Thursday, December 27, 2012

Big happy news

I haven't really talked much about relationshippy stuff on this here blog of late. I guess that part of my life hasn't historically delivered the best of times and I got a bit tired of documenting those ups and downs and sounding like a broken record.

But 7 months ago I met a particularly special someone. Someone I instantly connected with, became best friends with, have not had a single doubt about and love with all my heart. It hasn't always been easy, we've both had some pretty difficult personal/health woes to deal with, but as a couple we've been solid through it all. I definitely have that feeling of 'oh, THIS is how it should feel'.

Well it seems the feeling is mutual, because at 3:42am on the 25th December (our 7 month anniversary), the man I love walked around to my side of the bed, grabbed both my hands, knelt down in front of me and asked me to marry him. Of course I said yes!

Lara & Dave, getting hitched! (and wearing my Nana's old ring)

As they say, 'when you know, you know'.

Now for the hard part - bidding adieu to my new fiancĂ© (not sure if I'll get used to that word), jumping on  a plane and heading off to Nepal for a few weeks. Talk about a contrast of worlds. Wish me luck!

xx Lara.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Monochrome duvet cover in Leuca

So. 2012 hey. What a year. Another one that has positively flown by.

If you asked me if I've achieved much this year offhandedly I'd say 'not much' but when I take a moment to think about it actually a gazillion things have changed. It's been a year of much growth and revelations. Some major ups and downs. Some epic emotional and health related struggles but also some massively good things have come my way too. I'm feeling pretty fortunate at the moment and can see more great things to come in 2013.

The photos accompanying this post are mostly here to make it look pretty, but are also a little bit relevant. They partly relate to the fun that I've been having lately with styling and photography (still much to learn!) but they also relate to a pretty special person who's come into my life this year. I made this duvet cover as a birthday present, and because he happens to be a bit colourblind I thought a monochromatic theme was rather fitting.

Monochrome duvet cover in Leuca

Monochrome duvet cover in Leuca

I hope to post again before Christmas and my impending trip to Nepal, but if not I hope you all have a great relaxing break and come into 2013 with lots of energy and passion and potential for doing good things!


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Nepal fair trade fundraising AUCTION!

Leuca Duvet cover - up for Auction right now. Help raise funds for a fair trade enterprise in Nepal!

My trip to Nepal is swiftly approaching! I know it'll be here before I know it and I feel like I have so much to do before I go. Eeep!

But... there's one big thing I have to do before I go for which I NEED YOUR HELP! Each person on the trip needs to raise some money for one of the enterprises we will be visiting. We each get to decide which enterprise to donate our raised money to once we get there, which is pretty exciting. I'm sure this will be a tough decision since they will all be very worthy causes!

SO, in collaboration with the VERY lovely and generous Olivia of Moochie Lou, we have made one very gorgeous, ethical, organic duvet cover to auction off for this very good cause!

Leuca Duvet cover - up for Auction right now. Help raise funds for a fair trade enterprise in Nepal!

Leuca Duvet cover - up for Auction right now. Help raise funds for a fair trade enterprise in Nepal!

Leuca Duvet cover - up for Auction right now. Help raise funds for a fair trade enterprise in Nepal!

The duvet cover is queen sized, made from 100% organic and sustainable fabrics and comes with two matching scatter cushions.

The auction is being held over at the Ink & Spindle blog. If you'd like to place a bid, just leave a comment on that post!

Thanks so much!

xx Lara.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Nepal study tour

Seven Women skills training centre - Nepal (photography by Kim Cartmell)

A lot of you probably know that my biz partner Teegs is off to Mexico for an artist's residency in less than a week (so soon!). What you might not yet know is that I'm off on a similar(ish) journey to Nepal at the end of this year!

In December/January I am heading off on a study tour of the main fair trade enterprises in Nepal. Over 20 days, group of 15 will be visiting, learning, volunteering and getting inspired. The trip is run by Steph Woollard, founder of Seven Women - a not for profit enterprise that employs marginalised and disadvantaged women to make handcrafted items that are sold in Australia.

I'm simultaneously excited and terrified. Having never been to a developing country before this is going to be such an incredible, eye opening and challenging experience. Steph has a long standing and intimate knowledge of Nepal, it's people and culture, so this trip will be far from tourist-like.

The thing I'm most excited about is the fact that we will be volunteering at the Seven Women skills training centre with tasks that are based on our personal areas of expertise. I am very lucky to have gained Steph's confidence in taking on a product development role. I am so excited about using the skills and insight I have in the Australian design & craft scene to help develop products that will appeal to the local market. And to work intimately with the women who will be making those items - teaching them, even - that is an experience that I could never have dared hope for!

