Darling Mills Studio


Bespoken Collective ~ Pop Up Store

Art, Design, Exhibiting, Bespoken CollectiveRachel MoodieComment

I wrote this little media release for a new venture I am lucky enough to be a part of... 

The Bespoken Collective!
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The Bespoken Collective is part gallery, part furniture store, part bespoke home. Every piece is designed and hand crafted with enormous respect for the materials used and for the collective’s individual crafts. 

The roll call of artisans includes:

  • Victoria Keesing of Victoria Keesing Furniture Design with contemporary furniture and lighting
  • Jason and Andrew of Paradox Movement with contemporary furniture design 
  • Vashti Taverner of Taverner Glass with kiln formed glass tableware and sculpture
  • Verity Roberts with luminous encaustic and mixed media paintings
  • John Webb with poetical mixed media landscapes
  • Kathy Roil with vibrant mixed media paintings
  • Suzanne Duncan with multi-layered mixed media and textile art
  • Rachel Wells (Darling Mills Studio) with hyper-real digital photographic montages and
  • Sunmin Do (Sunny Art) with photorealistic oil paintings and wooden toys.

These committed artists and designers plan to bring their latest collections to Sydney biannually with the inaugural launch on Sunday March 6, 2016.

One of the founding members is Victoria Keesing. With a corporate background, savvy business acumen and over 15 years designing and making furniture she is the primary driving force behind The Bespoken Collective.

‘I had a sense that there was a gap in the market. Art galleries showed art. Furniture stores tended to show products in product types. I felt, as a buyer of great artwork, (of every sort) that when I think about my home and making it mine - it is the bringing together of very different things; sculpture, glass and artworks, that creates the sense of home. I was very keen to bring this model together.’ 

Keesing along with co-founders Andrew Kenny and Jason Vuong of Paradox Movement were being mentored by acclaimed Sydney furniture designer and retailer James Salmond. When both expressed a desire to create a pop-up store to launch their brands, James had them meet.

There was an instant connection. “Victoria was really practical, she’d hit the ground running and was really talented too, which made it very clear to us that we could make it happen”, says 23 year old Andrew.

For artisans whose work could be branded as both art and design entry into either the art or design market can be daunting. Initially they approached galleries and furniture retailers for space. ‘It was a tricky exercise (seeking a space) as stores and galleries were wary of accepting the work of unknown furniture designers and our work does not easily fit into one category,’ says Victoria. ‘Art galleries did not necessarily see our work as art and furniture outlets did not necessarily see all of our work as furniture…’ 

With the philosophy of, ‘if you want something done right; do it yourself’ and the hurdles as fuel, Victoria and the boys from Paradox set about finding a warehouse space in the art and design precinct of Alexandria. With a location secured on O’Riordan Street for six weeks they invited artist friends and colleagues, whose work complimented their furniture, to join the venture.

The commonality between these creatives is their desire to collaborate with like minded individuals and to exhibit their work in context, surrounded by other beautiful objects.  

‘I love working with the other artists and appreciate the support they offer… It’s a great way to bring our works together and showcase them as a collection.’ ~ Kathy Roil.

What exists is quite literally a bespoke collection. An array of unique and varied art forms, techniques and materials all working in unison.

The Bespoken Collective opens to the public on Friday the 4th of April with an official opening on Sunday the 6th of March from 2pm to 5pm at Shop 14, ‘The Alex’ 40-42 O'Riordan St, Alexandria. Exhibition runs to April 12th 2016. To enquire go here!

The Other Art Fair Debrief

Art, ExhibitingRachel MoodieComment

A week or so on from my first foray back into the rosy land of art exhibitions and I am still buzzing from my experience at The Other Art Fair. 

80 Artists were selected from over 300 applicants to exhibit at Central Park in Chippendale and I felt so privileged to be involved. The opening night was packed and people were lined up (in very long lines) to get in!

The conversations I had with art appreciators, artists and gallerists and the feedback I received has been overwhelmingly positive. I now have a clear direction for future work and an abundance of ideas.

Kirsten Duncombe, Tanya Stubbles, Taylor Conacher, Peter Thorn, Kym Leutwyler and Yosi Messiah were my companions for the weekend in the stands next to and opposite me. There was a wonderful sense of camaraderie between all the artists and organisers and the positive vibe has left me inspired with a renewed vigour for creating.

I was heartened by how many Mums I met at the fair, following their passions and making time for art 'making'. I was also beyond impressed with the organisers. One of the two gorgeous fair directors has two young children and her involvement was massive. No easy feat with two young kids.

Last week I turned my renewed energy to planting a garden at home with Elva and the neighbours kids and hopefully in weeks to come I will draw upon this inspired feeling and make the time for 'making' some new work. x


Images from above ~

Top left to right: Kirsten Duncombe's ephemeral paintings, Archibald finalist Kim Leutwyler, Me in my stand on opening night.

Bottom left to right: Le stand, Taylor Conacher drawing studiously while mini me takes a nap on the cool concrete, The colourful work of Yosi Messiah.