Welcome to The Garden Party blog! This space is a new addition to our website, and we’re going to use it to share some of the things we can’t fit elsewhere – stories behind the products in our shop and the people that make them, recommendations and fun ideas for how to use the things you buy at The Garden Party, and what’s going on in our area.
Gwyneth Hulse and her husband are the talent behind Gwyneth Hulse Design in Kerikeri. Together they create wonderful wooden jewellery and homeware. Each piece respects the native timber from which it is created and loving hand crafted and painted. No two pieces are ever the same.
Gwyneth and her husband have always worked in an eco-friendly way and respect the environment but her new collection "Waste Not' is a spectuacular example of how to use every bit of a precious resource like wood.
These products have been created from the surplus remnants of our other pieces in order to maximise the potential of our beautiful trees. So that nearly every piece of wood is used. Gwyneth has designed some stunning new pieces made from the off cuts - bits that are normally thrown away are now adorning peoples homes and bodies. This is a truly green way to run a business - its clever, resourceful and doesn't waste a thing!
"We hope that Waste Not is an inspiration and an encouragement to others to think about how we use our planet’s resources" says Gwyneth. "We wish to have a positive impact on others and the planet, by offering beautifully handmade alternatives to mass-produced products which people can value and care for."
It's certainly inspired us - we love the new Gwyneth Husle pieces!
Coltrane Clay, for the disheveled “I-just-rolled-out-of-bed” look.
This product is perfect for those who prefer a soft, matte wave. The white clay and beeswax mix — with a touch of Pracaxi oil and Brazil wax — make for a medium hold which will tame his manly mane whilst maintaining its natural texture.
The masculine fragrance, American Tobacco, adds the perfect finish. “We don’t think smelling like a fruit tube is right for a grown man’s hair” — Triumph & Disaster
Ponsonby Pomade, for the sleek, styled, hair-care conscious gentlemen. This product not only styles, but aids in maintaining his healthy tresses.
The key ingredients, Dragons blood and Harakeke help to repair and strengthen the hair and scalp, while the Argan oil adds moisture promoting strength and softness.
It gives a medium hold with high shine, perfect for a more polished, groomed look. The somewhat medicinal fragrance elicits a musky character, full of spice and charm.
Available in-store and online!
This is a nifty design if we've ever seen one! Watch the video to see how the clever Lucetta bike light clips on and changes functions, easy as can be. This good-looking gadget is the perfect mix of form and function. Find them here.
During the winter months all birds, particularly wild birds, need a diet high in fat as they need a lot of energy to fly and keep warm.
Bread on the lawn is good but seeds, nuts and fat are far better.
Fats are concentrated forms of energy and, per unit weight, provide more than twice the calories of protein or carbohydrates of equivalent weight. This is very important to birds because of their accelerated metabolisms. (Flying is a very energetic activity) Energy derived from fat helps birds sustain energy levels longer between meals and over the cold winter nights.
Our wild bird food is grown in North Otago by TopFlite, a company who has been growing food for birds since the 1970’s.
Their products can be used to encourage wild birds into your garden. It will take time for wild birds such as Fantails, Wax Eyes, Tuis, and Kererus to feel at home in a domestic garden but with patience you can encourage many different species into your garden. Make sure you put the food up high, away from hungry cats. And water is another a good thing to provide for the birds.
When the wild birds eventually find the food you will see a steady stream of birds flying into your garden for food and water, shelter and if you’re lucky, they may even nest.
A warm welcome to Chalkydigits, our newest suppliers who are brightening up our winter displays with their bright and beautiful NZ made scarves.
A company with a conscience, these guys have a work ethic we really appreciate: they consider the true cost of cutting prices by getting goods made overseas.
"Our precious natural environment pays a hefty price from the use of polluting fossil fuels in the prolific production of low-quality goods overseas. It creates acres of carbon miles in transport and then there’s the chemical poisoning from non-organic clothing crop pesticides.
There’s the human cost too; jobs, skills and equipment are lost from New Zealand and, most alarming, plenty of employees overseas are working in underpaid, unethical or exploitative conditions and, sadly, many of them aren’t even adults yet.
