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SUMMER 2015/2016







The Natural Artisan

SUMMER 2015/2016













SUMMER 2015/2016

Master Artisan and Scagliola expert Maurizio Feliziani, works with Julien Fantone and the team from Idea Creations on a project at the Greenland Hotel, Sydney. The artisans are working with The Painted Image to restore the works of the Melocco Brothers done in 1939 in this Art Deco Building on Pitt Street. Check out the incredible story of this project at: www.facebook.com/painted.image/ videos/650806981688480/ Photography: Julien Fantone, Idea Creations

Cover Image: Nutritionist, Cyndi O’Meara at her hinterland property. See story page 08. Cover Photography: Ross Eason


Editor: Rebecca Park

Design: Tiam Whitfield

Contact: editor@thenaturalartisan.com

The Natural Artisan: bringing together ‘the creators’ of all kinds to celebrate and share the art of crafting beautiful spaces and objects. We do this with a collective intention to live in tune with nature. As Tolkien said in The Fellowship of the Ring: “We put the thought of all that we love into all that we make.” A ROCKCOTE Publication

Summer 2015/2016



Photography: Rebecca Park 4

The Natural Artisan

CLASSIC AUSTRALIAN STYLE The Sweeney armchair’s bold personality maintains a balance between comfort and style. Made to order by the master craftsmen at Jardan furniture, this classic armchair is Good Environmental Choice Australia Certified. www.jardan.com.au

DIARY DATE! CELEBRATE SUSTAINABILITY The 2016 Melbourne and Beyond Sustainable Living Festival promises to blow your mind with over 300 events celebrating sustainability. Talks, workshops, film, art and design are all on the program for this three-week event from 6-28 February 2016. www.slf.org.au

CHANGING HABITS CHANGING LIVES Change the way you think about food, health, weight loss and dieting with this best selling book by Cyndi O’Meara. Available at www.changinghabits.com.au/healthy-shopping

2016 NATURAL MATERIALS WORKSHOPS Want to learn more about working with ROCKCOTE natural lime and clay plasters? Expressions of interest are now open for natural materials workshops for 2016. Email Morgan mtindale@rockcote.com.au with your name, phone number and preferred workshop location (Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, or Adelaide) and we will be in touch when the 2016 schedule is finalised.

Summer 2015/2016


Words: Rebecca Park | Photography: Ross Eason

Nutritionist and author, Cyndi O’Meara at her hinterland property, west of Maleny in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. 8

The Natural Artisan

Cyndi O’Meara surveys the rolling hills and green fields around her with gratitude and delight: the 60 acres her family has purchased west of Maleny is the realisation of a life-long dream.


hile Cyndi is present, breathing the fresh air and taking in the natural beauty of her surrounds, she’s also building her vision of what the land could be, what it will become in a year, several years, or generations from now.

The ability to look ahead yet stay grounded in the present is an attribute that has helped Cyndi maintain a balanced family life while she built her company, Changing Habits. One of Australia’s most trusted nutritionists, Cyndi’s trailblazing book, Changing Habits Changing Lives, was first published in 1998, encouraging people to adopt the philosophy that Cyndi had embraced in her own life – getting back to real foods that are not fortified or refined. Cyndi advocated that many of the ailments afflicting people in modern society were related to our lifestyle and all the trimmings that go with it. Controversial at the time, she associated low vitality, low energy and illness with bad habits such as eating margarine instead of butter and consuming highly processed foods. Her book continues to be influential, has now been translated into several languages and is currently in its fourth edition. CONTINUED

Summer 2015/2016


I believe that anyone who wants to live more sustainably and healthy can do that.

Artisan Igor Stainwald applied Clay Plaster DĂŠcor in its natural colour, adding fine hemp for a soft and earthy look. 12

The Natural Artisan

“Animals and plants are placed together in a paddock and the stock is rotated through the various paddocks – pigs then cows then chickens - and that’s what we want to do. There will be fruit and nut trees as well as a vegetable garden.” Cyndi recalls sitting on a beach while doing her nutrition degree back in the eighties, frustrated by the commercialisation of the food industry and increasing rates of cancer, diabetes, obesity and heart disease. It was her intention to do something different that gave people tools for change and it was then she conceptualised a health retreat that she hopes will be brought to life on this property. “The food bowl has to come first. There is no point having a health retreat without quality food. It won’t be your typical health retreat where people relax and meditate though, it will be a working health retreat – how to become sustainable in your backyard, how to care for your chooks, how to make your own stock, how to use the entire animal in food production.” “I want to show people what is possible, that anyone can do this. You can do it on an acre, five acres. I wanted a big block so we could do big things but I believe that anyone who wants to live more sustainably and healthy can do that,” Cyndi enthuses. When asked if she believes that one person can change the world, Cyndi replies: “I think if you believe you can change the world you’re delusional. The only person you can change is yourself. If you do something that can benefit you, then you will benefit your family, and your friends and community…there is a flow on effect.” Cyndi is motivated by her family and children, yearning to create a safe haven for them, where they can build their own homes if that’s what they want and a safe learning space for grandchildren if needed. “I had a realisation recently that I am a custodian, that I am doing this for the future generations of my family. The Woodford Folk Festival has a 400-year plan. I’m taking their idea and using it to create a generational plan, one that truly looks to the future and provides for future generations. Owning this land has given us the freedom of choice…it’s a real feeling of freedom.” Cyndi’s new documentary, What’s with Wheat? will be released in early 2016. www.changinghabits.com.au