Seven Women skills training centre - Nepal (photography by Kim Cartmell)

The trip isn't till the end of December, and I need to do a little bit of fundraising between now and then to donate to one of the enterprises that we will be visiting. So stay tuned for more on that!

More pics of the Seven Women skills training centre below - I can't wait to meet these women.

Seven Women skills training centre - Nepal (photography by Kim Cartmell)

Seven Women skills training centre - Nepal (photography by Kim Cartmell)

Seven Women skills training centre - Nepal (photography by Kim Cartmell)

Seven Women skills training centre - Nepal (photography by Kim Cartmell)

If you're interested in participating in a similar trip, Steph is taking another group mid 2013. Shoot her an email if you're keen!


Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Behind the lens

Monochrome, timber & mustard - experimenting with styling

As a Melbourne based designer, right now what it feels like I should be doing is working with colour. Crazy amounts of colour. Colour out the wazoo! And as much as I appreciate all the splashes of brightness I'm seeing around me lately... I have to admit, I really much prefer a bit of monochrome. Especially when it's coupled with warm timber tones and a bit of mustard! It's not very "summer" I know, but I love it all the same.

The other thing I've been enjoying is playing around with styling. I've always enjoyed photography and making nice interior spaces, but I've never actually tried to "style" a shoot. I have to say at this point: THIS IS NOT HOW MY HOME LOOKS AT ALL. You'd actually laugh if you could see what's behind the camera in this shot - all our usual living room furniture and things crammed up against the opposite wall, my house mates relegated to armchairs pushed into the corners to eat their dinner and read their books.

Monochrome, timber & mustard - experimenting with styling (circle shelf by Bride & Wolfe, rug by Armadillo & Co)

I think the "styled" versus "reality" is a very important distinction to make - life behind the lens is rarely what you think it is, and it's important not to get sucked into thinking that what you see on people's blogs,  Instagram and Facebook is a true reflection of their lives.

I had a funny moment actually when taking these photos - a couple of girlfriends of mine were visiting at the time and having a big discussion/confession session about their relationships and all the behind-the-scenes tough times they were having. One pauses to say to me "wow, it's different looking at a photo like this when you know what's hidden off to the sides". I thought that was a very fitting comment, given the topic of conversation...


4th Birthday and Open Studio - with cupcakes!

It's pretty hard to believe that Ink & Spindle is almost 4 years old. FOUR YEARS. Four years of making a living doing what we love without compromising our ethics! It hasn't always been easy but we're proud to have reached this point, and would love for you come celebrate with us! It'll be the usual open studio type shindig but this time there'll be celebratory cupcakes!

Hope to see you here! xxx

Monday, October 01, 2012

Darwin you stole my heart

On the road to Litchfield in the Suby; swimming at the top of the falls at Greenant Creek; a classic NT moment, road trains and 130 speed signs; a territory full of unique native flora

Today is my birthday, but I'm not 100% into it. Yesterday Dave and I returned to Melbourne from a brief five day trip to Darwin and I'm pretty sure I left a big chunk of my heart there.

There's something truly magical about a place that is so connected with nature; nature that is everywhere, rambling and pervasive. Darwin is a place where the boundary between indoors and outdoors is blurred, where walls are filled floor to ceiling with louvred windows and geckos on the ceiling are the norm, where footwear is optional and fashion is a carefree mishmash of colour and pattern.

And the pace. The slowness. Darwin was a welcome break from the relentless pressure to be always doing / creating / pursuing more, more, more. I loved that. I needed a break from that so much.

An evening at Deckchair Cinema, so awesome; my most wonderful travelling companion looking like a hipster; our Darwin abode courtesy of the lovely Ange who hosted us; a little bit of NT (woven on Elcho island) brought home with me

I love Melbourne, you know I do. But Darwin you stole my heart... and I'll be back one day to get it.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Just Keep Swimming. Designing. Thinking. Planning. Making. Doing.

A new quilt design in the works - blues and greens

Wow. It has been a rather slow month. A slow month that happens to coincide with I&S signing a new commercial lease for 5 more years at 30% higher rent. Don't get me started. Yes they can do that (our old lease had no 'options') and no there's not much we can do about it. But we do get to stay in our beloved Younghusband building which we've worked hard to preserve as a creative hub, and provided the increased rent doesn't see our fellow artisans being replaced with accountants who want "funky" office space, we're grateful to be staying here.

