Gervasoni Homestead is nestled in the hills of Yandoit -this area is unbelievably picturesque & teaming with talented creatives. Any precious downtime or an early arrival would mean visiting super cool places from David Bromley’s imaginarium shed outside of Daylesford, Katie Marx (florist & forager) and Greg Hatton (furniture maker), Butterland in Newstead, Daylesford market or just hanging out at Lynda Gardener’s ultimate houses (to rent), The White Room, Daylesford & The Estate and Trentham.
This stone homestead is seeped in Swiss-Italian traditions, built in 1852, made up with 3 dwellings (or ruins!). The colours of this landscape & the ever growing caramel menagerie of Marine’s is beautiful to see – if you are looking for road trip inspiration, this is it!
A blank wall is your chance to draw real personality into your home. If you take this opportunity by the horns, you’ll be able to set the tone of your space, so get creative with options and don’t be afraid to take a different approach. Here are some of my tips for wonderful walls.
Wrapping art around walls or placing it asymmetrically or at different heights instantly changes the focal point of a space.
Art comes in many forms and so it pays to use your imagination when it comes to decorating your walls. I discovered this fencing mask in the US, however, I’m sure he’s French. I put it on and I can hear his accent. The paper rosette demonstrates the results of a simple DIY project. Start playing around with a roll of stiff brown paper and see what emerges.
Founded by Makoto and Yoshimi Kawai in 2007, the Superior Labor hub is cradled by the Okayama Mountains in Japan. The small team handcrafts strong, utilitarian companions – bags, wallets & clothing – out of materials with true heart & soul. Canvas, vegetable tanned leather, hardware, with hand printed signature lettering printed. They stay busy and always look straight ahead and what’s to come.
One night, years ago I saw a bag in the window of a closed shop in Venice Beach. I wanted it so badly & went back the next day to buy it. I was intrigued by who had made such a fabulously utilitarian bag. The stencil said Superior Labor but I could not find it anywhere online! After sleuthing for over a year I found the makers all the way in Okayama, Japan.
I planned to visit.
It was August (I do not recommend travelling in Japan in mid-August when 6 months pregnant). I was on an inspiration trip & caught a fast train from Kyoto for an hour then, Makoto & Yoshimi picked me up from the train for an hour drive into the mountains to their haven. And what a place! A grouping of buildings, sheds, a lean-to, a shop, a cafe, their home & workshop – the beautiful, magical destination that is Nap Village.
Can you describe in detail your workspace and your location?
My atelier is a former elementary school, which was built in the 1940’s
Here we are surrounded by mountains in Okayama, Western Japan.
What are your morning rituals?
I wake my daughter of 3 month with my kiss.
What keeps you inspired?
Staying in nature. Seeing a lot of movies. I imagine making costumes and tools for movies.
What’s the story behind Superior Labor?
I was a repairman of a car when I was young. After that, I went around the United States to buy vintage clothing. I learned craftsmanship at the automobile factory, and I saw a lot of clothes and nature in the United States. Through this experience I started THE SUPERIOR LABOR.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I take photos, ride my motorcycle, play with my child and dogs, and look after plants and animals and do carpentry work. I’m quite busy!
What do you love about working with leather & canvas?
I love both and aim the brand concept around them: “We take pride in craftsmanship and never skimp on time and effort.”
What do you always keep in your bag?
There are cigarettes, coins and dreams for the future in my THE SUPERIOR LABOR bag.
I want to tell of our craftsmanship and ideas to the next generation. I look forward to adventures in the future for young people and children.
Every place I visit has its own scent: usually a layering of scents that create pure romance and transport you back to your gallivants.
I like to plan my adventures around the seasons. Although this is not always possible, it gives you a good reason to revisit a place on another occasion. When I visited Transylvania, I was two weeks shy of wildflower season. Hiking through the mountains, we saw some tiny early orchids and hellebores, and it was spongy underfoot with tendrils, buds & growth. I could only imagine the nature show I missed out on.
The scent was layered with almond blossoms, the first spring shoots, honey and heady lilac, with a distant smokiness of the charcoal burners. It’s important to remember that a trip during another season would create an entirely different scent altogether.
In Indochine, it was a combination of incense burning at the temples, refreshing lemongrass-scented cloths handed to us on arrival at Amansara, the sticky rice for alms housed in soft woven bamboo containers and lotus petals floating in large clay pots of fresh water.
In Scotland, the scents were grassy & mossy, thick with mist & water as we drove through tree-lined roads lochside, with hints of heather & wild thyme as the scapes opened to the wild western shores.
You can create layers that satisfy different senses, and give your interiors depth, dense with memories & stories. Consider a scent as much of a souvenir as an object.
I feel the same way about soundscapes and believe this is the sense that often goes unnoticed. When I am creating a commercial space, I have to consider soft & hard surfaces and see how these will control noise levels and allow sound, even footfalls, to be absorbed or not absorbed. This is just a part of my fascination with soundscapes and folly (reproduced sound).
I met a German photographer, Hans Georg Berger, in Laos who spends a lot of time with different religious communities around the world. He had been going to Luang Prabang in the late ‘70s & early ‘80s before it was open and you had to have a very official letter for permission to visit. The only way to get in was by elephant or archaic, unreliable Russian planes that were not delayed by hours, but by days. Due to these restrictions, very few people visited, and the only noise of traffic was the shuffle of sandals flip-flopping on the ground. Even though it was not my experience, it appealed to my sense of romance and this is the soundscape of Indochine for me.
At Timberyard, a restaurant in Edinburgh the owner asked me what I thought of the soundscape in the bathroom. It was a recording of one of their favourite winemakers in Italy, making all his wine by hand.
For a lot of people, music can be a useful way of instantly invoking a time and place. The sounds that affect me, though, are more the sounds of the street, the ambient sounds around me. I’ll never forget the very first time I heard the call to prayer in the early morning from my hotel room in Istanbul or, when I was with my dad in San Francisco, the plaintive tones of a lone clarinettist busking on a dark & empty Union Square.
There are things that you can’t necessarily see, but you can hear, smell & feel them and they are memories of all the things you love. These are what make a space special & personal.
I always looked forward to a trip down to Hobart where I would squeeze in some downtime between filming. Not only is MONA always a must-see but Haydn & Penny have a fabulous antiques & vintage business called Willow Court. It is full to the brim of loot & treasure.
I always came home with a heavy bag or a load following me on the boat. (Without sounding like a Tourism Tasmania representative) If you can, spend some time at Salamanca Markets of a Saturday and grab a coffee at Tricycle Cafe. Or walk around Battery Point and stop at Jackman & McRoss for baked deliciousness.
For some road tripping try the Huon Valley to Willie Smiths for organic cider & lunch or head to Richmond and the Derwent Valley for some beautiful old towns & great antique shopping.
Haydn is a wealth of information & has been salvaging building materials for decades – I not only come home with half his store but definitely with a lot more knowledge!