Kate is ready for the ride

Talented, friendly and inspirational. These are the three words that come to mind during my time with West Australian musician Kate Hindle. With the release of her brand new EP ‘Ready For the Ride’ on Friday, and after a challenging 2017, Kate’s music career couldn’t be any better right now.

21-year old Kate grew up in Collie, a small country town in Western Australia. From a young age, she knew that music was for her. Beginning with piano at the age of 7, Kate and her parents realised her talent for music. “My mum put me into guitar lessons when I was 8. Once I was really getting the hang of it, I started to sing whilst playing the guitar when I was 9”. From there, Kate’s career started to evolve, learning more instruments along the way. Kate tells me during our phone interview that she can play the bass, drums, mandolin, ukulele and the penny whistle. “I was in a Celtic band for a little while”. I can hear a smile on her face when she tells me that.

Of course once she perfected her instruments, she began to write songs, well dabble with silly lyrics as she puts it. But one day she wrote a song that she was proud of. She penned the song at 12, called it ‘Unknown Love’ and even recorded it, though the recording is no longer available. But it was in that moment that Kate realised her potential as a songwriter. “I realised that I could write about family and things happening at the time.” She is now a full-time singer/songwriter.

Around the same time that she wrote ‘Unknown Love’, Kate really began to see music as a career. She had heard about a school, Senior College of Country Music (formerly Camerata Country Music School) and aspired to attend. But unfortunately for Kate, at that time they weren’t taking applicants that young. But being determined, she started working hard to achieve her goals, eventually ending up at WAAPA. The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts offered Kate a position when she was 17, something that she is immensely thankful for. “From there I attended the Junior College of Country Music on a scholarship in 2014 and the next year in 2015 I received another scholarship for the Senior College”.

Kate Hindle Georgia Maloney
Photo: Georgia Maloney Photography

After graduating with her music degree from WAAPA in 2015, Kate released her single ‘My Home’ on iTunes, which made it into the Top 40 Country Music Chart. But her star was only just beginning to rise. In 2016, Kate finished in the top 10 of Autralia’s highly prestigious country music competition, the Toyota Star Maker. 2016 also saw Kate perform at big music festivals such as the annual Tamworth Country Music Festival, the Gympie Muster and the Mildura Country Music Festival. In 2017, Kate visited the Tamworth Country Music Festival once again, this time performing with Golden Guitar award winner Travis Collins.

From our interview, it’s clear that Kate aspired to live in Tamworth from a young age and that aspiration turned into reality. “Living in Tamworth was a dream. I was pursuing my career as a country music artist.” Kate was making a name for herself in Tamworth for a year, when her world started to slowly crumble. She had her heart broken, but that was the least of her worries. Kate’s ever increasing back complications would suddenly put a halt to her career.

Kate had a spinal disc push through her spinal canal which almost paralysed her and caused her unbearable pain. But through her darkest days, and her doctors telling her that all her pain was psychological, Kate remained as positive as she could be. “One day the negativity just pushed me to go ‘You know what? I’m gonna get through this and I’m gonna prove to you that it’s not in my head. I’m gonna keep positive. Keep pushing everyday.’” And Kate continued to have that mind focus until one day her bladder stopped working. Suddenly the doctors realised the damage to her body. Her injury was affecting the nerve to her bladder. Following successful surgery in Newcastle, Kate was finally starting to get better but moved back to Western Australia to be closer to her family.

Although Kate’s spinal injury hasn’t stopped her, it did cause her to miss out on a few massive gigs. But Kate found inspiration in what she had been through to write music. “Being in a wheelchair really brought this determination that ‘I really want this’ and I got to write about the really positive journey. I get to write about what I’m feeling and how it affects me and music is definitely a remedy of mine.” So whilst she was in hospital, Kate started to create lyrics for a song to a melody that she had had in her mind for a few years. Kate penned the lyrics ‘I’ve gotta learn. I’ve gotta try to keep getting by’ and thus became her track and eventual EP title ‘Ready For the Ride’.

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Photo: Georgia Maloney Photography

Releasing on Friday the 19th January, the EP features 7 tracks; 4 originals and 3 covers. “All of the songs that are on there have played an important role in my journey,” she tells me. There’s a song from Canadian musician Anne Murray who has always uplifted Kate. Another cover is from country music legend Slim Dusty, who’s Bush Balladeer style has always inspired Kate’s music. The last cover is Patsy Kline.

Kate co-wrote 3 songs on the EP, and penned the remaining track solo. “The songs just symbolise life to be honest.” There is a track on the EP titled ‘Whiskey Lullaby’ which Kate co-wrote with fellow WA musician Johnny Taylor. “It’s about an alcoholic, which isn’t about me, but I just expanded my songwriting skills for this song and I thought it was very important and kind of about my journey.” Kate also co-wrote a song with Felicity Urquhart in Nundle, New South Wales. The song is titled ‘Loneliness’.

