Timeless Accents

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I’ve been waiting a long time to ‘launch’ my mum’s shop, Timeless Accents, which is an online version of my parents’ two physical shops in Fremantle Markets and Coventry Square Markets in Perth, Australia. This online shop has been my little project, and it’s still baby-steps for me. But I figured it was time to show it.

Timeless Accents

Timeless Accents

Timeless Accents

Timeless Accents

Timeless Accents

Timeless Accents

Before I talk about the shop and my mum’s artwork, I need to be as honest as possible about why it has taken me so long to launch this shop, considering I started working on it early this year. My mum and I had fears about opening an online shop, because we’re both aware of what is popular and what is considered to be the dominant idea of ‘indie’ online. And it’s not my mum’s style of ‘indie’. My parents have been running an independent art and craft business for over twenty years. Before it was ‘cool’, before Etsy and before blogs, my parents ran their independent business and made a living from it. I have a huge, huge amount of respect for my parents, because while I scribble away on the side and call myself a ‘writer’, they took the scary plunge of having no day-job to keep their artistic dreams afloat in hard times. I don’t know many people who have been able to successfully run an independent art and craft business, and have it as their only source of income.

But I’d like my parents to stop working so hard. They literally work seven days a week to run and produce stock for their two shops, as well as produce custom orders for local businesses and clients. They have no weekends. I want this to stop, and I’d like to help them build up an online shop in place of one physical store, so they can have some more time to themselves after years of working so damn hard. I’m scared though, that this online store I set up will be a flop because I know what kind of online shops get popular these days: minimal style, with a cool hipster edge. Hey, I buy from such shops too, so I’m not knocking them. But I’m feeling frustrated at the narrow definition of ‘indie’ and what types of indie shops are shown support by the blogging community over others that are ignored (Rachel Hills articulates a lot of the same feelings in this article, when it comes to indie publications). I’m taking the online plunge on behalf of my parents, and keeping my fingers firmly crossed.

Timeless Accents

Timeless Accents

Timeless Accents

Timeless Accents

Timeless Accents

I didn’t mean this to become one long post about the politics of ‘indie’ these days, so I’m moving on. Let me introduce you to my mum, Orna Shachar. As I said, my mum has been an artist for over twenty years, and she’s studied various techniques in many media, such as oil and acrylic painting, Fine Art, colour theory, fine jewellery making from scratch (here are two rings she made, for example; by the way, my dad also makes furniture), embroidery and needlepoint, and so on. These days, she mainly sticks to her first love: acrylic painting.

She’s an established artist in the local Perth community and has been invited to teach seminars on painting in various countries such as New Zealand, America, Israel, and others. She’s currently sponsored by Chroma in Australia and DecoArt in America, and her projects and work are regularly featured in magazines and newspapers such as Home Beautiful, Antiques & Collectibles, Australian Country Themes, Australian Country Craft, Folk Art & Decorative Painting, Fine Art & Decorative Painting, The West Australian, The Sunday Times, as well as many, many books. Her home studio and art were also featured on a few travel shows here in Australia a few years ago, such as Getaway and Postcards. Also, the amount of exhibitions she’s both helped organise and invited to showcase her work in, are countless. Much of my childhood was spent in exhibitions! One of her biggest achievements is becoming the President of the FAWA (Folk Artists of Western Australia) in 1992. During this time, my mum was just learning English, yet her role required she make speeches in front of crowds, the media, and at exhibitions.

Timeless Accents

Timeless Accents

Timeless Accents

Timeless Accents

Timeless Accents

My parents’ business is built on my mum’s art and functions through the creation of different works. For example, one of the techniques my mum specialises in is recycling metal-wares, home-wares, wooden furniture and vintage suitcases, treating them and painting original artwork on them in the arts and craft tradition of decorative painting. She’s also been commissioned to produce hand-painted signs for local businesses. You can have a peek at a few examples here and here (or just browse through her entire Flickr collection). This is only a very small selection of her work, however. There are a lot of DIY projects online about recycling vintage pieces and such, and I can guarantee you my mum can teach most people a thing or two about how to do this properly and how to treat and prepare different kinds of surfaces for painting, and protect them for future use.

