Hannah Cawley


In conversation with Hannah Cawley

To celebrate the launch of our Paloma Rose eyewear collaboration, we took a moment to chat to fashion designer and founder of London label Cawley Studio.


Where were you born and where is home for now? 

I was born in Stoke on Trent in the Midlands. I moved to London eight years ago.

What are the three best words to describe Hannah Cawley?

Dedicated, practical and stubborn.

What brought you to the world of fashion design?

After high school I went to college, I wanted to become either a chef or a fashion designer, in the end I chose the design course. Whilst there, aged 16, I interned at Hand and Lock in London. That was the point I knew I wanted to work within fashion and live in London. 

What is fashion to you? 

Clothing that is accessible, considered and practical. Well made garments that have been created for a purpose.


When did you first realise you were creative?

As a child I always had to be creating something. When I was about six, I asked for a potters wheel for my birthday and a year later a sewing machine. I used to make very bad handbags out of old jeans. 

Can you tell us a little bit about your design process? 

The start of the season is my favourite period, I find it the most calming. It’s a great time to reflect on the previous season and get excited about the next. I always start with fabrics. I look at what pieces from previous seasons to carry over and what new fabrics I can apply to them. I collect vintage garments, particularly from the victorian era. I like to take elements of these and incorporate details into designing new pieces. 


Are you more intuitive or analytical when you are designing?

A bit of both!

What are you working on now?

I have just finished the production for AW19. Right now i am preparing SS20 for showing in New York and Paris this September. It will be my first showroom, I’m really looking forward to seeing how the collection will be received.


Do you think about a theme for a collection before you start designing? 

I have tried to focus on themes for collections in the past but I feel it distracts me from just designing wearable, everyday clothes. The collections are made to be timeless, I don’t think a seasonal concept works for my brand or the way I design.

Where do you manufacture and source your fabrics from? 

Everything is manufactured in London. I buy fabrics from the UK, Portugal and Spain.


In your opinion, is this a good time to work in fashion?

I think it’s a great time to work in fashion. People are becoming more aware of what they're purchasing, buying from brands that are sustainable and produce high quality products that will last.

What was the last place that really fascinated you?

I’ve been spending my free time away from London, going on walks and enjoying the peace and quiet away from the city. I think it’s easy to forget how beautiful the English countryside is.

Is travelling an important aspect of your creative process?

I try to travel as much as possible, though this is usually for work and not pleasure. Before going away the only thing I really research are restaurants. It’s the thing I look forward to the most when visiting a place. It’s how I like to experience a country’s traditions and culture. 

What’s next for Cawley Studio?

Right now I’m just focused on slowly growing and developing the brand. I’m really excited about starting AW20. I can't believe it will be the fourth season. I feel really proud of what has been achieved so far, it would not have been possible without the enormous support and encouragement from my parents.



auor x cawley

Paloma Rose

Available now at auor.co

Photography | Ella Gradwell

Contact Improvisation

In Conversation with Dancers Irene and Kieran.

When we stumbled across this beautiful contact improvisation video, we just had to know more about the people and the practice behind it.

Contact improvisation, as we’ve discovered, is a form of improvised dancing and the exploration of one's body in relationship to others by using the fundamentals of sharing weight, touch, and movement awareness.

It plays with the artistry of falling off balance, counterbalance, finding the shelves of the body, learning the mechanics of the body in order to handle someone else's weight or be lifted.

So, we set out to interview contact improvisation dancers Irene Sposetti and Kieran Mitchell to unpack this incredible form and practice.


Where did you both meet?

Irene: I met Kieran in a contact improvisation jam session in Berlin last year. It was a really nice period of dance where we got to know each other and explore the form.

Kieran: I met Irene at a jam at Marameo in Berlin last year. The Contact Improvisation Festival in Freiburg had just finished so many dancers came to Berlin afterwards, including us. I remember feeling like I’d found what I was looking for when I first danced with Irene. It was so comfortable, and we were so compatible together. She is an amazing dancer and human. This video of us was shot on the day after we met, having danced together only twice before. I think there is a strong similarity in the way we both approach the form.


What is contact improvisation in your own words?

Irene: Contact improvisation is a dance form, an ever-transforming movement vocabulary involving weight sharing and partnering which express in improvisation. 

