Escapism A collaborative and reflective response to the demand of daily life.
Produced by Plyroom
felt full of relentless activity and an incessant intensity in our professional and personal life like no other year before it. Whilst the momentum was exhilarating, each of us at Plyroom had experienced a certain weariness and longing to retreat at some point in the year. Given this, we’ve been contemplating the concept of ‘Escapism’ and whether the notion of escape in itself is constructive. Should we work and live for the moments spent away, working a desk job but dreaming of a sabbatical? Or should we design our lives to negate the need for escape all together, enjoying the small and frequent opportunities for pleasure? We thought we would pose the theme of Escapism to our peers to explore their creative interpretations of what it means to ‘escape’. We were taken aback by the thoughtful and beautiful responses to the brief. We hope you enjoy their work as much as we do, and perhaps it will inspire you to escape a little more (however that may be).
Founder of Plyroom
In The Beginning
On Designing A Life
When Elise Heslop left Melbourne with her young family in 2012 it forged an entirely new path for their future.
Domini Marshall of Her Words questions what it means to escape.
Places We Swim
Eko Pam and Abby London take us to a hazy, nostalgic Australian summer.
Dillon Seitchik-Reardon and Caroline Clements share their experience of a year chasing Australian waterholes.
The Art of Travel
Jacqui Lewis of The Broad Place shares her tips for conscious transit.
Photographer Robyn Daly documents her European sabbatical on a 1960s Yashica film camera.
Escapism: A Three Part Journey
Rosie Fea explores the notion of escapism and its constructs in the mind.
The humble additions to your home to create a welcome space for retreat.
Custard Tart with Poached White Peaches & Raspberries
Everyday Escapes Nicolle Sullivan of Cultiver Linen shares her four tips for entertaining simply.
A lovingly crafted recipe by Julia Busuttil Nishimura of Ostro.
Matthew Vrettas of Ghost Wares discusses the concept of creativity as a form of escapism.
No matter where you escape, home will remain a constant.
In The Beginning Words by Elise Heslop and photography by Sophie van der Drift
lyroom was born from an escape of sorts. The idea and the philosophy behind this business evolved during a year on sabbatical. Taking a break from a busy life, a life filled with the normal day to day challenges and logistics - work, kids, school events, social activity, the juggle of trying to fit it all in without room for much else. At first a large part of the reason for leaving Melbourne was about leaving behind some of the day to day of our lives, putting aside the perceptions and expectations of what our life should â€˜lookâ€™ like. We wanted to live more simply, experience simple pleasures, and have the headspace to appreciate them. As time went on, our escape became more about what we wanted to gather in our lives. Experiences as a family, as individuals, having space to think and reflect. Gathering new friends, and all of us broadening our horizons. The sense of freedom that comes from travel and big adventures vs. the concept of incorporating a little escape in the day to day is something I ponder often. Back in 2012 we embarked on our big escape, our big adventure, and it felt right for us at the time. Now however I am trying to find that sensation of escape in my day to day, to design my life so that small escapes and moments of goodness are part of it.
My simple, personal escapes in 2018… ⁖
Swimming – discovering new swimming holes on the outskirts of Melbourne and on the coast is a family activity that never tires. As my 11 year old tells me, “a trip ending with a swim is always better than a trip that just ends with a view”.
Cooking - not the standard weeknight ‘oh god, what am I going to throw together’ but a thoughtful preparation, like the amazing Custard Tart with Poached White Peaches & Raspberries.
Coast - More trips to our simple beach cottage, a simple getaway where demands are lessened and everything seems simpler.
