Entries from April 2014

Ingredients from Planet

1 Table in Spotted Gum

6 Bowls, Christopher Plumridge

1 Vessel, Shannon Garson

6 Bowls, Kris Coad

6 Cups, Kris Coad

1 Oyster Spoon, Helen Earl

1 Light fixture, Kris Coad

1 Runner

1 Salt Dish

1 Sugar Bowl, Christopher Plumridge

1 Tall bottle, Kris Coad

1 Vase, Shannon Garson

2 Vases, Liz Stops

Remaining Ingredients

6 Wine glasses, Stylists own (spray


6 Place settings of Cutlery, Ikea (spray


6 Napkins, made from Linen from Ikea

1 White cotton fabric runner from

Spotlight (on table)

1 Plate, The Real Store

6 Plates, LH Objects

1 Bowl, LH Objects

1 Bowl, Shelley Panton

1 Small dish (with feather), Kim Wallace


White Beans


What is it that captivates me about a styled white shot?
White on white but layered with texture.
Is it the light? Is it the focus point?
Perhaps it has something to do with the romance of the shots. Or is it the simplicity and purity that white portrays?

Today I was lucky enough to be invited by Ross Longmuir to shoot in the beautiful studio in the front area of his Surry Hills concept store Planet. Ross has always been one of my most respected furniture designers and I love his use of sustainably grown spotted gum. His incredible eye and support of local artisans has always put him at the forefront of the interior retail world. His balance of textures, interest in Indian textiles and organic forms marries so well with my styling. When I was style editor for Inside Out magazine. Planet was always a port of call on my sourcing days.

I wanted to work with Ross’s wonderful whites and bring in some other talented ceramicists to complement items like Kris Coad, LH Objects and Kim Wallace Ceramics.

Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of working with the lovely photographer Sam McAdam whose passion and experience has made these shots come to life. It’s always a treat working with people that understand the outcome and are on the same page visually. Thank you Sam.

Lara Hutton from LH Objects has been a mentor since the start of my career and has always felt like another sister to me. I have her to thank for supporting me in the early days and having faith in my ability as a stylist.

Combining the irregular forms of the ceramics with the crisp white linens that are crinkled rather than starched combined with the elements of nature, the twig in the vase and leaf ceramic by Shannon Garson add the sense of real to the image giving it some depth and life.



Photographer – Sam McAdam


4 Marc Newson Plates, Living Edge

1 Bread Board, Murobond

Cutlery, Hunt & Seek

1 Embroidered Canvas Tablecloth Murobond

2 Meters of Calico, Spotlight

1 White Vase, Space Furniture

2 Meters of VD Luxe in Platinum Velvet Fabric, Westbury Textiles

1 floral sideplate, BHLDN

1 Mesh Bottle,  Emma Davies

Floral, Madame Lampini

Remaining Ingredients

Remaining ingredients hired but could be sourced from antique shops. I recommend a visit to Mitchell Road Antiques

Still Life


Food has always played an important role in our family. I’m the third of three daughters and instead of watching television after we completed our homework (that one is for you Dad!) we would sit around the kitchen bench whilst our mother chopped, stirred, tested and adapted our meals and we would dissect each recipe.  Consequently this love is part of my family’s make-up and as we have grown older and had families of our own we are constantly discussing different restaurants, recipes and menu ideas for entertaining.

I based this story around a generic white crockery set that most people have in their cupboards. I’ve layered the plates with a mix of smaller side plates with different vintage and modern decorative plates. Calico is a great affordable decorating tool and can be bought in Spotlight by the roll so I always have some on hand for wrapping, draping or napkins. Amanda Prior’s photographs have made this story so elegant and it’s one of my personal favourites. I’ve been working with her for many years and her love of her work shows through in her images.

Things can happened by accident or evolve on the shoot day. I often see beauty in random items like the packaging that came out of the box from the Marc Newson plates. It’s packing cardboard and I felt this framed my shot and gave it an element of authenticity.

I have always loved minimalist still life paintings of food and objects so I was very excited when this story unfolded as the addition of a few quirky elements make it look more like a painting. The calico acts as a blank canvas and with the draping of the background fabric, the mixing of materials and the velvet adding a touch of elegance a still life image is produced.

My “hero” find was the Emma Davies blue wire bottle that I picked up at the The Design Files Open House in Sydney. Just one standout piece can make a table work.



Photographer – Amanda Prior


Background, ici et la

Branch from Forage by Lisa Mattock


From left to right

1 Chair, Thonet

1 Bowl, Shelley Panton

1 Original Bottle (tall), ici et la

3 Small medicine bottles (brown), ici et la

4 Plates, Shelley Panton

3 Wine glass Olive, Koskela

1 Linen fabric as runner from Ikea

Scatter of Leaves, Pulp Creative Paper

1 Small medicine bottle (clear) ici et la

1 Wine glass clear, Koskela

4 Cutlery sets, The Country Trader

4 Place card with herb voile , Pulp Creative Paper

1 Clear carafe, Koskela

1 Olive carafe, Koskela

Remaining Ingredients

Other items not credited are part of my prop cupboard much to my husband’s disapproval!

Magical Garden


Today I thought I should write a few notes on my recipe “methods” – especially because the aim of this blog is to inform as well as be a source of ideas, or even just a space for beautiful images. I understand that some of these “ingredients” might be hard to source for those outside Australia but always try and work with what you have and just use some of the concepts.

My “settings” are usually based on 4-6 people but please adjust quantities according to number of guests!

The idea for this blog came about as I drove past the window of one of my favourite florists, Dragonfloral Designs, who have recently closed and set up a freelance floristry and food styling business called Forage by Lisa Mattock (instagram – foragebylisamattock), and I noticed a rustic branch in their window. It immediately jumped out at me so I built the story around this “hero”. It was organic in feel but had a magical garden effect on me.

I began the journey by brainstorming ideas, writing lists and just plain dreaming so I thought I would share with you the process of my story building.

This is the list of key words I wrote in my notebook after seeing the branch…..

Ambers, greens, browns, greys, zinc, garden, herbs, healthy living, theatrical, enchanted, forgotten garden, earth to table, raw, textured, painting effect.

Here are some points to consider…..some thoughts I had

  • Start with the background and horizontal surface as this is the basis of the story. This is similar to how I approach an interior design of a space.
  •  My immediate response to the branch was to create a background like a theatre or stage set to mimic the experience of being in a garden.
  • Zinc surfaced table was a good starting point but I would need to add washed linens to loosen up the harder shapes and soften the table.
  • What idea can the reader take from this image? I call this a ‘take home concept’. Like a lolly bag at a party, it gives a shot value – ideas around plants, flowers, herbs, bringing the outside inside, place card ideas.
  • Glassware – chunky, earthy.
  • What will the central “Ingredient” be?
  • How to elevate the branch from a bunch of sticks to something of beauty? ……add fresh flowers?


You need to make sure your choice of items do not face a direction that makes the viewer’s eye leave the shot and that the “ingredients” can be seen and aren’t blocking each other in a distracting way.



Photographer – Amanda Prior

Design by Rebecca Buttrose + Development by Brandi Bernoskie