compositions we see references to many allegorical themes of classical still lifes – the secret messages placed to challenge and delight the viewer who must interpret the Vanitas message of the snuffed candle, the fruits of paradise symbolised by the artichoke, and the earthy femininity of the wine goblet’s inverted triangle. And in each work, an insect appears reflecting diverse themes of hope and resurrection, or transience and decay.

Limited editions available in two print sizes. The works are box framed in oak, without glass to complete the painterly allusion. Please contact Becker Minty for more information.

Photographer – Felix Forest

Ingredients

Leather hide as tablecloth, NSW Leather

Beechwood bowl, HAY

Small glass cup with gold detailing, HAY

Steel grey velvet used as backdrop, Westbury Textiles

Medium dish in Ink, Batch Ceramics

Cement vase by Studio Twocan, Jardan

Large dish in Ink, Batch Ceramics

Paper porcelain small dish, HAY

Medium plate with brown detailing, China Clay

White napkin with navy detailing, Space Furniture

Small cup with indent, China Clay

Medium bowl with navy detailing, China Clay

Paper Porcelain cup and mug, Hay

Bottom white plate, Batch Ceramics

Top navy plate, China Clay

Large bowls and beaker in Ink , Batch Ceramics 

Peasant Plate in Satin, Batch Ceramics

White bowl with blue detailing, China Clay

Medium indigo wash plate, China Clay

Remaining items, Stylists own

 

Leather Luxe

Method

I don’t tend to gravitate to many things that shine. I’m not fond of sparkles and was never a real “girly girl” however sometimes I find myself gravitating towards  luxe velvet as it can add something really special to an image when teamed back with a natural, strong material like leather.

These are the two materials I have focused on today and I love the way Amanda Prior, my photographer, worked with the light, creating shadows from the velvet and giving depth to the images.  Lightness to darkness to create mood.

As the background and the leather surface form a blank slate, I sourced subtle pattern in ceramics to add interest. My new favourite ceramicist from Brunswick Heads, Lucy Vanstone, whom I discovered at  China Clay in Clovelly, has worked so well within a limited palette and knows when to hold back, creating art pieces that are still very usable but also have a unique quality.

The tones of Joy’s work from Batch Ceramics, a local talent, that I respect greatly and the Studio Twocan vase from Jardan enhance all the colours I love. The depth of the olives, the intensity of the moody blues, the bronze cutlery and amber glassware all lead me to a place where I am secreted away and insulated from the cold.

This post can also be viewed on The Grace Tales

Photography – Amanda Prior

Ingredients

Blue Velvet

Method

The more I explore Still Life and its composition the more I become fascinated with the elements that make a shot.

Shape, texture, form and the effects of adding images, nature and negative space that provides air for the objects to breath. Also playing with the foreground, middle-ground and background in each shot.

Learning to look and study and appreciate objects from all angles and positions. Always considering textures and how they complement or distract the eye or lead you to the magic of the image. Curves and angles grounding or off-setting,  working with numbers and stacks or heights to create rhythm. There is so much to consider in every shot but so fascinating as I take myself on this journey of discovery and experimentation. Creating a seamless appreciation visually that goes unnoticed is the real skill. Also working with the addition of imagery that adds nostalgia takes you back to a past memory.

 

Photographer – Chris Chen

Ingredients

Ceiling light, Planet Furniture

White Linen Table Cloth, Cultiver

Napkin, Planet Furniture 

Small cup resting on napkin, stylist own

White plates, dishes and bowls, Coad from Planet Furniture 

Small panel detailed plates, HAY

Egg Goblet, The D E A Store 

Assorted Eggs, Papaya

Small bowl with bubble detailing on bottom, Planet Furniture 

Large deep plate, Coad from Planet Furniture 

Cutipol Cutlery, Francalia

Tall vase, Planet Furniture 

Small salt dish and spoon, The D E A Store 

Assorted rabbits, Papaya 

Ribbed bowl, Planet Furniture 

Clay bowls with white drip detailing, Planet Furniture 

Small, Medium and large grey geometric detailed tumblers, HAY  

Letter ‘R’, Ici Et La 

Egg White

Method

“Egg White” was created for The Grace Tales blog –  a luxury shopping, lifestyle and directory destination for the stylish mum. The founder Georgie Abay and I have been discussing the possibility of collaborating  for some time and it was great to finally find a date and lock in a story for this beautiful blog.

It was shot at one of my favourite shops, Planet , where I visit regularly, to source ceramics and homewares  in Surry Hills. The owner Ross and I have been industry friends for many years and he has always been very supportive of my career. I decided to time my shoot with the Easter celebrations and there is a cyc at the front of his shop that I used as the background to style the story and his ‘egg shape’  splayed leg elliptical dining table and incredible Kris Coad ceramic leaf chandelier completed the picture I had envisioned.

I am always drawn to white stories so when I discovered white and grey ceramic eggs at Papaya  and fell in love with them I decided, instead of the predictable colourful chocolate eggs that are on the market for Easter, I would create a table setting using these ceramic eggs and it would have an element of fantasy. Religious considerations aside,  the concept of the iconic Easter Bunny lent itself to the creation of a magical “dream like” space that wouldn’t function in reality but was a wonderful concept to conjure up. I normally shy away from designing settings for specific calendar dates as they are always so cliche but I really enjoyed the creative thinking behind this story as it took me back to my childhood and the excitement felt around these special celebrations.

