26.03.2018

At Home & Work With: Erena Te Paa


Insta is gold for connecting us with inspiring creatives and good humans. That’s how I first discovered the work and aesthetic of
34-year old Hamilton mum Erena Te Paa  – fashion and product stylist, lifestyle blogger (Erena’s blog is devoted to writings on life, motherhood, confidence, style, interiors and more) and woman with all-round-amazing taste.

I’m excited to share Erena’s home and workspace with you, and ask this babely babe a whole heap of questions about her design-lead life…

 

Tell us about what you do?
I’m a freelance stylist and copywriter by trade, blogger by night (or when time allows!) and also stay-at-home mum to my two year old son Costa (with one on the way eek!)

In a nutshell I am hired to source products and style them for client campaigns (magazines, e-zines, catalogues)/photoshoots. Fashion styling (and personal styling) was my first passion and what I was originally ‘called’ to do (and how my business came to be) but in recent years that has evolved into more product styling (homewares/lifestyle) which I absolutely love. The copywriting side of my biz came from having worked in PR, and marketing but also the fact that quite a few of my clients follow my blog and liked the way I wrote (haha I don’t know that last bit for sure, but I think it helped!)

What projects are you working on at the moment?
I have recently just finished writing content and sourcing for my clients Autumn/Winter 18 campaigns (i.e. fashion/homeware trends – in-centre magazines).

We are near completion on a guesthouse/air bnb so I am immersed in finishing that space and when it’s ready, maintaining it (chief cleaner!).

Also personally, trying to finish decorating my sons room and a couple of other spaces before baby arrives, the results of which will be shared on the blog (soon I hope!).


 

What was a highlight of your past week:
On a personal note, meeting my new niece Zoe and on a professional note finishing a writing project on time and before deadline.

A challenge/frustration you’ve been dealing with lately:
Being in my third trimester while also juggling work, motherhood and renos.

Or something you’ve learned recently:
I’ve learned to listen to my body first and adjust everything else accordingly. If that means I don’t get everything done or I need to rely on the help of others more than so be it. I can do plenty of things well but I can’t do everything and I would rather do a few things really well and be completely happy than do a lot of things so-so only to burn out at the end.

 


What advice you would give to someone wanting to be their own boss in the design/creative industries:
Do it but know that being your own boss doesn’t happen overnight and you may just find you’ll work harder and longer than any other job you’ve ever had. Generally, if it ignites your passion then it won’t feel like work.

I have been my own boss for 5 years but I started out being in a full-time job and setting up my business on the side. I was working twice as hard (doing two jobs essentially) while trying to promote my business in order to drum up a consistent client base (in a ‘niche’ market). Eventually all that hustling paid off and I was offered a contract which gave me the peace of mind to quit my day job and go full-time on my own.

Over the years my work has evolved and taken different twists and turns and as I’ve become a mother my priorities have changed but I am still here, still working, still passionate and still grateful for how far I’ve come. So I would always say ‘just do it’ and surround yourself with people who are just as passionate about it as you are.

Erena’s freakin gawjuss home office


What’s the best thing that’s happened to you work-wise/creatively over the past year?
I have really settled into my style in the passed year. I know what I like, I trust my abilities (more than ever before) and I think that has shown in both my personal projects (home renos) and in the work I produce for my clients.

How would you like to see your creative path unfold in the next year?
I’d like to continue doing good work for my clients but also step up my blogging. It’s always the first thing to stop when life gets busy, but its an important creative outlet for me and so I would love to be consistently producing content there.

 

(She’s a vignette maestro)

Can you share the schedule of a typical day or week in your work life? If there is no ‘typical’ day/week, what constants remain?
Our weeks have been very unstructured lately, simply because I have been juggling a renovation with pregnancy, motherhood and styling/writing projects. So it varies day-to-day but generally I have two days that I dedicate as ‘work’ days. On those days I’ll get up with Costa, get him ready, put the washing on, take him to kindy and then head back home to work.

My work varies depending on what deadline is coming up and what project I am focusing on but for the most part it involves researching trends, tracking down products, making phone calls, planning meetings or scheduling projects, replying to emails, writing copy and when time allows taking pictures or writing content for an upcoming blog post. I am lucky in that all of these tasks I can do from home or close by but when I am booked on a shoot I am generally required to be away from home for up to 3 days so this requires more planning but is less frequent and therefore easier to juggle. I also have an awesome husband and Mum who can help out with Costa when I am called away.