Once Kate had written several different songs for the EP, she travelled three hours to Perth to meet with Mark Donohoe, the co-producer of the EP. “We started doing demos. We worked out which songs would make the cut and which wouldn’t.” After looking at different options for the feel of the album, the two decided that the album would be positive and one that people could relate to. Mark Haggerty Jr., a drummer, joined Kate in the recording studio, an experience that she describes as “an honour. He put a twist on some things which was awesome,” a twist which Kate feels actually made the songs better. Kate also worked on the guitar lines with Tamworth musician Rusty Crook for two full days. “We worked on the guitar, the mandolin, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, lead guitar. All of it.” Kate tells me that Rusty had a big input into the album, doing an incredible job. The producer Mark then put the bass line down and then spent the next few weeks tweaking the songs. “I then went back to record the, let’s just call them, end vocals. We spent the next few weeks recording harmonies and mixing and checking the balance of everything.” A long process indeed but Kate assures me that it was all worth it.

With the songs recorded and mixed, Kate was nearly ready to produce the album. But before that she had to come up the artwork, something she did herself. “I sent it to one of my friends who is a designer and she fixed it all up for me.” The CD was then ready to be manufactured, ready for release on the 19th January.

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The complete album cover

As my phone call wraps up with Kate, her gentle voice tells me about her busy year ahead. She’ll be performing 13 gigs over 10 days at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, then touring with her friend Trevor Tolton to Victoria before spending a weekend in South Australia performing. They then head to Western Australia, performing at a country music festival there. She then heads to Bundaberg, Queensland for another festival “I have 4 festivals within the first 5 months of the year”.

As Kate thanks me for the interview and I thank her for the time it’s not hard to see why Kate is so popular. With over 3,500 Facebook fans, Kate’s friendly nature and inspirational talent creates a real country music artist that I think so many people can relate to.

Talented, friendly and inspirational. This is how I describe Kate Hindle.

Kate Hindle- Captain's Eye Photography
Photo: Captain’s Eye Photography

Kendall’s King Tide

Sun, sand and waves. This is the back drop for the debut video ‘Tide’ from local Sydney artist Kendall King.

Kendall has always had a feel for music, beginning at the age of 5. But it wasn’t really until nine years ago when he began to produce his own music. “I started writing in 2008 and recording myself on the PC with a cable I used to plug straight into my guitar amp,” he tells me before saying that he can actually play 10 instruments. These include the piano, drums, saxophone, flute and violin along with the guitar and vocals.

I wonder if having the ability to play so many instruments makes it easier to create different sounds for each song? Kendall tells me that he creates all the sounds, excluding vocals, on a computer. “It’s rare I’ll actually record an instrument. Even when I track a guitar part, it’s plugged directly into the PC through an audio interface and I’m using emulated guitar amps and effects”.

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There’s a lot that goes into creating and, later, producing a track. The melody is first, which is usually created on a piano by Kendall. From there he will draw the MDI notes and start layering sounds, adding in harmonies and chords. “It usually takes me 5 minutes to come up with a song and then another 6 months of producing and re-editing until the final song is ready.”

Wanting the freedom to be his own artist and create what he visualised, Kendall started to develop his own label SKYLLA about 2 years ago. Creating a label meant that Kendall would have independence as a musician along with creative individuals working alongside him that he has a deep connection with. But SKYLLA has become more than just about music, as Kendall tells me during our interview. “We are a 360 company. We don’t just make music. We do photography, videography, artworks, bookings and promotions. We make our own rules. We are free to express ourselves the way we want to express our art.” Kendall feels that this approach is more authentic, as he isn’t owned by anyone or locked into a particular contract, something a lot of artists strive for.

Although beginning out with just music, Kendall is now involved in the visual aspects of it, because music is more than just audio. “It’s become a visual medium and that forced me to become a photographer, a videographer and a graphic artist.” Essentially, when Kendall is creating the music, he is picturing the finished  package with the cover art and music video.

Kendall put his video skills to practice during production for his music video ‘Tide’. Filmed at Manly and Stockton beaches, the video offers a visual journey for the viewer. Before ‘Tide’ was filmed, Kendall had planned out exactly what vision he had for it. “I was part of the lyric writing process so I instantly had visions of sand dunes and the ocean.” Kendall also produced, mixed and mastered the track. Although Kendall is seen to be singing in the film clip, the vocals are actually performed by Jacob Michael.

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‘Tide’ was shot in two days with Kendall doing a majority of the camera work. This included him setting a drone on autopilot to follow him through the sand dunes. He did, however, use a cameraman for a few shots. The shooting of the video was followed by two solid days of editing and producing the final product before it was ready for release.

‘Tide’ was released less than a week ago and has already amassed nearly 80,000 views. That is an incredible effort for an independent artist releasing their first film clip.