But back to things being slow. It's funny, if you ask other small business owners how things are they'll mostly say "fine, fine" until you tell them you're going through a slow patch and then they'll confess "oh me too!". Not everybody wants to admit when times are a bit tough, but sometimes they are! The peaks and troughs are just part of small business. The tricky part is not letting it get you down, and maintaining the confidence that all will be fine in a few weeks. There's an art to that, I reckon. One that I haven't quite finessed, but I am trying to stay a bit zen about it all. The other tricky thing to balance is how much you talk about these kind of things. On one hand there feels like immense pressure to maintain a facade of confidence and all-is-well-ness, but on the other hand I really hate the pretence and not being able to be myself. There's enough lofty standards splashed all over blog-land at the moment. I think I'd rather be the one saying "hey it's not always great"... I'm not always very good at doing that.

Anyway, the good side of a protracted slow patch is the opportunity to get things done. There's the long list of to-do's that I've been putting off, but there's also a host of things I haven't had the quiet brain space to even conceptualize. I've finally managed to find a bit of that calm, quiet head space, and am now feeling quite inspired & full of new ideas. Silver lining and all that.

Above and below are some pics of a little something I'm working on. A design and instructions for a new quilt, that looks quite random but actually has an easy to follow pattern & instructions. AND, it can be made with whatever combination of printed and plain fabrics you like. More on that soon!

Pressing those seams...

Quilt top complete - mustards and neutrals


Friday, August 24, 2012

Print and Process

The other day I was reflecting about this blog and how it's changed over the years. I realised that I miss the days when I used to have more time to document and explain my processes. I've fallen into that all too easy habit of posting only the finished product and stuff that happens at the end of the process. I know the stuff that goes on behind the scenes is probably more interesting to some people, so I need to make more effort to pause and take pictures.

In keeping with this new mission, today I'm going to share some photos and info about the two new prints that I designed recently: Blockprint and Watercolour Stripe.

Tools for making the Blockprint design

As Blockprint's name might suggest, this textile print started it's life as a block print! There was nothing particularly challenging about this lino cut, just simple lines. I wanted to do something quite different to my usual illustrative prints. Something a bit more simplistic and geometric.

Lino prints hanging up to dry

I did quite a few lino prints of this design, I wanted to get as much variation in the print quality as possible. So some solid prints, some patchy ones. I really love the texture of a patchy block print.

Blockprint mockup

Next I scanned all the prints into photoshop and separated them out into individual triangles. I think I ended up with about 12 different prints. I then took these prints into Illustrator and started arranging, rotating and cropping them until I was happy with the layout and felt it looked balanced. Also during this process I set up the design to work as a repeat, and prepare it for screen.

Blockprint as a textile print

After that it was just a simple matter of getting the artwork printed onto film and made into a screen, deciding on colours and then printing it in the studio. I like how imperfections translated onto fabric and retained that block printed look - yay!

Watercolour Stripe in progress

As this name also might suggest (I'm never particularly adventurous with names) this design started off as an actual watercolour stripe! Really nothing fancy going on here, the hard work for this design was actually just getting to this point of simplicity. There was lots of playing around and experimenting with all sorts of complicated ideas before I realised that it needed to be quite simple.

Watercolour Stripe, digital processing

The next step was scanning the stripes into Photoshop and fiddling with contrast. I then played around with a halftone filter until I found the scale and texture I wanted. I like halftone filters but I prefer the square one to the dots. My aim here was to create a design that had interesting details when viewed up close, but when you looked at it from afar you could recognise the strips of watercolour.

Watercolour Stripe as a two colour textile print

It was fun to set this design up to work as a two colour print. The first colour is printed down the length of the fabric and then the second colour is printed with the same screen rotated 180 degrees.

So that's how those two prints were made! A far cry from back 4 years ago when my processes were purely digital and vector based. These were much more fun, and more sympathetic to the screen printing process I reckon.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Interior values

Doing what I do.

I've been sick for the last 10 days. I'm very bad at taking time off work but I've finally given in to the fact that I need to rest.

So I've been resting, and reflecting, and have come to a conclusion:

I'm starting to feel a bit jaded about interiors.

Once upon a time one of my favourite things to do was look at interior design blogs. Mostly as an observer but also partly as a participator, as I slowly worked on creating my own little space. But lately I've started to respond to what I'm seeing online with far less enthusiasm.

At first I thought that was to do with the fact that maybe I was losing passion for what I do. But that's not true. I still love my little business, I still love textiles and I still love creating things that end up in other people's homes. But I think what I'm sick of is the relentless competition, the relentless need to reinvent ourselves and keep up with what everyone else in the blogosphere is doing. It's hard to resist conforming sometimes when everything is triangles or geometrics or neon pink.

