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ISSUE 14 | WINTER 2017





Winter 2017


Rustic, white washed look wall created by John McCliskie in the Island Luxe store Bangalow, NSW. See story on page 14. Photography: Jules Hunt


The Natural Artisan




Winter creativity Here in southern coastal Queensland, I feel like a bit of a fraud condemning winter. After all, our winter days are frequently peppered with summery sunshine and mornings only just cool enough to wear a beanie on a pre-dawn walk. But winter it is, and like many other places in the country, the transition to winter tends to turn us inside, embracing our warm, comfortable homes, and spending more time on indoor activities. This makes winter the perfect time for creative projects. If you’re thinking about an interior makeover, our story on Caro and Kingi’s renovation has some achievable and affordable ideas. If you’re unsure where to get started, Interior Designer, Zoe Milburn shares her tips on obtaining inspiration from the patterns and textures in nature. If you’re a keen photographer but, like me, rarely get around to printing your treasured images, Ross Eason’s story on the Digital Abyss provides a fine incentive. This story has motivated me to get started on a photo book for an overseas trip I took last year...what an ideal winter project!











Rebecca Park, Editor


Cover Image: Caro and Kingi Tahana with daughter Halia in the media room of their renovated Townsville home, with Kingi's Venetian Plaster wall in the background. See story on page 08. Cover photography: Ross Eason

The Natural Artisan: bringing together ‘the makers’ 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.

EDITORIAL Editor: Rebecca Park editor@thenaturalartisan.com Design: Tiam Whitfield Editorial Consultant: Tony Thorogood Print Consultant: Steve Hall

As Tolkien said in The Fellowship of the Ring: “We put the thought of all that we love into all that we make.”

Winter 2017

Published by ROCKCOTE 18 Machinery Road, YANDINA QLD 4561


Trevor Foon, explorer, photographer and collector of the useful My father was a photographer so I grew up with photography and a passion for photographic history. A lifetime of seeing how well old cameras were made, the precision and craftsmanship, has given me an appreciation of them and the people who made them. Photography is my career and day-to-day work. My passion is transforming old stuff into items that are functional, useful and beautiful. I began working with silver because it is a byproduct of the photographic development process in our processing lab. Silver nitrate, a chemical derived from raw silver, is used to make film light sensitive. Being a toxic, heavy metal, it has to be recovered and is usually collected and taken away by a refinery company. When my Mum and Dad retired, they took up gemstone fossicking. Dad did a course on silversmithing to mount the gemstones they found into something valuable. The silver was expensive and I realised how little we were paid for the silver from the lab. The zero waste mentality is in my head all the time and I hate seeing anything made redundant. Here was an opportunity to repurpose the silver from the photographic process and make it into something gorgeous. I became immersed in jewellery and jewellery making. When I took a piece of raw silver, made it into a ring and polished it up for the first time, the transformation was remarkable: a grungy piece of metal suddenly came to life. It was a light bulb moment. Early on I didn’t have much of an idea of how professional jewellers made things. Those first projects turned out chunky and a bit amateurish. Now I’ve learnt from others, do more preplanning and take accurate measurements. Consequently, I’m making more refined pieces, mostly necklaces, bracelets and rings. Nature and the objects around me provide inspiration. For example I observed the way bamboo grows and the placement of the branches. That translates to a piece of jewellery where the silver is shaped around a stone, looking natural yet arty at the same time. Here in the workshop are the creative items and tools I use for making jewellery. Behind me, there’s a wall filled with glass jars representing thirty years of things I have pulled apart, items that would otherwise be redundant that I consider useful – nuts, bolts, screws, articles of interesting shapes. If I am working on a project, I go to one of the jars, find the pieces I need and give old stuff new life. They can also make beautiful subjects for photos, and provide the foundation for jewellery projects, I’ve even built traditional cameras using odd items and repurposed silver. I’m an explorer. I find something I gel with and explore it in depth, sometimes learning from people who know more. The resulting magic of the creative process brings excitement and an incredible sense of self-satisfaction. trevor@foons.com.au galleries.foons.com.au/trevor-foon