Having already released ‘Tide’, Kendall is planning to release an album, with 15 songs ready to go. “It’s just a matter of putting all the songs through the final production process. Mixing, mastering, film clip, art work and then release.”

In total, Kendall has been working on this album for a year now. 2 years prior, he conceptualised the idea of SKYLLA and created a full album last year but decided to scrap it because it wasn’t up to standard. “I’m very happy with this new collection of songs. I’m happy with how each song is sounding. I’ve had the chance to work with some amazing vocalists.”

Whilst Kendall works to release this collection of his work, and as such has no release date just yet, his vision for SKYLLA as a brand remains clear. “Me and the team have discussed starting a clothing line.” But Kendall explicitly states that they only do what they love and want interests them. “We want to make a clothing line because we want to wear the clothes. We make music that we want to listen to. If people out in the world enjoy what we do as well that is a bonus.”

For now, ‘Tide’ is just a taste of what Kendall and the team at SKYLLA have to offer, and if the track is anything to go by, the future looks very promising.

You can view the film clip for ‘Tide’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhVY94G7Y-I

To keep up-to-date with what Kendall is up to , check out their social media pages.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kendalldking/

Instragram: https://www.instagram.com/kendalldking/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kendalldking

Spotify: Search ‘Kendall King’

Itunes: Search ‘Kendall King Tide’

The Aussie Coeliac- how Ashlee turned her struggle with the disease into a top 50 blog

Ashlee Adams is a coeliac. She is a marketing manager and graphic designer. She is also within the top 50 food blogs in Australia.

Ashlee was diagnosed with Coeliac disease at the age of 6 in 1998. For ten months prior, she had seen her mum be diagnosed with the disease and readjust her life. So for Ashlee, being a kid was tough at times. “The disease gave me social anxiety and I got bullied because of it.”

Such problems lead Ashlee to a period in her teenage years where she just didn’t care about the disease anymore. “I got sick of it all. I pretended I didn’t have coeliac disease and ate whatever I wanted”. One day, Ashlee collapsed at school, ending up in hospital because she had fed her body so much gluten. “I had damaged my internal organs so much that I couldn’t get nutrients and I had a baseball sized ulcer”.

Although struggling with disease at times, Ashlee has now taken it in her stride and has created a blog “The Aussie Coeliac” that is within the top 50 food blogs in Australia and the top 50 food blogs for that particular niche in the world, something which hasn’t come easy.

Ashlee tells me that her main motivation behind her blog was realization that she wasn’t alone in being a coeliac. In fact 1 in 70 Australians suffer from some form of the disease. “I wanted to share my years of knowledge and help them.” Having to learn to cook at a young age so that her food was safe to consume, she has begun to share the recipes with others so they can (safely) indulge every now and again too. “I had a lot of recipes that others hadn’t figured out yet”.

So what exactly is coeliac disease? Well to put it simply, it’s where the immune system cannot handle gluten and therefore reacts abnormally, over time causing damage to the bowel. This means that the bowel can become inflamed and flattened when gluten is consumed which, overtime, may lead to gastrointestinal and nourishment absorption difficulties.

So Ashlee’s blog is essentially dedicated to eliminating and replacing certain foods that are toxic to those suffering from coeliac disease, something that she has worked on over time.

Like any blog, getting ‘The Aussie Coeliac’ up and running was a slow process. “Posting quality content on a regular basis was a good start. Finding likeminded groups and reaching out to companies or influencers was a big part.” Ashlee also credits The Social Media podcast as helping her boost her blog by offering great tips and tricks.

Although the process was slow, with Ashlee having been writing her blog for 5 years, this year her blog was finally recognised in the top 50, something which she is very proud of. “It took me time and money to get where I am now.”

For her blog, Ashlee’s research included dining at many different restaurants and food spots that boasted gluten free options. “I spent money at these places and reached out to people, leaving my card with them.” From there, Ashlee put reviews on sites like Trip Advisor, Zomato and local groups. “If you tag the restaurants or brands in your social media share, I’ve found most would reshare or even sponsor.” Basically, the more people that share your post, the more it is out there and the more reputable you become.

However successful her blog has become, the success of it all is still sinking in. “Every time somebody shares something, I get really surprised,” she tells me.

“I was at an expo and Olympic Gold medallist Jacqui Cooper came up to me and asked me for a photo.” She further tells me that hearing how her blog has helped others really satisfies her.

The self-proclaimed perfectionist says her life revolves around food, something which is an integral part of her life. Aside from completing a Bachelor’s degree in literature, graphic design and web development plus a certificate 3 in marketing and journalism, Ashlee’s passion for food is what really defines her success as a blogger. “Food is a science, and I love mixing and meddling with ingredients to find new techniques,” she says.

