Esther Sandler is a Melbourne-based illustrator and textile designer. She currently splits her time between freelance work (for brands including Megan Park, Mecca, Limedrop), 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 umbrella, a shaggy seat covering, a sweet treat doormat, a 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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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 Pin, Tara 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!
Markit @ Fed Square, Sunday May 8 in the Atrium at Federation Square
Etsy shop: esthersandler.etsy.com
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Thanks so much Esther!