For a number of years I worked at the National Gallery of Australia. At the front desk, greeting visitors, selling tickets and answering (often ridiculous) questions. During this time, I had many awesome co-workers and one of them was Thouraya. Thouraya had recently graduated from the Photomedia department at the Canberra School of Art. Now she still photographs, but her subject matter, more often than not, is either of her two darling little girls, or one of her sewing/craft projects and she has many! She makes and sells super cute clothing for girls and boys, as well as quirky, sometimes hilarious costumes. I really enjoy her blog which is full of weekly adventures and ideas, and I’m amazed at what she seems able to fit into a day!
Tell people a little about yourself. Where were you born/grow up, did you study?
I was born in Sydney, Australia and grew up in the southern suburbs near the beach. I studied Film and English at the University of New South Wales and moved onto study Photomedia at the Canberra School of Art.
What do you do now, is it what would you like to be doing?
I run a small handmade children’s clothing label Amelie and Atticus where I sew clothes and costumes from a range of vintage and new fabrics. I take photos in my spare time but would like to develop this further and start to exhibit again.
What does a typical day for you involve? Or a typical week? Is typical even a word for you?
My typical week is a balance of part-time paid work, part-time stay at home mother and part-time sewer. I mostly work through the week and weekends sewing in between looking after the children!
What mediums do you like to work with?
I love working with vintage fabrics as they are so colourful and unique. I also love the soft texture of the older worn fabrics.
Where do you work?
At home I have a sunroom that I have converted into a studio, it’s handy as it comes off both the kitchen and the lounge room which makes it easier to sew in as the girls can play while I sew!
Who or what inspires you most – at the moment?
I am inspired mostly by other artists and designers through their blogs and websites. I also find a lot of inspiration in film and television and I usually always have something on my laptop to watch while I sew. I am also inspired to create clothes and costumes based what my daughters are interested in. To see a concise view of what inspires me I have pretty much pinned it all: http://pinterest.com/
Do you have a favourite blog and/or book to recommend?
Some blogs I love are:
LENSCRATCH for photography (http://www.lenscratch.com/) – it’s always inspiring and they have exhibitions on the blog that you can contribute to.
BADSKIRT for sewing and quilting (http://badskirt.blogspot.com.
KATIE’S KITCHEN for Baking, Sewing and Crochet (http://katieskitchenblog.com/
Best thing you’ve ever made?
My favourite thing that I have made recently was the Castle Writer and Police Vests I made for the girls:
I think they are my favourite at the moment because I am obsessed with the show as opposed to the skill involved – nonetheless I LOVE them!
What is the coolest thing to do in your town?
We are currently living in Sydney and I love to head to the beach just to have lunch or go for a walk. I also love a good handmade market or trip to a good thrift store to pick up some vintage goodness!
And one awesome place to eat there?
I love to try new places to eat and we recently had Elvis Pizza down on Brighton Beach (http://www.jailhouse.com.au/)
Is there something you’re bad at?
There are many things I am bad at…including singing and dancing (though I’d love to be brilliant at both), sitting up straight, and probably the worst of all is learning to step away from the computer and engage more in real life!
Did you ever want to be rich or famous? What drives you?
I’d love to be rich to be able to have the freedom to live where I want and be able to work as an artist and parent full time. In regards to fame I don’t think I’d want to be famous but I would love it if people like what I create. In my work I am mostly driven to create things that I love and have been inspired to sew. In taking photos I like to create interesting scenes of modern life as other artists like Sally Mann did (and does!).
Thanks Thouraya! It’s so nice to have a sneak peak into how you work and things you like! To see more of Thouraya you can visit her in many ways.