As a Mum I find it easier to dedicate days just for work so that I’m not trying to do work and parent at the same time and on the odd occasion when work spills into a day when I’m looking after Costa then I’ll try to do that when he has a nap or at night (thankfully this situation doesn’t happen too often and my clients are very understanding).

I love being a Mum and for me family will always come first but I have been very fortunate to also have this side hustle which can work around Mum life but also satisfies me creatively too.

In what ways do you give yourself work/life balance:
I am a self-confessed homebody and I also work from home so switching off for me has to involve getting out of the house at least once or twice. Whether that’s taking Costa to a park or to the zoo, going for a walk or arranging a meeting or catch up at a cafe.

I am still working on digitally switching off, but generally I don’t like to be too immersed in my phone especially where little eyes can see me so I’ll put it aside for a few hours and pick it up selectively.

A huge thanks to photographer Ash Muir for the stunning imagery

 

Finally, tell us what you’ve been getting into lately…

Listening To: Léon and LANY

Reading / Watching / Clicking on: Falling down the Youtube rabbit hole (Into the Gloss), binge-watching Love on Netflix and clicking on @_roomonfire and @nycbambi

Looking Forward To: Finishing our Airbnb

Eating/Drinking: Currently craving (because pregnant): Dumplings from The Chilli House / Mama’s Donuts and so old school but would love a Baileys (in a few months time!)

Wanting to Buy: A new camera

~

Follow Erena’s Blog  /   Erena’s Instagram

 

 

09.08.2017

At Home & Work with: Naomi Haussman


 

Everyone, meet Naomi Haussman. Naomi, this is everyone.

Naomi is a Christchurch-based photographer who captures light and mood and meaning for a living. Lucky. Actually not lucky – relentless. She picked up a camera in high school, and now, over 10 years later (including 3 years travelling the world with an Aid Organisation as a documentary photographer), she’s built her own freelance business and honed her craft through the sheer passion she has for it. One of her largest clients is Neat Places, who have sent her all over the country in recent years to shoot some of New Zealand’s best destinations for shopping, dining and arts and culture. Along the way, she’s also capturing people, products and places for other clients, and fitting in her own photographic ‘experiments’, side projects and a few weddings, too.


Morning coffee with flattiesWinston the Persian. Such a regal name, Winston.

Corners of Nay’s home

 

My morning routine looks a little like this:
Mornings are usually pretty mellow unless I have a shoot early. Get up around 7/8am – I’m someone who likes to wake up and lie in bed for at least 30mins to gather thoughts and do a run through of the day before facing the world. Normally will have a coffee with the flatmates, we are all self employed so we usually have breakfast around the same time which is nice.

We have recently moved into a beautiful new build, its amazingly warm over winter and also is predominantly made of untreated wood and aesthetically is a bit of dream so I have been able to double up using this as a studio, if I am doing product shoots I will stay home and do that first. 

If I don’t have a shoot on in the morning, I will head to a cafe and down a couple more long blacks then check emails before heading into the office for a day of editing.

Morning musts at Supreme Supreme

Naomi works from The Collect – Christchurch’s shared creative office space

For work this week, I….
I am working on a creative project for a magazine and am fighting a creative block so spending a lot of time mulling over photos and trying to pick which ones I want and what I need to reshoot/discard.

I have a day of shooting out in Waipara at one of my favourite wineries, Black Estate, its truffle season and a company I work for – Neat Places – are doing a guide to the best places for truffles.


Product shot for new healing oil skincare brand, Tahi

Truffle honey

For work this week, I….
I am working on a creative project for a magazine and am fighting a creative block so spending a lot of time mulling over photos and trying to pick which ones I want and what I need to reshoot/discard.

 I have a day of shooting out in Waipara at one of my favourite wineries, Black Estate, its truffle season and a company I work for – Neat Places – are doing a guide to the best places for truffles.

For the rest of the week I’ll spend time in the office editing and planning for next week’s shoots…and of course attempting to get all my admin done….the Never Ending Admin.

The highlight of the past week was…
Probably spending time shooting in the Port Hills. During winter they are all misty and magical and having a good reason to get out amongst the beauty on a chilly day is really awesome.

