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Matilda & Kurt: Andamooka Yacht Club

ROAR: We are so excited to introduce you to Matilda and Kurt! They are on an awesome adventure out in South Australia! 

Kurt has recently completed his Masters of Architecture at The University of Melbourne with First Class Honours. He has had extensive experience in the building industry and all aspects of project development from design, documentation through to construction. Kurt developed his interest in community based projects when participating in a community driven design and construct project in a small outback Indigenous Community in NT. 

Matilda completed her double degree of International Studies and Bachelor of Design in Visual Communications at UTS in 2013. She worked in Sydney as a designer and tour guide taking design and fashion tours for a publishing company in Surry Hills. 

ROAR: Tell us about your exciting project!

M&K: Currently we are building a space in Andamooka that will be the community hub for the locals and people of the Far North Region (and the only cafe in Andamooka.) Our business plan has three main elements; a cafe, a display of young and local metal-smiths displaying the local opal, and a designed map guide to the local area.

We will have some recycled bikes and a map guide to give people the opportunity to ride around the town and experience the landscape and main points of interest. The space will be designed as a contemporary mesh of cafe culture, raw materials and outback lifestyle, using as many recycled and up-cycled items as possible. The initiative aims to support outback tourism and provide local knowledge of the area.

ROAR: The name Andamooka Yacht club sounds intriguing for being out in the country?!

M&K: The business name is an ironic play on the outback location of Andamooka, created to capture people’s interest. The names relevance also comes from the historical lakes that surround; Lake Torrens and Lake Eyre, now existing as dry land.

ROAR: How did you end up in the outback South Australia?

M&K: We first came to this part of Australia to visit family, and we just couldn’t believe the freedom of being in a place so geographically isolated. After visiting a few times to bring friends back to experience the area, we decided to make the move. We hired a relocation 6 birth camper van and drove all our belongings across from Sydney. It was epic to have a whole week to drive 3000km and experience all the little outback towns between. There’s so much of Australia that Australians haven’t had the opportunity to experience.

ROAR: What makes Andamooka so special?

M&K: Since moving to Andamooka we’ve met many colourful characters, the people in the town are so awesome, theres a lot of history here and most people have stories to tell about what it was like in the early days. Being one of the original mining towns theres so many different cultures here, which makes it really interesting. Last week we got a lesson from our neighbour on traditional German bread making. 

One of the first few times we visited Andamooka we got chatting to some of the local opal miners, and hatched the idea to team up with some metal-smiths to create young contemporary opal jewellery. At the moment most opal jewellery is really traditional and we think theres an opportunity to create a new market for the stones, based around more simplistic youthful pieces. We saw this start to take shape when friends visited Andamooka with us and fell in love with opal, when they had previously thought it was unappealing. Once you spend some time with the miners and see the earth where the stones come and how its mined from you have a more appreciation for what it is and how it was formed. There's even dinosaurs bones out here that have been opalised, as this was a prehistoric ocean.. its wild picking up a shell in the middle of the desert. 

We’re aiming for an opening party in the beginning of August!

 Follow the Adventure: Insta is @andamookayachtclub and website is andamookayachtclub.com

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Cesar: Jewellery Designer

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Cesar: Jewellery Designer

Cesar inspecting casting from a 3D printer borrowed to prototype new designs.

Cesar inspecting casting from a 3D printer borrowed to prototype new designs.

ROAR: From the moment we met you in your design studio it was clear you were at the top of your game in Jewellery design and we felt so intrigued and fortunate to step foot in such a creative space. How did you get into jewellery design? Did you start with another form of art, which lead to where you are now?

Cesar: My studio is the one place that maintains a strong sense of place for me. It’s where I live, work and play. I’ve made so many additions and alterations to this space over the past 10 years that shuffling things around has became a kind of therapeutic exercise that I need to undertake from time to time. Keeping the studio dynamic gives me the opportunity to experiment with the functionality of the space and test new ideas before they are implemented into the business.

I didn’t start out in jewellery design. In fact I took quite a winding road before realising that it was the perfect vehicle for exploring my own concepts.

I started out as an office junior at a large architectural design firm straight out of high school. My job was to archive architectural plans and maintain the plan printer. I was then assigned to the model-making studio and was later offered a traineeship in CAD (Computer Aided Design).

In retrospect I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to design, technology and making. I would eventually complete studies in Architectural Technology, Industrial Design and finally Visual Arts.

I chose to complete my BVA at the ANU School of Arts that offered a workshop specialization in Gold and Silversmithing. It was here that I could combine all of my previous experiences.

My original focus in this period was object design and silversmithing. I would make several scale models and maquettes before committing to a final design. Creating technical drawings and making scale models had now become part of my regular working methodology and before too long I began to think of these tiny models in context of the body.

I moved back to Sydney in 2004 and within a year opened my own Studio and Gallery, Metalab.

We specialized in showcasing Contemporary and Objects and began making jewellery for exhibition, retail and quickly began to discover the general publics desire for custom work.

