Tell us a little about your label and what kind of things you create in your own space?
I run accessories label Ginny & Jude Designs, creating all manner of quirky and whimsical pieces – from headpieces to homewares to jewellery – for stylish women of all ages. I create every single thing for the label within the four walls of my loungeroom at my home in Ashfield. This of course has it’s difficulties because there is such a range of things which I have to create and I don’t have anything ‘set-up’ permanently. About a year ago I invested in a really old wooden filing cabinet from the 1930s and that has been a great help in keeping things organised and out of the way. There’s a draw for tools and the raw materials, a draw for fabric and a draw for finished products. Sadly not everything will fit in it and there are still two slim boxes filled with feathers under the couch. I’m on the look out for a set of old printers draws so I can organise all the feathers properly into colour-coordinated sets.
What is your work space like and what things surround you when you work?
My work space is beautiful and homely. I live in a flat inside an old Victorian house – one of the oldest still standing in Ashfield – and with it’s high, high ceilings, white walls and huge sash window it gives a sense of space and light which is fantastic to work in. I have a desk which sits underneath the window and the majority of my work is done here. From where I sit at my desk I look directly at an antique Japanese scroll which has a painting of a small songbird on it. It’s beautiful and I love it because it’s a bit wonky. And to my left outside the window is a box of bright and cheery geraniums. Around the room on all shelves, the piano and any other once bare spaces I have set up displays of all the little trinkets I have collected in my life – found feathers, photos, ceramics, prints – and these all inspire me in some way.
Where do you go for ‘tools of your trade’?
On top of a few local haunts, I mainly I go to the internet! The range of millinery supplies in Australia is limited, so I look to America and the UK for a wider range where the breadth and quality of ribbon, netting and hat forms is staggering. Because I want my pieces to look unique and different to everything else widely available, I make a point of looking further afield to ensure I’m not using the same base materials as everyone else. For instance, I source vintage brass chain from Canada in small quantities and I also have a few styles handcrafted in Korea exclusively for Ginny & Jude Designs.
Do you have a structured work process or is it ‘an anything goes’ approach?
Because my time is limited I have realised that a fairly structured approach is better than simply tinkering, which is a pity because I do love tinkering. Generally I scribble down ideas that I have for collections or pieces whilst on the train or the bus so that I have a very particular idea of what I want to complete. For many years I have been collecting antique millinery trim and there is a lot I’m still yet to use. When I’m coming up with a new collection I spread everything out on the floor and sit there putting things together in different ways, documenting my ideas as I go. I also trawl the internet for images which are evocative of the spirit of the collection and create a digital inspiration board for myself.
What keeps you motivated and inspired when you’re working from home?
I’m very bad at sitting around and not doing anything. If I have a spare moment then I am delighted to have the opportunity to work on my label – both physically making and developing ideas as well as updating my blog and online shop. I listen to music which is evocative of something I’m trying to bring out in the pieces I’m creating – for instance I listen to a lot of Fats Waller and Rufus Wainwright whilst creating headpieces because they seem to help the pieces make sense. However this really only applies to the creative parts of the process and for the more banal repetitive tasks, like beading or finishing which can become very intense before an event, I am guilty of watching entire seasons of various television shows whilst working into the wee hours of the morning simply so I stay awake and interested.
How do you balance your creative time with your other part time jobs?
With some difficulty! I have two part-time jobs on top of running my label so it’s important to squeeze every last possible drop of time from every day. I enjoy working at night so I work up to around midnight most nights of the week. Over time I have learnt to be very organised and to compartmentalise my life into neat little portions. I am a prodigious list writer and every week I have a long list of tasks to finish in order to stay on track. Of course this is an enormous amount of work and to ensure I don’t go completely insane I try and keep Sunday as a day of leisure and sleep each week.
Where do you go for inspiration for your home & studio?
To be completely honest my home has pretty much thrown itself together and I’ve simply organised it in an attractive way. All of the furniture – with the exception of the filing cabinet and the table chairs I’ve reupholstered – was handed down to me from friends or family amazingly enough! But all the details – every trinket, photograph, print and the decorative textiles which adorn the walls – have been collected by me since I was a young girl. Ever since I can remember I have wanted to decorate a house, so I was very prepared when I moved into my flat 7 years ago. Aesthetically, my home really is just an extension of myself. When I’m procrastinating/collecting ideas, I love looking through Flickr albums, Pia Jane Bijkerks blog is so whimsical and delightful (as are her books), the Satorialist, Clever Nettle’s blog, Oh my Cavalier blog – and all these things then lead to other things which then lead to other things and so on. I also really enjoy looking through Country Style and Vogue Living for the pure escapism of it – I just love looking inside other people’s amazing spaces.
What would your ideal space to create be like?
As much as I appreciate the convenience of being able to live and work in the same space, my ideal work space would be separate from my home. In the lead up to releasing a new collection or an event my house is literally smeared in feathers, chain, semi-precious stones, fabric, glue and notes I’ve made for myself. It’s awful and there are many days when I wake up and walk into my loungeroom and quite fervently hate the fact it’s so messy! In an ideal world I’d like some lovely light-filled studio out the back of my own shop, where everything is easily accessible in neat organised labeled draws or shelves, easy cycling distance from my house.
All the wonderful photos featured in this post are by Renee Anne and are exclusively for the Finders Keepers!