Friday, August 17, 2012

Interior values

Doing what I do.

I've been sick for the last 10 days. I'm very bad at taking time off work but I've finally given in to the fact that I need to rest.

So I've been resting, and reflecting, and have come to a conclusion:

I'm starting to feel a bit jaded about interiors.

Once upon a time one of my favourite things to do was look at interior design blogs. Mostly as an observer but also partly as a participator, as I slowly worked on creating my own little space. But lately I've started to respond to what I'm seeing online with far less enthusiasm.

At first I thought that was to do with the fact that maybe I was losing passion for what I do. But that's not true. I still love my little business, I still love textiles and I still love creating things that end up in other people's homes. But I think what I'm sick of is the relentless competition, the relentless need to reinvent ourselves and keep up with what everyone else in the blogosphere is doing. It's hard to resist conforming sometimes when everything is triangles or geometrics or neon pink.

I've actually started to dislike house tours. Because instead of looking at photos of someone's home and thinking "wow, this place is just so full of memories and meaningful things" or "wow they've managed to make such a homely looking space without spending too much money" or "hey that's clever!" I look at these houses and think "fuck these people must have a shitload of money" or "wow that's very on trend... I wonder how it's going to hold up in 10 years."

I don't want someone to buy Ink & Spindle cushions to suit their currently-very-trendy-interiors-scheme, and then buy some new Ink & Spindle cushions to suit their new interior once they get sick of the old one. I want people to buy what we make because they are investing in something they are going to enjoy for years to come. Because it's special to them, because they appreciate the story behind it, where it was made, how it was made. Instead of an impulse buy I'd rather someone look at one of our designs for a year or two before finally splashing out on some meterage for curtains or a reclaimed and reupholstered chair.

I want what we make to be future proof. So I think I need to work harder to explain those values and maybe help people to shift their thinking and not get sucked into the vortex of current design. Hmmm...



yardage girl said...

I know what you mean ~ I've actually stopped buying the mags and reading the blogs because you actually see the same things/people/places pop up in each of them. It sometimes seems that everyone tries to be quirky/vintage/individual, but it often means that everyone looks the same, which is a bit boring. Keep doing what you do ~ it's wonderful. Hope you feel better soon!

ellie said...

I know exactly what you mean/ feel. I'm the same - I've stopped buying interiors magazine (except occasionally, and then I'm often a bit let down by it all). Things are very trendy nowadays and when a trend hits its boom! everywhere straight away, all over the world in blog land, pinterest, etc etc. and if you're not buying, making, designing (chevron, neon.....) then you're simply not with the cool gang and where are you if you're not with the cool gang.
I think you and Teegs (and therefore I&S) are long lasting design. You're not "on trend", but you are yourself and your own trend. I think that's better. In the long run much better. I do hope people appreciate that - perhaps not enough people want something that they love because they love it and not because a magazine or a pin board told them to love it. But maybe that will change, or evolve or maybe just the same people will keep loving what you do because it's beautiful and sings to them more than the throw away seasonal trends. ..... Maybe.
Hope you get better soon. I've been sick lately, and my body has physically told me to stop and slow down - otherwise I wouldn't have taken notice.

Anonymous said...

I've been a longtime reader of your blog, and this might be the first time I post something here. I'd just like to let you know that your "interior values" is exactly the reason why I keep coming back here, while I never really like interior design magazines etc. It's all so "now" and "on trend", while you clearly have love for your product, show us the design process, and take time to develop things that fit your philosophy.
I've just moved house, and the number of people that have asked me - "so, what kind of new furniture are you buying, which colours are you using, here, let me give you this magazine" .... Well, I want to feel at home, and fully changing my interior is not going help!

Anyway, I wanted to say that I fully agree with your philosophy, and to me that already shines through in your blog and your care for your products. Get well soon!


Suzy said...

Very well said. I'm trying to choose dining chairs at the moment, and so many of the ones I like are "on trend" (you know, the wooden leg Eames-y ones and the Tollick-y metal ones) and I feel like I can't get them because it's all too trendy and in two years it will be like those Keep Calm and Carry On posters which are so ubiquitous that they've become a joke. I don't want trendy furniture or homewares, I just want my home to be comfortable and, yes, nice to look at but not in a way that will date.
Anyway, I love the things you make at I&S and I think you have a very individual style and vision and admire you for refusing to hop on the fluro triangles bandwagon.

Nikki said...

Yep. With ya.... and not just on interiors. I became jaded with fashion in the same way about 15 years ago. Good design is good design and it should be able to stand the test of time. If you and Teegs keep being as true to yourselves as you have been to date, you'll always be making beautiful things. Love ya work!

