“Before I sit down to design I have already carefully constructed all details of the design in my head. I can’t wait to put pen to paper or draw the mouse in a sweeping motion across my mouse pad to see my design come to life.”
Belinda started her business in 2005, keen to follow her dream of the creative freedom to produce beautiful but practical pieces of art. It was always her dream to run her own label, following extensive design experience in clothing, textiles and accessories, both in Australia and overseas. An early stint in New York, working in the exciting creative atmosphere of the Fifth Avenue fashion district inspired Belinda to aim high.
“The love of design, art and all things creative is such an intrinsic part of who I am that to deny them is to deny myself.”
Belinda; endlessly focused and determined, designs every creation herself and oversees all aspects of her business while raising two young children. “Family is such an important part of the business epicenter - I draw on the support and experiences of my family in the every day running of the business”
“Creativity and experimentation with traditional and modern craft techniques is the driving force behind all that I do. My aim is to reach my customers through design, captivating their imagination, enabling them to express their individual creativity and style through accessories they love”
What inspires my work?
One of the wonderful things about living in Australia is its cultural diversity. My family has a mixed cultural make up and my circle of friends have cultural backgrounds from all around the world.
When I spend time with friends, I am taken on a journey around the world through different foods, smells, languages, music, dress, jewellery and life experiences being shared around the table. I am constantly inspired by the world's treasures; whether I am travelling, reading a good book, going to a gallery or catching up with friends.
My embroideries and other decorative textile treatments are often inspired by the mystique and aesthetics of the east. Drawing on eastern influences, I like to mix these aesthetics with a western approach to create designs with exotic textures.
A love of colour plays a big part in my design. As a child I used to mix my grandmother's oil paints when her eyesight was fading. This early introduction to colour mixing has given me a true love for the subtleties of colours and how they work together.
I love beautiful reference books, where you can find great imagery of textiles and industrial and architectural design from around the world. I love to learn about lost crafts, techniques and different cultures.
Whether it is through my experiences in the past or the world around me in the present, I feel blessed that I can express all that inspires me through my design.
Creating A Product
It all starts with a design idea. I usually play with the decorative elements of the design first. I like to hand draw or paint my ideas on paper to start with; then, once I am happy with the design, I scan it into my computer and transform it into a crisp graphic master artwork which can be used by the embroidery factory, laser programmer or screen printers to create my intricate designs. Colour and textures are important; I very carefully choose thread colours from a large collection of swatches for my embroideries and carefully select leather colours and metal attachment finishes; notating the details. The functionality is an important factor in making a successful accessory, I perfect interiors of wallets by creating scale size drawings with measurements making sure I achieve a good balance and layout of card pockets, note and coin pockets. Sketches are drawn of all angles of the wallet bag or jewellery and outlined into a specification sheet so that all people involved in the manufacturing process have all the information they need.
Sourcing materials is an important element of the product design, the leathers I use are sourced from Italy; I like to use high quality Italian leathers that have a beautiful lustre and good durability. For the metal attachments, I go on sourcing trips to Hong Kong. Hong Kong produces a large range of high quality rings, buckles, studs and zippers in many finishes, getting these details right all adds to the end design. Some of our designs feature hand screen printed material; some friends of mine who run a screen printing studio in Melbourne bring my textile design to life, all printed by hand using large screens.
The next step is creating a sample. Some of my product is produced in China and some in Australia by myself collaborating with other crafts people. The two processes are quite different, the product developed in Australia is very hands on cutting and sewing leather, shaping and polishing silver experimenting with the tactile nature of my materials. The product development in China is all about communicating my design and material choices to my manufacturer to achieve the desired end product. I am constantly impressed by the skill of the crafts people in Hong Kong and China as they do such fine workmanship.
All of these elements come together to create samples of the original design idea I had pictured in my mind, it is so exciting to see them come to life and then see my customers enjoy them.