Sisters Lucy Glade-Wright (left) and Jo Harris (right) are the creative curators behind Hunting for George, an online store with a boutique feel. We admired their first range of bed linen earlier this year, so we’re thrilled to be supporting the launch of their second collection, Siesta.  The soft colours and mix-and-match style feel perfect for summer, and the new range includes single sizes for kids for the first time (check out the cute video below). We asked Lucy and Jo to tell us more about their design philosophy, and the new range.  

Singles | Hunting for George Bedding from Hunting for George on Vimeo.

What was the impetus for starting Hunting for George, and how do you find working together as sisters?

Hunting for George was born out of a desire to do something a little different. We’re not sure if we can pinpoint one particular moment in life that gave us the idea, we just decided one day that we wanted to start a shop. It was as simple and as casual as that. We never really questioned it, we just knew that it was something we wanted. The next day we rolled up our sleeves and starting working on it. I’m so glad we approached it that way because had we thought about it too much we may have never gone through with it.

Being sisters has definitely helped us. Neither of us could have achieved what we have done together, on our own. Just to have someone there for you to chat with, question, support and high five is so important. We work together surprisingly well and when we don’t, we generally have about a 20 minute rebound rate and then we’re back to being happy sisters again.

You credit your inspiration to ‘life and everything in between’. What were the ideas behind the Siesta bed linen collection?

For the Siesta Collection we removed ourselves from the design side of things and went back to basics. We focused on colour and how we could develop that and sought inspiration further afield. We always look outside our industry for ideas. So often the best ideas can come from a simple concept from another time, country or element.

The Hunting for George world looks like a lot of fun. Tell us a little bit about the creative process behind your colours and designs?

It is a lot of fun! We’ve had such a radical and intense few years of creating for Hunting for George and I think we have grown and improved our processes a lot. We like to start with an initial concept; this could be as simple as a colour, shape, story or a personality and then we start to fill in the gaps.

Colour is always a main focus for us. It can influence a person’s mood and create strong emotional connections. So that is always something we consider first when designing a collection or styling a photoshoot. When it comes to designs we often throw a whole lot of patterns around to see what sticks. Being a duo is great because we often have different ideas on where to take things. We’ve managed to get the whole ying and yang thing sorted and this has had a major effect on the end creative result.

The soft colours of the Siesta range make it feel quite relaxed and easy. Was this a conscious decision?

Absolutely. We really wanted to create a peaceful collection of bedding that had an effortless nature to it. There is so much crazy in life, so we believe that your bed should always be a calming space. Not sleeping makes you grumpy and no one likes grumpy people.

Many products are reversible, allowing for a mix-and-match feel. Is this focus on flexibility a reflection of your personal style at home?

I guess we are a little bit here and there, but I think the reversible nature of our bedding came about because we both wanted different things and this was quite a beautiful way to convey that. We also had guys in mind when we introduced the reversible design. So often the dudes get left for dead when it comes to bed linen and we wanted to create designs with a unisex flavour to them.

The Hunting for George range now includes prints, stationery and clocks as well as bed linen – are there any other areas you have your eye on?

We have so many things that we want to wave our Hunting for George wand over. We’re hoping to take ourselves in a slightly new direction product wise next year. We have furniture in our sights as well more home textiles. Plus lots of other ideas but one step at a time.

Quickfire questions

Local secret: Happy Kappa on Swan Street, Richmond. It’s an even better experience when the soup nazi serves you.
Dream collaboration: We worked with Lonely Planet this year and that collab is still taking a while to sink in
Trend you love: Online shopping. Let’s hope it sticks.
Next buy: Probably a sandwich cos I’m hungry, but if we’re thinking bigger I’d like to say a nice new pair of heels.
Guilty secret: We both have naughty thoughts about Charlie Hunnam

Images – Brooke Holm. Styling – Simone Haag.

Shop the Siesta collection by Hunting for George today and enjoy free shipping.

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It’s our 3rd birthday – and we’re celebrating by giving you an extra 10% off everything except gift cards, just for today.

Thanks to all our members and blog readers for your support over the past 3 years – we couldn’t do it without you. Like any 3 year old, we’ve still got a few things to learn. Let us know what you’d like to see before our next birthday so we can make Temple & Webster even better in 2015.