Ashlee’s blog has led to her write a cookbook, something which she is in the process of writing now. Titled ‘RSVP Gluten Free’, the book focuses on gluten free and allergen free entertainment. Whilst there is no release date yet, ‘RSVP Gluten Free’ is likely to be the ultimate cookbook Bible for any person who suffers from Coeliac Disease or gluten intolerance or for those of us, like me, who want to cut a little bit of gluten out of their diets.

 

For now Ashlee is enjoying her success and writing about what she loves. You can read more about coeliac disease, coeliac friendly restaurants and Ashlee’s life by visiting: http://www.aussiecoeliac.com.au

Jenna’s creative life- from dancer to makeup artist

Jenna O’Connor (nee Drelincourt) is a woman of many creative talents. As I discover in my interview, creativity is who she is as a person.

Jenna’s dance career began when she was just 4 years old at what she describes as a ‘tin pot’ dance school that really wasn’t very good. She was at that school until high school, where her dance career really started to come into focus. “I had a teacher at this dance studio that took me under her wing. She choreographed my audition piece for a Performing Arts High School.” Jenna says that this created a realisation that the tin pot school she was at, really wasn’t going to get her anywhere as a dancer.

The Hunter School of Performing Arts which Jenna attended is well known for their knowledge and could get people careers, something that Jenna had striven for. But attending such a school also had some consequences. “The teachers kind of did my head in a little bit and I ended up kind of messed up from ballet,” Jenna tells me as she takes a sip of water.

Jenna’s dancing led her to Japan, where she landed herself a job. She was one of the youngest people to get a job but she wasn’t old enough to sign a contract. Luckily her Japanese host family were very accommodating. “They helped me out. They signed contracts if they needed to and acted on my parent’s behalf.” Then, just as her career in Japan was in full speed, Jenna received some bad news from back home in Australia- her father had been in an accident. “I stopped dancing for a while because of this, which made me hate life.” Dancing was all Jenna had ever known, and now it seemed like it had been taken away from her.

After her father had begun to recover, Jenna met somebody who would steer her into the right direction for her dance career, leading her to study at Queensland University of Technology. “I didn’t think that was a possibility. What? A dancer’s degree? Really? But I did a Performance Degree, a Bachelor of Fine Arts.”

Whilst studying for the degree, Jenna tells me of one of her most memorable choreographic piece. “I had to choreograph a 10-minute piece for an assignment. I had to have a storyline and it had to come with a synopsis and be based on a certain thing.” The subject she chose was emotion, more specifically the process of bereavement. A couple of months prior, Jenna had has her pop pass away so took that as inspiration. She focused on the five stages of grief. Her dancers were based on the New South Wales Central Coast, so every weekend Jenna found herself flying to and from Queensland. “The dancers really embraced the choreography and you could see that they really got something out of it. So that’s probably the most rewarding piece I’ve created as a choreographer.”

Jenna at a University photoshoot

After graduating from university, Jenna saved some money before moving to Germany and dancing around Europe. “I enjoyed seeing the world and getting paid for it,” Jenna tells me with a smile. “I got to see really small villages around Germany. Being able to dance in places like that made it even more of a dream come true. It wasn’t something that I was used to culturally.”

During her time in Germany, Jenna did a performance in the streets of Stuttgart, dressed in plastic. “I was modelling art but in a quirky way. The outfit was super-duper quirky and it was weird, but fun. Different so I liked it.”

Jenna returned home what she thought would be briefly for a wedding. But she never returned, meeting her now husband Alex. Instead she opened her own dance studio Newcastle Dance Collective which she now reflects on. “It was nice to have the control for myself while I could. Not letting somebody else control my daily life was amazing. But self-motivation was a struggle especially on the days when I was tired.” But the most rewarding part for Jenna was of course the students. “It was so nice seeing the kids come in at one level and leave at another. Seeing their personal growth and the fact that dance had given them that growth was probably the most rewarding part.” Unfortunately, due to illness and other personal reasons, the studio has since closed. But that now gives Jenna time to focus on her other creative endeavours in life- makeup and hair.

“I need my creative element now that my dance career is finished and I get through my makeup.” Jenna is a consultant for cosmetic and skin care company Mary Kay, something which she is very passionate about.

She tells me that there is so much to love about working for the company. “I get to meet new people, which is always a great thing and network with them.” But the best thing for Jenna is her clients. “I get to help women feel great about themselves. Yes it gives me my creative outlet with makeup, but when you get to help someone their skin and I help them feel good about themselves, then that’s the best part.

But Jenna doesn’t just sell Mary Kay, she also uses their products to create makeup looks for women for special occasions such as weddings and even film clips. Her favourite makeup looks she created was for a film clip that she choreographed as well called ‘Sideways’ for the band Bad Pony. “It was a bit out there, but I definitely got to showcase the Mary Kay products in an out there way. It was not just every day looks. So, I tested everyone’s ideals about Mary Kay being everyday makeup by coming up with something quirky which was good. They all looked amazing.”