Another thing I wanted to talk about is Folk Art. This is the style of art my mother mainly works in these days. Although she has studied and practiced Fine Art, her heart lies in this style of art the most. Folk Art is basically the art of the people – the art, for example, that local communities, peasants, craftspeople and artisans used to make. My mum has studied and now teaches this style of art, specifically focusing on Folk Art that dates back to seventeenth-century Europe. In her workshops and classes, she teaches traditional Folk Art of Dutch, Bavarian, Russian, Norwegian and American variations. She brings these techniques to her interpretation of Australian landscapes and country scenes designs and paintings.

I wonder if half the people on Etsy know that the naive, retro and vintage style of art currently popular amongst the indie crowd dates back to traditional Folk Art. I hope so, because knowing the history behind this style of art and craft is important. Folk Art is also based on very precise techniques of paint-strokes. Before you even learn things such as colour theory and traditional design, you have to be taught how to hold a paintbrush properly in order to perform the very precise brush-strokes required in Folk Art. And believe me, it’s hard! Each stroke requires a different method of holding the paintbrush. My mum tried to teach me once, and it was incredibly difficult. You also have to learn how to load a brush properly with different colours at once, and the difference between the many types of paintbrushes used in Folk Art. I guess there’s a reason why this takes years to learn.

Timeless Accents

Timeless Accents

Timeless Accents

Timeless Accents

So I know this is shaping into a long post, but I felt a proper introduction was necessary. The online shop is based on all of this. I’ve also spent months searching for an appropriate professional local printer to produce museum-quality prints from my mum’s original paintings. I’ve found one I’m satisfied with, and trust me when I say this: the prints are absolutely stunning, and are printed to my perfectionist standards. My mum and I spent a day gushing over the paper quality when we first saw the prints. We opted for the more expensive, but better quality paper option for the large prints of Canson Rag Photographique (310gsm) paper. My photos don’t do justice to the prints, or my mum’s work – I wish I could show you what they look like in person. Let’s just say though, I’ve printed a few for my own walls (my favourite is the Hidden Retreat one).

Timeless Accents

Timeless Accents

Timeless Accents

Timeless Accents

The shop will be updated with other items and prints, as this is just a starting point. At the moment, it includes greeting cards, prints, framed prints, hand-painted wooden brooches, and the most popular item in my parents’ two shops: small wooden plaques with sayings and quotes (which can be customised with any writing you want). Another important aspect to note is that a large bulk of my mum’s business is also producing custom paintings for people on canvas. She’s painted just about everything and anything, upon request. So I’ve added a fixed-price custom painting listing in the shop. It’s a very reasonable price for an original artwork.

Timeless Accents

Timeless Accents

Timeless Accents

Timeless Accents

So please, have a visit and feel free to spread the word about the shop. You have my full permission to use any images to do so on your own blogs – and if you’d like bigger images, just email me.

: : Online Shop : : Flickr : : Market Shops : :

EDIT: I’ve uploaded more photos onto my mum’s Flickr collection, to showcase a few of her magazine features and favourite pieces in her studio. This is a very small selection, I will upload more when I have time.

14 comments:

suzie said...

Hila, I really do wish your parents the best of luck with this new venture. They have every right to be deeply proud of their hard work and that they have raised such a thoughtful child…to invest so much time and care on them.
I understand what you say about trying to run an online shop if your work doesn't fit in with current trends. I chose to return to etsy purely because I don't want to spend time and effort at this point building a shop on my own, when as an emerging artist I rather use that energy seeking out 'real life' opportunities. I'm very aware that my work is difficult to sell online, and it gets totally swamped by the volume of art available on etsy. However, both my art and photography are constantly pinned, blogged and treasuried across the www so at least I know it's liked by some!
However, your mother already has an established career, reputation and collectors and I'm sure that along with your marketing noddle, the shop will soar!

laura // BOOKM▲▲RKS said...

you come from such talented and creative family! i wish your parents all the best with the online shop, these are pretty rad!

Danielle P. said...

I'm completely in awe of your mum (and your dad!)... Much courage is required to take this plunge, but thankfully you're there to provide loving support. Best of luck to your parents as they take this new step! I do hope it enables them to slow down.

(Your mother's flowers are absolutely stunning!)