I've actually started to dislike house tours. Because instead of looking at photos of someone's home and thinking "wow, this place is just so full of memories and meaningful things" or "wow they've managed to make such a homely looking space without spending too much money" or "hey that's clever!" I look at these houses and think "fuck these people must have a shitload of money" or "wow that's very on trend... I wonder how it's going to hold up in 10 years."

I don't want someone to buy Ink & Spindle cushions to suit their currently-very-trendy-interiors-scheme, and then buy some new Ink & Spindle cushions to suit their new interior once they get sick of the old one. I want people to buy what we make because they are investing in something they are going to enjoy for years to come. Because it's special to them, because they appreciate the story behind it, where it was made, how it was made. Instead of an impulse buy I'd rather someone look at one of our designs for a year or two before finally splashing out on some meterage for curtains or a reclaimed and reupholstered chair.

I want what we make to be future proof. So I think I need to work harder to explain those values and maybe help people to shift their thinking and not get sucked into the vortex of current design. Hmmm...


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Modern Times Pop-Up Shop

Modern Times Pop-up Shop with Ginkgo cushion (photo by Modern Times)

Just a quick note to let you know that the Modern Times Pop-up shop on Smith Street is having a relaunch party tonight from 6-8pm! All new furniture and artworks and other bits of local awesomeness.

I'm a bit excited because not only do they have some of our cushions in amongst all the gorgeous mid-century furniture and art, but they also have a set of my Proteaflora prints! It's the first time any sort of artwork of mine has appeared a wall somewhere for sale, so I'm pretty darn chuffed about that. I was actually working on the Proteaflora prints around the time of the first Modern Times launch party (a few months ago), and I remember daydreaming about them being a part of it and thinking maybe they'd fit in quite well. So it seems pretty fortuitious that my pipe dream came true in the end :)


Friday, August 10, 2012

The fleeting

You know, I was thinking about what it is that I like about Instagram. Apart from the fact that it's a visual medium and I quite like taking photos, I love the fact that Instagram is all about celebrating the small and simple things. Fleeting moments that we stumble across in our daily lives that we feel are worth pausing and capturing.

You know how there's those cynical people who talk about certain social media saying: "oh that's just full of people telling you what they had for lunch today or some funny shit their kid said". Well you know what? Maybe that's a good thing. Life doesn't have to be full of momentous, hard hitting events. We're never going to be happy if all we're focussing on is the next big thing, the next big holiday or big purchase. I'm big on goals and always having something to work towards but I've realised that my tendency to always set the bar higher and higher means that there's never going to be that feeling of completeness at the end. Instead I've found that happiness needs to comes from enjoying the now, the myriad of minutia, the briefly beautiful, the fleetingly funny, the simple yet striking.

A full double rainbow stretches over Clifton Hill; bright and cheery gloves from Cottage Industry to warm my morning commute; sunshine on the bricks of our Younghusband Building; a miniature garden between the pavers; the beautiful Mattt studio whilst working on a new digital collab; "hash" cookies made by my sister in law (too funny).


Friday, July 27, 2012

A little bit of new

We've been designing some new prints! And I've been having a great time taking photos of them all. Seriously getting some good mileage out of that sideboard. Best eBay purchase ever.

Read more about all the new stuff over at the I&S blog! It's Friday afternoon and I've run out of blogging mojo to write any more words :)

New prints and cushions in the shop.

My new "Blockprint" design - in Persimmon & Juniper (ceramics by Abby Seymour)

My new "Watercolour Stripe" design - in Toffee.

Watercolour Stripe and Leuca seem to make good friends.

Have a great weekend!! xx

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Design Made Trade 2012

Ink & Spindle at Design Made Trade 2012

Back from Design Made Trade and amazingly still alive. It was rather epic, but so worth doing, and I feel so good about how the stand came together. I feel like it finally resembled something of a professional standard. New branding, nice furniture, some new prints (a rarity indeed), and generally looking fairly cohesive.

The only down side is that I know this feeling of "good enough" is only a fleeting one and it won't be long before I set the bar even higher. What's with that? It would be nice to just "be" for a little while, and just feel okay with what I/we have achieved. Sometimes I suck at perspective.

My beloved sideboard getting some love - yay! And Teegs' new Grevillea print on some refurbished Fler Chairs. And a rug by Patchy Rugs. And new prints on the cushions.

Instagram! Ceramics by Abby Seymour, Mustard colourways, Cut fabrics, The gorgeous REB, Paddy the Caddy (thanks Sass!) and my new iBark iPhone case.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Design Made Trade this week!

