COMMON PEOPLE #29

rachel walker
thirroul nsw

 

From sketches to prints, Rachel Walker doesn’t follow an orthodox process for block printing but a self-taught a method of her own. Founder of the brand Little Beacon, which started out just for friends and now in a short time Little Beacon designs are being licensed abroad by European children’s wear brand Organic Zoo launching this March.

 

INTERVIEW BY rachel abbott IMAGES BY anna heyligers

COMMON PEOPLE #29

rachel walker
thirroul nsw

From sketches to prints, Rachel Walker doesn’t follow an orthodox process for block printing but a self-taught a method of her own. Founder of the brand Little Beacon, which started out just for friends and now in a short time Little Beacon designs are being licensed abroad by European children’s wear brand Organic Zoo launching this March.

INTERVIEW BY rachel abbott IMAGES BY anna heyligers

 

 

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF

I’m Rachel; I'm originally from Thirroul but moved to the UK in 2011 for a 2 year working holiday. On my first day in London I met my husband Ben and ended up staying for 8 years! I have a son, Alexis & a daughter, Marlow. We moved back to Thirroul last year when Marlow was 10 weeks old. We've been spending a year here with my family before we head back to the UK in June, it's been such a treat to be back home!

 

HOW DID LITTLE BEACON BEGIN?
 

I started experimenting with hand printed fabrics to make my son clothes when he was a baby as I was at such a loss with the prints on offer. I was using very simple wood off-cuts to create the patterns, later I started experimenting with lino and I was hooked with the combination of the two. After making Lexi a hand printed quilt to take camping, I started making a few quilts and blankets for friends. I decided to start an Instagram page to share what I was making, then after a great response I opened up the website for business!

I really wanted to create a brand of textiles for babies and kids that were able to flow through the home, neutral colours and patterns. The idea was to create products with love, that can be used for years then handed down. I believe in the shared responsibility to create products that last and treat them with care so their lifecycle doesn't see them destined for landfill after a season.

 

WALK US THROUGH YOUR HOME STUDIO?

I love the flexibility of working from home and consider myself very lucky to be around the children. Space is limited here; I set up a workspace for printing in the garage until recently, but when the heat turned the garage into an oven I took over the kitchen table! Sorry kids!

With that in mind, I try and keep my set-up pretty minimal, but I do have a habit of letting my ideas wander off the desk and onto the walls all over the house! I work around the kids so I do the lion's share of the printing at night whilst the little ones sleep.

 

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF

I’m Rachel; I'm originally from Thirroul but moved to the UK in 2011 for a 2 year working holiday. On my first day in London I met my husband Ben and ended up staying for 8 years! I have a son, Alexis & a daughter, Marlow. We moved back to Thirroul last year when Marlow was 10 weeks old. We've been spending a year here with my family before we head back to the UK in June, it's been such a treat to be back home!

 

HOW DID LITTLE BEACON BEGIN?
 

I started experimenting with hand printed fabrics to make my son clothes when he was a baby as I was at such a loss with the prints on offer. I was using very simple wood off-cuts to create the patterns, later I started experimenting with lino and I was hooked with the combination of the two. After making Lexi a hand printed quilt to take camping, I started making a few quilts and blankets for friends. I decided to start an Instagram page to share what I was making, then after a great response I opened up the website for business!

I really wanted to create a brand of textiles for babies and kids that were able to flow through the home, neutral colours and patterns. The idea was to create products with love, that can be used for years then handed down. I believe in the shared responsibility to create products that last and treat them with care so their lifecycle doesn't see them destined for landfill after a season.

 

WALK US THROUGH YOUR HOME STUDIO?

I love the flexibility of working from home and consider myself very lucky to be around the children. Space is limited here; I set up a workspace for printing in the garage until recently, but when the heat turned the garage into an oven I took over the kitchen table! Sorry kids!

With that in mind, I try and keep my set-up pretty minimal, but I do have a habit of letting my ideas wander off the desk and onto the walls all over the house! I work around the kids so I do the lion's share of the printing at night whilst the little ones sleep.

"The idea was to create products with love, that can be used for years then handed down. I believe in the shared responsibility to create products that last and treat them with care so their lifecycle doesn't see them destined for landfill after a season."