Of course, much can be said for big adventures – the fresh perspectives, smells, tastes, new ideas, visual richness and energy that consumers us upon our return - but being able to embrace small moments that enable a little escape brings us closer to enjoying a simpler existence. ■
Find the Slow Life Beach House on Instagram at @slowbeachcottage or at www.slowbeachcottage.com.au
On Designing A Life Words and photography by Domini Marshall
hat is it to escape? To me, the idea of escaping doesn’t always conjure up wonderful images. It represents a sense of feeling stuck; a sense of needing to escape. And that sense of confinement, of being tied down, scares me. I don’t want to feel as if I’m being held against my will, I want to feel as if I chose this life and I choose it every day. The Oxford Dictionary defines the verb escape as, ‘To break free from confinement or control, while escapism is defined as, ‘The tendency to seek distraction and relief from unpleasant realities, especially by seeking entertainment or engaging in fantasy.’ And yet, in today’s western world, there’s a romanticism of the notion of escapism. It can be interpreted as a sense of flow or freedom, when you’re not distracted by other things or responsibilities, where you can just be. Watching a beautiful film can be an escape. Listening to a thought-provoking podcast can be too. So rather than getting caught up in a definition, or asking whether there is merit in escaping, because what it means to escape is subjective to each individual, I believe it’s more important to ask: what happens when we ‘escape’? The times in my life when I’ve felt most free, most ‘alive’, all fit a pattern: travelling overseas, exploring a country where I don’t speak the first language well, feeling really afraid and stepping through that fear to do the thing anyway, working on a creative project I care deeply about. All these things come from the same place – connection, vulnerability, inspiration and the discomfort and courage that comes with growth. Last year, I was lucky to have been able to spend just over four weeks travelling across Europe. Before I headed off, I was dangerously close to crashing and burning. I had been working at a pace that was unsustainable, trying to juggle running a web series / social enterprise, with freelance work, a part-time job and general life. So for the first couple of weeks, as I relaxed into it, it was bliss. Days were filled with eating,
drinking and lazily wandering through paths we hadn’t traversed before. Gallery visits, late night cocktails and days spent on the water or on the back of a bike. And for those first couple of weeks I just soaked it all up. The twinkling lights of Paris, the pebbled beaches of Italy, the cliffs of Greece and the cobblestone lanes of Dubrovnik. It was beautiful and restorative and seriously overdue. After those first couple of weeks, however, I recall a slow sensation that began to build over the remainder of the trip. It was a subtle aching for my work. I realised that what travel and that feeling of freedom does for me is make me want what, deep down, I know I want, even more. It makes me remember why I started. It makes me excited (and sometimes overwhelmed) for all the possibilities that life might hold. And if, somewhere in there, a sense of feeling stuck is hiding, it brings that discovery to the forefront, so that I can understand what needs to change and where I want to go. And so, in those moments, I found myself craving a life that allowed me to set up in a new city, a new country, with new surroundings, and enjoy and explore that place, while also making time for my work and the things that I love. It wasn’t routine that I was after. It wasn’t even the feeling of not living out of a suitcase. It was simply the ability to bring together the inspiration and beauty and sometimes discomfort of travel with the joy, meaning and purpose of work. I wanted, and still want, both at once. I imagine waking looking out across the rooftops of Paris, wandering down to my local boulangerie, ordering a coffee and croissant while the streets are still quiet. Then, sitting, window open next to me, to write away the morning, until the afternoon arrives when I can practise my French and head out to explore some more. The evening brings red wine, cheese (of course), and deep conversations about the state of the world and life’s big questions.
The difference is that I’m not trying to escape from unpleasant realities, but rather build on what I already have. So, I find myself questioning, can you ever really have both? Does travel lose its shine and discomfort and power when it’s combined with work? Is it possible to divide my heart between the two or will I always feel as if I’m not giving enough? And where does the rest of life fit in? I recognise that it’s a privilege to even consider these things. And maybe these questions aren’t meant to be answered. Maybe what’s most important is pondering what designing a life means to you. How can you choose yours each and every day? What does that look and feel like? If you’re feeling like you need to escape (a not very nice feeling), what needs to change? What is holding you down or back from that life you imagine? For me, it’s creating space for that sense of flow and freedom, passion and purpose, connection and vulnerability. It’s letting myself be pulled by my dreams. It’s waking up in a new country, knowing enough language to just get by, at least once a year. I don’t have it all figured out, but I do know that travel is an essential part of my life, just as work, driven by passion and purpose, is too. So here’s to a 2018 filled with passion, purpose, questions, wandering and a little cheese and wine too. ■