Photography: Trevor Foon


The Natural Artisan

"My passion is transforming old stuff into items that are functional, useful and beautiful." Winter 2017



Inspired by Australia’s native flora and fauna, and Melbourne’s urban environment, Ink & Spindle creates gorgeous hand-printed designs on ethically sourced textiles. Their designs can be purchased by the metre as made-to-order fabrics or check out the homewares range for ready made items. All designs are handprinted on sustainable, fair trade cloths using water-based, solvent-free inks. This mid century ottoman in Banksia design makes a perfect side table or footstool. The bold graphical print celebrates one of the many striking forms of the Banksia leaf, simplified using a papercut technique. www.inkandspindle.com


Soothe your body and mind with this irresistibly soft organic cotton flannel quilt cover from Bhumi. Thick and luxurious, the quilt cover closes with small, round coconut shell buttons — each a small token shaped from nature. Bhumi’s organic cotton range of towels and bedding is ethically and sustainably made from seed to shelf. www.bhumi.com.au/collections/quilt-cover-sets

BOUTIQUE PRODUCTS FOR LITTLE PEOPLE Little Label is a new collection of beautiful boutique products and brands for little people.

Bedroom accessories, clothing and blankets have all been purposefully selected for their style, practicality and sense of fun. These Mister Fly Animal Face designs and accessories with soft tones are ideal for nurseries and playrooms. www.facebook.com/LittleLabelCollection 6

The Natural Artisan


This stylish yet gentle look for a child’s bedroom has been achieved by combining some carefully selected wall finishes with readily available ornaments. The concrete look ROCKCOTE Smooth Set wall offers a dreamy bedhead, complemented by non-toxic, zero VOC ROCKCOTE EcoStyle paints in a dusty pink colour. Styled by Caro and Kingi Tahana for their daughter Halia’s bedroom. www.rockcote.com.au/products/smooth-set-white www.rockcote.com.au/ranges/ecostyle-paints


These beautiful handwoven jute baskets are a lovely interior touch for anyone who appreciates natural fibres and handcrafted work. These baskets from Dharma Door are handwoven by women working within a Fair Trade program in Bangladesh. These talented artisans combine traditional weaving styles with contemporary designs and natural materials. The baskets are durable, eco-friendly and the natural colour is an ideal complement to a contemporary space. www.thedharmadoor.com.au


Uniqwa brings a unique approach to designer furniture, combining simplicity and function with art and organic, earthy influences. The wholesale range is inspired by nature and ethnic cultures and includes beds, coffee tables, barstools and mirrors. The Tobago Butterfly Chair (pictured) can be effortlessly teamed with polished concrete render, whitewashed walls and cream or white cushions and throws for a classic yet contemporary look. www.uniqwafurniture.com.au

Winter 2017



Story: Rebecca Park | Photography: Ross Eason

Island bench finished in Marrakesh concrete colour and a Smooth Set bulkhead make an impression in the kitchen


The Natural Artisan

Caro and Kingi Tahana are known for their love of render. In the 2015 series of TV Show, The Block, Kingi’s rendered finishes in their bathroom, kitchen and powder room, received ongoing praise from the judges.


o it comes as no surprise that renders feature extensively in their newly renovated Townsville home. The family home is a showcase of Kingi’s artisan finishes, and the edgy design elements the couple became recognised for on national television.

Regular readers may recall the before photos of their home in the Winter 2016 issue of The Natural Artisan – old kitchen cabinetry, exterior laundry, low ceilings, all the expected elements of a standard 1970s brick home. The major renovation is now complete – with high ceilings, large open plan areas, timber floorboards, additional bedrooms and major makeovers of the kitchen and wet areas. Caro says striking differences between undertaking a renovation on The Block and working on their own home were evident early on, with different timeframes and expectations.