"the idea was to create products with love, that can be used for years then handed down. I believe in the shared responsibility to create products that last and treat them with care so their lifecycle doesn't see them destined for landfill after a season."

 

YOUR BRAND FOCUSES ON HAVING SOMETHING FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY, CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOURS?
 

Alexis is 4, he is such a loving creative little boy. He will spend hours drawing or colouring which is so nice to see. Marlow is nearly 1, she's a very content little one but certainly has a sassy side, she's always making us laugh. My husband Ben is from Yorkshire, we met in London 9 years ago. He's a musician; so lots of creativity (and noise) in our house!

 

WE LOVE YOUR CHOICE OF NATURAL FABRICS, LINEN, BAMBOO, COTTON. WHY DO YOU CHOOSE TO WORK WITH THESE FABRICS?
 

I love natural fabrics. For the obvious environmental impact and the benefits of natural products for babies. This journey started when I was able to source some beautiful natural fabrics to make clothes for myself and Alexis. I really fell in love with their texture and the way they hung, that's when I decided to focus on quilts and blankets, to really celebrate the fabric.

 

YOU ONLY PRODUCE LIMITED RUNS OF YOUR WORK, CAN YOU TELL US WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT TO YOU?
 

Everything is handmade (by me presently, but I'm hopefully looking for some help in the future) and importantly: made to order. As a small business, the made to order model has allowed me to grow to where I am today as I'm able to work in small runs with small overheads. I love the sustainability of my limited, made to order process; each time I print I know the work is going to a happy home where IT'll be treasured. I also work with a small handful of stores who share the same values as me and buy in small batches that I print exclusively for them.

 

you have done some stunning commissions, are there any that stand out for you?
 

Thank you!! Oh there has been so many. One of the first bespoke pieces I made was a quilt for a friends first baby, she is now nearly 2 and still uses the blanket each day which is so lovely to see.

Recently I've been working on a collaboration with UK kids wear brand Organic Zoo for their summer range and it's about to launch. It's been amazing to be a part of something on a larger scale to my normal process and see my prints come to life on clothing!

 

 

YOUR BRAND FOCUSES ON HAVING SOMETHING FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY, CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOURS?
 

Alexis is 4, he is such a loving creative little boy. He will spend hours drawing or colouring which is so nice to see. Marlow is nearly 1, she's a very content little one but certainly has a sassy side, she's always making us laugh. My husband Ben is from Yorkshire, we met in London 9 years ago. He's a musician; so lots of creativity (and noise) in our house!

 

WE LOVE YOUR CHOICE OF NATURAL FABRICS, LINEN, BAMBOO, COTTON. WHY DO YOU CHOOSE TO WORK WITH THESE FABRICS?
 

I love natural fabrics. For the obvious environmental impact and the benefits of natural products for babies. This journey started when I was able to source some beautiful natural fabrics to make clothes for myself and Alexis. I really fell in love with their texture and the way they hung, that's when I decided to focus on quilts and blankets, to really celebrate the fabric.

 

YOU ONLY PRODUCE LIMITED RUNS OF YOUR WORK, CAN YOU TELL US WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT TO YOU?
 

Everything is handmade (by me presently, but I'm hopefully looking for some help in the future) and importantly: made to order. As a small business, the made to order model has allowed me to grow to where I am today as I'm able to work in small runs with small overheads. I love the sustainability of my limited, made to order process; each time I print I know the work is going to a happy home where IT'll be treasured. I also work with a small handful of stores who share the same values as me and buy in small batches that I print exclusively for them.

 

you have done some stunning commissions, are there any that stand out for you?
 

Thank you!! Oh there has been so many. One of the first bespoke pieces I made was a quilt for a friends first baby, she is now nearly 2 and still uses the blanket each day which is so lovely to see.

Recently I've been working on a collaboration with UK kids wear brand Organic Zoo for their summer range and it's about to launch. It's been amazing to be a part of something on a larger scale to my normal process and see my prints come to life on clothing!

 

"I love natural fabrics. For the obvious environmental impact and the benefits of natural products for babies. This journey started when I was able to source some beautiful natural fabrics to make clothes for myself and Alexis. I really fell in love with their texture and the way they hung, that's when I decided to focus on quilts and blankets, to really celebrate the fabric."