In the meantime, happy shopping!

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T&W’s Head of Styling Jessica Bellef shares her Christmas hopes and dreams, along with a handy styling tip.

My Christmas style is void of tinsel. I get itchy at the sight of it. I am also not a fan of the classic Christmas colour combination of red and green, and prefer softer hues. If I have flowers and greenery from the garden, brown paper and a box of ribbons and twine, I can happily deck the halls, the presents and the table. Add a hint of metallic for the occasion and I am done.

This year I’ll be buying lots of sun cream and Aeroguard. I plan on spending every minute of the Christmas holidays outside and all our entertaining will happen outdoors. Don’t want our guests going home sun burnt and bitten.

My failsafe Christmas styling tip is  brown paper to wrap presents. Spending less on the paper means you can go crazy with the ribbons and bows. Finish off the presents with a tiny sprig of flowers or a plastic dinosaur… whatever takes your fancy.

This Christmas I’ll be serving and hosting the family Christmas lunch for the first time. This is our first Christmas in our new home and the pressure is on. There will be the roasted bird and veges, probably cold cuts and a range of salads. My favourite part of Aussie Christmas lunch though is prawns and mangoes, they will definitely feature. Hmmmm that sounds like a lot of cooking… perhaps it will be a potluck lunch this year!

My Christmas playlist includes old crooners. For a few years during the late 1960’s, KFC (then known as Kentucky Fried Chicken) released promotional Christmas albums, featuring vocalists of the time singing Christmas classics. 1968’s offering  “Christmas Day with Colonel Sanders” is dusted off every year in our family and spun on the record player. The kitsch factor is high, but the crackle of the record and the festive tunes fill the room with warm fuzzies.

All I want for Christmas is a subscription to The New Yorker and a kayak.  A day on the water, reading in the sunshine- that’s happiness right there.

After Christmas I’m planning to soak in the ocean and spend a lot of time barefoot.

Follow us on Pinterest for inspiring Christmas ideas.

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Author & editor Mitchell Oakley-Smith makes an excellent case for seeing Fashion Icons, open until 15 February 2015 at the Art Gallery of South Australia, direct from Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.

Christian Dior, Bar Suit, haute couture, Spring-Summer 1947, Les Arts Décoratifs, Ufac collection, Mode et Textile, in association with Christian Dior, 1958. Photo: Thierry Dreyfus for Eyesight Group

1. It’s unique to Adelaide

While fashion has staked a claim on the hallowed halls of museums and fine art galleries around the world in recent years, with exhibitions travelling to countless corners of the world, Fashion Icons is unique to and crafted exclusively for the Art Gallery of South Australia. You won’t find Christian Dior’s ‘Bar Jacket’ alongside Lady Gaga’s chrome bustier made by Dolce & Gabbana anywhere else.

Alber Elbaz for Lanvin, long evening dress, Spring-Summer 2008, Les Arts Décoratifs, Mode et Textile collection, in association with Lanvin, 2011. Photo: Thierry Dreyfus for Eyesight Group

2. You can travel through time

Throughout January the gallery will open its doors for late-night Friday events. Each event is themed as per the exhibition’s showcase of garments, with special speakers, live music and performances. Go all Mad Men in The Glamorous 50s, pull out your leather and lace for The 80s: From Punk to Power Dressing, and put together your best street style look for The 90s to Now.

Left: Comme des Garçons, dress, ready to wear, Autumn-Winter 2012-2013, Les Arts Décoratifs, Mode et Textile collection, purchased with the support of Louis Vuitton, 2012. Right : Valentino, evening suit, haute couture, Autumn-Winter 2007-2008, Les Arts Décoratifs, Mode et Textile collection, in association with Valentino, 2008. Photo: Thierry Dreyfus for Eyesight Group.

3. Lunch hour just got better

Every Tuesday, a special guest will present a talk about a different aspect of the exhibition, offering an instant hit of glamour during your working week. Highlights include NGV fashion curator Katie Somerville discussing Chanel and the Little Black Dress, designer Carla Zampatti offering insights into how she built her fashionable empire, and The Australian fashion editor Glynis Traill-Nash exploring the art of haute couture.

