FK chats to the lovely Tamara of brisbane based stationery label One Lantern!
Can you tell us about your lovely label and where the name comes from?
One Lantern is still only very new, and totally exciting for me. I’ve dreamt about having a boutique design business for as long as I can remember, I’m totally obsessed with papergoods and interiors. I also wanted it to reflect my style as well as what I love and believe. The Bible talks a lot about shining, and I love that. Stand for what you believe in, and don’t hide it, because what’s the good in that? There’s a bit in there that says, ‘No one lights a lantern and then puts it under a basket. Instead they put it on a stand, where it can shine light on everyone. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and praise the Lord.’ (Matt 5:15-16) So my hope is that my little design studio will be like a lantern to all who see it.
What was the motivation behind starting your label?
I was feeling a bit disillusioned about the importance of my work as a Freelance Graphic Designer, and was beginning to question what I was investing my time in. I didn’t want life to just pass me by and feel like there hadn’t been any purpose in what I had spent my days doing, like I needed to be doing something more important. But the thing about that was that God has given me abilities and a passion for designing, and not the other more ‘important’ things. Eventually I had to accept that this was how he had made me and that this was his purpose for me. So instead I began to look at it differently and think how could I use my design skills to make a difference. Everybody needs encouragement and love at some point in their life and sometimes a few words is all it takes to make a difference in someone else’s day, so I decided to design a range of cards and prints that would do just that. I had a look at what was already out there, it was shocking. Most of the Christian cards on the shelves have chickens and roses on them (not that there’s anything wrong with either chickens or roses…) and I couldn’t understand why they all had to be so tacky and look like they were designed with clip art in the 70’s, why couldn’t they be just as edgy as any other card range out there? It seemed like a niche that hadn’t been met yet, so hence, One Lantern.
How has your creative style developed over time? and what inspires your work?
For as long as I can remember I’ve loved designing. I remember as a kid getting great satisfaction from carving the perfect living environment out of dirt and rocks in a plastic bucket for the very lucky lizards I caught. Needless to say, I went on to study Architecture at QUT. I admit I have never used the degree yet (everyone needs at least one unused degree right..), but it gave me a great grounding for a design career. The architect in me loves simple, clean-lines, almost too pared back maybe, so I’m in the process of embracing my creativity a little more again now and allowing myself to do things just ’cause I like it and not because it fits within the principles of design. I’m totally obsessed with mid century design though, and beautiful type work, so my work can usually be found hovering somewhere around there.
What do you love about living in Brisbane?
In the past, I might have been a little reluctant to say that I loved living in Brisbane, but I can’t deny it, I really do. Growing up, all I wanted to do was get the heck out of Brisbane, but after having traveled the world and living in places like London, Boston, California, Japan… I now have to say, we are some very blessed people to be calling Brisbane ‘home’. I’m no where near done traveling yet, but each time I come home to Brisbane I seem to like it more and more. Life here is very relaxed, people are down to earth and generally lovely, I’m convinced there is a new awesome coffee spot opening up weekly at the moment, our weather alone is worth living here for, the colours are so vivid, our sky is so blue, and the living is easy. And honestly, you can’t beat a Queensland beach, hands down, the best lifestyle this world has to offer. I can tell you the exact day I realised just how much I loved Brisbane though. I had been living in cold, grey London for some time and was returning home after a long while away, and was blown away when the Customs Officer checking my passport said in the broadest Aussie accent, ‘Aw G’day mate, welcome home.’ I nearly hugged him.
What do you love about working with screen printed stationery?
There’s nothing like holding a hand made product in your hands and enjoying the texture of a lovely stock and being able to smell and feel the layers of ink on the paper. I feel a real connection with the product that I don’t get with a digital or off-set print. True, it is much more labour intensive and has a much broader scope for error, but I honestly think it’s worth the extra effort and cost to achieve a beautiful quality product. I am a perfectionist (as much as I wish I wasn’t) and I’m fanatical about detail, so I probably spend longer than I really should producing each design, but when the final product is sitting on my desk in front of me and the colours are insanely vibrant, and the lines are crisp, I get a little more excited than I should probably admit.
What new plans do you have for the rest of this year?
The correct answer here is getting a One Lantern website up and running. It’s a mystery to all that I am still without a website, blog or Facebook page. To be honest, I’d much rather be designing cards than marketing them but my excuses are coming to an end (and my bills are piling up), so I think that’s top of my list now. In reality though, I see a whole new world of procrastination options opening up. I have just recently become engaged (to a ridiculously good-looking and wonderful American man) which has led me to discover the dangerous world of wedding blogs. And though I’m doing a very convincing job of it, you can really only justify the hours spent day-dreaming over them as ‘research for a new wedding stationary line’ for so long. I’m becoming more and more convinced that I need a business partner to handle all of the practical issues of running a small design business, so that I don’t end up living on the street. In the mean time while I work at discovering my business savvy side, I have a new range of prints, cards, and gift tags that I’m very excited to be releasing next week on my Etsy store. And I do see a lovely range of wedding stationary popping up in the not too distant future…