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Makeup for the Bad Pony film clip

Jenna, like all makeup artists, has tips for creating the best look for you. “Make sure you prepare the skin, because it’s like a blank canvas. Taking care of your skin is a good way to start.” Primer is also a big must have when wearing makeup. She also says that experimenting and practicing is a good tool. “If you don’t push your boundaries, you will never learn new things. Experimenting and practicing what you experiment with is probably the best tip.”

Jenna has found that since leaving the dance industry, she feels lost but makeup is helping to fill that void. “I definitely get excited when I have to do somebody’s makeup. I definitely enjoy the outcome at the end of the day.” Jenna likes that she is now able to put more focus into Mary Kay and helping people out. “I get to help people and I have that choice as well which is the best thing about it.”

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A makeup look Jenna created for ICON

Having just recently completed a hair styling course, Jenna hopes that she can now offer a package deal of both hair and makeup for those special occasions like weddings and formals. “This opens up my business a bit more, I think.”

Jenna O’Connor has had a lot happen in her 34 years of life but one thing is for sure, everything she has done, she has done with purpose and consequence. Wherever life takes her next, Jenna will follow her unicorn-filled, creative and talented life.

Interview with Artist Rebecca Tapscott

“I am a maker of things; working predominately within the realms of contemporary painting.” These are the words of Australian Artist Rebecca Tapscott during our interview. But she is so much more than just a contemporary painter, as I soon find out. “I do like to mix it up a bit with Cyanotypes, welded sculptures and ceramics,” she tells me.

Rebecca realised her talent for art when she was just 9 years old, having won her first art prize with a drawing of her pet Guinea Pig, Speedy. “It inspired me to keep recording the world around me.” Rebecca’s artistic ability was something that ran in the family. Her ancestor on her mum’s side, Frederick Garling Jr was the first formally trained artist in Australia. Her Aunt from her dad’s side has also been a painter for many years.

Rebecca continued painting during school where her ability grew, before proceeding to Art School at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales. “I went to Charles Sturt in part because my family couldn’t afford to send me to Sydney and because they offered Silversmithing which I was fascinated by.” Silversmithing is where objects are crafted from silver.

As an artist, Rebecca describes herself as a “dysfunctional worker who can get caught up with art until the early hours of the morning.” She jokes that this can make her a grumpy mother. Whilst having a room dedicated for her art, she admits that her art spreads from the studio. “I tend to spread my work place from my studio to all ends of the house, which encourages my children to explore their creativity.”

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Copyright: Rebecca Tapscott

Being a mother is the most important job for Rebecca which is how one of her exhibitions ‘Motherworld’ came into focus. Beginning 6 years ago, ‘Motherworld’ was created as a means for a collection of mothers to re-explore the art world after children. “It occurs every second year and each year we explore how our work or arts practice has developed and evolved in tandem with children.” For Rebecca, the focus of the exhibition this year was her own childhood memories and how they had influenced what she wants to happen in her kids’ world.

I ask her how she prepares for such an exhibition and what work goes into it. “It is not just about making an artwork, it also has to look good on the wall. Some galleries have specific hanging types and others don’t.” She also tells me that promotion is also one of the main factors. If the promotion is in the hands of the artist they generally call newspapers and radio stations and use social media as a way of advertising the exhibition. Then there is the mental preparation which, for Rebecca, is the hardest part. “When you make art and exhibit it, you are presenting a piece of your soul for others to critique.”

Glancing through Rebecca’s artwork, there is a clear inspiration from natural environments but the meanings delve much deeper. The 2015 artwork ‘A murder of Crows’ depicts a landscape with crows, but there is a deeper meaning behind it as Rebecca tells me. “It actually had 48 crows that represented the 48 women who had been killed in domestic violence that year up until the exhibition date.” In 2016, Rebecca exhibited at The Northern Rivers Community Gallery in Ballina whereby all the artwork shown depicted a deeper undercurrent prevailing in the life of the birds that were shown.

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Rebecca Tapscott: A Murder of Crows 2015

Currently Rebecca is about to exhibit work at the Belconnen Arts Centre in Canberra that depicts life cycles. “I make Cyanotype prints of dead things then paint the living counterpart in a contour drawing over the top. This represents my brush with death, having recently survived breast cancer.” Later in our interview, I learn that Rebecca has used her fight with breast cancer to tweak her artistry. “Before I use to do numerous sketches and rework artworks. Now I am bold and every line has meaning and method. My linework is continuous and my colours are raw. One line, one life and colour to be joyful that I still have life.”

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Copyright Rebecca Tapscott

Like most artists, there are things that inspire Rebecca to do what she does. She finds inspiration in the works of Matisse, Kandinsky and Frida Kahlo but also from the art of her family and friends as well as life experiences itself.