Samantha Nagtegaal said...

I really agree with you. I particularly used to love loking through interiors magazines, but it always baffles me how they encourage their readers to change their interiors according to whatever's in fashion. I end up wondering how many people realistically do that. I used to be really excited about the newest editions of the interiors magazines i tend to read coming out, but now I flick through them with boredom really, as they are the same every month, with the same contrived gushing of the writers, particularly with featured homes. It just makes me go yuck now.

CurlyPops said...

Oh my goodness that is so true!
I used to have subscriptions to all of the home and garden glossies, but I had to stop renewing as they just made me miserable. I was looking at my home and lamenting that I couldn't afford to make it look like the latest fashion, instead of just making it a home.
Now it's filled with all the stuff that I love, and I don't really care if it's the latest trend or not!

Naturally Carol said...

I feel the same way. Sometimes I don't buy a magazine for two or three months just because when I flick through them they seem the same as last months offering. The blogs I enjoy are sharing more than what they produce, it's their personalities I enjoy, the person behind the creativity, whatever they make. I usually like what they make because it reflects who they are! I think it's fine to have some en trend stuff..if you really love it, but there should be layers of decorating, built up over the length of time you've been living.

Jenny said...

Yes! Well said Lara!

Sorry to hear you are sick, hopeyou are soon better.

Hsve been feeling thisfor a while now - who can afford to replace things just because they are last season's colour? I try to make things last - my brother's old couches have lasted me 8.5 years and still going strong.

Good design and manufacture should last. Yours will!

Bless you!

Julie said...

I completely agree with you. I don't enjoy the design blogs as much as I used to enjoy them. They seem a bit boring and sterile these days. I recently finished grad school and am slowly acquiring real furnishing to replace the air mattress and folding camp chairs I had for years. I can't afford to make my house look like a staged photo shoot and I don't want my house to just be a copy of a 1000 others. If I see something I like, I bookmark it and come back to it a couple of months later. Only a few things have stood up to that and I don't have regret over impulse buys.

One of my impulse buys that has stood up is the Village gocco print I bought from you a few years ago. It makes me happy every day.

Shona~ LALA dex press said...

Interestingly, I recently deleted all my interior design-type blogs from my reader service because I was feeling like there was a blog design world vacuum. I say this with some trepidation because one that world was very good to me and my little business, even having my home featured on one popular site. Life is a lot better when you are not comparing & simply living.

Stitchybritt said...

I think what you've written here is a very clear part of your CVP - and it's genuine. We're all bored of triangles already and I'm glad I never bought triangle curtains.

Helene said...

Lara, I hope you feel better really really soon. Mind you, this morning's Melbourne rainy weather probably won't help much.
I totally agree also, with what you've said, and with all the comments before mine.
And I'm one of those people who've been eying off your fabrics for ages now, and I'm hoping that the couple of years you speak of will come sooner rather than later :)
I'm going to be celebrating my 35th wedding anniversary at the end of this month, and I'm still waiting for "my house" to decorate. We're in the home stretch now, my husband keeps assuring me, and I've got my little list of places I want to shop for new furniture, fabrics, etc ready to go. Ink & Spindle will be the first place I go to for fabric. I reckon that if I've been looking at your designs for a couple of years now, and I still adore them, I know they'll last the distance. And since I'm probably only going to have one shot at this in this lifetime, I want to make it a good one. Your designs pull for longevity, and that's what I'm after. To heck with that fast-paced, constantly changing-up, never fully satisfied nonsense. It's a dead end.
love everything you do xo

Rabbit and the Duck said...

Well said Lara, I've been feeling the same way about interiors, my business, and the lifestyle choices people make. I've never felt that my business was cool or on trend, and that used to bother me, but now I've realised you need to go with your heart - the love and passion you have for your business will shine through. I've also been clearing out so much stuff from my house and it feels great! You don't need the latest stuff or even a lot of stuff to be happy where you are. Hope you feel better soon x

Jesse said...

Hope you feel better soon!

This is something I've been thinking about a lot recently, and feeling like a complete old grump for it. I just can't get enthusiastic about trends. Great design, yes, beautiful rooms, yes, good ideas, yes.

Thanks for articulating what I've been feeling so well. Now I can think about things more clearly. Hmmm...

Isis said...

love this post :)

Candied Fabrics said...

AMEN Sister! ;-)

You've eloquently put in a nutshell how I, and obviously lots of other people feel!

Lara said...