Kieran: It’s a dance form that focuses on touch and weight sharing. The practitioner is always trying to access the floor through their partners body. It allows two people to connect through dance and merge together as one entity. This process involves deep listening to the body’s movement.


Where do you practice?

Wherever I am. For now, in Europe and Asia. 

Kieran: In studios around the world where people practice contact improvisation jams. A jam is an organised meet up of practitioners who come together in a free-form environment. This generally happens in parks, people’s houses or more commonly in the studio.


What brought you to the medium?

Irene: My first encounter with contact improvisation was in Rome, where I studied with Italian choreographer and dancer Simonetta Alessandri. From there I moved swiftly to Paris to continue my studies in theatre and dance. There I had the opportunity to deepening my understanding and embodiment of contact improvisation. I met many great dancers and teachers who very much influenced my future professional life as a dancer, researcher and pedagogue.

Kieran: I studied modern dance and ballet as a child. I went to a performing arts high school where I auditioned as a dancer. The school had a strong focus on choreography and a heavy emphasis on instruction rather than improvisation. This turned me off dance practice for several years and I only really danced for pleasure in recreational settings after that. Then I heard about contact improvisation and saw a genuine way to connect with others through dance. I went to a class in Sydney and fell in love with the form.


What is it about the form you are drawn to?

Irene: Contact improvisation is dance which develops in a culturally innovative and international community where I find a lot of freedom and affinities in the way I can embody, investigate, learn and share with others. It’s a place where I can question, transform and co-create without being bound to a given fixed form or method.

Kieran: It’s spiritual dimension, which involves the dissolving of self and identity. The form is therapeutic in the sense that you can deal with issues relating to touch, rejection or trust. I like its communal aspects where practitioners meet up and practice, sometimes in complete silence, allowing for strong bonds to form. It’s also good for fitness and it helps people to understand themselves on a kinaesthetic and sensual level.


Do you find aspects of the movement confronting?

Irene: No. I keep a clear level of awareness at all times. I define my own boundaries and needs within an improvised dialogue with my partners. By being constantly alert, it offers me the chance to understand my limits and my responses even in a very fast exchange. I love the challenges and the risk taking involved, whilst also caring for my own safety. I very seldom do anything that I don’t feel like doing during a dance. For this reason, I never linger in confrontational spaces, opting rather for simple changes if needed.

Kieran: Contact improvisation involves a certain kind of caring physical touch. When someone is new to the form this can be difficult to navigate. Sometimes dancing reveals a chemistry or sexual attraction between two people which can be confronting.


Where is your focus when you practice?

Irene: My focus shifts. It is a malleable tool which carves directions and brings to light discoveries. It is not bound by control but lead by presence, curiosity and intuition. 

Kieran: I am listening to the body that I am dancing with. I am listening to my own intentions. I am listening to my breath, and to the point of contact between my body and my partners body. There’s no room for thoughts that aren’t related to consciousness within the body or the present moment. A mental mandala is drawn at this point of contact as it expands outward to meet presence in the body.


Contact improvisation has a focus on physical touch, awareness, mindfulness and flowing movements. What do you think these characteristics bring to you?

Irene: I love to be aware, present and in a heightened state of alertness. I love the deep-felt sense of gravity shifting in space through touch. It makes me feel alive. It opens in me channels of creativity, playfulness and physical intelligence at play. 

Kieran: All of these characteristics are related to being aware and in the present moment. The flow and momentum of the movement helps me to develop mindfulness, particularly in relation to resistance and touch.  


Is it a trust experience?

Irene: Trust is a word most students and beginners say when discovering contact improvisation. Now days I wouldn’t use that word myself to describe my experience of dancing. Trust for me is a wide subject. It’s the state which underlines my breath, my silences, my words, and the way I walk life. Trust is the way I relate to people, the way I deal with losses and gains, and the way I listen to myself inside and out. Dancing in improvisation and partnering can be a very direct way of revealing our personal relationship with trust.

Kieran: One learns to trust oneself. If you are comfortable falling by yourself then it becomes easier to trust the person you are dancing with. You develop relationships with the people you dance with and this involves learning each others capabilities. Trust either develops or it doesn’t but trusting yourself is primary.


How has contact improvisation informed your life?

Irene: It’s as if my life, dancing and contact improvisation simply merged. Life is now a never ending flow of creative interactions, which change and refine. Contact improvisation has taught me to express trust and authenticity and to be profoundly engaged and detached. To also create, research and play.

