Today’s feature is a special one for us! We chat with the lovely Esther from Togetherness Design, who many of our readers would recognise from our Autumn Winter 2017 poster illustration! Get an inside look into Esther’s process below, and be sure to visit her stall at our Melbourne market to get the first glimpse of Togetherness Design’s new mini winter collection.
Oh and if that isn’t enough to get you cheering with delight, Esther’s band Swim Team will also be performing on Friday night at the market!
How would you describe your artistic practice?
I’m a textile designer who creates work under my label Togetherness Design as well as doing freelance work and occasionally teaching a bit at University. The majority of my personal work for Togetherness Design focuses on developing outcomes that are rich in pattern, bold colour and inky linework in some sort of functional form, be it a textile-based garment, bag, or cushion, illustrated papergoods or ceramic jewellery and homewares.
I am largely influenced by the natural world, including flora and fauna, and myths and legends as well as more traditional textile influences. I gain a lot of inspiration from the massive amount of talented designers I am surrounded by both locally and overseas.
How do you feel your practice has evolved since you began your creative business?
My practise has expanded to include new and exciting mediums that I wasn’t necessarily using when I first started out. Although I originally studied fashion out of high school, creating handmade garments to sell is a new thing for me, and my most recent venture with the label. It’s been a great new way for me to showcase my love of pattern and colour and experiment with how these elements work on the body. I’ve also added ceramics to my repertoire and look forward to exploring new creative avenues in the future!
Managing my label and juggling different streams of work is something that I have become more used to and slightly better at handling as I grow more experienced with my business although this is still something I struggle with!
Have you always been on a creative path? How did you find yourself working as an artist?
I had some key creative influences in my early life – my mum who sewed a lot of things for us as kids, after school pottery classes and being in Brownies. When I was growing up I thought of being a lawyer, an archaeologist, a forensic scientist – never anything creative.
After high school I decided that perhaps I would try studying Fashion Design as I had taken a liking to screen-printing in my high school art class and since then I have been on a creative path. I still sometimes wonder how I ended up essentially drawing for a living, as I have never felt like an especially talented illustrator, but somehow here I am!
What was your inspiration behind the beautiful artwork created for our AW17 poster?
The artwork was inspired by lush tropical leaves and geometric shapes and was painted using a mix of gouache and ink. I love leaves and flowers as subject matter and my work somehow always comes back to nature or has some sort of botanical influence.
Describe your favourite creative project to date.
I’m currently working on a new and exciting ongoing creative project with my friend Penny Ferguson. We’ve started a podcast called Wowee! Podcast where we interview fellow creative people and share information about our process, ours lives and our inspirations. This has been such an exciting project and something that has pushed me out of my comfort zone and given me the chance to talk to like-minded people and even people from the creative community that I greatly admire but would have been too shy to talk to in the past. It’s made me so aware of the amazing community that Melbourne offers and makes me glad that I live here!
What advice would you give aspiring artists who are looking for a career in the arts?
Just go for it! I feel very lucky to live in a time where it has never been easier to make a living from working in the creative industries. Social media and the internet have made it so unbelievably achievable – its so easy to show your work to a wide audience, run an online store or find like minded people to talk to. It takes time, patience and a lot of hard work but if you keep plugging away at your creative work, things will hopefully work out.