It’s only when you completely ignore the true cost of fast fashion that these imported garments seem good value."
Well said! You can check out Chalkydigits scarves here
Kate Watts is the crafty genuis behind our bestselling fingerless gloves. We sat down for a chat about her gorgeous work and the story behind it:
What first sparked the idea for your fingerless gloves?
I was making clothing in a drafty workroom, and really needed some myself! So I made some for me, then I made some for a wee shop I was selling clothing through in Dunedin, and they just took off. I decided to give the gloves a go by themselves, so I learnt to screenprint, which has lead to what you see today! Anna was one of my first 5 stockists, thank you Anna!
Screenprinting allows clothing to become a canvas for artwork – your gloves are a perfect example of this. What’s more of a passion for you, fashion or art – or are they the same thing?
My passion is craft! I have a background in fashion, craft and manufacturing, and I think these things come together perfectly in what I do. I like to be part of the process of making my product, I can't imagine handing over the entire production to a third party. But one day I would love to have the time and opportunity to make both art and fashion again, as they are both very creatively fulfilling, if not as easy to make a living from.
How does being a Kiwi influence your design?
I think being a Kiwi has given me the freedom to do anything I want to do, and to experiment within a few different creative fields until I have found my niche. I also love our history as a starting point for design, I love researching ships and drawing our native plants, and hunting for interesting vintage papers that tie back into our story as New Zealanders.
Tell us about your newest range. How has your style evolved?
I think that this range (my 4th) is more commercial (though not too commercial!) and more polished. It's only my 4th range, and if you asked me what I'm good at designing screen prints isn't high on the list! But I think that I'm getting better with each range, and each year I have a better idea of what my customers want. But I always try to keep it a bit crafty, and a little quirky, and stay true to myself.
There is a big difference between creating something beautiful, and being able to make a successful business from it – what advice would you give to young creatives out there who want to make a living from their work?
Don't be too specific when trying to decide what to make, and listen to your customers. Try a few different things, keep an open mind, and hopefully an opportunity will present itself! Work hard, but find a way to keep your passion alive. And get involved in your local small business community. If you can surround yourself with cool people with complimentary skills and share your knowledge, it makes it a lot more fun!
After all the madness of festival season (Pride fest, Fringe Fest and Arts Fest all in one go!) it's nice to sit back and reflect on some of the highlights.
A highlight for us was Dark Light: a street level architechtural projection, providing the technology platform and support for local artists.
This was a temporary event in Ponsonby, a beautiful combination of architecture and projected images. Have a look at the video - it was a huge success and heaps of fun.
The Garden Party was one of the main sponsors, and we felt very privileged to be involved. It's events like this that make Auckland a city with personality!
The installation featured local artists Mark Conaco, Miki Pogoni, Rebekah Taylor, Peap Tarr, Hannah Jensen, Petra Leary, Gasp, Enuake Sirikige, and Erin Forsyth.
A pared-back colour scheme complemented with a few carefully selected treasures makes for a restful, inviting sleeping space.
This soothing bedroom setup features our
Ladies Sunhat $32 (available instore)
Ribbed Vase $18 (available instore)
This unexpectedly glorious summer has given us the perfect opportunity to test out Karma Cola, a fairtrade cola from the Kiwis behind All Good Bananas. We jump at the chance to support independent NZ companies - especially when it tastes this good!
This is a company that focuses on using organic and Fairtrade ingredients - so, in their words, 'it's good for the growers, good for the land and it’s as good for you as a fizzy drink can be because it’s organic.'
Not everyone is our shop is usually a fizzy drinks fan, but overall we agreed that Karma Cola was refreshing, sweet but not sickly, and with a deeper, spicier flavour than The-Drink-That-Must-Be-Named. And in this pic by Karma Cola, their old-school classic 'spider' made with Nice Blocks icecream (another cool NZ startup) looks irresistible!
Karma Cola also have a facebook page where you can see their stockists and keep up to date.