“We were so impatient. We were used to trades coming straight away on the show. In real life, you have to book the trades and wait for them to turn up. It’s frustrating.” “On the show, you have to complete one room at a time until it’s all done which makes you concentrate. In our own home, we kept moving between rooms before they were finished and leaving things for later. Life gets in the way sometimes!” Both Caro and Kingi worked full-time day jobs for the duration of the 10-month project, and like many people who renovate their own home, much of the work was carried out after hours and on weekends. ROCKCOTE products were used to achieve a variety of rendered finishes from smooth to high polished in the theatre, powder room, bathroom and daughter Halia’s bedroom. Non-toxic, zero VOC EcoStyle Paints were also used throughout. Being a dominant view upon entering the home, it was important that the kitchen made an impression. An island bench finished in Marrakesh concrete colour is a major feature, complemented by a Smooth Set rendered bulkhead overhead. CONTINUED

Winter 2017


“We knew we would do the bulkhead and Marrakesh bench before the reno kicked off,” explained Caro. “A lot of people love the concrete look but don’t want to pay for a solid form concrete bench. It’s great because you don’t have the weight of solid concrete to consider and can shape it to suit the space. I like the raw look, it is not completely perfect and has some character about it.”

USING RENDER TO ACHIEVE THE “SCANDUSTRIAL” LOOK Render finishes are an integral part of Caro and Kingi’s signature “scandustrial” style, as explored on The Block. Hip and a little bit industrial, “scandustrial” combines strong black lines, grey render and timbers, with attention paid to the placement of geometric patterns and textures. “With ROCKCOTE’s Natural Materials range, now you can use the different oxides and finishes to determine a unique style, like the scandustrial style. It challenges those traditional perspectives of render as usually seen on old Greek bathhouses or the rustic look that can’t be modernised,” Kingi said. “A lot of people can't see how render can be styled, how to use it as a starting point and build a room around it. You would never think to put render in a five year-old's room but when you see Smooth Set and what you can do with it, people say ‘wow that’s beautiful’. Render can be a focal point,” added Caro. The courageous use of Venetian Plaster walls in the theatre show off Kingi’s skills on a large scale, the attractive patina of the product and the trowel marks creating interest. A black bulkhead and timber floorboards on the ceiling complete the look, creating a warm, family space that can accommodate changes to interior décor over the years. A striking tree design mosaic wall provides an intriguing feature in the powder room; the mural is the other half of the one the couple used on The Block. A Marrakesh counter adds softness and ties in nicely with the kitchen bench. The sink shape is carefully slanted so that water does not pool on the rendered surface in line with ROCKCOTE's guidelines for Marrakesh use. A mirror with a rusted iron frame adds contrast. The main bathroom is intended as a practical, easyclean, family bathroom, with simple colours and lines. A concrete look Marrakesh feature wall and a Marrakesh dividing wall, topped with clear glass, deliver a contemporary feel. CONTINUED


The Natural Artisan

"A lot of people can't see how render can be styled, how to use it as a starting point and build a room around it ... render can be a focal point." - Caro Tahana

A mosaic mural leftover from The Block, and Kingi's Marrakesh bench top create a striking powder room. The bench top is sloped so that water doesn't pool on the Marrakesh, in line with ROCKCOTE's guidelines for product use

Winter 2017


Caro and Halia enjoying the gentle vibe of Halia's bedroom, featuring a Smooth Set concrete look feature wall, dusty pink EcoStyle non-toxic paints ... and knick-knacks discovered by Caro!

The main family bathroom carries the scandustrial style with natural Marrakesh render on the dividing wall and main wall behind the bath, complemented by charcoal tiles and a hint of timber


The Natural Artisan

"With the render finishes, everyone who walks in just wants to touch the render, to engage with it." - Caro Tahana

STYLING A CHILD’S ROOM When it came to Halia’s room, soft concrete grey and dusty pink colour tones were chosen for longevity, a colour palette that Caro hopes will remain appropriate far beyond their daughter's childhood years. A dreamy Smooth Set feature wall gives a floating clouds effect and coupled with feminine soft furnishings, delivers a gentle, yet slightly edgy little girl’s room. Styling Halia’s room was a fun project for Caro, who delights in finding inexpensive and unusual trinkets and styling them in unique ways. The Block experience allowed her to apply a love of fashion to interior design, with a particular interest in textures, complementary colours and using different elements together to effectively style a room. “Halia is into unicorns and fairies so it’s easy to find little knick-knacks that she loves. I found most of the pictures and ornaments on Instagram and online. A lot of the little stuff is from Kmart as well.

