Some snaps from my recent pottery classes

For the past few months I have been attending a weekly pottery class, hosted by local potter Garth Hoets in his home studio in Hilton. It’s such a great way to unwind and beat out the days frustrations through the use of clay as a punching bag ;) I really look forward to every Wednesday night (my escape from work and the kids!) and find that I am constantly on the look out for ceramic inspiration these days…

Garth’s classes are not too structured which is awesome – once he’s shown us the basics, each student gets to decide what they want to work on and we learn as we go along (everyone is at different levels anyway so this approach is much more suited to the individual).

We can also choose between hand or wheel work – I have done mostly hand to date, not for any particular reason other than because I’m having fun with it! I tried some wheel work the other day (made a few small bowls) and am definitely keen to do some more in the near future, and to build on my throwing skills.

Sharing some pics here of the studio and my work – if you’re local and feel like getting creative, come and join us! If you’re not from around here and would like to find a class near you, visit the Ceramics Southern Africa website which lists numerous potters across the provinces and more info about the craft in general.

ellieshavings plattertools oval weave whale 1 buckets bowl1  mix2 scratchings1 spoons1kiln1 big bowl wheel3  cheeseboard1 wheel1 mix1 whale1wheel2 urchin1 vase1 pea pod pre glaze  blue bowlneon yellow glaze pea pods, vase + bowls

Recent Design Work: Soul Naturals

Thanks to a recommendation from a friend, I’ve had the pleasure of working with new clients Nahtalie and Lonneke on some logo and packaging redesign work for their business, an online shop called Soul Naturals, which sells unique and carefully sourced baby-related products (think gorgeous clothing, natural baby products, nursery decor, adorable toys and baby accessories!)

The ladies felt that the original logo and product labels didn’t reflect their business adequately, so we reworked the fonts, graphics and colours to something more contemporary, child-friendly yet still appealing to adults, and nature-inspired. The new logo and colours are easily adaptable, recognisable and legible for use on many mediums – website, business stationery, products, packaging etc.

old-vs-new-soul-naturals

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new-labels-soul-naturalsCant wait to see these printed and in situ!

Anyone out there looking for some lovely baby stuff for your own little ones or as a gift, be sure to visit www.soulnaturals.co.za for some great ideas and products :)

AND! If you haven’t already, take a look at my new graphic design website: andreabarras.com

DIY Orb Chandelier Lighting Update!

A few weeks ago I posted about my idea for making a budget-friendly version of some beautiful feature lights I’d seen in a local shop… With a little vision and some help from my very clever, DIY-king of a Dad, we achieved THIS:

LightsBeforeLightsAfterHigh ceilings afford me the opportunity to really go big with lighting in this house and I’m super thrilled with how these turned out! They’re modern, but still in-keeping with the style of the house and BOTH lights came in at just under R400 for the pair – compared to nearly R10 000 for two where I’d originally seen the idea (original ones obviously are different in structure and materials but the idea is still the same)

Lights3I like Big Bulbs and I cannot lie…

Lights2 Dad doing his thang…. High ceilings require very tall ladders!

Lights4Lights5Lights6Lights1What do you guys think?! I reckon this DIY was a complete winner and a great illustration on how you can really get creative with lighting! Now need to come up with some ideas for the rest of the house…

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Parkrun: I survived!

Despite not starting my planned running regime courtesy of a feisty cold last week (and being totally unfit in general) I hauled my ass off before 8am on Saturday morning (along with Keri and Nicola) to the 2nd local parkrun event held weekly at Piggly Wiggly here in the KZN Midlands – AND IT WAS AWESOME!

The weather was lovely, the people were friendly, the course was do-able (okay, not so much the GIANT hill towards the end but overall it was good) and I cant believe I’m even saying this (yes, me – non-runner-extraodinaire!), but I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and cant wait to do it again!

I obviously didn’t run for the entire thing – my time was 46 minutes (5km course) and I don’t really care about that except for having a measure to improve against – but feeling DAMN PROUD (!) that I went along and tried it out.

The cool thing about parkrun is that there is no pressure and it’s really just about like-minded people of all fitness-levels getting out into nature and getting active. And what would a blog post be without any pics…

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all dressed in appropriate sporty attire

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nuts and cranberries for brekkie

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before leaving home, acting like an asshole

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view from the first part of the course

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taking pics along the way like a regular TK ;)

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the Polly Shortts of the Midlands

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pro runners Nicola and Keri – my inspiration to one day run next to them and not miles behind ;)10511127_10154412403675511_6526466860916849476_n

post-run-pre-coffee selfie {these last two pics were taken by Keri!}

Going to be starting this basic running schedule from tomorrow, found it on Runners World and seems pretty beginner-friendly – Tash from Raising Men has just published a great post on the benefits of running, check it out HERE!

Start-Running

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Homegrown Creatives: Meet Nina & Michelle from Room 13 Design

Very excited to share this post today – Nina and Michelle are two VERY talented sisters who run Room 13 Design – the creative studio behind some spectacular work with well-known local brands, and a team whose work I am just in complete awe of! But please don’t take my word on it, see for yourself…
cleverbirdbanter-weekly-feature-Room13
Who are you and what do you do / make / sell? 

