Wow, Thursday already? It’s been a busy week. I hope everyone’s had a great one so far and is ready for the weekend! This week I spoke with the delightful Anna Ross, designer behind the jewellery brand Kester Black. We spoke about what she’s been up to at Kester Black HQ, what inspires her and a few things she gets up to in her home town of Melbourne…
So tell us a little bit about your background – how did you get to where you are now?
I studied fashion design in New Zealand then moved to Melbourne 3 years ago. One month after arriving here, a friend took me to a jewellery supply store and it really all began from there. I found out where to have things cast, how the process worked and how to finish the pieces. After the first collection was complete I then realised it was actually going to be pretty difficult to get my name out there as well as to gain stockists. The more marketing I did, the easier the whole process became. I have been constantly ironing out my mistakes and here I am now!
How did you go about designing your new collections? What’s your process?
I begin usually with one piece. That one piece usually begins with an extremely long night trying to sleep then rolling over, turning on the light and drawing pictures or writing notes. After the initial idea or sketch, I begin to look into themes surrounding whatever it is I have created. For example with the Thick As Thieves collection, I knew I wanted to make interconnecting rings. That made me think of the old BFF necklaces and that collection sort of just grew from there! After the pieces are designed, I carve them from wax, mould them with Sculpy or have them drawn up in CAD and printed.
Do you own a particular thing that continually inspires you?
There are defiantly those sort of things all over my house. I have a couple of paper craft books and every time I open them I am totally driven to begin brainstorming a new collection. I also have many postcards, one in particular one of a drawing of a bag of Marshmallows by Dawn Tan, a very talented Melbourne illustrator. There is also a print hanging on the wall in our lounge of a wave by Kozyndan. If you look closely, there are a number of rabbits jumping from the wave. I love that you have to look twice to see them and the colours are also really beautiful.
Do you have any hot tips on how to stay motivated or get past a creative block?
I often go to my bookcase and pull out all of the design books I have collected over the years. No matter how many times I look through them I always see something new or something I have thought of as boring in the past is now something I fall in love with because my tastes have changed. If the books don’t work, I will head off into the city to visit odd sorts of shops. Button shops, fabric shops, natural history stores those sorts of places. Even just the colours and patterns can have my brain ticking over again pretty quickly.
Who (artist/designer) would you love to collaborate on a project with?
I would really love to team up with NZ fashion label Lonely Hearts Club. I love their aesthetic and have been following the label for a few years now. I can definately see some amazing design possibilities there.
Being based in the creative hub of Melbourne, what do you get up to in your free time?
Craft and design markets! Nothing better than heading off to Design Made Trade or the Markit at Fed Square to have a bit of a shop around and it’s also really nice just to see what other creatives in Melbourne are getting up to. I love heading into the city to go to the offbeat stores about and I also LOVE riding my bike. In the summer I ride everyday, past Princess Park and through the backstreets of the northern suburbs. I challenge myself to find a street I have never ridden past at least once a week.
And lastly, just for fun, if you found a genie in a bottle and had 3 wishes what would they be?
My first wish would be that I could fly anywhere in the world for free. After my recent trip to Europe I can’t wait to get out and see more places.
Second wish would be to have everything I have ever lost returned to me. I was a terrible child and would loose something at least once a week at school. Imaging all the things you have ever lost and being able to see them all again! My pile would be huge!
And my third wish would be that I will be successful enough to be able to actually pay myself to run my business. I can’t wait until the day where I become totally self employed and am able to design things every day and work at something I am totally passionate about.
Awesome – thanks for talking to us Anna!
You can buy Kester Black jewellery online right here.