4. Learn from the best

Consider yourself a budding photographer? Or the next Christian Dior? A series of in-depth workshops with the country’s most talented creatives provide an unrivalled opportunity to sharpen your skills, whether you’re a professional in the industry or still studying. Acclaimed photographer Georges Antoni offers a look into the making of his most revered images, Toni Maticevski will discuss the workings of the 21st fashion century, and Kerrie Hess will help you illustrate your favourite pieces from the exhibition.

5. There’s menswear, too

Not just a show about womenswear, numerous men’s garments appear in Fashion Icons, and to celebrate the sartorial evolution of the Australian male we have put together a panel of experts to discuss the topic. Join GQ editor Ceri David, Men in this Town street style photographer Giuseppe Santamaria, tailor Patrick Johnson and Art Gallery of South Australia director Nick Mitzevich and myself in conversation about the significant growth of the menswear market.

6. You can sit front row for a day  

Always wanted to attend a runway show at Paris Fashion Week? In a blockbuster film series, you can re-live some of fashion’s greatest moments, with screenings of Christian Dior: The Man Behind the Myth, Valentino: The Last Emperor, and Pret-a-Porter. For a closer look at the workings of the fashion industry, don’t miss The September Issue, Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel, and Mademoiselle C, about French stylist Carine Roitfeld.

Magill Estate restaurant, designed by Pascale Gomes-McNabb

7. Finish with a glass of pinot noir

For interstate visitors, Adelaide might not hold the buzzing excitement of larger capital cities, but that’s half of its charm. Make a weekend of it and book in a wine-tasting tour in the Barossa or Adelaide Hills, or visit Magill Estate – recently named the state’s best restaurant at the Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide awards – for a standout dinner made with local produce.

Find out more and book tickets at www.fashionicons.com.au

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Inspired by our Rock the Kasbah sale event, Jono Fleming plays with traditional mint tea for a refreshing summer spritzer.

In Moroccan culture, mint tea is a very traditional drink served to guests. With the original recipe offering mint, green tea and sugar, I decided to adapt it for an Australian summer, adding a cooling twist with cucumber and a flavour hit of fresh mint. Enjoy it seemed like a good base for a summery cocktail. This recipe isn’t too sweet, but you can add more sugar to taste, and of course the white rum is completely optional.

Ingredients (Serves 4-6)

Cucumber syrup

1 cucumber sliced
¾ cup water
¾ cup sugar

Iced Tea

1 cup green tea
2 limes, juiced
½ cup cucumber syrup
1/3 cup of white rum (optional)
handful of mint leaves
2 cups soda water

Preparation

To make the cucumber syrup, put the cucumber, sugar and water in a small pot and heat for a few minutes until the sugar is all dissolved. Set aside and leave until cool.

To make the iced tea, make a strong cup of green tea and leave it to cool. Then in a jug, over ice, mix the tea, lime juice, cucumber syrup and rum (if using).  In the palm of your hand, grab the mint leaves and clap your hands together to release the flavours from the herbs, add to the jug and stir. Finish with soda water to taste and serve with a slice of cucumber and mint in a short glass.

Serve it in style with Moroccan glasses and servingware.

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Karen McCartney introduces our newest Object of Desire, the hammered copper Hex Bowl by Tom Dixon.

These hexagonal patterned bowls by uber designer Tom Dixon, hand-formed in copper, allow you to bring some designer style into your home in a way that is both beautiful and practical.

For award-winning British designer Tom Dixon, metal has always been at the heart of what he does best. From his early days with a welding torch, to applying industrial principles to domestic products, he has often favoured the timeless properties of metal. In recent years his range of Beat Lights with their matt exterior and beaten metal interior have been one of his great populist (and much copied) design success stories.

When it comes to his ever-expanding range of accessories, ‘eclectic by Tom Dixon’, it is to metal that he turns for many of the pieces. Looking at new applications for traditional materials, he exploits the properties of the metal by perforating it, giving it the high-shine treatment, or in the case of the Hex Bowl, a hammered, beaten finish. Hence it feels both timeless and modern.

Hand-formed in solid copper, the bowl has a hexagonal pattern –  the faceted surface attracting and reflecting light. This multi-functional bowl has been polished and then sealed with a clear lacquer to make it food safe ensuring this classic of British design is both beautiful to look at and practical to use.