Hey everyone,

Just a quick note to let you know that I'll be at Design Made Trade this week with Ink & Spindle, and we're so excited about it! DMT is definitely our favourite event of the year - the perfect mix of local established and independent makers and a great opportunity to push I&S more in the direction we want it to go. You should see how much gorgeous Mid-Century furniture is going to be on our stand this year. Ohhh yeah.

There are trade days and also public days (we're allowed to retail wares) so please come visit and say hi!

Design Made Trade
Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton
Trade days: Thursday 19th & Friday 20th July
Trade & Public days: Saturday 21st & Sunday 22nd July.


Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Hiding on Instagram

Sometimes it's hard to find opportunities to take proper, "blog worthy" deemed photos. Sometimes the words just aren't flowing. For all those times, there's Instagram, and I love it (no surprises there). That's where I'm hiding most of the time, when I'm absent from this blog for weeks on end. You can find me under the username "laracameron".

Here's a snippet:
Work and making

 Home and surrounds

Hope to see you on there xx

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Whipup guest post

The one in which I wrote a guest post for Whipup and hope I don't sound too much like a wanker.
Whipup Guest Post as part of the 2012 Guest Series

On business, life, ethics, values, priorities...hope you like.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A brief foray into digital

Digital textile design job for Kayell

It's the strangest experience, engaging in a design process that has barely any contraints. Especially after spending the last 4 years designing textiles for screen printing, which has limitations out the wazoo. Typically I enjoy those contraints; they provide a framework and a starting point for my creative thinking and a host of challenges to overcome.

But as I seem to be saying repeatedly on this blog of late, I've been looking for ways to push myself creatively and step out of the box that I've built for myself. Hence a little bit of lighting design, some digital art prints. Quite fortuitously however, another opportunity to do so recently fell in my lap. A couple of months ago the very lovely Jeremy from Imagescience called me into his office when I was there to collect some prints. A supplier of his was in need of some digital textile design services; would I be interested or did I know someone who would be?

The timing couldn't have been more perfect. I took the job, excited about the opportunity to push boundaries and experiment more with colour and texture.

Digitally printed 100% linen cushions

Amongst other things, Kayell sell large format fine art printers which are capable of printing directly onto fabric - silk, linen, cotton and a nifty repositional adhesive backed nylon-ish material. Kayell had a trade show to attend in a months time and wanted to showcase the capabilities of the printers in a real world setting. So I took to task designing cushions, lamps, wall hangings and wallpaper, which were all printed by Imagescience, of course. The results were pretty stunning. I was so impressed with the colour saturation and the level of detail.

Digitally printed 100% silk wallhanging, and repositionable wallpaper.

I also had a bit of fun sourcing mid-century furniture from Modern History, to complete the picture. Much nicer than your usual expo hire furniture options.

Silk hangings as a work in progress in the studio - love the translucency

So yeah. Big thanks again to Jeremy for sending this job my way. I learnt a lot from this job and I think it has provided a shift in thinking that has ultimately affected my design process for screen printing too.

xx Lara.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Cressy Sideboard

Just popping in to share my excitement over my recent eBay win. I'd been cruising the 'bay looking for some nice mid century furniture and when I saw this one it was love at first sight. I managed to score it a mere $20 below my maximum bid:

Cressy sideboard - my new love (photo by ccmodern)

I can't wait for it to arrive (coming all the way from Sydney!). Australian made in the 60's by Cressy Furniture - they really knew what they were doing back then.

It's going to be great for product shoots too :)


Thursday, May 03, 2012


Proteaflora print series (looking curiously small here, though they're actually quite big!)

So you might have picked up on the fact that I've been feeling a wee bit creatively flat over the past little while. But it recently occurred to me that I've been putting a whole bunch of restrictions upon myself as a creative individual, mostly subconciously. These subconcious thoughts were telling myself that I should be designing textiles, because that's what I do, end of story.

But then I thought back to times in the past when I felt most creatively fulfilled, and that was when I was designing/making just for the hell of it. Not for commercial purposes, not as part of my business but just for fun. So the last little while I have been exploring that, and it's been so, so satisfying. I feel like I've rediscovered a source of happiness in my life that has been sorely neglected.

On that note, this print series is something that has emerged from my creative ramblings and I'm quite happy with them! I had fun experimenting with blending a bit of vintage poster style with bold geometric shapes. Originally they were just for my wall at home but the girls have encouraged me to edition them and put them in the shop. So why not. The very lovely Jeremy from Imagescience printed these for me on a wonderful, achival Bamboo stock, and the results were stunning. Thanks Jeremy!

They're quite large though they don't necessarily look it in the photos! These ones are A1 in size but I'm also printing them in A2.

'King Protea' in A1

Hope you like! xx