FK chats to the Jacqueline of playful label Whimsy Milieu who recently debuted at Sydney, Finders Keepers!
Tell us a bit about Whimsy Milieu and what products we can expect to discover?
I have just started Whimsy Milieu a few months ago and chose the name because I want to surround people with whimsical & quirky things that will make them happy.
I am currently focusing on jewellery, and have just recently launched my first collection entitled Outré Forest Treasures. However, I like to diversify and dabble in other things as well, thus I also produce illustrations & tea towels. My ‘product ideas’ folder is filling up quickly, so there might be other products to discover in the near future!
What is your creative background and how did it lead you to where you are today?
I remember doing lots of creative stuff when I was young – making cards to sell at the school fair, joining drawing competitions, and lots of crafty activities at home. I always wanted to do something creative & design-related at university but ended up studying engineering instead.
I worked as an engineer for a bit before my passion for design made me take the big leap and I went back to university to study design. I have since graduated from COFA and am now living my dream of being a designer. There is still a lot of hard work and a long journey ahead of me towards becoming a better designer & business-owner.
How has your creative style developed over time? and what inspires your work?
My creative style has definitely changed over time, more so during my days at design school, where I was exposed to all sorts of aesthetics and people with different ideas. There have been times when my creative style veered towards very contemporary, sleek and clean lines, but I realized that naturally my designs tend to be more whimsical, playful and organic.
A lot of different things inspire my work – ranging from old illustrations, natural curiosities, vintage wares, apothecary, Japanese crafts & design, French patisserie – anything at all that catches my attention at the moment. It is funny how sometimes even the most insignificant detail can be an inspiration.
What is your creative workspace like, and what inspires you about your surroundings?
There are a couple of spots in the house which I have claimed as my workspaces – half of a room is my studio, where I make my jewellery and other products, and also where I keep all my tools & equipment. I have also been using the dining table as my ‘office’ space – where I work on my laptop (research, development, designing, emailing, marketing, etc.). I have just been living in my current place for less than 5 months and I love the peace and quiet here, as it is hidden behind some other units at the end of a beautiful, tree-filled cul-de-sac.
What do you love about working with wood and polymer clay? And what are some of the challenges?
My current collection, Outré Forest Treasures, is made using wood and polymer clay, which I love because to me, the combination of these two materials just seem so right. I wanted to create a natural look for this collection, and using wood was the obvious choice, whereas the white polymer clay that I used is reminiscent of bone.
One of the main challenges of using polymer clay was trying to make identical duplicates of each element, which is quite impossible without using a mold. However, I feel that it added more character to the collection as every single piece is slightly different and no two are 100% alike in size and shape.
What aspirations do you have for your label in the future?
For the near future, I’m hoping that my jewellery will find their way into more stores and ultimately homes of people who love the jewellery. My long-term aspiration would be to expand my label to include homewares, furniture, and maybe even fashion items. Most importantly, I hope that my products will bring fun & happiness to the end users!