The Hex bowl is 28.5 cms in diameter so it has a strong enough presence to hold its own at the centre of a table, and is functional enough to liven up a kitchen bench.

Own your own Hex Bowl today.

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Bring back cocktail hour, we say, and our Shaken, Not Stirred sale event does just that, with glamorous bar carts and all the accoutrements you need for a laid back cocktail lounge at home. Here are 4 recipes to try this summer, all from the Cocktail Bible (also available in today’s sale). 

Mint Julep

4 – 5 fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon castor sugar
60ml bourbon
soda water
sprig of mint for garnish

Use a muddler or wooden spoon to crush the mint leaves with the suga in a highball glass. Pour in bourbon and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add some ice cubes, top with soda water and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

Singapore Sling

45ml gin
10ml cherry brandy
15ml lemon juice
1 teaspoon castor sugar
soda water
slice of lemon for garnish

Shake gin, brandy, juice and sugar well with ice. Strain into a tall glass, add an ice cube and top with soda water. Twist the lemon slice, skewer with a toothpick and then balance on the glass.

Kabuki

60ml sake
15ml Cointreau
15ml sugar syrup
30ml lime cordial
lime peel for a twist

Salt-frost a tall glass. Pour sake, Cointreau, sugar syrup and cordial into a blender. Blend well and pour into prepared glass. Add twist to the drink before serving.

Toblerone

Chocolate syrup, to coat glass
15ml Frangelico
15ml Kahlua
15ml Bailey’s Irish cream
30ml cream
Grated chocolate, for garnish

Pour some chocolate syrup into a cocktail glass and twirl the glass to partially coat the inside. Shake the liqueurs and cream with ice, then strain into prepared glass. Sprinkle a little grated chocolate on top.

Leave a comment with your favourite summer cocktail for the chance to win a copy of the Cocktail Bible (published by Penguin, $14.95) which features over 140 cocktail recipes as well as lots of useful advice on setting up and stocking your home bar, choosing glasses, and simple but clever garnishes. Entries close 5pm (AEDT) Friday 31st October 2014. If we cannot contact the winner via Facebook or email within 30 days we’ll choose another winner. Good luck!

Shop our Shaken, Not Stirred sale event for everything you need for cocktails at home this summer.

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Claire Bradley is the Editor of Inside Out magazine. With 9 weeks left before Christmas is upon us, she kicks off our festive series about Christmas style.

My Christmas style is: Pretty flexible. I change colours every year and mostly make a few new things. I’m definitely a card-carrying Christmas craft nerd.

This year I’ll be buying: Outdoor furniture to enjoy the weather.

My failsafe Christmas styling tip is: Keep your colour palette simple. Christmas can be just one bow away from a festive blow-out.

This Christmas I’ll be serving: Honey-baked ham. It’s my favourite part of Christmas lunch – all the rest is secondary. I use my dad’s recipe and it’s awesome.

An image from Inside Out’s Christmas edition. Styling – Heather Nette King. Photography – Armelle Habib.

My Christmas playlist includes: Ultra Lounge: Christmas cocktails. It’s a family tradition to listen to this while we open presents.

All I want for Christmas is: A new sofa, but I’ll make do with some cushions.

My biggest Christmas disaster was: Accidentally purchasing a frozen turkey and not having it defrost in time. Seven very disappointed people at my table…

After Christmas I’m planning to: Hang out in my new home, on my new outdoor furniture and shop for a new sofa. I’ll be all ready for the new year.

Inside Out’s Christmas issue is on sale now. Subscribe (or give a subscription as a gift) here.

Follow us on Pinterest for inspiring Christmas ideas.

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Karen McCartney introduces this year’s Take A Seat “reverse auction“. Our special “reverse auction” sale event is open now and concludes at 11pm on 30 October 2014. A reverse auction simply means the sale price of each item is reduced by a pre-determined value over the length of the reverse auction or until sold – so you’ll need to consider your timing of when to buy or you might miss out! Find out more on our Terms page.

Welcome to Temple & Webster’s Take a Seat for Legacy reverse auction. It is very inspiring to be amongst all this creative output.