We are Nina and Michelle van Reenen from Room 13 Design, a graphic design agency in Cape Town. We have recently launched our textile and wallpaper “sister company” called Room 13 Collection,  designing and producing interior products, such as wallpaper, textiles, cushions and table cloths.Did you always know that you were headed in this direction – how did you get where you are today?

It’s been a natural progression from being designers, to wanting to create our own products. Something that we could have in our own homes.

What makes your work / products / services unique?

Our focus is on attention to detail. We love crafted designs, and we definitely have a Room 13 ‘design flavour’. We always strive to offer something that is top quality. The Collection has been very carefully curated in terms of pattern, colour and application, so one can combine different elements and patterns together.  This range is quite unique in the fact that all our designs are available as textiles or wallpaper. The collection is also very versatile in terms of using the patterns for both adults and kids spaces.

Where do you look for inspiration?

Every day life, our kids, blogs. South African designers are also very inspirational, there is so much talent!

Who are your creative idols?

Jenna LyonsLi Edelkoort, Fabien Baron, Marc Atlan, Charles and Ray Eames.

Where do you like to hang out – what are your favorite spots in your town/city/country?

We both have kids, so we are really home bodies, but we love going away for weekends – Paternoster. But El Burro is always a firm favourite!

Given the opportunity, where would you like to travel/explore?

We would both love to go back to New York and India has been also a great inspiration, Mexico, Bali – we cannot get enough of traveling overseas, but saying that we would also love to explore our own continent.

How does a typical day for you play out?

All work and no play!

With a day all to yourself (no meetings, distractions, to-do-lists) and an unlimited budget, what would you get up to?

As little as possible! I’d probably meet up with a friend or see two movies back to back! Some me time. A Spa day and a lunch at Ellerman House. Perhaps a night in the Villa, if that’s not too much to ask.

If you could have any other profession, what would it be?

A fine artist or a psychologist? A professional dare devil!

Where can we stalk you?

Design –  www.room13.co.za
Collection –  www.room13collection.co.za / hello@room13collection.co.za
Twitter: @RoomThirteen
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/room13design

What does your workspace / studio look like?

Have a look at our website – http://room13.co.za/us/

What it the work/design/product/project you are most proud of to date?

Our work for Spier Wine Farm. Gumede wedding invite – something we designed through Gavin Rajah.

sp4-511x400spir_sig_trade_present2-510x40041-510x40052-510x400Screen-Shot-2013-01-19-at-10.53.31-PM-588x400p-2harryco-510x400G_7-510x4004rgsdsust_ill2-510x4001_Demorgenzon_box-510x4001_luck-510x4001_wallp1-510x400muscles-680x4006-510x400Wallp_ophelia_red_wide-562x562 cushion_botanical_red1-562x562(obsessed with this botanical print – you may recognise it from my recent Dining Room Makeover Mood Board post!)

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Piggly Wiggly parkrun – Free Weekly 5km Timed Run

I’ve heard people on Twitter going on about “parkrun” for a while now and figured it was a Jo’burg thing, until recently when I discovered that it’s actually national with events all over SA. Basically, local sponsors host the events and participants of all ages, shapes and fitness levels sign up to come along and run a timed 5-kay. Results are emailed to you and you can find out all sorts of interesting info and running stats on the parkrun website…

AND NOW, parkrun is coming to The Midlands! This weekend in fact :)

Why am I excited about this? I’m not sure. There must definitely be something in the air because let me just say that I AM NOT A RUNNER. I always joke and say that if I ever had to run for my life, I would literally die.

I’ve never been very good at it (picture the girl who always came last on school sports days), but I would love to get into it. So I’ve decided I’m going to start “training” (that word makes me LOL and cry at the same time) from next week.

In my garden.

Where no one can see me doing the Pheobe run. (Friends fans will know what I mean!)

I’ll probably give it a few weeks before I hit a parkrun event – mostly because I am that unfit and don’t want to bite off more than I can chew – but really looking forward to the challenge and welcome any beginners running tips? Anyone?!

For more info on parkrun (starting this weekend) check out image below and visit: http://www.parkrun.co.za/pigglywiggly/

10402046_681876065221846_8736712762825242184_nLike-on-Facebook

Homegrown Creatives: Meet Jen from Jen Jen

cleverbirdbanter-weekly-feature-JenJen

Who are you and what do you do / make / sell?
My name is Jen Mckenzie – I am an Interior Designer, Artist, Illustrator and all round DIY-er. I am the creator, owner, designer, production manager, manufacturer, sales and dispatch at Jen Jen, where we make small collectable art pieces and are slowly building up the brand to encompass all things home décor.

Did you always know that you were headed in this direction – how did you get where you are today?
I have always been a creative person, but it was after I studied Interior Design that I realized what I wanted to achieve. The road I have been on to get me to where I am today has been so fun – I have met some of the most insanely talented people and have designed things that I never thought I would get the opportunity to do. This has superseded anything I ever could have dreamt of doing.