Domini Marshall Writer, director, content producer and founder of Her Words Instagram: @dominimarshall www.dominimarshall.com
Words and photography by Eko Pam and Abby London
ot summer nights, sleeping under mosquito nets looking at the stars…
Cicadas humming in the beach reeds create a rhythmic lullaby, no cares or worries, and that feeling of comfort and sleepiness from swimming at the beach all day. Our skin warm, touched by the sun, after the long drive south in the hot, bumpy Kombi van, slowly licking dripping Cornettos with sticky fingers. Our parents are relaxed as well… This is our nostalgic childhood landscape. Memories of the beach, deserted playgrounds, riding our BMX’s around quiet carparks – seagulls circling our fish and chip stash. We pay homage to the familiar, personal experiences of our childhood. The wide-open spaces and long, flat roads to ‘when-are-wegoing to-get-there-ville’. The holiday shacks sit forgotten for many months of the year, dusty and modest, emanating a feeling of loneliness, until families occupy them once more. They sit like props on a movie set, vacant and waiting. Deep inside we still yearn for these feelings of relaxation and security, no phones to answer, no emails to reply to, being in touch with our people and with nature - sun, sea, sky and sand. These were our family holidays in the west. ■
Forma is a design company based in Fremantle, Western Australia who create bespoke sculptural pieces that can reinvigorate an existing space or add a striking architectural feature to a new building design or landscape. firstname.lastname@example.org Instagram: @forma_studio_design www.formastudiodesign.com
Places We Swim Words and photography by Caroline Clements and Dillon Seitchik-Reardon
Little Lagoon near Denham, WA
n March 2017 we quit our jobs, moved out of our house, and decided to spend the next 12 months exploring our own country. Like so many people we have largely taken Australia for granted and focused our travels on cheaper, more exotic destinations, or European summers. It seemed indulgent to just travel for a year, so we set a goal to create something at the end. We are documenting Australia’s best places to swim, not because we are serious swimmers, but because we have always found ourselves drawn to water. It’s a feature that cuts through age, class, religion and ethnicity. In this way, swimming is a natural access point to understanding the Australian experience. For us, taking time off wasn’t a rejection of society or city living. We loved our jobs, our home, the regularity and security of our routines, our friends and family. But we had a feeling that if we didn’t take time off now, we would keep making excuses forever. We recognised that our lives, careers, and relationship should survive a long holiday. In fact, they might even benefit from it. It’s not a radical idea, nor is it a permanent one. Living on the road indefinitely is romantically naive, not to mention economically unsustainable. The point is to take some time, of any length, to explore and to be inspired. It’s not a new concept, but it’s one that so many people only ever wonder about. Before we left, a friend asked, “how much does your job cost you?” It seemed like a contradiction at the time. However, the idea steadily grew and unfurled as we drove across the country. How much of our income goes to paying rent and eating at the same places? How many opportunities had we forgone because we had to rush back from our annual leave? How much time and effort had we spent bouncing from event to event in our city lives? None of it seems too relevant driving around the Outback in a rusty Landcrusier.
Dry season beach at the base of Jim Jim Falls, NT
(top) Castle Rock, WA | (bottom) The Basin, Rottnest Island, WA
Greenly Beach rock pool, SA
People like to romanticise this kind of lifestyle. We see it in the #vanlife movement. Carefree living. Setting your own schedule, sleeping under the stars, etc. There is a lot to be said for the adventure, but nobody bothers to document the uncomfortable truths. The curated world leaves no room for unpleasant realities. There are days so hot that even talking is too much of an effort. There are endless sun baked kilometres of unchanging shrubs. There are the hangry episodes spent bickering over which noodle shape to cook. Finally, the too frequent breakdowns that leave you stranded for days. Most of the time, however, there is the everyday excitement that you will experience something new. The reality of not knowing where you’ll end up each night and being okay with it. We have time and space to get lost in thought, or the freedom to not think at all. There is time to be in love. We have devoured books and podcasts. And, of course, we’ve found some great swimming holes. Looking at the year so far, we are reluctant to call it an ‘escape’, but can certainly see how it looks that way. We would rather think about it as another development in our careers. A detour. A sabbatical to gather information and experiences that we will benefit from for years to come. When we finish our book we will likely land in many of our old routines. We will welcome a home and steady pay check once again. Like any good holiday, we’re looking forward to returning to our real lives with fresh eyes, excitement, and some rude tan lines. ■