There are three things in particular I love about this exercise. The first is that it has this great democratic starting point – everyone gets given the same classic bentwood chair, whether you are a sports star, a style guru, a tv presenter, a designer or a celebrity chef.

The second is the unique creative expression everyone finds for their own chair. Every day I would come into the office there to find a new, exciting interpretation. Some people choose to design the chair with the involvement of their family, some tapped into the talent of the Temple & Webster stylist, and some teamed up with others’ creative talents for a collaborative effort.

This year there is no doubt the creative bar has been raised. Chairs have been deconstructed, planted, clad in leather, dressed with porcelain, bedazzled and elevated to great heights. I would like to thank each and everyone who has designed a chair as the thoughtfulness, time, effort and materials used all speak of care taken.

And finally the third thing I love is that all this effort generates awareness, support, and a financial contribution to a very deserving charity -Legacy.

Each chair – we have a total of 37 – is up for sale right now. These are never to be repeated collector’s items so don’t miss out if you have your eye on anything.

I know I do.

‘Remember’ by Amanda Talbot

Amanda Talbot is a design consultant, stylist and author. Her new book Happy is about the ways in which architecture and interior design can help us live a happy life.

“The chair is called “Remember.” It was important for me that my starting point for inspiration was Legacy who are dedicated in caring for the families of deceased and incapacitated veterans. I have had family members who served in the 2nd World War and the impact on my family has been generational. I wanted to look at the fragility of life, our bodies and the physical, emotional state of mind soldiers and family face with war. I wanted to identify how war changes people and how Legacy are looking after tenuous people who need delicate, loving, thoughtful, empathetic care. I chose to keep the chair in its natural form and colour and add fragile ceramic in different shapes to tell this story. I chose to use toy soldiers in my design to represent the senselessness of war and include white perforated Rolls-Royce leather to demonstrate the value of life.”

 ’SEAt’ by James Gordon

For the second year in a row, artist and creative James Gordon has lent his support to a charity close to his heart.

“It’s a play on words “SEAt” and that’s about it! The fact that I love the ocean and things of the sea is probably something that influenced the end result, however it’s fairly much the word. My chair is made from French paper, perspex rod, watercolour, nylon thread and ‘unreal’ pearl.”

‘WARM’ by David Harrison and Gary Galego

David Harrison is a design writer and stylist, and the founder of Design Daily. Gary Galego is a Sydney-based furniture designer and the creator of the Leve chair.

“As friends who both have a passion for simple ideas delivered with a high degree of attention to detail, our chair is all about the beauty of the original chair shape but with the addition of a new but complementary material: leather. We chose Marrakesh leather in ‘saddle’ colour from NSW Leather for its perfect suitability to the pale colour of European beech and for its soft waxy sheen and pliable nature. We applied the leather using a special technique developed by Gary over a number of years for his own furniture pieces. Designed to enhance the beautiful bentwood shape of the chair, the leather is pressed and hand-stitched, while the timber frame is waxed to produce a gentle sheen.

We believe that Legacy provides the type of support armed service personnel deserve, whether it is recent service men and women or to the survivors of past wars and their families. We also believe that design has the capacity to make people appreciate their surroundings more and be more aware of the beauty of the life they lead – thanks in some part to the selfless sacrifices of our armed forces.

With special thanks to Amaro Mendes for his hand-stitching expertise.”

‘chAIR FORCE’ by Vince Frost

Vince Frost is the CEO and creative leader of Frost*, an interdisciplinary creative and design studio. His new book ‘Design your Life’ is about using design principles to make personal change for the better.

“The title of my piece is a salute to the country’s Air Force. My idea was to completely transform the basic chair model to create a new humorous perspective. I removed the seat base to reveal the outer ring which oddly resembled the same dimensions of a basketball hoop. The chair was then elevated using 4 lengths of copper 2metre plumbing pipes to take the hoop up to the regulation height. A net and ball from Rebel Sport completed the task. I love the reaction it creates when people look at it.”

