Esther Sandler in her studio, wearing gorgeous ceramic earrings she made.

Esther Sandler in her studio, wearing gorgeous ceramic earrings she made.

This shelf, which Esther made herself, sits above her desk. I really want to make a shelf like this now! Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

This shelf, which Esther made herself, sits above her desk. I really want to make a shelf like this now! Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

Esther Sandler is a Melbourne-based illustrator and textile designer. She currently splits her time between freelance work (for brands including Megan ParkMeccaLimedrop), working on her own label Togetherness Design (which she established in 2011, when she was still a student) and teaching (she'll soon be lecturing part-time in the course she studied, Textile Design at RMIT). Esther works from the home studio she shares with her boyfriend and was kind enough to let me come along and photograph it.

Esther's work features rich, multilayered and colourful patterns, often with plants, animals, imagined worlds and naive and folk-inspired motifs. She often starts out creating a watercolour or gouache painting and then brings it to life using traditional and more recent craft and textile traditions including digital fabric printing, embroidery, sewing and screen printing. The Togetherness Design product range features textiles, paper-based work and hand-formed ceramics.

Esther's other passions include gardening, collecting trinkets, watching true crime documentaries and crafting - check out some of the many ace projects she's created for Frankie Magazine's blog: a decorated umbrellaa shaggy seat coveringa sweet treat doormata sleeping kitten wheat pack and resin jewellery.

I hope you enjoy getting a sneak-peek into Esther's workspace. Following are more snaps and a little interview. 

Pinboard inspiration. Scroll down for a pinboard close-up. Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

Pinboard inspiration. Scroll down for a pinboard close-up. Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

Very happy monstera. Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

Very happy monstera. Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

Close-up of Esther's inspiration pinboard. Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

Close-up of Esther's inspiration pinboard. Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

Esther's inspiration shelf. Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

Esther's inspiration shelf. Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

Esther's desk is to the left of the window and her sewing machine is the the right, next to the bolts of fabric. Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

Esther's desk is to the left of the window and her sewing machine is the the right, next to the bolts of fabric. Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

How long have you been in the space and where did you work previous to this?

For the past two years I’ve been working in a spare room in my house that has been set up as a sewing room and creative space. Before this I was working out of my tiny bedroom on a desk that was snuggle fit between my bed and the door - it was such a relief to move to a larger space!

How many hours a week do you spend in your workspace?

I do a mix of working in-house and working from my studio, so this can change week to week. Leading up to busy markets times or while I am working on a large personal project I can be in the space every day, but on average I would guess around 20 hours per week.

Original paintings by Esther Sandler. Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

Original paintings by Esther Sandler. Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

Hand-formed and painted ceramic necklaces. Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

Hand-formed and painted ceramic necklaces. Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

How, if at all, has the space influenced your work?

Working in a space with plenty of room to store materials, product and knick-knacks is a dream come true and makes it a lot easier for me to become inspired and create. The trick to this however, is keeping things tidy and I am often guilty of making a huge mess on every surface, although I am trying to rein this in a bit!

A bag featuring Esther's digitised painting. Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

A bag featuring Esther's digitised painting. Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

Some cushions stacked up. Available to buy here. Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

Some cushions stacked up. Available to buy here. Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

What would your dream workspace look like?

The main downside to my studio is the lack of natural light, so it can get a bit dark and is particularly bad when it comes to taking photos. Our whole house is quite dark so I often resort to taking photos outside, which is a bit of a pain! My dream space would have large windows with natural light, a bright white wall for taking photos against and a heap of cupboards and drawers for me to store all of my things!

Clutches being sewn up. Available to buy here. Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

Clutches being sewn up. Available to buy here. Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

Purses waiting to be sewn up. Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

Purses waiting to be sewn up. Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

Do you prefer working alone or with others?

I enjoy a mix of working by myself and with others. Being alone is best when I have a heap of things to get done but it can also be a bit lonely. In the future I would love to share a studio space with a few of my creative pals and will hopefully get around to doing something about this soon!

Another original artwork. Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

Another original artwork. Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

Which other creatives inspire you (personally or professionally)?

I am constantly amazed and inspired by the work of my friends and other up-and-coming designers from Melbourne and the rest of the country – people like Min PinTara Whalley, Edith Rewa, Cassie Byrnes, Caitlin She and many more. I also find a tremendous amount of inspiration in the work of my favourite textile design heroines from the past and present including Maija Isola, Gunta Stölzl, Jenny Kee, Tsumori Chisato and Collier & Campbell. I could go on and on!

Tools of the trade - so many cotton reels! Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

Tools of the trade - so many cotton reels! Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

More tools of the trade, for ceramics. Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

More tools of the trade, for ceramics. Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

UPCOMING EVENTS: 

Markit @ Fed Square, Sunday May 8 in the Atrium at Federation Square 

 

LINKS:

Website: www.esthersandler.com

Shop: www.togethernessdesign.com

Etsy shop: esthersandler.etsy.com 

Tumblr: esthersandler.tumblr.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/togethernessdesign

And don't forget to follow Studio Space on Instagram @studiospace_ #hellostudiospace

Thanks so much Esther!

What a green thumb! Esther's garden has so many succulents and other plants, many of which she's propagated herself.

What a green thumb! Esther's garden has so many succulents and other plants, many of which she's propagated herself.

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