Aside from being an artist and a mother, Rebecca is also a teacher in Kyogle in Northern New South Wales. “I love engaging students with art and how it encompasses everything in the world, from English to Maths.” She has recently finished her Masters in Mathematics but still predominately teaches art. “I try to get students to focus laterally in their worlds and see how they can explore the mathematical in the artistic and vice versa.” She uses Mathematics as a means for conceptually visualising the world from another level of understanding. “This assists my art and teaching practice as I incorporate programs that encompass art and Maths.”

She says one of the best things about being a teacher is getting her students to create murals because she loves public art. “I feel it allows students to engage with their communities. At Kyogle under my instigation, the local students started painting power poles throughout town”. This is an endeavour that she hopes will continue over the next few years.

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Copyright Rebecca Tapscott

As my interview with Rebecca Tapscott draws to a close, I am beginning to see the person she describes herself as: someone who thinks deeply, laughs with meaning and shares kindness. You could say that it is present there in her colourful and wonderful works of art.

To view more of Rebecca Tapscott’s art, visit her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/rebeccatapscottartist

Georgina’s Cafe Corner

It’s 11am at Peppertown Coffee Bar in Mayfield, Newcastle. The smell of bacon and coffee wafts through the small, cosy café. The staff are friendly and welcoming with a smile. I sit down, waiting for my friend to arrive.

Georgina Grimshaw walks in, smiling. Her long red hair is pulled into a braid. She is dressed in jeans, a jumper and boots and remarks how cold the August weather is outside. We order our food as Georgina comments on how good the Birthday Cake milkshake is. She is friendly with the staff here, having performed numerous gigs here.

Gigs are an integral part of Georgina’s life as a musician. It’s what puts her music out into the world and it’s also something that she really loves doing. She sees touring by herself as a challenge, a way to do things for herself. “It’s good to do those things, you can have confidence in yourself to do it and do something more confidently next time,” she tells me, having just completed a solo tour throughout rural towns in New South Wales and Queensland. “I love going to play in country towns. People are friendly and really appreciate what you are doing. I love travelling, being out in nature on the open road and the adventures of meeting new people.”

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Photo: Susan Mac

But of course, life wasn’t always about touring and performing for Georgina. Born in Newcastle in 1994, she has grown up always loving music. But it wasn’t until school that she really discovered her passion for music and just what she was capable of. “In music class at school I really discovered new things about music. As an assignment, I wrote a song and really kept writing from there.”

Georgina becomes reminiscent and tells me about the first time she really sung into a microphone. “I sung with a school band and it was the first time I really heard my voice and noticed what I could really do.” Her singing career only rose from there.

After performing countless gigs and writing music, Georgina began work on her debut EP Café Corner. She describes the process to me, including how she writes the songs.

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Photo: Susan Mac, Art work: Shanais Staneke

For Georgina, the song writing process is fascinating. She describes it to me as seeing something, acting on it, experiencing it then internalising it to finally understanding it and creating something from it. “I pick up a guitar and start to sing, play and work it out,” she tells me before saying where she gets her inspiration from.

Like most artists, Georgina’s stories come from life experiences, both her own and from those she knows. She doesn’t write happy songs because life isn’t always happy. “I’m not unhappy. But I do find happy songs can be corny.” Sometimes songs can help us to understand life.

Including writing the songs, it took a total of nine months for Café Corner to be recorded, produced and released. The EP was recorded at the Green Room in Warners Bay. What started as guitar lessons with Matt Purcell, turned into recording time.

“I usually spent an hour in the recording studio each week to produce/record/mix various parts of each song,” she tells me of the process. ‘The Storyteller’ and ‘Snow Globe Heart’ were partially written prior to the recording process. Whilst these songs were being worked on, the other 3 songs were written.

The five track EP demonstrates Georgina’s ability as a songwriter and a singer. As an artist who best describes her music as storytelling, the lyrics of each song take the listener on a journey. Of the songs on the EP, Georgina worries that ‘Café Corner’ might be whiny to some although she feels that it is most symbolic to her breaking out of the cover gigs and becoming her own artist.

Her personal favourite is the final track ‘Blue with the Grey’, which she wrote the morning of having to record her final track for the EP. She describes the song as meaning a lot to her. “What I wrote it about had been something I’d been struggling to talk about. The song is basically about becoming disillusioned and hurt by various people in leadership at church. It was my way of saying why I had left and expressing all the hurt and confusion I’d felt”.

Perhaps one of the most mature and emotionally driven tracks on the EP is ‘Free Now’. Following the death of one of Georgina’s friends, she wrote the track to help her understand everything she was feeling and comprehend what had happened. Most of us have lost someone close to us so it’s a track that we can all relate to and is simply breathtaking.