Lisa Green – Editor, Australian House & Garden

“I liked the idea of introducing a decorative pattern to the curvy form of the bentwood chair, then hit on the idea of ‘tattooing’ or inking the raw wood. I looked up lacework vectors and spiderweb-like tattoos online to get a brief together and after we’d ruled out laser printing, H&G editorial assistant Lauren Barakat found henna artist Lubna Shehzad Pirani, who accepted the challenge. The result is beautiful – a decorative, and extremely female henna artwork applied to the timber chair. I love it!”

Lubna explains the process: “Traditionally called ‘Mehendi’, henna is an integral part of beautification and is generally used to decorate hands, arms, legs and feet for any occasion, and especially for big celebrations like weddings. Today it is considered a romantic and exotic art form for women as well as men all over the world. The paste, which is made up of natural leaves, cinnamon sticks, lemon, etc, is an all-natural product. For H&G we featured a floral design symbolising joy and happiness with the leaves describing longevity, devotion, perseverance, entwined lives and vitality. The squares on the rods symbolise magic, used to heal and protect the sick.”

‘Home Style Starter Kit’ by Megan Morton

Megan Morton is a stylist, author and ‘house whisperer’ as well as the founder of Sydney creative hub The School.

“Most of the time a stylist’s responsibility is to be ‘adding’ to. So this time I wanted to express the idea of what I think styling really is – a combination of reduction as well as addition. The bentwood chair is a personal favourite of mine – so much so it’s the logo to my business – so cutting it down was counter intuitive! But from this magnificently classic chair we have made a homeowner’s starter kit. We have worked collaboratively with Kaz Morton our favourite ceramicist and Phil Skelton, our set builder and put my secret love of jewellery making and beading to work to make a 14 part-series. The home starter kit includes: a mirror; a coat hook; a hanger with ceramic ends; two ceramic hooks; a set of penguin classics; salt cellar; three mobiles (I like to hang mine over ends of curtain rods); a series of bud vases; candle sticks; a keyring and three necklaces. Once you start with beautiful basics that are well made, your appreciation levels for a lot of things will increase – even the salt at your table!”

‘Sorbet Dream Time’ by Adam Powell and Jessica Bellef, Temple & Webster

 See all 37 chairs and snap up your favourite in our Take A Seat for Legacy Reverse Auction.

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Inspired by her colourful and creative bed linen, Karen McCartney talks to Rachel Castle about her passion for colour and her art, and discovers a surprising secret love…

Your world is a pretty cheery one. What do you do to keep the energy levels up?

For starters going to work means not cleaning/clearing/washing/drying/sorting/putting away a single thing at home, so I’m pretty damn keen to get there, and I do so as early as my parenting duties allow me! My studio is the place where everything is ‘out’; its my complete work in progress mess and I TOTALLY love being here. This really helps to get me to work early and motivated and ready to rock’n’roll. As a mother of two teenagers I have a window of opportunity that can’t be missed. I can’t be at the studio late or on weekends so my time at work needs to be very productive. This definitely keeps the pace going.   I also get great energy from the people I work with. Leni my production manager is one of the greatest human beings on the planet, no jokes, so being with her five days a week is a treat that I never take for granted.

Colour & whimsy are central to your brand. Has it always been the case with you and interior design?

I’ve watched my 15 year old daughter in the last year really develop an interior aesthetic very uniquely her own. It started when she was 14 and although she has ZERO interest in my business (OMG so borrrring mum) she loves all the pop culture that teenagers love these days, all intermingled together, fashion and graphic design and interiors and photography, all in one.

I definitely think being a teenager in the 80’s – remember Boy George ribbons and Stuart Membery Lake Tahoe windcheaters and yellow high top Connies and pink gingham bikinis and Dolly magazine – has defined my style. I don’t think I ever moved on from this basic aesthetic. This was the time that a framework for what I liked developed and it has never waned. It was about tons of colour and spots and cuteness, it was young and very fresh, and it has very much stuck with me ever since.  Maybe it was because I wasn’t ‘creative’ at this age that it sat dormant waiting to be accessed for over 30 years.

Tell us something of your creative background?

