Creative Space: Paula Mills

FK talks to Paula one half of Sweet William about her Melbourne based creative space. This month we introduce another new Creative Spaces project photographer Mishy Lane!

Tell us a little about your label and what kind of things you create in your own space?
Sweet William is a small creative business run by myself (Paula Mills) and my sister in New Zealand (Shelley Gardner). We wanted to stay connected creatively despite the distance. I draw and Shelley makes things. We sell archival quality prints, greeting cards, hand made objects, stationary and paper products all featuring my illustrations.

What is your work space like and what things surround you when you work?
My work space is organized chaos, it looks pretty messy but I sort of know where everything is. I can dig out a reference from an old magazine (i have mags dating back to 1995) from a huge pile in a cluttered corner or I will remember a piece of pretty paper found on my travels tucked away for safe keeping in one of my many stashes of kept paper. I have three tables in the studio and each inch of every surface is used. One for my Apple mac, scanner, printer, paper etc. One for working on and one for ongoing projects. All of them hold piles of books magazines, stationary, and all my art materials – paints brushes, inks, tape, glue, scissors etc etc!

What is your creative process like, and how do you balance this around your home life?
I have three young children, two of them at school and one at kinder and I fit my creative work around their timetables. As I don’t have regular working hours I am constantly fitting in creative work where I can, sometimes on weekends and evenings. Being creative is not something you can switch on and off, you have to live with it and let it come naturally.

What keeps you motivated and inspired when you’re working from home?
I continuously look for new work in illustration, fresh interior design, fashion and the art world mostly online but also through books and magazines. I find seeing new creative work always motivates me as does a tight deadline either by a client or a market!

Where do you go for inspiration for your home & studio?
Everywhere – Pinterest, Flickr, Design files, Creature comforts, Design sponge, Facebook, Elle Deco magazine UK, Living etc. magazine UK, Inside Out magazine, trash and treasure markets, vintage inspired shops.

What essential things surround you when you work?
My Apple Mac, my iPhone, my scanner and printer and then all the other art materials – ink pens, paints, piles of paper, pastels and pencils. Light and colour.

What is a typical day for you involve when you are working on Sweet William?
I make myself a cup of tea and select a play list from itunes. I check my emails and orders online, reply to any emails that need attention. Package up orders that need to go to the post. Post on our Sweet William blog – that normally involves taking some photographs of something inspirational and thinking up something interesting to write about. Then I will get on with what ever I have on my work space at the time – a collage or illustration, once I am happy with the hand drawn work and painted backgrounds I scan it all in to my Mac and spend some time compiling the illustrations in photoshop.

What things would you love to add to your creative working environment?
Polished concrete floors with a large over dyed vintage persian rug and floor to ceiling windows with an endless view.

All the wonderful photos featured in this post are by Mishy Lane and are exclusively for the Finders Keepers!


  • What a lovely space! Organised chaos is the only way to go πŸ™‚

  • Krystle says:

    Great story Good Inspiration Nice space

  • Emsie says:

    love everything about this creative space.

  • Hannah says:

    You have some great images in the story. I love the horse on the old wooden box and the old tins.

  • Laura says:

    I love that you and your sister are able to stay connected in this creative way. My sister and I are similar, she lives in Melbourne and I in Adelaide but we keep regular skype dates and are constantly inspiring and motivating eachother. It’s also nice to see what she’s up to through her business blog and facebook pages.

  • Dominika says:

    Really nice and inspiring πŸ™‚ My younger sister is also creative and it will be great that we live in same town but we live in different countries πŸ™‚ even at different continent πŸ™‚ but maybe one day we will be united and start doing something together. Hugs, Dominika

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