Interview – Nicolene van der Linde


Man … I love blogging. This is a place where I get to share awesome people! It’s been a long time since CS has interviewed someone. It’s been a long time since I’ve had the time! But we are back and we starting with a beautiful soul. She is a women after my own heart. We talk the same language. We get excited about the same creative things and its so refreshing.

Nicolene has a background in law as well as lecturing law at Varsity College but her law career was placed on hold when her heart felt that practicing law was very different from studying it or lecturing it. Once Nicolene had children she found her herself with a much happier spirit being creative with her kids and in this her love for creativity that photography took shape.

” The photography bug bit very hard from there onwards. I think I have finally found my vocational passion! It is very creative but also very technical… actually a little bit of everything. I love it!”

Her home renovation journey has been an inspirational one. Never a dull moment in renovating is there?

Living in this solid old Durban North home with Nicolene is her husband Ewoudt and together they have two kids Luwaldt(4) and Limirie (2) &  four dogs. The house over looks the beautiful ocean but not close enough for salty spoils. However, it was in need of some modern love and personal spice. Nicolene really needed to find someone who would take their family into consideration while renovating as she was heavily pregnant at the time and wanted to use what they had existing to create their perfect space but that did not happen the first time round. Their first building experience (The Granny Flat behind the house) was rather a huge learning curve …

” With the granny flat we managed the process ourselves. We contracted builders, tilers, painters, electricians, plumbers and so forth. We bought and scheduled delivery of all the supplies ourselves. It was a grueling process. The first builder we had went awol with a portion of our money, and the admin around what should happen when was pretty intense. As was choosing all the finishes (we planned a certain look, but halfway through realised the floor we wanted wasn’t available anymore and had to change course half way). But luckily all turned out ok (and nobody got divorced or murdered in the process).”

exposed-brick granny-flat-bathroom

grann gr

Most of the material used for building and decor was restored and Nicolene tried to use whatever they had to make magic happen. Not solely for cost savings but because that is what being creative was all about!

” We kept the basics natural and organic- screed, wood, raw brick. Décor wise we always joke if its rusty or peeling we will take it, so the organic look was pretty much the natural choice for us.”

gra gran-bath

drawers gran

FRONT OF GRANNY FLAT: This is where they cooked outside most evenings while the main house was being renovated. Rain or shine.


The main house reno was done while they loved in the granny flat. This picture is of the view of the main house, ocean in the distance.
Walls were knocked down to open up the living area
Practical flooring & beautiful kitchen design make the perfect heart of the home zone for the family.
Ladder on display but used when needed!

entrance frame

CS- What tips have you got to share with someone who is starting a renovation? Plan, plan, plan (the look you want, budget, timeline… the list is endless). Finding builders you can trust is a big step in the right direction. Think outside of the box– we recycled our old garage doors into a linen kist and used walking sticks as towel rails. Don’t feel discouraged when the going gets tough keep your eye on the ball, it is so worth it in the end! Live in the space for at least a year if possible before renovating you get a comprehensive idea of your needs.

CS- Can you say what the best part of the reno was? Moving in! The space was ‘us’ and felt like home!

CS- Can you share your worst experience? As I mentioned the first builder disappeared with some of our money (hard lesson to learn). And we had a bad burglary in the middle of the process which meant we had to up security by installing an electric fence which of course took a big bite out of our budget.

CS- Looking back on it all, why did you choose the design and decor you did or was it just an organic way? I am an avid décor magazine reader and got lots of ideas there. We had a pretty good sense of what we liked as we had to save for a long time, so plenty of dreaming had happened! However, it was difficult putting everything together and letting some ideas go that just didn’t work.


CS- Having kids is a big factor in deciding on your layout and decor choice. Can you tell us what decisions were made for this? We wanted an open space where kids could play and everyone is ‘involved’ whilst going about their daily tasks. Nothing is too fancy and where very few things are ‘don’t touch that’. Most things are easily cleaned (like the leather couches and grass carpets) and I squeeze in extra storage wherever I can (example, some old milk cans are now home to a variety of balls).


CS- You are definitely a creative & hold a natural flair for ‘thinking out the box’
with designs… Can you share which item you made with whatever you
had lying around?
My favourite is probably our headboard made from old burgler bars from before the renovations. Oh and our TV unit which Jomo (our gardener and handy man) and I made from scaffolds used in the building process.



shelves kids-room8

Shelves in kids rooms also made from scaffolding, pretty awesome hey!?

CS- What would you do over again if you had the chance?Mmmm I currently have a bee in my bonnet to white wash the wooden floors…

CS- Would you do it all over again, ie do you enjoy the process and why? Hahaha, that depends on when you ask the question! The process is very exciting, but there are times that you are 100 % sure it’s going to kill you and you can’t take a minute more (of course having the right team will minimise this feeling). However… in the end it is a couple of months worth of tough going and then months and months and months of loving your space every day… So yes, I would definitely do it again!

Favourite aritists: Marike Prinsloo-Rowe- One day when I am grown up I would love to own one of her pieces. Ingrid Hall & Rentia Smith.

The car bed was made by Nicolene

Knob Kirri’s used as hand rails in the bathroom.

{Through Nicolene’s Eyes}

Sundays are about church and family time… and relaxing as much as possible with two toddlers around! My favourite memory in this home isthere are too many to choose from! Life is not complete without chocolate Super M’s (my kids would argue its strawberry) If we were the last family on earth we would live simply and farm organically. Today is a gift and a blessing and glorious! I love my country because there are a million places and things to be discovered. The way to a kid’s heart is being emotionally present and being involved. If I had the time I would watch a movie or 10, learn some new tricks in photoshop and read, read, read. My favourite corner in my home is the study because so much of my creative energy is spent there. I am cooking spicy chicken for supper. Nothing is better than seeing my kids be carefree. Being creative is like shooting stars in heart.

detail2 detail3 inter1 front-door


Man, dont you just love this women and her free creative spirit! What I love about her & her home is that she used something old and made it something new.She used what she had and with thinking out the box she created beautiful things!