Summer 2015/2016


Salty hair, sandy feet and a soundtrack of rolling waves are hallmarks of Australian coastal living. An eco-friendly beach house at Casuarina on the NSW north coast embodies this casual lifestyle with an open plan design that maximises natural light and airflow.


esigned by Eco Sustainable House and built in partnership with Eco-Essence Homes, the completed home is the first environmentally friendly prize home for Surf Life Saving Lotteries.

Eco-Essence Homes director, Jeremy Magee said there was an increasing demand for low maintenance classic beach homes that supported a more relaxed lifestyle.

“This is a classic beach house that gets back to really simple living. The beach style was achieved with high ceilings, a pitched roofline and angled posts. The living areas are open plan and the entire home is on a single level so everything flows from the outside to the inside. The only step is down into the pool,” he said. “Large, recycled timber posts help to give the home a rustic and a earthy feel that differentiates it from the clinical and sterile feel of many new homes,” Jeremy said. Eco-Essence Homes builds with environmentally friendly and energy saving initiatives as standard rather than add-ons, their careful design achieving an 8.5 star energy rating for this home.

Polished concrete floors chosen for thermal properties Polished concrete flooring was selected for its thermal properties and to help maintain a more consistent indoor temperature. In winter, sunlight penetrates the northern front elevation of the home through high windows and heats the floors. The concrete holds embodied energy well into the night, naturally heating the interior for many hours. In summer, the design of the building prevents the sun from entering and heating the floor so the indoor air stays cool. The home features timber bench tops; sun tunnels that allow natural light into the hallways; and high ceilings and louvre windows for cross ventilation. Jeremy said zero VOC paints and finishes were another standard feature of Eco-Essence builds, with EcoStyle Paints used for all interior and exterior painted surfaces, and a zero VOC finish used on the flooring. “In the spirit of making non-toxic choices, we selected a zero VOC rather than a low VOC paint and ROCKCOTE EcoStyle is the paint recommended by Eco Sustainable House for this reason. It has been tried and tested.” CONTINUED

Summer 2015/2016


Eco-friendly features include: • Zero

VOC EcoStyle Paints

• Low

VOC cabinetry


down lights

• Insulation

to all walls and ceilings

• Split

system solar hot water

• Gas

cook tops

• Fans

throughout living spaces

The interior design of the Surf Life Saving Lotteries Prize home is perfectly suited to the coastal lifestyle and furnished to the value of more than $110,000. Inspiration for the interior design was drawn from the natural minerals incorporated into the design of the home, the concrete floors, natural light and timber columns. Rustic woods, luxurious linens and bold tropical patterns bring life and texture to the home. Custom artworks and gold details add warmth. Jeremy said the home was a perfect fit for Surf Life Saving Lotteries which raises money to support surf life saving clubs across Australia, due to its location and low maintenance features, leaving plenty of time for the beach.


“It’s fantastic that an organisation so closely aligned with the Australian lifestyle has embraced a true eco home. With this home, Surf Life Saving Lotteries is actively supporting healthy and sustainable living in Australia.” The project demonstrates that an eco-friendly build can be achieved with any block size in any location. “Sustainability needs an holistic approach,” explains Jeremy. “Most families have to make realistic decisions that are affordable – homes need to be cost effective to buy, inexpensive to run and provide comfortable living for many years to come.” “Our homes are living, breathing organisms that work with the environment,” Jeremy said.

The Natural Artisan


It’s hot. You’re sweating all over the place. So the most obvious thing to do is… zip yourself up in a plastic suit wearing a shower cap right? Hmmm, nice. Or do you prefer fabrics that let your skin breathe, the evaporating sweat cooling you down? Why would we treat the buildings in which we live and work any differently?


uildings have to be energy efficient, durable and fit for purpose – yes, but they also have to be comfortable to live, work and play in. So what is a comfortable building? A comfortable building has a steady indoor environment, with a small temperature range and relative humidity variation with optimum levels of relative humidity (RA) of between 40% and 60%. In other words, the building manages its moisture: it is not damp or clammy. Levels outside of the optimum range of humidity can cause occupier discomfort, health risks and the degradation of the building. In particular, relative humidity levels above 60% can lead to condensation within a building, resulting in the growth of microorganisms, whilst relative humidity levels below 40% are associated with discomfort and respiratory conditions. (Maskell, Thompson, Walker, Lemke, Shea, Lawrence. 2015). What is moisture in buildings?