Kieran: Since taking up the practice, I have an increased awareness to the subtlety of body language. I genuinely feel happier and have shared connections with other people who recognise the sanctity of the moving body.


What’s next for you?

Irene: I will try to find ways of creating long-term projects which focus on the education and investigation of the practice. Something close to nature in an international context.

Kieran: I plan to be in Berlin next month. I have been living in Sydney for the last five months and I miss being able to practice contact improvisation every night of the week. Berlin is one of few cities where it’s possible to do it throughout the whole year. Because of this, it acts as a magnet for great dancers from all over the world. I miss Berlin, the city and its creativity. I look forward to collaborating with friends and teaching contact improvisation to others. I am always looking for someone who can teach me something new.


Film | Rune Ambro & Kieran Mitchell

Dancers | Irene Sposetti & Kieran Mitchell (film)
Kieran Mitchell & Eliza Cooper (stills)

Photography | Kristen Lindesay

Carter Were


In Conversation with Carter Were

Carter Were, Founder of Were Bros, epitomises the meaning of living a quiet and humble life. In anticipation of her first cookbook - made in collaboration with her twin sister Harry Were - we caught up to learn a little more about this quiet soul and her innate love for cooking simple, wholesome and nourishing food.

Avocado, sauerkraut, sprouts, peas, sheeps feta and herbs on Carters seeded sourdough bread.

Avocado, sauerkraut, sprouts, peas, sheeps feta and herbs on Carters seeded sourdough bread.

Where were you born and where do you live now? 

I was born in Auckland, New Zealand, but I’m now living in Federal, Australia, half an hour inland from Byron Bay.

Describe your personality in three words?

Shy. Kind. Direct.


Who is in your immediate world right now?

Jack, Patience and an owl that has been living outside our window for the past few months.

How do you like to spend your time? 

Cooking and eating, when I'm not cleaning and feeding. On a sunny day, I also love to get to the sea. I love the beach and Patience loves to swim now.


What kick started your love for food and cooking? 

Getting a job at Bourke Street Bakery when I was 19 and travelling to Greece for the first time that year too.

Can you tell us about Were Bros and how it began? 

The name Were Bros came from my great, great, great Grandfathers soft drink company in the late 1890s.


How did the idea for your first cookbook come about? 

My twin Harry and I have been talking about it for a while. We wanted to work together and get something printed so that we could have it forever. We don't often get the chance to work together so it’s really exciting.

What's the inspiration behind it?

Well, I'm writing the recipes and Harry is photographing it. It’s different to most cookbooks. We hope this one isn’t intimidating, very useable, and a book which can be used in most kitchens without fancy equipment.

Garden sourdough crispbreads.

Garden sourdough crispbreads.

Can you tell us what we can expect to find within its pages? 

Our favourite recipes to make in a few different kitchens that we’ve been in. We’ve been working on the cookbook whenever we are in the same place at the same time. It's been a little tricky since we live in different countries and I have a baby now. You'll also see my baby in the book too.


What's the significance of food in your life and the rituals around preparing and eating with your loved ones?

I think its pretty significant. I always seem to be in the kitchen cleaning up something we've eaten. Patience started showing interest in food when she was four months old. I think it’s because Jack and I are always eating. I hope she grows up enjoying all types of food. I used to only like chicken nuggets and chips when I was little, but my mum also hates cooking so maybe thats why. I like to sit down for at least one meal a day with Jack and Patience. It’s a nice end to the day and a good way to slow down and talk about the day.

Lemon curd and mulberry crostata.

Lemon curd and mulberry crostata.

Where do you source your produce from?

Our garden, the market, the organic shop in town or just down the road at the local shop.

What can we find in your garden? 

At the moment limes, starfruit, mint, parsley, sorrel, chard, kale, okinawa spinach and pumpkins.


What's your favourite thing to cook at home for yourself?

I don't enjoy cooking for myself. I just eat a tub of ice cream. I love to cook and eat with friends.

What's the one item you can't live without in the kitchen?


Purple carrot and fennel seed sourdough.

Purple carrot and fennel seed sourdough.

What’s next for Carter?

Im travelling a bit with my partner and his band this year and I'm also looking forward to taking Patience to Greece. She'll be eating more by then too.