Jane Flanagan said...

So amazing to see the talent and artistry that runs in your family. I am sure ("indie" trends notwithstanding) your Mum will find many new supporters and admirers. Congratulations on your hard work!

Teresa said...

Your mother's work is beautiful. I wish your parents the best of luck in their online venture. :)

anabela / fieldguided said...

I read this post last night before bed and almost forgot to come back and leave a comment! I am so touched by the love you have for your parents. They are clearly special, lovely people with great talents. Best of luck to you with the new venture!

Sally said...

Best of luck! Everything looks beautiful!

Tracey said...

Congratulations to you and your parents for making the step into the online world. I do so hope that the shop is a grand success and your parents can have some much needed time away from work.

I can't even imagine how much time and effort your mum puts into her painting ... I am in complete awe of your talented artistic family. :)

Gracia said...

Orna's work is beautiful and the level of detail stunning. I'm with Danielle, those flowers! I hope the online store proves a roaring success. I am, it will come as no surprise to you, a huge fan of folk art.

Good luck with Timeless Accents, dear all.

X

Niina said...

Hi, this is my favourite post ever from you. I know this is very close and personal topic and evolves high hopes. You´ve mentioned your mother a couple of times to me and every time I´ve thought she must be the greatest character and this proves it for me. Truly inspirational!

And you´re dead on with the indie category criticism. I feel it´s discriminating aesthetically. Coming from a pure minimalist and clinically aesthetic country which is able only to cope with folk art through this genre of national romanticism (ie. the Finnish art nouveau) I feel this particularly strongly nevertheless leaning towards that same functional taste. But through art history I only came to realize how limited my own taste is. This is a thing I pay attention to so who knows where it leads.

I checked your mother´s flickr stream and those signs are awesome. I´d love to have my mother´s florist shop a hand-painted sign like that. Also I understand very well you´re concern oover hard-working mother, I have the same kind. I hope the shop takes of and give you more to spend it together!

Mariella said...

Hi Hila, best of luck to your parents for their shop, I am sure your mother's talent is already well recognized and this will give her one more opportunity to share her work with the world. It's so nice that you;re helping them out with this, the love for your parents is touching.

Rambling Tart said...

It is so kind and brave of you to do this for your parents, Hila. It must mean the world to them to have you support their work in this way. I love your Mother's paintings. They are so warm and whimsical and make me want to step right into them and settle in. :-)

Sasha said...

My goodness! Your entire family is obviously extremely talented. I wish you all the best of luck with this endeavor!

Hila said...

Suzie: Truly and honestly: all the best with your own shop. I know how hard this all is, especially if what you produce falls outside of the current 'trends'. The longevity of my parents' business however leads me to believe that there will always be a market for quality work, regardless of the trends. I can firmly say that even as an established artist, my mum still has to put in the same amount of hours of work (and perhaps even more) as when she was just starting out. This is why I want to help them. I love them so much, I hope to see them work less, and enjoy life more.

Laura: Thank you!

Danielle: My mum once told me that if someone paid her to paint roses for the rest of her life, that would be her idea of heaven :) As you can tell, flowers are her favourite things to paint.

Jane: Thanks so much Jane, and yes, fingers crossed! I'm really nervous about this ...

Teresa: Many thanks!

Anabela: Thank you Anabela, I'm lucky to have such parents.

Sally: Thanks!

Tracey: oh yes, all the details she puts into each piece - just amazing.

Gracia: I'm not surprised at all that you like Folk Art - I can see some of its legacies in your work.

Niina: You know, my mum's told me numerous times that if she wasn't an artist, she would have been a florist. She loves gardening and flowers (as you can tell from all the paintings of flowers), and has a green thumb. So it would be incredibly lovely if she were able to paint a sign for your mum's florist shop, how beautiful would that be? I think both our mums though need to work less :)

Thank you so much for this comment Niina, you have no idea what it means to me. I'm feeling increasingly alienated by the trends I see in blogging, and it's good to hear I'm not alone in my criticism of certain things.

Mariella: My love for my parents is the natural product of their love for me - they've supported me in numerous ways.

Krista: yes, that's the word for her art: warm. That's exactly what she is too :)

Sasha: thank you!