The most obvious signs of uncontrolled moisture in buildings are condensation dripping down the inside of windows; or the sight and smell of mildew on walls and in bathrooms. This is the evidence of moisture that we can actually detect. However, of much greater concern is the unseen moisture that collects inside wall spaces, crawl 18

spaces, attics and ceiling cavities, breeding harmful mould and decay that cannot be easily cleaned or repaired, leading to chronic health ailments and structural damage. Where does it come from? The most obvious sources of moisture in buildings may be cooking and hot showers/baths, but the greatest contributor is far less obvious — the air itself within a building holds a lot of moisture. So when moisture is locked in a space with impervious walls (painted, concrete or fired brick walls) and not released through ventilation, the air can become poisonous, causing health damage and the stagnant moisture causing structural damage. It’s important to note that warm air can hold more moisture, or vapour, than cold air. Therefore, in cold climates, where the air outside is cold and the air inside the home is warm, the inside air holds much more vapour than the cold outside air. This is fine, providing the warm air doesn’t come into contact with anything cold, such as a window or cold wall. If contact does occur, the moisture-laden air cools quickly and the moisture forms condensation. Why is it so important to manage moisture in buildings?

protect our health and the longevity of the building. The U.S. Institute of Medicine (Leardini & Raamsdonk, 2004) identified that unmanaged building moisture contributes to microbial contamination, which includes problematic fungi. Fungi require a suitable substrate (such as wood, paper, gypsum board, or other materials that have a high cellulose content) and water to form and grow. Once formed, certain species of fungi produce mycotoxins which can cause a toxic response in humans. Humans are exposed to these toxic chemicals by inhalation of spores or material that has been contaminated by mould. Moulds also contain alcohols and ketones which are irritants to humans. Therefore, unmanaged moisture contributes to the development of mould which has been found to contribute to respiratory infections, allergies, asthma, eczema, and can also affect the immune system. Furthermore, repeated exposure to small fungal particles can also cause hypersensitivity pneumonitis in certain people which can cause headaches, fevers, excessive fatigue, cognitive and neuropsychological effects, gastrointestinal symptoms, and joint pain (King & Auger, 2002).

The main reasons for managing moisture within buildings is to The Natural Artisan

How to manage building moisture and create healthy and comfortable spaces The most sustainable ways to create a healthy environment in which to live are naturally available to all of us. One of the simplest (and most natural) ways to manage interior humidity is by using materials that absorb vapour when it’s in excess, and release it when the air is too dry. This can be achieved through the use of hygrothermal materials such as exposed clay surfaces and raw timber. “There has been growing interest in the use of exposed clay surfaces for the passive regulation of indoor temperature and humidity levels. This is largely due to the exposed thermal

mass and hygroscopic properties that help buffer the temperature and relative humidity of the internal environment. There is also scope for the inclusion of mineral and organic aggregates to help improve these hygrothermal properties. (Maskell, Thompson, Walker, Lemke, Shea, Lawrence. 2015). Another method of embracing nature to help manage moisture in our buildings is through natural ventilation. Much more than just opening a window, this method harnesses pressure differentials between outside and inside air to create a simple, cost effective managed ventilation system. Natural ventilation is important because it can provide fresh air without mechanisation, therefore is more energy efficient and kind to our earth than mechanical

systems. This continual, controlled movement of air maintains freshness within a building and helps to manage any residual moisture within the space. The ideal time to consider methods to manage building moisture is during the design and specification process. In the next issue of The Natural Artisan, we will look at the benefits of clay in modern buildings in more detail. REFERENCES:

Alsmo, 2014: Ventilation and Relative Humidity in Swedish Buildings King & Auger, 2002: Indoor air quality, fungi, and health Maskell, Thompson, Walker, Lemke, Shea, Lawrence. 2015: Improving the Hygrothermal Properties of Clay Plasters


Moisture sorption content for 4th cycle (kg/m2)

0.06 0.05 0.04 0.03 0.02 0.01 0.00

CONTROL GYPSUM (Plasterboard)



Source: Improving the Hygrothermal Properties of Clay Plasters, 2015 Summer 2015/2016



The Natural Artisan




When chiropractor, Dr Jake Currie started to see clients touching and stroking the walls of his newly opened Noosa Heads clinic, he knew he’d created the ultimate healing environment.


he unconventional décor of Dr Currie’s Posture HQ features rough and smooth textured walls coated in natural plasters; patterns formed from mosaic shells; words engraved into the walls; and a nautilus shell-inspired logo based on the Fibonacci mathematical sequence.