Making tracks in Francois Peron National Park, WA
West MacDonnell Ranges, NT
(left) Minyon Falls, NSW | (top) Broken Head Nature Reserve, NSW Follow Dillon and Carolineâ€™s trip on Instagram: @placesweswim www.placesweswim.com
The Art of Travel Words by Jacqui Lewis of The Broad Place and photography by Sophie van der Drift
e travel a lot, and we love it. For me traveling is an extension of the exploration of the self, in the outer. We cannot experience new, wondrous things and not shift our perspective and attitudes and thinking. Arran and I travel completely differently. For him, it’s a time to meditate a little, and smash as many movies as possible and relax. For me, its a time to rejuvenate, replenish and meditate like mad. My travel routine takes some energy to prepare – with NO regrets on this investment on time once I am in the air. The key thing when traveling is to balance Vata, the Dosha that when out of balance makes us feel spacey, weird, not ourselves and causes dryness, constipation, insomnia and exhaustion. Essentially, jet lag equals a Vata imbalance. When I land, I want to feel incredible. Either I am hitting the ground running straight into work, or I am keen to enjoy my holiday. I definitely do not want jet lag, feeling awful and getting sick being in the way of my good time! With Vedic Meditation you can meditate as much or as little as you like. As soon as I sit on the plane, I begin meditating and then continue until it begins to feel uncomfortable. Sometimes this is an hour sometime more or less. Then I have a little break, and continue. Vedic Meditation is the best way to alleviate jet lag, so continuing as much as you feel good whilst doing it is fantastic. In regards to what I eat/drink… ⁖
I take a little ice bag/freezer pack filled with things like toasted coconut chips, agave free raw chocolate, usually Liefje, I take gluten free crackers, miso sachets, Vata Dosha Balancing tea and a strainer, and usually a little lunch box with brown rice, avocado, nori and sesame seeds.
I always take an empty thermos, and as soon as I get on ask the staff to fill it – then I make cups of Vata tea, and stir in little miso sachets and sip miso soup and drink just the hot water also. Warm non-caffeinated beverages are fantastic for calming the nervous system and balancing Vata.
I stay away from ⁖ cold or reheated food ⁖ dry salty foods (nut packs and pretzels etc) ⁖ coffee and alcohol ⁖ spicy, aggravating foods When it comes to extra care… ⁖ I rub a little Vata Oil into my ears and all over my chest and sometimes face. ⁖
I have a cream cashmere wrap that is huge and completely envelopes me and I take a little lavender oil and drop a few drops on my wrap before enclosing myself in it to meditate. This also keeps me warm when they turn up the air con about 30 minutes into the flight.
⁖ I take a brilliant book to keep me engaged when I am not meditating and try stay away from aggressive or intense movies. Happy Travels!
Jacqui Lewis The Broad Place Instagram: @thebroadplace www.thebroadplace.com.au
Sophie van der Drift Graphic Designer Instagram: @sophievanderdrift www.sophievanderdrift.com
Words and photography by Robyn Daly
he camera I used was a Yashica twin lens camera from the 1960s. I shoot on film while I'm traveling because it's a slower process and means I get to relive the experience when I develop them back home. These photos were taken in European summer 2016 whilst escaping winter in Melbourne, taken on Samos Island in Greece and Split, Croatia - two of the most relaxing and revitalising places I've ever visited, with memories of salty skin, long balmy nights and pink skies. â–
Robyn Daly Photographer Instagram: @robyndaly_ www.robyndalyphotography.com
Escapism: A Three Part Journey Words and photography by Rosie Fea
Escapism, observations of here & now “Every now and again you find yourself slipping into a little pocket, a little envelope, of country that is unknown to anyone else, which feels as though it is your own secret land.” English writer Roger Deakin once penned these words that hold the very principles of longing to escape in full view. The natural world is forever calling us forward, or perhaps back home, to a life aligned with the nourishing aspects of incremental escapism - little daily miracles that are actually all around us, always. Beckoning us to once again revere the significance of the mundane, to rest in a sense of place, and commit to an exploration of the ordinary parts we think we know so well… For perhaps we haven’t yet seen them at all. Here, for a moment I turn back for a moment, to see a showcase of iridescent reflections being cast from the water, lighting up the trees that guard the edges of the lake. I submerge my upper body, swimming out deep watching the image of my hands enlarge, becoming distorted as they rise to break the surface of the water with every stroke, sculling on until my arms and legs feel ready for a break. I tread water graciously, amongst speckles of white fluff that has blown to rest from the surrounding trees. Residual drops of water fall from my cheeks and nose, my feet above an unsure depth that doesn’t for one second promote any hint of anxiety, gladly. I feel safe, light, peaceful. I let my legs float to the top, spreading my limbs like a starfish. My skin enjoying the noticeable shift in temperature from the deeper parts, and my ears indulging in the tranquil, welcomed volume of a muted underwater world. As I resurface, reality reminds me it can once again