For independent artists like Georgina, it’s good to stay true to yourself. Independent artists get to be themselves and sing the music they want to sing, which is why she offers up this advice for aspiring independent musicians. “Don’t wait for anyone to give you permission to do what you want to do. Have an attitude that you never know what might happen, who might be there watching you perform.” She also says to try and be involved in as many open mic nights and gigs as possible to experiment as an artist and build a following. “It’s really important to get to know the people in your local scene”.

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Photo: Emma Jane Pitach

More recently, Georgina has found herself increasingly performing at weddings. “Weddings are special. To perform there makes me part of their history and makes the couple so happy,” Georgina tells me with a smile. She goes on to tell me about how emotional wedding days are and how she can channel this into her performance. “They’ll remember me singing their special songs, which is a privilege to have that access into their lives.”

For Georgina, music is her life; it is her job. It does more for her then just pay the bills. She describes song writing and performing as a way of helping her understand and cope with life. “It’s a lot cheaper than therapy,” she laughs. “Every moment of my working day is thinking or listening to music, thinking about what I could be doing or what other people are doing.”

As our interview begins to wrap up, she tells me that she would love to be a florist, and has recently started creating some flower pieces. I notice a floral piece on the wall at Peppertown that she has created. Her Instagram and Facebook also show photos of Georgina picking flowers from the wild and wearing flower crowns. I think this reveals a lot about Georgina and her free-spirited nature.

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Photo: Caitlin Schokker

Georgina lists some of her favourite musicians as Missy Higgins, Angus and Julia Stone, Ed Sheeran and Delta Goodrem; all fantastic artists. One day Georgina may well be just as influential and popular as these artists, but for now she is just enjoying being her own musician and doing what she really loves- singing the songs from her heart and being her own artist.
Café Corner is available to purchase, stream and download now. To see more of Georgina Grimshaw, visit her Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/GeorginaGrimshaw

Interview with a photographer and web designer

Since she was a young girl, Nicole Avagliano has always loved taking photographs. She never dreamed that taking random photos of everything would lead to a career.

Nicole grew up in the suburbs of Western Sydney, where she attended public schools which allowed her to take photography as a subject in her high school years. “I took photography classes in High School which I learned more things I didn’t know.” After leaving Jamison High School in 2010, she kept at her photography, receiving praise from people who admired and loved her work. This led to Nicole thinking about her future and wanting to make a career out of her photo taking.

In recent times, Nicole has begun web designing. “I had wanted to make a portfolio for my photographs and looked around on free websites and just started designing.” Once she started, she couldn’t stop and web designing wasn’t enough. Nicole wanted to learn to make someone’s website by scratch/coding so she studied to do a Diploma of Web Development. From here Leigh’s Web Design was born.

Apart from an obvious interest and love in photography and, later, web design, Nicole loves being able to help others which both allow her to do. “Even if it was something as simple as taking a photograph of someone to see their smile, that when they saw the photo they instantly loved it, is a great feeling inside. With Web design, not only are you getting to help others and their companies, you get to become familiar with someone new and make friends which is always great,” Nicole tells me.

All photographers have a favourite style of photography and for Nicole it is landscape images. “I’ll take a quick snap of wherever I seem to be at the time whether it be because the sky has a few different colours in it or the place just looks lovely.”

In fact, Nicole’s favourite place to take photographs is at a place called The Entrance on the New South Wales Central Coast, a place she frequently holidays with her family. “Most of my landscape photographs are from there. I’ve spent a lot of time there since I was kid. They have amazing photography spots that are a must go-to”.  High places such as look-outs are also high on places Nicole likes to photograph from.

One of Nicole’s personal favourite from her many captured photographs is one she shot at the North Entrance Bridge. What draws Nicole, and many others that view the picture, are the cloud formations and the colours that are throughout the photograph. The light captured within the photograph is simply wow.

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Nicole established her business Leigh’s Web Design in 2015. Initially, the web site was just for web and logo designs but given that Nicole is a talented photographer, photography services quickly became a part of the company. Since then, she has added GFX (Graphic) Design, Marketing Materials and Editing Videos/Photographs.

The first website that Nicole ever created was for State Steel Treatment- Abrasive Blasting and Protective Coating. “With it being my first official web design site I got to do, I had quite a few different drafts up quite quickly on how I wanted it to look, what we would put on it etc. When I went to show them what I had they loved it. We discussed some things we could add and what they wanted to add so we had to go over which photo’s to use,” Nicole says of the experience.

Another website that Nicole created was for All Things Mystical. The already had an outdated website     so required Nicole to revamp and redesign it. “The client wanted to keep to the same colours as what she had so once I had the drafts done I started redesigning it.” She got to fiddle around with a few things in order to make the website work and reflect the nature of the website. The end result was a company logo and tabs that looked like they were floating in the clouds.

