The Sweet Meadow


Video - The Makers

video, interiorsAishe Besim
There is undoubtedly a desire to know about the maker, the materials, the process and to have things in our home that give us a greater connection to the source. Visible imperfection and lack of pretension is also part of the narrative, as the handmade doesn’t mimic the machine and is therefore deemed more genuine.
— Karen McCartney, Perfect Imperfect
One of my newly favourite upcycled furniture stores,  Platform No. 5  in Castlemaine, Victoria

One of my newly favourite upcycled furniture stores, Platform No. 5 in Castlemaine, Victoria

We need to take better care of our planet. One way we can do this is by reusing or repurposing items that would otherwise end up in landfill. 

I prefer to use recycled materials not only as an ethical statement, but also because I believe they add more authenticity and charm. The lost, found and forgotten all have a place in the world I'm making.

Filmmaker Don Cameron believes vintage objects carry their histories with them as they travel through time. "I find great inspiration in imagining the places and spaces they have inhabited, which gives expression to new narratives when these individual objects are brought into dialogues with each other."

I explain more in this video. 

Wabi-sabi is the quintessential Japanese aesthetic. It is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is a beauty of things modest and humble. It is a beauty of things unconventional.
— Leonard Koren

Pottering about

inspirationAishe Besim
What we a post-industrial nostalgia for the pre-industrial. In a culture with a surfeit of branding and cheap mass-produced goods, we romanticise the handmade because we yearn for quality, not quantity.
— Justin McGuirk
Assorted ceramics by  Bridget Bodenham

Assorted ceramics by Bridget Bodenham

I started appreciating the art of ceramics about the same time I started taking photos of my food (thanks Instagram). I was searching for funky props to feature in my photos and discovered the beautiful work of Victorian ceramicist Bridget Bodenham. 

Rather than limit herself to smooth, symmetrical pieces, the beauty of Bridget's work lies in its visible imperfection and lack of pretension. Her handmade pieces don't mimic a machine and are therefore more honest and genuine. 

I love the idea of working with clay - digging up a part of the earth and using your hands to create something special that will be used for years. 

As much as I'd love to have my entire crockery collection for The Sweet Meadow created by local artists, due to budget constraints I've decided to source only a few items - cups for hot drinks, espresso cups, milk pourers and side plates - from a selection of ceramicists that rock my world. 

Here's a taste of what's to come!

Ceramic pieces by Brooke Clunie, Wignut & Co, Takeawei, Dot & Co, and Bridget Bodenham. 

Colour Me Happy

brand, inspirationAishe Besim
The romantic little town of Manarola was my favourite of Cinque Terre, Italy. 

The romantic little town of Manarola was my favourite of Cinque Terre, Italy. 

Colour has a powerful effect on our perception of the world around us. 

I started thinking about a colour palette for The Sweet Meadow months before I had anything ready to design. This would extend not only to the design elements of the brand but also the colour of the plates, cutlery, walls, napkins, benches, coffee machine (seriously) - everything! 

Restaurants are on to the fact that colours matter and they are starting to use it to their advantage. Serve a dark-coloured cake on a black plate instead of a white one, and diners think the dessert is sweeter and more intense. Match the colour of the food you are serving to the colour of the plate and people eat more.

I worked with my graphic designer to choose seven colours (of course) to work across every touchpoint. Most of these colours were inspired by my recent trip to Europe, Italy in particular. They have pastel-coloured villages perched on the side of cliffs overlooking the ocean - talk about inspiration overload!

I started collecting images that inspired me across fashion, design, interiors, nature, travel, everywhere really, and soon saw some common colour themes come through. This is how I chose the basis of the colour palette - it was instinctual, rather than based on any science or research (apparently McDonalds uses red and yellow because red = a sense of urgency and yellow = hungry). Keep scrolling for the seven colours you're going to see a lot more of. 

Grey - Pantone 877 C
Grey is a neutral colour that enlightens the softer colours it's paired with. Light grey is calming and soothing and also symbolises elegance (silver). I also love the look of concrete, grey timber and grey bricks as textured finishes. 

Apricot - Pantone 169 C & Rose Gold - Pantone 696 C
These are the 'neutrals' - known as the earth tones, these are nature's first colours. They are associated with creativity, heat, sunshine, warmth, health and change.

Dusty Pink - Pantone 1767 C
Pink is the colour of happiness, fun and romance. Using pink in a brand suggests a compassionate, caring, feminine and youthful identity.

Lilac - Pantone 524 C
This colour is a symbol of peace and tranquility. As it is a light shade of purple, it suggests refinement, grace and elegance. Lilac, lavender and violet flowers are often delicate and considered precious. 

Pastel Green - Pantone 566 C
Green is the colour and word synonymous with the notion of all that is fresh and new, flourishing and full of vitality. Studies show our brains associate the colour green with nature, growth and development. I intend to use this colour throughout the space in it's purest form - with plants!

Baby Blue - Pantone 2707 C
Blue is the colour of the sky and seas, often associated with depth and stability. It symbolises trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, truth, and heaven. It has also been shown to slow human metabolism and produce a calming effect.

Images of Cinque Terre & Amalfi Coast my own. All other images via tumblr and Pinterest.