be manageable, as my ears adjust to the faint twittering of delirious birds talking to each other from their branches. Soon my feet return to the solid earth and everything suddenly feels more important and meaningful. Escapism, with one another We may realise we have become rooted in a belief that worthwhile time spent in the company of others must amount to reaching some elusive point of profound growth or depth as we sit and talk. But as we consciously unlearn our learnings of a hardened shell being the safest method of self protection, we can actually come to accept and be comfortable with silence, and simply being with people. Acknowledging the space, enjoying the company, and not needing to come away from it feeling earth-shatteringly different. Following the escape of effortless connection and play, just because. To allow awe, gratitude, and wonder to stir in our hearts for one another. To see and seek out everyday magic in the little and big things however they look - yielding to the gift of time, space and attention. Not in vain. Not to ‘work at something’, reach an outcome or get to a certain level. But to simply be like a child, enlivened by the truth that all others in the world are waiting to be our constant companions when we invite them to come on in and join us. Escapism, respite from the mind The more we travel through it, the more we may realise there is in fact no real need to escape or disguise our life. Just surfaced hints of nostalgia that call us backward to other times, convincing us that it was better then, or unmet
desires and unrealised dreams for a future that niggle away at present contentment. All those repressed longings that arise and amount to middle-of-the-night-life-plans scribbled on scrap bits of paper soon seem to resolve with time, and eventually become realised as no urgency at all. It is then we see in clear view that they are simply the minds’ projections of contradictions that stir deep within us. Perhaps the contradiction between the way we are, and the way we feel we should be. The contradiction between how our time is spent, and how society tells us it should be. The contradiction between wanting to be the best, the most, the only, but constantly falling short. The contradiction between our entitlement to feeling healthy and productive, and the reality that our body often gets weary and needs to recalibrate in stillness. ■
Rosie Fea Freelance content creator + writer Instagram: @rosiefea www.rosiefea.com
Words by Sophie van der Drift and photography by Meghan Plowman
here will be moments in our lives of commitment or austerity where the luxury of escape is simply not an option. There are, however, humble additions that can create a space in your home for retreat.
Here are three ways to enable little moments escape in your day-to-day: Prints As Robyn shares in her photo-essay, shooting on film allows her to relive time spent abroad by rediscovering each image in a slow development process. In the same vein, printing photographs or acquiring prints from your travels is an opportunity to reminisce on memories and check-out for a moment. They can add character to a minimal space and are easily interchangeable to update aesthetic of a room. Greenery Indoor plants are evocative of pastimes spent in nature, manifesting a sense of calm and nostalgia. By cultivating a tranquil personal space full of organic greenery, it provides a retreat from the hardships of the working day. A restorative place to look forward to returning each night. The intangibles Allow your space to be influenced by your own experiences and feelings. Identify the items that you love in the space and consider the reason for their appeal. Is it the softness of a well-worn throw, the gentle glow of a lantern light, or the feeling of a fibrous jute rug beneath your feet? Consider why these things are satisfying and how you can emulate this. Perhaps you could introduce some softer lighting or invest in quality bedlinen - these are the simple things that elate the little moments. With all this said, one can make a hundred changes to the home or book flights tomorrow but unless we consider the cause of our restlessness the incessant need to escape may never diminish. Just as we have discussed mechanisms for checking-out, remember itâ€™s valuable to check-in with yourself too. â–
Meghan Plowman Photographer and Art Director Instagram: @meghan_plowman www.meghanplowman.com
Featuring the Plyroom Flor Planter
Take your pleasure seriously. Charles Eames
White peach & raspberry tart Words, recipe and photography by Julia Busuttil Nishimura
oments that immerse you fully seem to be rarer these days. There are distractions a plenty and we appear on the surface to be too busy. But will the promise of eating something incredibly delicious after it all make you stop? Making pastry implores me to. It is my escape. I must be aware of how my hands are working the butter into the flour and nothing else – too much and the pastry won’t be as tender as I would hope. Too much liquid added and I’ll be punished with a wet dough which is not how a pastry should be – it should be crumbly and flaky but certainly not wet. And then there’s the custard. A forgotten custard will easily turn to a scramble. Yes there are shortcuts, but give food the patience it deserves and you will be rewarded.