Tomorrow is the last day of NZ Sculpture Onshore. We're hoping the nasty weather will clear up this afternoon because this is an event not to be missed. Over 100 sculptures by well known sculptors and younger artists are displayed all over Fort Takapuna historic reserve. It only happens once every 2 years so it's worth a visit if you can squeeze it in! The exhibiton is set up to support Women's Refuge, so it's a great cause as well.
Above is a photo from www.nzsculptureonshore.co.nz, where you can find out more information about tickets and how to get there.
Photo Credit: Howard Williams for NZ Sculpture Onshore
Our shop stocks dozens of beautiful teatowels made by New Zealand artists and designers. Lots of our customers think the teatowels are far too pretty for dishwashing duty, and we love hearing stories of the alternatives they’ve come up with.
We had one customer who bought a series of classic kiwi icon teatowel designs like Mr Four Square, which she stretched over frames to decorate the walls when she refurbished her family’s butchery. Once a customer came into the shop wearing an amazing wraparound patchwork skirt she’d made from our teatowels!
Here’s a photo a customer sent us, of a pair of cushions she made with some Garden Party teatowels she was given. We think they look gorgeous!
Feeling inspired to get crafty? Here’s a (relatively) simple tutorial we found on Youtube for making a cushion. This method would work with two teatowels, or perhaps you could use a patterned teatowel for the front and a plan piece of fabric for the back. Happy crafting.
For two nights each year, Western Park – just up the road from The Garden Party – is transformed into a nighttime wonderland of light and colour. Art in The Dark is an annual exhibition in the park, being held this year on November 9 and 10. After dark, the Western Park lights up with amazing artwork that, in the curators’ words, ‘not only fits the specific contours of the great, urban outdoors but illuminates the dark using clean, eco-friendly energy and materials wherever possible’. The result is beautiful and heaps of fun, and we especially love the neighbourly community feeling the show brings with it. The exhibition is timed perfectly just when the weather is getting warmer and everybody is excited about finally getting outside!
Check out their website artinthedark.co.nz for more details and some gorgeous photographs of past years’ works. See you there!
Pho credit: Art in the Dark
As a regular feature we’re going to introduce you to some of the designers and artisans who sell their goods through The Garden Party. This week, we talk to Deon Hendrikz, founder of Kingsland-based design studio Creative Ink. We stock Creative Ink and we love their refreshing, stylish designs and their ethical business attitude. Meet Deon:
What’s the story behind Creative Ink?
I used to work as a graphic designer for a large financial services organisation in Auckland. But, being curious and eager to explore my own creative free spirit, I set up my own graphic design company dhdesignz Limited about 4 years ago. Commercial graphic design is very rewarding but as a creative you never ‘own’ your commercial design work. So I’ve extended my creative palette and expanded my business. In October 2011 I launched Creative Ink, a sub-brand which focusses on designing carefull crafted patterns and prints.These designs are then used to produce a limited run of handmade homeware products such as cushions, tote bags and textiles.
How does being in New Zealand influence your work?
All of Creative Ink’s designs are New Zealand inspired. I came to New Zealand 10 years ago, and the longer I stay here the more connected I feel to this environment, and the kiwi way of life. I think that upon arrival, tourists and visitors to New Zealand are so overwhelmed with its unspoilt beauty, that often they don’t look closely enough to what this beautiful land is all about. It is not until you have lived here for a while that Aotearoa’s true beauty reveals itself in surprising ways. I’ve been inspired by the simple everyday things around me, and I’ve developed a need to reflect this new environment in my design work.
How does Creative Ink address environmental concerns?
Creative Ink prides itself in sourcing all natural textiles that are environmentally friendly and contain no synthetic blends. As a further commitment to keeping our environment safe from harmful chemicals, our inks are 100% water-based, contain organic pigments, and are produced and purchased in New Zealand.
What does the coming year hold for Creative Ink?
At the moment I’m still very much involved with my first range of designs, which focuses on some of New Zealand’s iconic birds like the much-loved fantail, the curious pukeko, and very vocal tui. I’m also working on my second range, which will focus on New Zealand flora.
Photo credit: Arie Hoeflak.