I was asked recently to join Vanessa Holden in her Soul Safari – a global gathering of makers and changemakers held at The School, the first of its kind to be held here in Sydney as part of Vivid Ideas. With community, collaboration and commitment to creativity as the key to our conversation, I jumped at the chance to speak about my creative process and co-collaborators – Missy Glibert and Claire Johnson of The Nest Creative Space, alongside and sandwiched between some of Australia’s greatest including the iconic Ken Done, Megan Morton, Sasha Titchkosky and Sibella Court amongst many. Absolutely blessed to be a part of this. In one word, Joy!
Vanessa’s mission is to celebrate, elevate and enable the artful and handmade. To drive radical transformation by gathering and mobilising a global tribe of makers and changemakers! Can you feel it? She is the most awesome communicator//connector I have ever come across, a live wire indeed, connecting people, communities and creativity all over the globe. Her resume reads like your dream job wish list and in person she is captivating, peacefully powerful and with wordsmith abilities. New York, her now home is next on the list for Soul Safari, and if you haven’t already tapped into this most amazing tribe, I urge you to…Go, create. #makeitormakeithappen
See below my interview for Soul Safari and images from some of my favourite shoots to date. Enjoy. X
RITUAL. This is how we live // RITUAL: FLOWER with photographer Christopher Phillips. A colourful tribute to the Japanese aesthetic of Wabi Sabi – whereby beauty is imperfect, impermanent or incomplete. Model: Chels.
Bettina McILwraith. Appetite for Decoration. Sydney.
Bettina McIlwraith is a creative director, brand consultant and stylist who, along with her collaborators, the design tribe at The Nest Creative Space, are a small and mighty group of interdisciplinary artists, makers, stylists, photographers and musicians creating a completely new collaborative model in Sydney. They see creativity as a vital communication tool for better ways of living, always in support of sustainable, ethical art forms. Missy Gilbert, Founder of The Nest and ceramicist Claire Johnson will join Bettina to dig into community, collaboration and their commitment to creativity.
Where did it all start for you?
My mum and dad were always super enthusiastic about living life to the fullest and celebrating it daily. (They always said, “You can do whatever you want to do in this world darling.” And I believed them and I try to honour that everyday.) That’s where it all started for me.. We spent a lot of time in Noosa in the seventies…Fabulous food, frangipanis, hours upon hours in the ocean and lots of laughs. Paradise.
What’s your advice for someone going through their own transformation?
Fight the good fight. Meaning, keep at it!
Sollis STYLE TOTEMS // “Heart of Darkness” Collection – a collaboration with Designer Eleanor Ford. I am the Luxuriant. Evolved, generous, adaptable. I thrive on fresh perspective. Vital, elegant, balanced. Green is The Revolutionary.
Where’s your soul place?
India feels like a second home to me. I first travelled there 25 years ago and became mesmerised by the joy and colour in everyday life. It is where I first became fascinated with daily rituals. Africa is vibrant human habitation, graphic stimulation and appetite for decoration in one. The celebration of life and nature here through ritual and ceremony makes my heart bounce.
Are you following the path of a trailblazer?
I’m inspired by so many people… Mostly my women friends who are living life creatively, on their own terms and being true to themselves. Vivienne Westwood is a true revolutionary and she is using her voice for the greater good of the planet.. Plus, her punk spirit, serious work ethic and original vision guide me. What a woman!
FLORAL APPRECIATION SOCIETY // Grow where you are planted. Full Bloom. A collaboration with Photographer Grant Smith. Model Elfy Scott.
If you could do anything, what would you do next?
Start a Conscious Creative Agency that is unconventional and uncompromising in it’s vision. A multifaceted, ethical collective utilising talent locally and internationally to create ideas, product and content across retail, events and magazines. This is how we live.
Ritual. This is how we live // RITUAL: EAT. Photographer Christopher Phillips.