Each component of the tart can be made well ahead and assembled at the last moment making it the most wonderful dessert to prepare for a dinner party or a busy lunch. Toasted almonds would be beautiful sprinkled on top. Yellow peaches would be lovely too, but I adore how the white peaches turn an almost blush pink when paired with the raspberries. The poaching liquid can be strained, chilled and used to delicately flavour soda water and other drinks.
Custard Cream 2 egg yolks 100 g caster sugar 20 g plain all-purpose flour 20 g cornflour 500 ml (2 cups) full cream milk 1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped Pastry 200g unsalted butter 300g plain all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting pinch salt 1 tbsp caster sugar 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar about 100ml iced water Poached Peaches 1L water 350g caster sugar 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped 1 tsp rose water 4 white peaches 125g raspberries to serve
To make the custard cream, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a large bowl until pale and thick, sift in the flours, mix well and set aside. Warm the milk with the vanilla seeds and pod in a medium-sized saucepan over a low heat until lukewarm, about 35°C. Strain the milk and add to the egg mixture, just a few tablespoons at a time to begin with, whisking between each addition. After about a quarter of the mixture has been mixed in, whisk in all of the remainder of the milk. Pour into a clean saucepan over medium heat and bring a simmer, whisking continuously as it can scorch very easily. Reduce the heat to low, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes until thick. Transfer to a bowl and cover, placing the plastic wrap directly onto the custard to stop a skin forming and refrigerate until chilled. Meanwhile to make the pastry dough sift the flour onto a clean work surface and sprinkle the sugar and salt over the top. Toss the butter through the flour and, using a pastry scraper or butter knife, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Mix the iced water with the vinegar, and dribble over the flour and butter, a little at a time, using the pastry scraper or your fingers to bring the dough together – it should be shaggy and not at all smooth, but also there shouldn’t be any dry floury crumbs left behind. You most likely won’t need all of the liquid, so be sure not to add it all in one go. Shape into a rough circle, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180C. For the poached peaches, combine the water, sugar, vanilla seeds and pod and rosewater in a large saucepan placed over a medium heat. Stir the mixture until the sugar has dissolved then allow to simmer vigorously for 8-10 minutes or until slightly reduced. Make shallow crosses with a sharp knife in the base of the peaches and plunge them into the simmering liquid. Place a round piece of baking paper directly onto of the peaches in the pan followed by a tight fitting lid. Reduce the heat to low-medium and simmer gently for 25 minutes or until tender but not falling apart. Remove the peaches from the poaching liquid and allow to cool briefly. When cool enough to touch, carefully remove the skin and discard. If they are cooked perfectly, it should almost just slide off. Cut the peaches in half and then each half in halves again or quarters, depending on their size and set aside. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and roll on a lightly floured bench top into a circle around 3mm in thickness. Drape the pastry into a 23cm loose base round fluted tin. Press the pastry gently into all the ridges inside the tin, line with baking paper and weigh down with baking weights or dried beans. Trim any overhanging pastry and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until the edges are just beginning to colour. Remove the baking paper and weights and bake for a further 5 minutes or until the base is golden and cooked through. Allow to cool completely before removing from the tin. Just before serving, spread the custard cream into the base of the cool tart shell. Arrange the white peaches atop the custard and scatter with the raspberries. ■
Julia Busuttil Nishimura Instagram: @juliaostro www.julia-ostro.com
Words and photography by Nicolle Sullivan of Cultiver Linen
haring a meal with friends and family is one of the great pleasures of life and with a few shortcuts you can become an effortless host.