"I love natural fabrics. for the obvious environmental impact and the benefits of natural products for babies. this journey started when I was able to source some beautiful natural fabrics to make clothes for myself and alexis. I really fell in love with their texture and the way they hung, that's when I decided to focus on quilts and blankets, to really celebrate the fabric."

 

can you tell us your creative process - from designing to making?
 

I start with sketches (constantly sketching) then I hand carve the shapes out of lino and use scrap wood from my dad's property up the coast to mount the stamps. Each colour is mixed in a small batch. For the longest time, every blankets print was unique and random, I rarely printed the same way twice! As I've gotten busier though I've unified the process a little and have more of a system for keeping things consistent, without being identical. My inspiration comes from nature, the shapes and colours we see everyday.

 

since launching little beacon just over a year ago, you have come so far. do you have any advice for other creatives out there?

Yes! When I first launched I actually didn't sell anything online for the first 4 months and closed the website. Then I started getting messages on Instagram asking to order bespoke items so I relaunched in July 2019 and since then its been very busy. My advice would be to be patient and keep going! Instagram is an amazing platform to show your new ideas and see what people want more of. Believe in yourself and what you are offering to the world, create a community to support you!

 

you're running workshops with us in 2020, what can people expect at your workshop rachel?

Yes!! I'm so excited (and slightly nervous, I'm quite shy!)

I have taught myself how to block print, it's a bit of a blend between indian block printing and lino printmaking. I really want to share how simple and easy the process can be, and how meditative and satisfying a creative practice it is.

We will be working with simple shapes to create printed wall hangings.

 

Learn more about rachel here

 

 

can you tell us your creative process - from designing to making?
 

I start with sketches (constantly sketching) then I hand carve the shapes out of lino and use scrap wood from my dad's property up the coast to mount the stamps. Each colour is mixed in a small batch. For the longest time, every blankets print was unique and random, I rarely printed the same way twice! As I've gotten busier though I've unified the process a little and have more of a system for keeping things consistent, without being identical. My inspiration comes from nature, the shapes and colours we see everyday.

 

since launching little beacon just over a year ago, you have come so far. do you have any advice for other creatives out there?

Yes! When I first launched I actually didn't sell anything online for the first 4 months and closed the website. Then I started getting messages on Instagram asking to order bespoke items so I relaunched in July 2019 and since then its been very busy. My advice would be to be patient and keep going! Instagram is an amazing platform to show your new ideas and see what people want more of. Believe in yourself and what you are offering to the world, create a community to support you!

 

you're running workshops with us in 2020, what can people expect at your workshop rachel?

Yes!! I'm so excited (and slightly nervous, I'm quite shy!)

I have taught myself how to block print, it's a bit of a blend between indian block printing and lino printmaking. I really want to share how simple and easy the process can be, and how meditative and satisfying a creative practice it is.

We will be working with simple shapes to create printed wall hangings.

 

Learn more about rachel here

previous entry

common people #28

lorin reid, thirroul nsw

A Thirroul local, Lorin Reid HAS A PASSION FOR POETRY, CREATIVE WRITING AND COMMUNITY. LORIN co-FOUNDED ENOUGH SAID POETRY SLAM SEVEN YEARS AGO HERE ON THE SOUTH COAST AND HASN'T LOOKED BACK. POETRY FOR LORIN IS AN EXPRESSION OF VULNERABILITY, PUSHING HER OWN BOUNDARIES AND CHALLENGING THOUGHTS OF THE STATUS-QUO.

PREVIOUS ENTRY

 

COMMON PEOPLE #28

lorin reid, thirroul nsw

A Thirroul local, Lorin Reid HAS A PASSION FOR POETRY, CREATIVE WRITING AND COMMUNITY. LORIN co-FOUNDED ENOUGH SAID POETRY SLAM SEVEN YEARS AGO HERE ON THE SOUTH COAST AND HASN'T LOOKED BACK. POETRY FOR LORIN IS AN EXPRESSION OF VULNERABILITY, PUSHING HER OWN BOUNDARIES AND CHALLENGING THOUGHTS OF THE STATUS-QUO.