The overall effect is a relaxing and beautiful space that is a world away from the standard white-walled chiropractor’s clinic. Dr Currie specialises in Advanced BioStructural Correction or ABC for short. ABC is a method of chiropractic which corrects the underlying structure of the human frame. This is most noticeable seen in the correction of poor forward and twisted posture. “Correcting posture provides the ideal structure for the body to heal naturally without the use of surgery or medication,” Jake explains. “Nature and the human body have a very particular order and structure that when present allow life to flow and heal and do all the cool things it does – that’s the Fibonacci sequence in practice. Without that structure or order, nature and the human body begin to break down. By correcting the structure of the human body, which is posture, the body is able to heal itself and function at a higher level, as nature intended.” “I believe that you can’t go about harnessing the amazing natural powers of the human body in an unnatural environment so the natural finishes used here create that tangible link.” Jake explained this philosophy to artisan, Shannon Whitehill who translated it into a selection of lime and clay-based plasters for the space that achieved the ambience sought without the use of toxic chemicals. Summer 2015/2016

“The brief was modern industrial but it needed softer, warmer tones because of the type of environment,” explained Shannon. “The reception area had polished concrete floors so we used the clay to create a softer aesthetic; the rear treatment area was carpeted so we went with a polished Venetian Plaster for contrast,” he said

Service, gratitude, love Texturised Earthen Render brings a wholesome, rustic look to the entry area, which includes a sculpted nautilus logo behind the reception desk. When Shannon hand carved his signature dragonfly into the main wall, Jake saw an opportunity to imprint his business values, writing the words “service”, “gratitude” and “love”. “To lovingly serve people is my primary objective – to serve people in whatever way they need. Gratitude is there because I am grateful that I can help people every day. And love is about providing a loving space that is nurturing. Everything comes back to those three things – I’m incredibly grateful to provide loving service to people,” said Jake. A geometric patterned Clay Plaster Décor feature extends from the reception area to the main treatment space, complementing the Earthen Render. Shannon noticed the large metal booms along the ceiling and decided to maximise their lines rather than hide them, creating a continuous line of sight that fully integrates them into the design. CONTINUED


For Jake, the geometric pattern is a constant reminder of why he went into practice. He first saw a chiropractor at the age of 16 after suffering spinal fractures while playing AFL. Jake went on to study chiropractic care at RMIT University, Melbourne but became disheartened when there wasn’t an obvious correlation between what he was learning and the type of chiropractor he wanted to become. In the fourth year of his studies, he was badly concussed playing AFL, which left him unable to read or attend lectures and wanting to sleep during the day. He had organised a placement at an ABC chiropractor on the 11th floor of a Melbourne building but in his state, the elevator made him so dizzy he arrived feeling faint. “The office had a cross pattern on the carpet that immediately made me feel dizzier. They offered an adjustment, which I enthusiastically accepted. The tension and pressure on my brain was instantly reduced because I could look at the carpet without becoming dizzy or nauseous. I realised this mode of treatment was what I sought to link my understanding of the body and how it is able to heal itself to the mechanism to facilitate that and I have continued to study it ever since.” Shannon unknowingly created the same geometric pattern on the PostureHQ, reminding Jake daily of the power of healing and the importance of his work. Waiting area in the Posture HQ space

“That part of the wall is very meaningful to me…that was the catalyst. I always knew chiro was capable of enabling the body to heal but hadn’t found out how to do it until that very moment.” Jake is not the only one who is positively affected by the space and he savours the reactions of his clients. “The natural textures and colours seem to incite a primal reaction with people wanting to touch and explore the surfaces,” he said. “There are psychological effects too, clients are always telling me how calm they feel when they enter the room.”

Treatment room


Posture HQ, Noosa Heads

Owner: Dr Jake Currie

Artisan: Shannon Whitehill

Entry area: ROCKCOTE Earthen Render Medium, Nishi blend colour

Geometric patterned wall: ROCKCOTE Clay Plaster Décor, Natural and grey colours Treatment area: ROCKCOTE Venetian Plaster, lustre finish Photography: Ross Eason

Venetian Plaster wall by artisan Shannon Whitehill 22

The Natural Artisan

Detail of nautilus shell shape embedded into texturised Earthen Render Summer 2015/2016


Profile for The Natural Artisan

The Natural Artisan: Summer 2015/2016  

Bringing together creators of all kinds to celebrate the art of crafting beautiful spaces and objects.

The Natural Artisan: Summer 2015/2016  

Bringing together creators of all kinds to celebrate the art of crafting beautiful spaces and objects.