Simplify Repetition is not boring It’s crazy how fast time goes as you get older. I used to think one year was an interminable amount of time and now I start planning for next Christmas in January! Having a couple of annual events that you can easily host ensure that you will get to catch up with a wider group of friends at least once as the busy years fly by, and saves the email tennis trying to get a random date in several diaries. There are so many occasions you can make your own and set a theme for: apart from the obvious Australia Day, Boxing Day, Queens Birthday holidays, what about a start of summer BBQ, Christmas in July lunch, couples dinner for Valentine’s day or back to school wine and cheese night for the a group of mums. Pick one and make it your thing, it is actually very easy to follow a formula. Create family rituals We all want to instill in our kids a knack for manners, respect and some style. Leading by example and getting them involved from a young age will be exciting for them - try having a once a fortnight or monthly special family dinner where they set the table, everyone eats the same thing, no phones or TV background is allowed, and watch how they rise to the occasion. Even watching you prepare for adult guests will be a valuable life lesson in generosity and celebrating friends. It can be pulled together in an hour In order to make your guests feel special, you do not have to be cooking and cleaning for days. Candles will make you home look and smell beautiful. Supermarket flowers (or leaves from the garden) can look pretty if separated into small glasses and arranged down the centre of the table (better for conversation also). A linen tablecloth and napkins look like you’ve made an effort and give your guests a sense of occasion as they enjoy the tactile weight in their lap during the meal. Think beyond a 3 course dinner: the same enjoyment can be had over brunch, wine and cheese on a midwinter Sunday afternoon, or a kitchen bench dinner of individual pies picked up at the deli, with a pretty salad, and berries with whipped cream or ice cream for dessert - a dinner that can be easily collected on the way home from work and on the table in moments. Do it outdoors And think beyond the bbq when you do. Table linen can transform a less than perfect table and is easy to wash and dry after for next time . Large tablecloths are also great for unifying a couple of tables brought together for a large group. ■
Cultiver Linen Instagram: @cultiver_goods www.cultiver.com.au
host Wares is a Melbourne based ceramics studio with an emphasis on creating objects that are elegant but playful. The project of Matthew Vrettas and Stephanie Yap, each piece is made by hand, allowing for an ever evolving range of complementary pieces. We speak with Matthew about his practice and the concept of creativity as a form of escapism.
How has working with pottery and establishing Ghost Wares enriched your day-to-day life? Establishing Ghost Wares has been a slow process of trying and learning. I think that my lack of experience in running a business has made this even more exciting, each mistake is a lesson and each lesson is a small accomplishment.
What have you learnt from producing slowly made products? Clay has a remarkable sense of time embodied in it. Rocks have slowly eroded to form a soft, pliable material that can be formed and heated back to a state not unlike it's origin. By working clay by hand, you feel it's characteristics, whilst thinking ahead to the objects final fired form. But this is not it's final form, you are only a small part of it's very long journey. This sense of time helps me to keep perspective on each piece that I make, they will not be around for ever, but some may be around a lot longer than me.
Do you think creative practices can be an escape? Being able to get lost in an idea or process can be a fantastic escape. I feel very fortunate to be able to spend time exploring ideas that emerge and trying to improve my techniques, working towards something can be incredibly fulfilling. â–
Instagram: @ghostwares www.ghostwares.com.au
Studio photograph by Xanthea Riordan
Words by Sophie van der Drift and photography by Meghan Plowman
n this zine we've considered escapism in the literal sense; departing from the monotonous confines of reality for a moment in time of all-encompassing bliss. Be that through travel, a sabbatical, spending time with others or the rituals we hold dear. Contemplated also by our contributors is whether escapism is necessary at all if oneâ€™s life is constructed to be fulfilling and restful. Whether we choose to work hard and escape harder, embrace small moments of withdrawal, or seek equilibrium between the two, there will always be some constants in our life. One such constant is home. It can be your refuge and space for escape. It may be the place you think fondly of whilst away. Or the central place in which your family and friends will always come together. These photographs by Perth creative Meghan Plowman share moments in time that capture the art of everyday escape. â–
Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. Albert Einstein
Featuring the Plyroom Shibui Side Table
Contributors Domini Marshall
Eko Pam & Abby London
Dillon Seitchik-Reardon & Caroline Clements
Places We Swim
The Broad Place
Sophie van der Drift
Content Creator & Writer
Julia Busuttil Nishimura
Photographer & Art Director
...and a special thank you to our friends at Coastal Living for letting us shoot their beautiful products in our home.
Sophie van der Drift
Customer Service & Warehouse
Graphic Design & Marketing
Warehouse 161a, 157-159 Heidelberg Rd Northcote VIC
Escapism, a publication by Plyroom was born out of a feeling of exhaustion after an incessantly busy 2017. Relishing in the downtime of the...