Johanna Bear

In Conversation with Johanna Bear.

We sat down with artist Johanna Bear to discuss her love of collage and what inspires her creative practice.

A multitalented lady, with a background studying law, art history and international relations, as well as experience working as a model, we aren’t surprised that Johanna also works with Sydney’s leading interdisciplinary space, Artspace.

With a contemporary approach, Johanna blends her interests in portraiture, fashion and landscape in a new body of work made especially for auór.


Where were you born and where do you live now? 

I was born in Brisbane and moved to Auckland, Aotearoa in New Zealand for a few years when I was 19.

About five years ago I moved to Sydney, where I now live.

How do you best describe yourself?

Motivated, inquisitive and I always follow my intuition. 

Who is in your world right now?
My partner Oliver Rose. He is a filmmaker with a background in photography and fine art.


How do you like to spend your time? 

Each week I like to go to as many art openings and exhibitions as I can. There are some wonderful smaller galleries that I like to support, including great spaces out in Western Sydney. 

When I’m not working, I always keep myself busy with various personal projects. As much as I thrive off a packed schedule, I sometimes need to remind myself to relax. When I do, I love going to a yoga class or lighting a candle and reading a book. This summer I also really enjoyed driving out of Sydney to national parks or secluded beaches with good snorkelling spots.

auór V , 2019, paper collage, 21 x 29.7 cm

auór V, 2019, paper collage, 21 x 29.7 cm

Have you always been creative? 

For as long as I can remember I’ve loved art, both experiencing it and creating it. My sister and I would incessantly paint and draw as children, to the point where my parents recently cleared out their house and came across huge collections of works and objects we had made. 

What got you interested in Collage? 

After my first few years of university, I started to travel a lot and found it difficult to continue painting and drawing in the style I wanted to. I can’t recall what gave me the idea, but I decided to start cutting up old magazines and playing around with the compositions. It was when I was living above a photo studio in Auckland with Oliver and a dear friend who is a photographer that I started creating the works I’m making today. Living in this environment of constant creativity definitely encouraged me to explore collage and gave me more confidence to share what I was working on.


What do you most enjoy about the medium? 

I really enjoy the freedom and eclecticism associated with collage. It presents endless opportunities to incorporate various materials and forms. 

How do you go about sourcing the imagery for your work? 

For some projects I have worked with creatives to develop photographs for collages but for my personal work, I enjoy scouring second hand bookstores and finding old magazines and books to use in my works. My collages for auór actually use photographs I shot myself on a film camera. This is the first time I’ve photographed (as well as collaged) the images I’ve worked with and I really enjoyed this process.

Can you tell about the work you have created for auór? 

Many of my collage works have a kind of surrealist sensuality in their play upon form, abstraction and the human body. For these works I wanted to amplify the colour of the sunglasses by incorporating textures and tones found at Australian beaches. Compositionally, they also have a sense of movement and dynamism that mimics the ebb and flow of waves.  


If you had to pick three artists who have influenced you who would they be and why?

Louise Bourgeois is one of my all-time favourite artists. She was an incredible female force in contemporary art and her works have such power in their exploration of emotion, psychoanalysis, sexuality and desire. 

Olafur Eliasson is known for creating spectacularly experiential and immersive installations that employ elemental materials such as light and water. It is his more recent focus on environmental conservation and social issues that I find particularly compelling. I was pleasantly surprised to encounter a special contribution by Olafur in a recent UN Human Development report, where he outlined the powerful role art can play in inciting an emotional response to contemporary global issues and ultimately inspire social change.

Zhang Huan’s works have a confrontational yet spiritual beauty in their exploration of spirituality and the limits of the human body that continues to blow me away. When I first encountered his practice I was particularly enthralled by his 1994 work 12 Square Meters, during which he sat nude in a public toilet covered in honey and fish oil to draw attention to the squalid living conditions in Dashancun, China.

This is such a tricky question as there are many artists who I could name here – Amrita Hepi, John Stezaker, Marguerite Humeau, Lisa Reihana and Anish Kapoor are a few others – but these artists have been especially influential at different points in my life. 

auór IV , 2019, paper collage, 21 x 29.7 cm

auór IV, 2019, paper collage, 21 x 29.7 cm

Where do you do for creative inspiration?