For now, Nicole continues to create websites and capture special moments in time on camera as Leigh’s Web Design grows and is loving every moment of it. “I’ve met new people, found old friends and there’s nothing that would make me quit what I do now.”

Website: www.leighswebdesign.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/leighswebdesign

Interview with A Florist

Do you remember what it was like for you to go out into the garden with your grandma and admire natures beauty? Do you remember picking flowers from this very garden and making them into a bouquet for your mother? Well for Holly Wright, aged 20, this memory led her to her passion and occupation- floristry.

Holly grew up in Newcastle and always loved being in the garden with her grandparents, helping out as much as she could. Her father also worked at a nursery for several years. So when it came time to decide what she wanted to do for school work experience, going to a florist was a no-brainer. She travelled to the New South Wales Central Coast to do work experience and instantly loved it. It is here that her future was decided. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do with school,” Holly told me. Once she had completed Year 10, Holly decided to withdraw from school and pursue her passion for floristry. “I really like meeting new people and putting a smile on someone’s face. I also have listening ears and like making a difference in people’s lives, no matter how small”.

“I enrolled in TAFE for 2 years. I did Certificate II and Certificate III in floristry,” Certificate II meant that Holly could be an assistant to a florist and know the basics of being a florist, but this, of course, was not enough for the talented young lady. This led Holly to Certificate III where she would learn about floristry design and construction. During her time of study, Holly landed a position at Amaranthine Flowers in Charlestown, a suburb of Newcastle.

Floristry is more than about putting pretty flower pieces together. “With my job, it’s really hard which a lot of people don’t understand,” Holly says with a smile. I listen as she tells me just how physical the job is with a lot of lifting and cleaning. But it is all worth it at the end of the day to see the happiness on customers faces.

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One of the pieces created by Holly

Many of the flower displays that Holly puts together for customers tells a story or means something to them. “It’s really special when people come in and get flowers that remind them of their grandma. Flowers make people happy and bring back memories or remind them of their favourite person”.  Interacting with customers frequently means that there are many stories to be had and flowers to reflect these. “Once you hear a story, you want to do something to go with it or highlight it,” Holly adds. She even tells me of her own memory with flowers. There is a particular flower that reminds her of a lady’s perfume from her very first time working at the store and of course flowers that remind her of her grandma.

Other than the busy occasion of Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day where the team work together to create floral masterpieces, Holly really enjoys doing funeral work. “Doing a final tribute for someone is amazing and I like it to be special”. The first funeral piece that Holly ever created was for her grandfather when he passed away a few years ago. “I wanted to do something beautiful for him. I was very proud of it. We did wreaths and individual flowers. I used a lot of flowers that he had in his garden, a lot of natives. For me to do that as a last tribute was really special.”

With so many flowers out there, it is hard to choose just one as a favourite for someone who works with them every day. For Holly, her favourite flowers include Fresias, in particular the orange ones. She also enjoys Anemones which are an ocean flower. “Gum nuts are beautiful. Anything with texture or different colours I really like. It depends on what time of year it is as to what flowers I like. Sweet peas in Winter are beautiful, but they really only blossom well for three weeks”.

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Sweet Peas

Whilst most florists prefer traditional, Holly finds herself with a more modern personality when it comes to flowers. She likes to do things a little different and a little unusual which is slowly becoming more popular. With modern arrangements, things can be done differently using lots of colours with greenery instead of masses of flowers. But of course a florist cannot always do what they like as it depends on the customer they are tailoring to. However, at Amaranthine Flowers they encourage each other to do their own style and express themselves how they wish, something which greatly inspires Holly.

One of Holly’s favourite modern pieces that she did was for a customer who mostly wanted greenery. “I loved it. It was so beautiful! It had lotus pods in it which grow to be absolutely gorgeous; gum nuts, viburnum and twisted willow. It looked incredible. That’s the first time I looked at something and went ‘that’s beautiful’”.

Modern displays can also be seen throughout the vibrant Amaranthine store. Displays are creative by using handbags, shoes and teacups. “It gives customers something beautiful but high impact that they don’t see every day,” Holly adds.

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One of the shoe displays at Amaranthine

Holly is striving to improve in her work as the business she works for grows. Amaranthine have newly opened a second store in Blackbutt, ten minutes from their first store in Charlestown. And Holly herself has found improvement in her work in the last year. “I competed in the Sydney Royal Easter Show for Intaflora’s Rising Star.” Intaflora is a major relay network they use to send flowers interstate. “The feedback I got was so valuable to my work and has improved it majorly since last year.”

Holly Wright is a rare breed. Talented, smart, friendly and immensely creative. As her work as a florist continues, Holly stresses that although she works with flowers, she isn’t much of a gardener herself but she will see how her garden grows!

To view some of Holly’s flowers and to see more of ‘Amaranthine flowers by design’ visit their website: http://www.amaranthineflowers.com/

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