Those misty Port Hills

Portrait shot for NZ musician Nick Dow

A challenge/frustration I’ve been dealing with is:
The aforementioned creative block and the never ending battle of time management. I think one of the hardest things for me is translating my vision well, especially when there is a time restraint and when it’s being produced for someone else. It’s easier to capture what someone else has created than it is to communicate your own vision. For me it’s a very vulnerable thing to do and so I end up questioning my choices a lot.

Something I’ve learned recently is…
How much people around me believe in what I’m doing and how much they want to support me.

Part of an editorial Naomi is working on for Flint & Steel magazine


Recently, I’ve been…

Listening to:
A lot of Solange with a hint of D’Angelo, Aldous Harding and a rediscovery of Kimbra

Reading:
I’m the classic multiple book reader, currently getting through Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography and also mulling over a book called ‘First we make the Beast Beautiful’. It’s about anxiety and rethinking it. Its cover is beautifully done.

Looking forward to:
A trip I am doing in August with a bunch of ladies to Milford Sounds. I always need good trip away to refresh / rethink / gain perspective and read a lot of books and have a lot of laughs. Especially in beautiful places that I can take snaps in with zero agenda.

Visiting:
Going to Kaikoura for the day to check out some of the awesome places that have opened there. Kaiks is one of those places that has a special place in my heart, probably because it delivers mountains and ocean all in one backdrop.

Wanting to Buy:
A new camera body and a new lens. New glass is always exciting to shoot through and currently I have a very small selection. Whilst I am a big believer in becoming good at your craft with whatever you have, I am due for a wee upgrade.

Eating:
Its pretty hard to go past the truffles at Black Estate, I’m also a sucker for gnocchi and they do a damn good job of it – not to mention their wines – I just tried their chardonnay and for someone who is not normally a fan of white wine , this was a treat.

Black Estate organic winery – shot by Naomi for her Neat Places

If you’d like to hire Naomi to shoot your product or place (or person),
you can check out her portfolio here

Follow Naomi on Instagram here

 

 

homeware-store-nz

03.07.2017

At Home + Work With: Renee Boyd


When I think of the contemporary New Zealand ceramics scene, one of the first names I think of is Renee Boyd. She’s actually been a potter for over 10 years, having worked at various commercial product ceramic studios (and under a number of NZ ceramic legends) honing her craft before slowly making the move to running her own studio full time. Working from home in Auckland’s Glen Eden, Renee makes everything from tableware, to planters and sculptural pieces. She produces for retailers around the country and her own customers, and works on commissioned pieces too.

How did you first get into ceramics?

My early exploration of ceramics was when I was at high school. I met a really great friend Acushla and her dad John Green was a real life potter living in the bush at Anawhata Beach (one of the far West Coast beaches). We would spend every weekend driving out there in our old beat up cars to just hang out at their place, surrounded by all of his pottery and friends drinking endless cups of tea made in beautiful hand thrown teapots.  It was there I just soaked up the atmosphere and was given the chance to have a go myself, and thats when I started to become hooked on clay. The generosity and kindness from all the people and potters I met out there sealed my love for clay, I was just a teenager but really enjoyed learning what I could from all the artists and oldies about clay and also pretty much life in general.

How do you find working for yourself, by yourself?

I have been working full time for a while and I’m fortunate that I can work the hours I like, so I try and manage my time as effectively as possible, trying not to have too many late working nights. I used to work quite long hours… but I’m slowly learning the art of work/life balance; it’s certainly not easy! And because I love what I do it doesn’t feel like work mode to me.  I actually find hanging out in my studio by myself very relaxing.

Tell us a little about your creative process?

I always have ideas going on. Pottery has endless possibilities so I will always be occupied with things I could make!  I scribble a lot of ideas on paper first and then cut out shapes to experiment with where I’m going with the pieces.  I always love ceramics before it is fired in a kiln. Just after its been glazed and drying. There is something about the matt tactile-ness of the forms before they are glazed that appeals to me the most. I have spent many years experimenting with my own glazes to achieve this look in the final glaze.

What’s been some of the work highlights of the past year?

One of the highlights has been part of the mug mates subscription founded by Wundaire . It is a great idea and has really been loved by the makers and the collectors. It’s made me do more time on the wheel which is so good for getting the practice in – working on the wheel is something that is all about putting the time in.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m just in the process of making my own full dinner set for me to use. I can’t wait till I finally finish it and then can add it to the everyday use cupboard. I use my bowls all the time and am super stoked when I see my little boy Jed (6) grab one of my bowls for his breakfast over the commercial ones. Success!