FINISHES TO REACH OUT AND TOUCH While working on The Block, one of the judges emphasised the importance of texture and tactility in creating a room, something Caro and Kingi have really taken on board. “Whenever someone walks into a space and they want to touch something, it is great because people are connecting with the room,” said Caro. “So we put time and money into things that people will want to touch, that we want to touch. With the render finishes, everyone who walks in just wants to touch the render, to engage with it. So you’ve got these different and beautiful looks that Kingi has created but then you run your hands along them and you’ve got depth and texture which adds to the story.”

Kingi and I have always said ‘be practical’. Money is for the structural side of the home…and you don’t have to go and buy $500 cushions or $1000 French linen for a child’s room. She is only five.”

The white Venetian Plaster bedhead looks striking against the blue-grey EcoStyle wall.

Winter 2017


ISLAND LUXE: Where authenticity transcends fashion

Words: Rebecca Park Photography: Jules Hunt

These rustic finishes were created with Lime Plaster Basecote overcoated with Lime Wash.


The Natural Artisan

There's a certain timeless authenticity about the Island Luxe store in Bangalow: from the quality linen garments, to the charcoal soft furnishings and classic lime washed walls.


he store, on the north coast of NSW, is a curious intersection of prestigious luxury and authentic gypsy simplicity. Each detail has been created to reach all of the senses, from the exotic music to the smell of fresh coconut and aged leather, and the textures of the finest fabrics and wall finishes.

The hand shaped shelving and traditional whitewashed walls are inspired by coastal Croatian villages, and reminiscent of rustic lime exteriors, typical of coastal Europe. CONTINUED

Winter 2017


A new-old look was sought for the render: flat white and refined enough to reflect the store's exclusive range, yet with a rustic, aged appearance

Lime Plaster Basecote was applied in a high build with a stipple finish and smoothed to soften the effect


The Natural Artisan

Artisan, John McCliskie, who spent two weeks applying the finishes with his team, said the owners had a clear vision for the store, artistically interpreted by designer Lee Brennan. Rustic, chunky timbers embedded into the walls and used creatively as dividers, are integral to the look. The building presented numerous different substrates for John to work with including masonite, old weatherboard, villaboard and bricks, requiring the creation of an homogenous surface across all substrates before final finishes could be applied. Stonemasons laid blocks and roughly shaped some of the fixtures and shelving, leaving John and his team to work their magic with Lime Plaster Basecote, which was applied in a high build, with a stipple finish and smoothed over in some places to ensure the look wasn’t too rugged. “We were aiming to achieve a new–old look. New because it had to be flat white and refined enough to reflect the store’s exclusive range, yet with rough edges and an appearance of surfaces that had been there for a long time,” John said. A single coat of Lime Wash in quarter strength Lexicon delivered a vivid white aesthetic over the Lime Plaster Basecote, a perfect complement to the beiges, tans and charcoals of the store’s wares. The store carries the Island Luxe style of minimalism, drawn from affection for unpretentious pieces. The Island Luxe philosophy is that true style transcends fashion and the timeless beauty of this store certainly reflects that ethos.

GET THE ISLAND LUXE LOOK Owners: Mirjan, Helen and Samuel Brenko Artisan: John McCliskie (pictured left), assisted by son Isaac, and Jamie Wolter ROCKCOTE products used: ›› Fastbond

and mesh (substrate preparation)

›› Lime

Plaster Basecote (main render)

›› Lime

Wash in quarter strength Lexicon (finishing coat)

›› Repel

(on shelving and hanging spaces where clothing would come into contact with lime, to prevent damage)

›› EcoStyle

Winter 2017

Clear (over timber) 17


Hitting 'save' doesn't cut it for our family photographs: what to do about the 'Digital Abyss'


enerations before us preserved their memories and told their life story with cave paintings, hieroglyphics, paintings, prints, books, photographs and movies. They were carved in stone, painted on canvas and hung in galleries, bound and put on bookshelves or printed and stored in shoeboxes under beds. They preserved their stories so future generations could understand what came before and who they were.