ROAR: Who has inspired and mentored you to get to where you can now make a living from your creative passion?

Cesar: Ha!... Have you met Nina? Nina is my wife, business partner and responsible in no small part for awakening my inner entrepreneurial spirit.

Nina chatting with guests at an exhibition opening.

Nina chatting with guests at an exhibition opening.

Nina is a people person. She’s empathetic and generous with her time, so connecting with people comes easily to her.

Nina’s curatorial philosophy is based on establishing strong rapports with our customers; her approach is to cater almost exclusively for our clientele and to surprise them with what they want. With her keen eye, an excellent understanding of consumer behavior and an unrelenting work ethic it was Nina who set the tone for how we conduct ourselves in business and ultimately transforming a creative passion into a thriving business.

ROAR: You and your partner Nina created a hub to design and work with other contemporary designers.  From this you also started Courtesy of the Artist which is an amazing community building project/shop/events allowing the best designers to be able to showcase their designs and share their passions. As we have only just brushed the surface of what you do please give us some examples and a brief background of what it's all about and whom it is for.

Metalab operated from 2004 till 2013 from my current studio location in Surry Hills.

We curated and coordinated over 90 exhibitions, produced special events, held classes and workshops, hosted artist talks, mentored graduates, undertook commissions and represented over 100 studio artists in that period.

In 2007 we established Courtesy of the Artist not far from our studio and gallery in Surry Hills. It started as a retail case study for Metalab and quickly flourished into an independent and innovative retail brand in its own right.

It became clear to us early on that both the traditional representational gallery model and the existing retail format did not fit our vision. So we set out to define and execute a new concept for the presentation and retail of artist made jewellery and objects.

We currently represent approximately 60 studio artists, chosen specifically for their virtuosity but also their ability to create new work for exhibition, production and commissions.

Our concept centers around the artist and as their agent we actively promote them as individuals and create opportunities for them to showcase their work to the public.

We curate thematic exhibitions, offer the opportunity for solo exhibitions, product launches, instigate collaborations and present artwork for sale across all of our retail platforms.

We launched our Strand Arcade retail store in 2010 and in 2013 streamlined the business into a singular brand, Courtesy of the Artist.

Metalab became Courtesy of the Artist – Studio, and then in 2014 opened a second store in the Strand Arcade Courtesy of the Artist – Custom.

ROAR: What have been some highlights on the adventure so far?

Cesar: It’s often difficult to recognize the small victories when you’re on the inside looking out. But upon reflection, witnessing our business hold its own against more established players in the retail landscape is constantly rewarding. Having people seek out our artists specifically for significant custom orders is another rewarding scenario that has led to some outstanding outcomes and very satisfied customers. These moments are important to us.

We also consider hosting major or milestone exhibitions of an artists work in our gallery an honour. We have on occasion sold work from these exhibitions to major public and private collections.

Having a physical retail presence in Sydney’s landmark shopping destination, The Strand Arcade was a bit like a coming of age for us. So being invited to open a store there is a significant highlight.

ROAR: What are some challenges in starting a business from scratch and continuing it as it even outgrows your expectations or dreams?

Cesar: Before starting out I had practically no real experience with small business.

I had written a business plan, developed a marketing strategy and fumbled through a financial plan. The latter being an ever-present thorn in my side.

As much as I thought I was prepared, the reality of maintaining a business like Metalab was physically and mentally exhausting not to mention very costly.

Managing the finances of any business is an obvious challenge especially for a fledgling creative.

I think the biggest challenge when starting a creative business from scratch is coming to terms with the amount of effort, commitment and sacrifice that it takes to nurture it. And if you have little experience with managing others then it is a valuable skill to develop quickly as your business grows.

We are celebrating 10 years in business this year and we’re very grateful to have a great team of highly skilled individuals on our side.

We started this business because we believed in the importance of making well crafted and considered objects as well as maintaining a physical platform to showcase the best examples of Australian Contemporary Jewellery Design.

The challenge for us now is to keep walking the talk.

ROAR: What are some exciting things this year that people should know about what you guys are up too?

Cesar: At Courtesy of the Artist – Custom, we celebrate the bespoke as well as maintaining a monthly exhibition schedule.

In 2015 we will host 8 distinctly different events with the finale an exhibition celebrating our 10 years in business.

The Courtesy of the Artist Studio has also been working on developing new ranges of jewellery exclusively for our flagship store as well as new ranges in collaboration with other retailers, artists and designers. An exciting development for our brand and a direction we will continue to explore over the coming years.

The studio has also been commissioned to produce a series of art installations, awards for Amnesty International, an exciting collaboration with a beverage company and the second installment in our homegrown gemstone exhibition – Rare Earth.

ROAR: You guys are doing something so special in sharing and promoting amazing creative people and their work. Thank you for sharing a part of your story with us!

Follow and get in touch: Courtesy of the Artist Facebook @courtesyoftheartist instagram 

                                                      Courtesy of the Artist website 



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Cally: Sea Borne Art

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Cally: Sea Borne Art

ROAR: Hey Cally! Let us know about your awesome brand. What is Sea Borne art and who is involved?

