FK talks to friends Kylie and Kym about their collaboration on Those Halycon Days.
We know ‘Those Halycon Days’ is a partnership between two old friends. Tell us more!
Those Halcyon Days is a collaboration between friends and jewellers Kym Mullen and Kylie Gartside. There is a commonly held belief that there are less than 6 degrees of separation in Brisbane – I think us catching up could be the scientific evidence. Having not been in touch for many years, I had been back in Brisbane not 24 hours when I ran into Kym’s brother Michael, pre-dawn at the local dog park. The same week Kym ran into my brother, also called Michael at her sons school. After a slightly convoluted catch up phone call about whose had run into who, we met for lunch to discover we’d been making uncannily similar jewellery for years completely unbeknown to each other. We have always shared a similar aesthetic and ethos, so the decision to collaborate on a range together was a natural one.
What are your backgrounds and how has it lead to where you are today?
While we have both always created, our paths to designing and making have led through many and varied landscapes. While we have both pursued other careers outside the creative realm, the desire to make and create has been a constant in both our lives. We are both shocking op shop stalkers and can’t seem to leave a treasure behind even if it just won’t fit in either our houses or studio. Surrounding ourselves with hand made objects brings us so much joy and inspiration, we wanted to share our creations with others. Essentially, we just want to make things, when people want to buy it from us it makes us happy and we can get on and make more things! Both of us get bored and distracted really easily (you just have to look at our old school report cards) so expect to see a variety of pieces coming out of Halcyon Days. Jewellery is where we began but we’re keen to see textiles, leather and ceramics one day grace the shelves under the label those halcyon days.
What has been the most rewarding and challenging parts of working as a collaborative?
Working with someone who is so in sync with makes the process of collaboration super easy. We both have little boys who love hanging out together, in fact the Flinders range was hatched on the trampoline between bouncing 4 year old’s. Trying to keep the lads warm on the beach combing trip to Stradbroke Island in the middle of winter on Brisbane’s coldest day in 30 years was our most challenging day to date, so I guess we’re lucky. Creating by yourself can be an isolating experience and sharing the light bulb moments is always so much more fun.
What inspires your work, and where does the name come from?
We spent much of our late teens with each others families, camping and exploring, which may be the root of our shared love of wild spaces and natural landscapes. The name of our label, those halcyon days harks back to these times when our days were spent with sunburnt noses and pockets full of shells, seeds and assorted treasures. To us it means sun drenched days on lazy beaches, being outside until dark and coming home with a head full of the beauty of the moment. The Flinders range was inspired by our shared experiences on Stradbroke Island and the shell necklace creations we used to make on holidays and hide under our school uniforms until the strings broke and we had to wait until next holiday to make more. We decided to create a lasting version as homage to those times.
What are some creative spots that you share for getting inspired or collecting pieces for your collections?
Our inspiration comes from the little moments of beauty that we encounter in our daily travels. We often reach for the same piece of stoneware pottery at the op shop, it’s the joy found in a cluster of poppy stems once the petals have fallen by the wayside, it’s finding beauty in the small things; 2 pairs of little footprints in the sand, the softest of pinks found inside the cockle shell, the awesome 70’s fabric found at the charity store and the smell of old books.
What other things do you have planned for your jewellery label this year?
With the changing season we are always inspired to create something new… our new range jewellery girraween will be launched at Melbourne FK. We are also planning to create some new products to satisfy our urge to engage with other favourite materials, most recently we are bit obsessed with leather. We hope that you’ll enjoy surrounding yourself with our pieces and using them on a daily basis, as much as we enjoy creating them. We value events like FK so much as an opportunity to meet and have conversations with people who appreciate our work, and the invaluable feedback they give us.