Digital photography is a medium that all but the film purists have embraced. With the advent of smart phones and digital cameras for the consumer, there has never been a time in history that has been easier to capture and share images in large volumes. It is estimated that there are more digital images taken in one year (each year) than were taken in the entirety of the film era.

The Natural Artisan

"Hard drives and DVDs will fail and while the cloud is an option, unless you include your user name and password in your Will, chances are, they too will be lost in the Digital Abyss."

Digital photography is here to stay but we need to adapt and understand what this means for preserving our memories so future generations can see and understand their family heritage. It may not be important for us right now in our busy lives but our grandchildren and beyond may actually want to understand and see who their ancestors were. Meet Reg and Myra (pictured left). 1919 was a challenging time in history but they, like most of their generation, had their wedding professionally photographed. The photographer printed a small selection of archival prints that over the years were displayed in homes, stored under beds in shoe boxes and passed on to their children and grandchildren. A century later, those images form an important part of showing who they were, telling a story and reminding us that youth is a not a preserve of the current generation. As an hypothetical or analogy, if they had kept their wedding photographs on an electronic storage device, let’s call it a modern hard drive, then by 1945 they would not likely be able to see them.

Their grandchildren and beyond would have no visual record of what Reg and Myra looked like when they were young, they would be names only. Either the hard drive would have failed or advancements in technology would have rendered it obsolete or incompatible. In reality that is where we are at the moment — the 21st century will bring more advancement with technology in 25 years than any time in the past. If we rely solely on storing those very significant moments in our lives on digital devices, then future generations will be able to see more of Reg and Myra's generation than of ours, our images will have fallen into the Digital Abyss, never to be seen. I bought a computer 25 years ago. It is not compatible with any current operating system or software. It cannot read a DVD or CD (nor can the one I bought a month ago). It does not have a USB/firewire port. If that change can happen in 25 years, we have to ask: what changes will happen 25 years into the future?

Hard drives and DVDs will fail and while the cloud is an option, unless you include your user name and password in your Will, chances are they too will be lost in the Digital Abyss. I believe all of us share a common responsibility to ensure future generations can look back and see their heritage. The solution is simple. We need to manage our digital files very carefully and importantly, print a key selection of images each year, images that record our story: wedding portraits; first days at school; graduations; significant occasions etc. Just like Reg and Myra’s wedding photographs, if stored properly they will stand the test of time. As a community service I have supplied some solutions at www.eason.com.au/preserve

Ross Eason is an Accredited Photographer with 40 years experience as a professional. Mid last year he completed seven years' service on the Board of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography, the last two as National President. His views and concerns about the Digital Abyss were garnered over that time in liaison with peers both nationally and internationally.

Winter 2017


by Zoe Milburn


The framed image of the succulent demonstrates how inspiration can be drawn from nature to create stunning interiors. Images: istock


The Natural Artisan


ure, you can employ techniques such as lateral thinking, mind maps and the like, or you can jump onto Pinterest and Instagram and trawl through millions of images.

Or you could start to train your brain using the power of observation and awareness. Inspiration is all around us and the biggest provider is Mother Nature herself, with boundless potential and possibilities. The trick is to take the time to look and to observe, yet in our very busy world that can be a lot easier said than done. But it’s worth it, and everyone who creates, designs and crafts should practise this underrated activity, exploring the natural world as a fantastic resource to feed the creative brain.

Take an interior space for instance. We ask all the practical questions about functionality, space planning, material performance but what about the look and feel ... the WOW? Where do you begin to find that all-important inspiration to direct the design along the right path to an amazing interior?

Nature is your first stop to inspiration. By practising observation skills with nature, you get to appreciate the detail, design, colours and combinations. You’ll discover new ideas, new possibilities, things you may never have thought of before. Here in Australia there is such diversity in nature, through landscapes, seascapes and wildlife. We have the brighest light, the most unique of colour palettes, as well as one of the natural wonders of the world, The Great Barrier Reef, right here on our doorstep, to inspire.