Experiencing contemporary art is always a wonderful source of ideas and inspiration, as are travelling and conversing with friends about their creative work. I also get ideas when I least expect it, like watching a documentary, listening to music or reading a book that is not directly related to art. 

What's next in the creative world of Johanna? 

I work full-time job at Artspace so upcoming projects with work will keep me busy and creatively stimulated. At present I am also working on collage project for a home wares store called Fourth St, based in Auckland. Over the coming months I also plan to work on some independent writing and curatorial projects. So there is plenty to look forward to!


Photography | Johanna Bear & Oliver Rose

Artwork | @johannabearcollage

Clare Thackway


In Conversation with Artist Clare Thackway

Clare’s work explores the ways in which we perform and move our bodies through spaces both literal and emotional.

In her finely wrought portraits and figurative paintings, the body becomes a language through which she contemplates moments of universal human experience, from the emotional to the societal.

We spent a day with the beautiful Clare in her studio in Austinmer, to learn more about what it takes to lead a fulfilling creative life as an artist and a mother.

One Over Other  2016, oil and acrylic on aluminium composite panel, 29 x 41 cm, image: Brett East

One Over Other

2016, oil and acrylic on aluminium composite panel, 29 x 41 cm, image: Brett East

Where did you grow up?

In Canberra. My favourite memories are of walking and riding through the bush and pine forest plantation near our house and the views of the Brindabella mountains. 

Where have you lived and where is home for you now?

Towards the end of my studies at ANU Canberra School of Art I went on exchange to Glasgow School of Art. After that I moved to Sydney and lived in several terraces in the inner-city. I won the Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship which took me back to Europe and I lived for a year Berlin. After a short stint back in Canberra I moved to the Illawarra. I currently live in Austinmer, sandwiched between the rainforest escarpment and the ocean. 

Ghost  2017, oil on cut out aluminium composite panel, 105 x 121 x 50 cm, image: Jessica Maurer


2017, oil on cut out aluminium composite panel, 105 x 121 x 50 cm, image: Jessica Maurer

How would you describe yourself in a few words?

Perceptive, independent, determined.

Who is in your immediate world right now?

My husband, Gregory Hodge, who is also an artist, and our preschool-aged daughter and toddler son.

Can you tell us a little about your artistic practice and what you’re working on?

I make paintings and I have worked with video and sculpture. I am working on a series of new large-scale figurative paintings that incorporate draped sets and costumes that I have made using wide striped fabrics. The stripe in these paintings provides a striking contrast to the subtlety of flesh and the repetitive directional lines allow for rhythmic and formal compositional choices. 


When did you first realise you were creative?

From a young age I was always drawing and looking at old master paintings. I had a book of Rubens drawings that I tried my hardest to copy. Rubens work is all figure and drapery. Looking at this book now I can see the things I was interested in then are still really important to me and my thinking about painting.

Where do you think your fascination with portraiture and figuration comes from?

The human condition, lived experience, connectivity, tension, gesture, pose, expression, touch, motion, movement and painting history. 


Do you have any studio rituals for pleasure or productivity?

I open or close the blinds, depending on the light. Then I scrape the dry oil paint off my glass palette and wash my brushes from the day before. I don’t see much of my studio practice as creative thinking . There are bursts of creativity, often when I am away from the studio. I set parameters for a project and then it is a matter of research, execution and persistence.

What do you get up to outside of your artistic practice?

I work in education and public programs at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. Between there and the studio I am with my family. We like to spend time outdoors, going to parks, and ocean pools. I try to savour the moments in the day when we tinker quietly in each other’s company. 


Do you have a favourite place you’ve travelled to?

Cities I really love: Rome, Istanbul, Fez, Varanassi, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Havana.

What are you listening to and reading at the moment?

In my book pile at the moment is The Devil’s Cloth, A History of Stripes and Striped Fabric by Michel Pastoureau and The Whole Brain Child by Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson. I listen to podcasts and audio books while painting. I have just finished the Open Yale courses on psychology.


Who inspires you?

At the moment I am looking at Avant-garde artists Sophie Tauber-Arp and Sonia Delaunay, contemporary figurative painters Mircea Suciu and Marcel Dzama and Australian artists Lauren Brincat and Lottie Consalvo just to name a few.  

What are you most looking forward to?

We are spending time in Paris toward the end of this year, which I am excited about. 





Photography | Kristen Lindesay