My childhood wasn’t like that of most kids’. Mum was a single parent, she raised me and my sister while working a full-time job in town. So come the weekend, us girls would head to the family piggery run by my grandparents. I’d soak up those hours, sitting in my Papa’s ute, singing You Are My Sunshine , eating Bubble O’Bills and feeding the piglets.
You’d think I’d have known then I was destined for a life on the land.
Those days were golden. And more followed when we joined forces with my cousins, aunt and uncle in Geelong to assist with their small business venture, that’s now in 17 countries to date. I guess you could say hard work and determination were in my blood. That was important toMum, to raise us as strong, independent women. If you ask me, she nailed it.
When I flew the family coop I landed in Wagga with a graphic designer degree and no idea of what my next adventure would be . I’d sit in my sharehouse bedroom, my colour-coded drawers from Spotlight jam-packed with supplies, and figure out how to make earrings with my own creative vibe. First I gave etsy a go for all my materials and got to creating, then all my friends wanted a pair. What started out as a few birthday presents ended up in me holding my own market stall a year later. And yes, I always make a few clip-on options, because no girl should miss out on wearing earrings!
In the meantime, I’d fallen in love with a farmer called Gus. He’s originally from Goondiwindi in Queensland. After a few years doing long-distance we finally took the plunge two years ago and moved in together and are now happily engaged - yay!
Did I see myself living the rural life on an isolated property in the Riverina? No way – but I am so damn happy I’m here.
I’m not going to lie, the isolation can be tough. But the community at Jerilderie is so beautiful, so welcoming. I love the fact I know the lady at our local IGA, that I know our post lady, that I can call them both by their first names and ask them how their day’s been. That community vibe is so important to me. So other than the fact the IGA isn’t open after 4pm on a Sunday, I’m loving every second.
I’ve realised the bright, bold and beautiful colours that burst out of this community not only inspire my earring designs, but my artwork too. This might sound weird, but I dream about the colours and shapes in my work. Inspiration can ebb and flow with my emotions, but whether I’m feeling sad, happy, or anything in between, I push myself to paint – those are the colours that come out onto the canvas.
I worked on my first painting for 12 weeks straight. My Grandmother passed away this year and I wanted something to remember her by. She was all about colour. She wore pink Chanel lipstick every day. She was the Jacaranda Queen of Grafton and the town’s first female mayor. She was colour personified.
So that first work was filled with pinks and purples, a road of flowers that I remember from walking down her garden path. From the moment I posted it on Instagram, it’s gone bonkers. And that makes me so happy. All I want is to create beautiful designs that make people smile. The way I see it, if you guys love it, I’ll keep making it – that’s what inspires me.
I’m still taking one day at a time. But I’ve come a long way from my colour-coded Spotlight drawers in that share-house in Wagga. These days my work takes up half our house – I’ve actually invested in some massive industrial shelving from Bunnings in an attempt to regain order! This little business of mine has gone crazy and I can’t thank Buy From The Bush enough. They’ve helped me tenfold and the exposure I’ve had in just a couple of short months has been amazing.
So here’s to whatever comes next. If you want me, I’ll be in my studio, listening to Fleetwood Mac, living my dream in the here and now.
Isobell&Co acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.
We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge that we live, work and play on the lands
of the oldest living culture known to the world.
We honour this privilege and responsibility with respect, humility and curiosity.
We acknowledge the wisdom, diversity and innovation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of seeing and being, and their elders past, present and emerging.