Nature is accessible The other wonderful thing about nature is its accessibility, just a simple bunch of flowers or foliage from the garden can really lift and transform a space with such ease, bringing with it a focal point to be enjoyed within the room. Patios, verandas and outdoor entertainment spaces are now highly prized ‘extra rooms’ in our homes, offering more space to enjoy that outdoor/ indoor living which is so quintessentially Australian. But this is no new idea. For centuries, the Japanese have worshipped nature. They cite nature as the true master of design. Living with nature, being surrounded by it, and studying its numerous forms, have created key principles used in their designs, and this art form now mastered is practised with great effect to worldwide appeal in fashion, interiors and architecture. Encouraging studies in nature will help grow your creative eye and provide an invaluable resource library. It will fine-tune your senses, strengthening your skills as a designer.

Winter 2017


Harnessing nature’s ideas So how do you start to harness all this inspiration to use in your next project? First of all invest the time, as it’s time well spent.

Nature influences the design greats

Creative brains need to be fed, they cannot run on empty so take an inspiration day out for yourself, explore the natural world around you. It’s a good reset button creatively and must be encouraged for all designers at all levels.

Think about some of the top designers of today: Kelly Wreastler, Marcel Wanders, Kelly Hoppen, Philippe Starck to mention just a few. Study their work and you’ll see great colour combinations, materials and design.

For those who love to draw, keep a visual diary and record what you see. If drawing is not your thing, use a phone to capture what caught your eye and what suddenly inspired you. Whether it’s a sunset, the sea, a tree, a flower, whatever inspires at the time, you will have noticed it for a reason.

Taking a closer look, and unpacking those designs yields unexpected colour combinations, shapes, and forms - all of which have been heavily inspired by nature.

This nature inspired visual library can be used as a starting point for creating mood boards for your next projects.

Kelly Wreastler loves natural stone and has influenced the trend worldwide for geode inspired décor, artwork and furniture. Kelly Hoppen employs a subtle and neutral colour palette through her designs. Nothing jars and this is another important element in nature’s design; it is always harmonious and balanced to great effect. According to Pantone, their Colour of the Year for 2017 is called Greenery, a rather vibrant hue of green. This is a clear echo of the very strong trend towards nature today. Botanical, tropical, desert inspired looks have been big trends in the last two years and keep on evolving in our spaces.


Mood boards are an excellent design working tool. They have the power to help distil ideas down to the essence, and capture the heart and soul of a design by crystallising ideas and aiding focus. They also help convey the design and message to the recipient in a clear, concise and inspiring way. Mood boards can be inspirational too. You only need look through Pinterest to see the number of mood boards on colour, trends, interior styles and the like. So next time you have an interior design project, look to nature for inspiration. You’ll find plenty of ideas to create the WOW factor, whether it’s a new colour scheme, textural elements in soft furnishings, or organic shaped furniture designs. The possibilities are absolutely endless.

The Natural Artisan

The texture and colours of Eucalyptus bark could inspire a bedroom project like this one. Images: istock

Winter 2017


www.thenaturalartisan.com facebook.com/thenaturalartisan

WINTER 2017 ISSUE FEATURED ARTISANS: Kingi and Caro Tahana www.kctcreative.com.au

John McCliskie johnmccliskie@hotmail.com

Ross Eason, Eason Creative Photography www.easoncreative.com.au

Jules Hunt, Jules Hunt Studio Gallery www.juleshunt.com

Trevor Foon, Foon Photographics galleries.foons.com.au/trevor-foon

Zoe Milburn, ROCKCOTE Interior Designer zmilburn@rockcote.com.au

LOOK FOR THE ARTISAN LOGO ROCKCOTE Certified Artisans are licensed tradespeople who have completed our two day Natural Materials Workshop and on site requirements for working with Natural Materials by ROCKCOTE. ROCKCOTE highly recommends using Certified Artisans for projects featuring Decorative Finishes from our Natural Materials range.


The Natural Artisan

Profile for The Natural Artisan

The Natural Artisan: Winter 2017  

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

The Natural Artisan: Winter 2017  

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