Carter Were

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

Salt.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.  

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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!

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Photography | Johanna Bear & Oliver Rose

Artwork | @johannabearcollage

Clare Thackway

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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

Ghost

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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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~

clarethackway.com

@clarethackway

Photography | Kristen Lindesay