What makes your work / products / services unique?
My products / designs have a very specific signature style. The square block concept is something that you are seeing everywhere these days, so I work really hard to ensure my designs are original and unique and that the quality of the print itself is impeccable.

Where do you look for inspiration?
There are so many different avenues for inspiration. But, mainly, my inspiration comes from what’s on-trend (colors, patterns, shapes, imagery… etc) the quotes I come across, typography, the people I meet and the “corny answer” – everything that we are surrounded by in South African. My sketch book gets filled with all sorts of new ideas after each day’s adventure.

Who are your creative idols?
I wouldn’t say I have any idols per say, but there are so many people whose work I find absolutely incredible and I only wish I could come up with concepts and pieces that are as creative and interesting. Oliver Jeffers , Marc Johns , Danielle Kroll and Sean McCabe .. to name a few, looking at the work they produce inspires me to push my style further then my sketchy black lines

Where do you like to hang out – what are your favorite spots in your town/city/country?
My absolute favorite is to ‘escape’ the city and go back home to the Natal Midlands – I’m a farm girl. But when I’m hanging out in Durbs I love to go to coffee shops ( New on the block – Savior Coffee Co. – you have to visit! ) Vintage and Antique stores – I have an obsession with blue and white teacups – or Market on Marriott Road, they have the best food, best wine and best vibe and its 2 minutes down the road – how convenient.

Given the opportunity, where would you like to travel/explore?
I would love to explore every single inch of Europe. The history and the Architecture – swoon!! France, Italy, Greece and Spain in particular. If I could click my fingers and go back in time – it would be back to the Trevi fountain eating Gelato

How does a typical day for you play out?
After hitting the snooze button a few too many times, it’s a mad dash to get to my day job as an Interior designer / Space Planner at Cecil Nurse business furniture – where I work from 8 – 4:30. Once I’m home and back in my studio I work on new concepts for designs, freelance design work and making sure all my orders get made up. Then it is back to bed – the best place to be!

With a day all to yourself (no meetings, distractions, to-do-lists) and an unlimited budget, what would you get up to?
I would sleep in – no questions asked. And after that, I am not really too sure because I quite like having a to-do list, but that unlimited budget would buy me a lot of shoes.

If you could have any other profession, what would it be?
A Secret Agent!! But I would never have it any other way!

Where can we stalk you?
Website: http://www.jenjen.co.za
Instagram: @jenjen_est2011
Facebook: facebook.com/jenjendesignstudio
Email: jenzmck@gmail.com

What does your workspace / studio look like?
I like to think of it as Organized Chaos. My studio is in the third bedroom in my apartment, in an old Art Deco building – so it already has plenty character. The walls are dark blue ( Plascon Dusk of Day – get involved, best color!) and there is a picture rail that runs the perimeter of the room, so anything and everything that can be hung from it – is hung from it. I work at a vintage ball and claw dressing table, my cupboard is full of boxes of stock, and I have a big workbench where all the prints are made up. This room is where the Magic happens.

What it the work/design/product/project you are most proud of to date?
It’s hard to select just that one thing I’m most proud of – I’m always surprised and proud of the way my customs prints turn out. But most recently I am most proud of my Stand at the ECR House and Garden show and a sketch from my 15 day drawing challenge, after its sell out performance at the I Heart Market on Saturday.

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Stop calling me on the phone – an article by Benjamin Law

This article was basically written for/about me – I HATE talking on the phone, and from a young age can remember being traumatised by the idea. I was not the kind of teen who could comfortably hog the line for hours chatting to mates. I realise that I sometimes need to put my big girl panties on and face it every now and then (especially for work, some clients prefer to talk about their ideas rather than writing them down in an email etc) but some of the ‘rules’ in this post are pretty spot on.

http://m.dailylife.com.au/life-and-love/real-life/stop-calling-me-on-the-phone-20140704-3bczk.html

As an aside, I also prefer work related conversations, requests, ideas etc to be in writing – so much easier to refer back to and have a record of exactly what was said and when.

Also, I’m not a freak, generally if you are a friend I don’t mind a quick chat ;) Likewise if you are the National Lottery calling to let me know I’ve won.

And lastly, do not even get me started on the torture that is SKYPE…

tumblr_n10n3wfcrl1st5lhmo1_1280{ here’s a pretty picture of a cactus By Oliver Pacas }

Dining Room Makeover – My Inspiration

This is the vibe I’m feeling for our new dining room – dark rich, colours – gold accents – frames, mirrors, beautiful artwork, bold lighting and moody florals/botanical prints…

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Obsessed with dark walls filled with contrasting framed pictures and art as a gallery wall – swoon – and I think the lighting project I’m working on will be perfect for the room (very high ceilings so space-wise, we can afford to go BIG!)

I’m also just a little bit in love with this big tropical bird painting that I won at an auction last week for just R300!

cleverbirdbanterbirds

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