Tell us a bit about The Salt Mill and what we can expect to discover?
The Salt Mill began with the earring, but has really been evolving from the get go. Initially a jumping off point for me to flex my creative muscles it has become a creative practice, a space to explore and make, create and collaborate and most importantly, connect with and learn from both established and fledging creative folk from Brisbane and beyond.
What inspired you to start your own label?
The roundabout answer is that I had my quarter life crisis a year or so ago and I found myself in Nepal, which is where I am originally from. After spending a couple of months there, I came back to Brisbane with an itching desire to put pen to paper and a tummy bug. I got over the tummy bug, but the itch to draw and make stuck and so I began scrawling all over my neglected sketchbooks, trying to capture what was swirling around in my head. Next came design development and prototyping a.k.a scrawling some more and making cardboard mock ups. It was at this point that I decided to make a proper go of this creative spurt and thanks to my naiveté and complete lack of business sense, I somehow managed to convert inspiration into action and The Salt Mill was born. True story.
What do you love about working with jewellery and homewares and what keeps you creatively motivated?
I enjoy the scale of working with jewellery and homewares as they both allow me to use my hands to create objects that are immediate and tangible. In many ways it feels like a natural progression from the field I was working, in architecture and the greater world of the the built environment, only in an inverse scale. I think this familiarity, combined with an extended period of pent up creative frustration, is now feeding my drive to create. I’m hoping it isn’t a fleeting feeling and lasts a good while longer!
What is your workspace like and what is your creative process?
I was ‘working’ at home but discovered that in addition to making a mess of the carpets and constantly finding bits of paper and plastic stuck to various (and sometimes surprising!) parts of my body, I was also mighty unproductive. Procrastination is so close at hand at home, and I am a seasoned expert at it! Luckily, I found a studio in the old ice cream factory in West End which I am now sharing with Jasmine from Stranger and Fiction and despite the warehouse grunge decor, having a designated space to make and work feels a wee bit luxurious.
In terms of the creative process, I am heavily guided by my design education and experience but I’m also quite happy to just muck about, experimenting with different media and wandering off in random directions. Sometimes it’s these organic meanderings that expose you to methods, materials and techniques you wouldn’t otherwise have chanced upon. The plastics work I have been focusing on recently is a perfect example of this and now all I’m having an absolute ball testing its capabilities and limitations and refining the fusing technique. I also love surprising people by revealing the unexpected material and equipment I use to create the unique patterns that I apply onto jewellery.
What challenges have you faced starting your own label, and what are some things you love about it?
Apart from the practical business management side of things which I really struggle with, I think curating your own work is one of the more challenging aspects of working in any creative field. Attention to detail is important but it is far too easy to get caught up with being hyper-critical of the minutiae, hindering your productivity and diluting your passion. Having said that though, when you do manage to produce something you are happy to attach your name to being worn by a dear friend or a complete stranger, that warm, fuzzy feeling is pretty, darn amazing.
What can we expect to see from The Salt Mill at the upcoming Brisbane Markets?
Well, there will be earrings aplenty and a small selection of other jewellery items in various finishes. I’m also developing some small textiles and prints inspired by my recent work with plastics. They will be ready by then and searching for new homes to adorn as I only have so much wall and couch space myself!