I studied PR at RMIT after leaving school, and landed a part-time job in the marketing department at Country Road which I loved. I then moved to the UK and worked at The Conran Shop, still in marketing, and then Alex Willcock, Russell Pinch and myself set up a branding agency called The Nest in London in the nineties, where we worked on clients including Michelin, British Airways, WHSmith and Lancome. For the first 15 years of my career I was always responsible for branding and marketing and project directing the creative vision set by others. I learnt how to ‘run’ a business, how to market and brand it, how to speak its visual language. Consistently throughout this time I would knit and sew in my home time, just little presents for friends and family. Then the babies came along and I stopped working and started, TOTALLY by accident, sewing little artworks as a means of doing something other than wiping the benches and putting the groceries away while the babies slept. I had no idea that a couple of little embroideries could turn into my third child, my business baby, but they have, and I am so UNBELIEVABLY grateful for it.

You balance product development and design with your own artworks. Does each discipline help the other creatively?

Absolutely.  Each is crucial to the total brand story but it’s also important that someone who buys a painting doesn’t see that same design rolled out for bed linen. The artwork and the bed linen are two different things that just happen to work well together. We try to keep the bed linen very ordered; there’s a lot of colour and spots but the patterns are very mathematical even in their randomness. The artwork on the other hand is always organically shaped and very free from order which I think is why the two work so well together.

You favour certain fabrics – cotton, velvet, a gold shimmer pillowcase. What attracts you to certain colours and materials?

The fabrics we choose must have a simplicity to them because the colours we use are so vibrant. The fabrics are like a white wall – simple and good and true, and the twist comes from the colour and pattern that we apply.  It’s really hard to design simple things, to keep bed linen ‘quiet’ enough to sleep with, yet just with a little twist of something whimsical. Thank God someone invented the spot all those years ago.  Whoever did, thank you, you win my Nobel prize of thanks to mankind.

The sense of the hand-made and the connection to you as the maker is very important in your work. Do you think that connection is something your customer is looking for? 

Absolutely. I respond to every customer email I receive the same day it comes in, its very important to me that customers are aware that it is Leni and myself here at the office, completely accessible and very much available to anyone who needs us. I look at every single order myself to make sure I know who is purchasing what and what each client requires. An extension of this is very much the handmade nature of the works we provide. Every artwork, from a major painting, to a printed teatowel has a handmark that I have personally made on the work. Its time consuming but to my brand, absolutely everything that it stands for. All the embroideries I hand cut and sew myself; they’ve often spent time everywhere from on the sofa with the kids, to the bed on a Sunday morning, to sometimes even in the car on a rainy day waiting for my husband. There is nowhere these little artworks haven’t been sewn, and I think this makes them really special.

What do you hope your customers feel when they receive a package from Castle & Things?

Firstly I want them to get a big whacking smack of colour. Selling everything online means that the digital colour we get in the photos NEVER truly tells the intense colour story that you get from paint or ink or the beautiful felts we use. I get so many emails telling me that the colour is just so much better in the flesh when an artwork arrives and so this colour story for the client is really important to me. I also want a customer to feel that we have given them time and energy, and as a complete and boring perfectionist, every stitch, every colour, every curved letter is EXACTLY the way I want it to be. There is no corner cutting, no ‘that’ll do because we’re busy’. At every stitch I am thinking of the client at the other end undoing the package. And so I hope that a package from us sings with a lot of love and a LOT of care.

Do you think in a creative business it helps to be a little BA BA BONKERS?

Always. Sometimes I get paralysed creatively by what I think the customer will want. Is it too colourful? Is it too the same? Is it too naughty? Is it just a bit dumb? Seven years down the track I’ve learnt that our customers want us to be a bit loose; the more bonkers the better.

QUICK FIRE QUESTIONS

If I were an animal I would be a flamingo. Well I wouldn’t be one but I would LOVE to be, they are so pretty and pink with a touch of blush and a little fluoro around the temple. They are my lifetime best ever, first thing I ever visit at the zoo, favourite animal.

My favourite forbidden food is a Quarter Pounder with Cheese.  That is so so so beyond bad, but the truth.

My idea of a fun night out is drinks with Leni and Fran at Freda’s in Chippendale.

My friends tell me my strongest personality trait is my loyalty.

My creative hero is Tracey Emin. Full stop by far the bravest and best, great boobs too. x

Images courtesy of Castle and Things. Follow Rachel on Instagram @rachelcastleandthings

 Shop for Rachel Castle’s bright bed linen today.

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