White, ceramics and children are not an easy combination (or an ideal mix-only the dog was missing!) but fortunately Felix was very fast in capturing the moments when my two kids arrived- 6 year old Leo and 18 month old Willow .  The shades of white and grey allowed Felix to play with light and to create beautiful tones in the final images.

I hope everyone had a lovely Easter with family and friends.

Photographer – Felix Forest

 

Ingredients

Background painted in Obsidian, Porters Paint 

Table, Cult 

Series 7 Green Chair designed by Arne Jacobsen, Cult

About A White Chair AAC22 Designed by Hee Wellng, Cult

Paper vase, Space Furniture 

“At swim two birds” Mobile, Mr Kitly

Dish, Small Spaces 

Ceramic cups, Ginkgo Leaf 

Ceramic blue bowl, China Clay

Slab + Slub oval platter, Small Spaces

Oyster Spoon, Planet 

Oak Chair, Spence & Lyda

Remaining ceramics, China Clay

Pastel Play

Method

I’m stepping outside myself today into the world of colour but it still embraces the subdued palette that I love. There is a texture that is tactile in each ceramic creation along with a fading in and out of the glaze, borrowed from Nature and producing colours that are shaded rather than solid. This technique showcases some very clever ceramicists who are using dyes to create wonderfully innovative effects. From Japanese artisans to local Australian designers you can see the love and detail that has gone into every handmade item. The concept here is to collect these unique individual pieces, not a matching set. Then each piece becomes a thing of beauty to marvel at and treasure. The rawness of the totally nude oak table which gives off its own light  is accentuated by the dark background forming a perfect foil for the pops of colour culminating in a homage to the Earth and its elements.

Photographer – Felix Forest

Ingredients

Hay table, Cult

Copenhague Chair, Cult

Wooden plates, Catapult 

White mesh vases, Emma Davies

White linen, Ikea 

Wooden cup, Ginkgo Leaf 

Wooden bowls, Ginkgo leaf

Tall wooden cup, Ginkgo Leaf

‘Thrown’ side plates, Brooke Thorn Handmade 

Large round platter, Slab + Slub 

Cutlery, Ikea

Coasters, Catapult

Desiree White Wire Chair, Fred International  

Ceramics from Alana Wilson ; Aedan Harris ; Porcelain crinkle bowl by Tracey Mitchell sourced from China Clay 

Paper bowl, Spence & Lyda

Ceramic Bottles, Graphis Art & Framing 

Fallen Fantasy

Method

This shoot was influenced by the beautiful Danish design shop  Gubi  and their campaigns which often showcase 20th Century design, greatly influenced by the Bauhaus School. I have always been passionate about the works of the directors of that school, Walter Gropius and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and continually find myself gravitating to Modernist Architecture. I find I need to surround myself with the simple but beautifully pared back design that arose from that movement when I source items for my own home.

You can see that Scandinavian design has become a magnet for me so you can imagine how thrilled I was to learn that my sister and her family were moving to Stockholm. I can hardly wait for an opportunity to visit those inspirational design shops and to see the nieces and nephews!!!

This is a surreal story which allowed us to play with light and shapes, but which embraced a still life element as the determinant. The monochromatic synchronicity is a personal favourite.

Visualize the “stillness” when the guests arrive – the perfection that greets them then the descent into chaos as the night progresses and everything is shaken or turned upside down – my own version of an Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatters Tea Party!

Photographer – Felix Forest

Ingredients

White cake stand, The Country Trader

White and yellow vessel, China Clay 

White ribbed bowl, China Clay 

White tall bottle, Planet 

Blue and grey clay bowl, Planet 

Grey clay plate, China Clay 

Tablecloth as background, Cultiver 

Tall green vessel, No.12 Trading 

Set of white tea cups, China Clay 

Dark grey pouring jug, No.12 Trading 

Bowl, DEA Store

Blue and cream bowl small, Planet 

Bowl with imprint, DEA Store

Small bowl, DEA Store

White scallop edged bowl DEA Store

Spotted clay plate, DEA Store

Duck egg blue speckled plate, Sigmar London 

White round plate, China Clay 

Red and Blue bowl and plate, DEA Store

White textured bowl, DEA Store

White light, Studio Enti @Design Hunter 

Cream Napkin, China Clay 

Blue Napkin, Cultiver 

Remaining props sourced from hire companies or are my own.

 

Painted Palate

Method

I had been thinking about the title of this blog for quite some time when I suddenly realised that the images reminded me of one of the world’s most famous paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, his  “Last Supper”. It was something about the camera angle, the framing and the scale of the table in the foreground of the shot that triggered this discovery. Looking back I find that a lot of my work is influenced by famous paintings, hence “Painted Palate” seemed to be an obvious choice, as it is my still life version of this wonderful work of art that I studied more than once during my art years at school.

I feel very connected to this story.  I tried to capture a moment in time when everything aligns but at the same time it is a work in progress that has the potential to evolve into something even more special as I continue to attempt to balance and perfect the diverse elements influencing the outcome of the shot.

This blog post was a joy to create as I worked with talented photographer and good friend Chris Chen. It showcases a behind-the-scenes snapshot of how a stylist works. Moving and changing objects, constantly standing back and accessing the image through the camera lens. Neutral tones, ceramics, linens, table settings, still life and everyday objects- it is a combination of all my passions.

Enjoy watching my process become a reality through the eye of the lens.

Photographer – Chris Chen

Design by Rebecca Buttrose + Development by Brandi Bernoskie