Ahh you guys are all so bloody great. It's SO good to know that it's not just me feeling this way. Sometimes the very act of putting these thoughts into words makes everything clearer, helps me to find clarity, focus and direction.

Thank you!! xxx

sooz said...

Yeah, I echo Nikki - you could replace interiors with fashion or food or any number of other things. I've never been big into interiors and my experience a few years back of living in a very fancy , on trend decorated house totally turned me off ever becoming so. I was always so terrified of messing the place up, and felt my mere presence was an uglifying influence! I am so much happier in my bits and pieces place where my focus is on stuff that's practical, well designed and robust in the face of fashion.

Anonymous said...

Lara -- it's about time you realized that you can never say something wrong. No self doubt! You've proven to yourself time and time again that your thoughts are valid, your values are on spot, and that you have readers who completely understand where you're coming from and love you and your work for it!

BTW -- I hardly read any blogs now because I'm sick of it. But you know what? All the purchases I made years ago when I was still in college have stood the test of time. I recently started taking apart a quilt I made years ago using your fabrics to re-make it into a different design and your fabrics are still relevant. I'm actually using up some of my scraps to make a quilt for a friend's birthday combining some other fabrics from some other Aussie designers that I too purchased years ago (like 2007!) and it still feels fresh and new and relevant. That's the legacy you leave behind. The fact that I can take something apart and re-use it in a new way is a testament that the work you produce is long lasting and "future proof".

Keep doing what you're doing!

littlebirdbigchip said...

As a maker, like you, I totally agree with you. Why do I constantly feel the need to "reinvent" myself? Why can't I just make what i make and feel good and confident about them because they have been made as considered design and with total love. I also agree that it is important to keep informing and educating the buyers about how important these values are. Infact just the other day I got an email from a potential stockists asking pretty much why are they so expensive? How about because I made them..with my bare hands!!! Your work looks fantastic by the way, I missed you at the opening but admired your lovely work. (Mine are the glass bonsai)

Lilli boo said...

Thanks Lara, you have clarified what I have been feeling for a long time too and I am an Interior Designer! I have been going to a lot of the shows recently and when asked who I work for, no one just me! I get the "oh"... Fortunately for me I work with clients who want a home to their taste and not necessarily 'on trend' as you so aptly state! There are refreshing interiors out there you just have to keep exploring and not look at what's happening in the mainstream..
A great interiors publication I have discovered is 'Atomic Ranch' found at Magnation... An American publication which has humor too! Oh on a final note, I have been coveting buying fabric from you for a while, I keep meaning to order as I am recovering a heirloom piece for the simple fact I wanted an Australian design & longevity, your work is inspiring keep it up!

Cathy {tinniegirl} said...

I so agree with your thoughts Lara. I think it's one of the reasons that I've decided to step away from the notion of having a business. I just want to paint beautiful things that are full of my heart and soul and for them to find their place in the world. I was doing so much comparing to what was trendy and popular and feeling like I just wasn't measuring up, and it made me feel like crap. Now I'm back to painting what I love I feel happy again and I'm creating a lot more.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lara,

You are so right on - I think the relentless daily visual stimulation we receive, albeit beautiful or not, on trend or not - is just too much. There is a reason why magazine subscriptions are {or were - when they only came in the mail} monthly - one needs a bit of distance and the pause helps me enjoy it the next month. Everyday is just overload. Thus, I have cut back my reading of blogs to only a select few and has made all the difference.

Thanks for this perspective - it is fresh and much needed.

Hope you are feeling better.

Juicy Roo said...

Not to mention: who has TIME to keep up with it all!? However Larz I ALWAYS find time to read your blog. It is different. And honest. And inspiring. And in the years I've been reading your blog that is the first time I've heard you drop the F bomb lol. xo

Keri Muller said...

You have hit the nail on the head.
Thank you for writing this... I am constantly fascinated by the disconnect as well between what my biggest sellers are to the general public and what the magazines/blogs etc publicise.

Keep making and screw what the rest are doing is what I say


Beth said...

The sad thing is that most people don't care, or they have no appreciation of the creative process/work. They just want 'trendy', 'now' and 'cheap'. Anyone who has made or crafted something understands that you don't purchase an item, you purchase an artist's time and creative energy represented by the item.
While at a craft show, a girl and her mother came up, admired one of my items and then commented, "I could make that and sell them!" I was stunned. How do you respond?! Luckily, I was able to say quite cheerfully, "Go right ahead! I wish you luck!" They can learn the hard way, and maybe, just maybe, they'll come to appreciate the artist's energy. And if the world is really lucky, a new artist will come to be!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the honest post!