Cally: Sea Borne Art: ocean-inspired, sustainable candles hand made in bohemian Bondi. It’s a creative endeavour, up cycling found, preloved and everyday materials into sustainable art. I also stock the amazing sea-inspired art of Bondi locals. Shell art, mandalas and mini-surfboards made from broken boards. Everything is recycled or handmade in Bondi. 

ROAR: We love these ideas! When we met you it sounded so rad how you get your resources and how you transport products to customers. Please share what you do and why!?

Cally: I’m so lucky to live in a suburb that has a huge transient population. Not only is there always a great flow of interesting people, but there is always treasure to be found on the streets! I collect unwanted items, visit second-hand stores and people have even started to bring me bags, wrapping and trinkets to use in the candle-making process. It's a completely green operation - the energy I use to heat the wax is solar powered, and I skateboard deliver to local customers. 

Sea Borne came from a place of wanting to use what we have to make things of beauty, and encourage others to do the same. Be inspired to create! As for the skateboarding deliveries - what better way to get to know your area than to skate around? Plus, it’s a bonus when I can personally deliver a gift! 

ROAR: Skateboard delivery is the best idea! We also heard you have an awesome work space that people always seem to be dropping in to say hi and hang out? Tell us about this creative space.

Cally: Ah yes, the Candlearium! Also known as my garage. It’s such a chill place. When I first moved to this apartment, I had a lot of furniture that couldn’t fit. It ended up in the garage. Then, when I decided to start making candles in the garage, the furniture stayed. So it’s like a mini home, that smells like 200 candles! It’s a little oasis in the back streets of Bondi. What I love is how comfortable people are when they pop in. They plonk down on the couch or come and hover over the back table and chat away as I make candles. I was in the surf today and a girl asked me if I was the one who ‘has the little candle garage’ - stoked that people know the Candlearium! 

ROAR: Awesome community vibes! Congratulations on starting your own business and already gaining a good range of happy customers! Tell us how this idea came to life?

Cally: Oh thanks! I’ve been making candles for about six years - just as gifts for friends. A few people had told me I should sell them, but I didn’t have time, and to be honest it felt a tad strange selling something I had always given away. About a year ago I finished working the 9-5 and had all this time on my hands. While trying to figure out what to do next, I thought I would just literally open the garage, make some candles and see what happened. The gorgeous, generous people in my neighbourhood did the rest! Now I stock local stores, market stalls and have an online Etsy store. It’s been a beautiful organic growth. 

ROAR: Tell us about your thoughts on sustainability and eco friendly products and why it is such a focus for you?

Cally: Sustainability for me, is all about balance - living a fulfilling life, doing it with minimal negative impact on the earth and those around you. My not-so-inner-hippy was raised on a 40ft yacht my father built. My family lived a wholly sustainable (and adventurous) life, visiting pristine places and enjoying nature. We carried our own water, used solar power and didn’t even have a fridge until I was 15. We saw first-hand the devastating damage plastic can have on the ocean, harming the environment and killing animals. I’m grateful to my folks for the insight into our connectedness to and impact on the natural world. But we also lived a good life - I didn’t want for anything and mum taught me how to Op Shop like a pro! So my land-lubber life has been about finding my own balance - living a life where I don’t deprive myself of anything, but also being aware of how my purchasing behaviour can make a difference. 
Sea Borne is an extension of those principals. When researching sustainable candle making, I learnt that many candles are toxic. Lead-dipped wicks and paraffin (from petroleum) wax and synthetic scents. A candle is a delicious luxury for many, and this treat shouldn’t be harmful to you, or the planet. And so I use recycled bags, the wax I use is certified sustainable, cotton wicks and natural scents. And all decorations are found or pre-loved! 
Each of us has the potential to make positive change in the world - by learning where your favourite brand makes it’s clothes, and how those people are treated, to buying the tuna that is hand-caught, so as not to harm dolphins. By supporting the brands, people and products actively trying to do good, we can make a huge difference. 

 ROAR: So you are set up mainly around Bondi and are gaining a really good name for yourself. Are you thinking of expanding and if so where to? We can't wait to get some for the van!!

Cally: Ultimately it would be wonderful to travel around like you and live in the van, make candles, surf and explore… Sea Borne is starting to venture out of Bondi - stocked in yoga studios, organic cafes, and down the coast, a friend is opening a eco burger bar soon, Sea Borne will be lighting up the night there (can’t wait to see that!), and there are plans afoot to travel far and wide to markets spreading the love! Friends are also stocking Sea Borne in their refurbished vintage caravan and hitting the road - will forward you their details - so much happening! Ultimately though I would love to be involved with an art healing organisation - helping others find their creative fire and find peace. 
I would love you to have a candle in the van -  we have a travel candle in our camper van too! Drop in any time - across from 70 Denham Street, Bondi. 
@seaborneart - Instagram
Sea Borne Bondi - Facebook 

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