I have a cupboard in my kitchen where I hold all the pottery over the years that I treasure and I’m always slowly adding to it. These are the pieces that I don’t use everyday as I’m too scared to break any as they can never be replaced.

Where do you think the current love for ceramics comes from?

I’m into making work that is minimalist and thoughtful, and allows people to fall in love with the tactile qualities of clay and glaze so that when they buy a piece its for life. And I personally feel so attached to pieces that I have bought from friends etc over the years that I’m sure it all begins and ends with hands, from the hands of the maker to the hands of the end user.

At the moment there is another wave of people loving handmade pieces and work that actually has some thoughtful design behind it which is awesome. And the support out there for New Zealand made is lovely, as it also pushes the maker into always trying to get the best they can from the piece they are working with… pieces that last a lifetime are the real deal.


The carport at Renee’s house has been converted into a light-filled home studio

You know I couldn’t resist a shot just of little old man Murray. Good boy, Murray.

Renee finishes these mugs with either a white, black, soft pink or sage green glaze

…and pretty things all in a row.
(I’m going to have to buy one of those speckled planters, you know that don’t you.)

We LOVE love love Renee’s ceramic wall hooks. 

Renee Boyd ceramics are available online from Renee’s own website, and from
NZ homeware stores Sunday, Paper Plane Store, and Blackbird Goods, amongst others.

 


Imagery captured by Auckland freelance photographer
Michelle Weir for The New

 

14.03.2017

At Home and Work with… Penney + Bennett


Loren, and Sarah

 Testing out their own range of sleepwear (which is coming soon)

 

Choosing materials for an upcoming (secret squirrel) project

 

Tweaking details for their upcoming display at Auckland’s INEX (interior design exhibition)

Lunch stop at little vietnamese joint, Try It Out – the girls often order this in if they’re working late
(Try It Out? Best English-as-second-language name ever! How good does this look?) 

 

Back in the studio – time for some emails and phone calls (Oh, and a baben portrait)

 

Planning the roll-out of the new collection 
Wrapping and boxing orders for retailers and customers
Refining patterns for linen house slippers – coming soon!
Penney and Bennett art prints have hand-applied gold leaf
Penney and Bennett sleepwear – coming very, very soon…
End of the day – bread, red wine, good cheese – that’s all the food groups.
 

Sarah Carson and Loren Marks first met at Whitecliffe College of Art & Design, where they collaborated on a few projects that combined their varying fine art practises. They found a shared passion for homeware, fabrics and furnishing, and during breaks between lectures they’d go to cafes and drink tea and talk about how they could turn their designs into beautiful textiles. After graduating, they each went into the workforce for a year, but kept meeting up for those chats over tea. The informal cuppas soon turned into more serious meetings on evenings and weekends, as they began to design and develop what would become Penney and Bennett.

Today, Sarah and Loren are both 26 and Penney and Bennett is almost three! And they’re about to launch their third collection, Guardian. Inspired by New Zealand’s native forest, it’s a moody, botanic direction, with a palette of deep greens and autumn shades.

Each surface pattern is created using a media mix of photography, painting and digital design, then printed onto metres of beautiful quality linen, cotton and silk, and transformed into cushions, pillowslips and bed linen, throws and more. Their range also includes table linen and large scale art prints.

Sarah and Loren live at opposite ends of Auckland, so sometimes before a big work day, they have a sleepover at one of their houses. It’s a chance for them to make the most of the day, starting with some early morning exercise to get the brain humming. (On this day, they went for a walk around Auckland’s Te Atatu Peninsula boardwalk). Days are spent getting orders of their dreamy printed textiles out to their customers and an expanding fam of retailers, and developing new collection prints and new products. Specifically, on the day Jonny visited them, Sarah and Loren were choosing materials for a whole new product line, checking the progress of their display stand for an interior design expo (INEX – happening in Auckland later this month), testing a new pattern for their linen house slippers, and finalising details of their new sleepwear range – a full range of pyjamas, which will come in plain linen, organic cotton and printed cotton.

Watch out for their new 2017 collection of cushions and throws, Guardian, in-stores very soon.
 
Explore the Penney and Bennett catalogue here:

 

 
Thank you Jonny!
Follow Jonny’s Narrative of Love Instagram here.

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