♥ Oh my goodness! I’m so excited to share with you about this amazing women!!!

A few weeks back I was delighted to catch up with local creative Julie Smith-Belton. She is lovely. Filled with such calm and peace. You would think, being a mother of 3 and home schooling her children that she would perhaps hold some sort of frantic atmosphere with her, though with much respect I can say Julie is the opposite.

A few years back I saw her sewing work at a market at one of our local churches. I then wanted to interview her but have just not managed it until now! (naughty me) If you read the Ideas Magazine (September issue) you would have seen that Julie won the Celebrating Creativity Competition. Her Riaan Cruywagen doll (see below) was one of many wonderful and creative  contributing ideas from all around South Africa. When I was interviewing her a few weeks back, Ideas where about to come and see her at home and interview her for the October issue. Have any of you seen or read the October issue yet? I recommend it!! Or check out her BLOG for the ins and outs! I’ve added some pics of other sewing projects she has done as well as her photography – her list of creativity is endless and I just love it!

So I spent an afternoon speaking to Julie, getting to know this photographer, graphic designer, creative, mother and wife. Julie is a sister of a good friend, we have not really connected on a personal level before but after that day with her and finding a common ground which is simplicity, i can honestly say she has become a mate. I can totally relate to the desire of living a simple life. Julie shared her heart to follow Gods will in their lives, to let go of all the hindrances that strap you down. Rory and Julie’s passion to travel the world with their family has taken wings as they sold the unnecessary possession around their home and downsizing from a 3 bedroom unit to a modest and cosy home with a lot less ‘stuff”.

She is a stay at home mom to 3 adorable children. It’s not common these days to have a south african mom stay at home looking after the family but that is an important factor for both Julie and Rory. Their humble and calm approach to raising children is quite refreshing. I found that Julie taught her kids to live life instead of just going through the process of life and she teaches them that in such a creative way. Being practical and letting them learn things through doing it themselves and learning consequences for mistakes. I think it takes a lot of the pressure off the parent to allow your children to learn from their mistakes instead of trying to fix it for them all the time. I recently got advice that said “Children don’t do what you say, they do what you do“. 

Julie’s background is in graphic design, she is self-taught in photography and has become quite phenomenal at it. She shoots the odd wedding or occasion should she feel the passion for it and never forces herself to be creative for the work but to rather be creative when the mood takes her. I think if one is able do that then it feels like you never ‘work’ a day in your life!  Her graphic design and creative nature sure is inspiring in such an honest and real way.

One of the reasons why Julie and her husband Rory decided on home school their children is to make the most of the years and to teach a natural way. They felt this year was a year of grace. You may feel otherwise or you may agree, whatever you feel its your choice. I admire Julie for taking it head on and trusting her own choices. The best thing about parenting in Julie’s eyes is having a love inside her that she has never experienced before. 

On the creative side, her creative outlet is blogging, sewing, graphic design, photography and decorating. I bought one of her Humpback whales for my little baby’s room-Too stunning for words. (see pic)

Other sewing projects…

Saturday’s for the Smith-Belton’s include being out and about going to the beach, riding bikes,playing Lego and just being a family unit. For moms seeking a great place to eat with kids, Julie recommend88 Degrees Cafe at gateway, Mercedes coffee shop  in Umhlanga, Botanical gardens and Kids world in Ushaka.

Another idea and a super one at that, was creative workshops held at The Rock church. Thanks to Julie, Jil and Monique it has flourished a few times and included women/men  from all walks of life, getting together and being creative. Ideas Magazine even featured the 1st creative evening in their June issue! You will be advised by me if any more happen, unless you follow her blog yourself.

I’m telling you this women is amazing and she has a wonderful and sincere heart that travels with her all day, its easy to enjoy her company and its even more inspiring just knowing her. That is why I just had to share humble creative with you guys. You heard about her on Creative Stream 1st! haha

All photos area from Julie’s Blog Ludo Police.


Artful, INSPIRING & Blogging

Welcome to thursday everyone. Can you believe it’s nearly mid September???

I’ve said this before and I will say it again … what I love about blogging is the inspiring and talented people I meet daily. I wish there was more blogging time for me to show you more and more – the dream is to introduce you to many inspiring subjects.

I’m not sure if you remembered THIS interview done quite a while back here on Creative Stream? Ishtar blew me away by her love for creativity, washi tape, illustrations and workshops and I had to find out more about this Spanish UK living creative. Which you can read about here.

Today, I wanted to share her news that she had recently been featured in the Artful Blogging magazine. I  love it when people get recognised for what they are.


Oh my! It thrills me no end when creatives get acknowledged and soar through the sky of potential and dreams. Daniella Germain (who was previously interviewed by CS) has now launched her stoneware range produced by Ashdene. If you remember that interview, we shared on Daniella’s cookbook. Well I am so happy to share more news for Daniella. Recently, she launched her stationary range AND now she has let us all know that she has launched her stoneware range! Both very much carrying that style and flavour as My Abuela’s Table cookbook. What an achievement!

“Each piece was lovingly designed and meticulously hand painted with water colour and ink…very much in a similar style as Floribunda and My Abuela’s Table” –Daniella Germain

Floribunda by the way is Daniella’s stationary range and is beautiful to say the least. You can order it here.

{Below: La Cocina range}

{Below: Floribunda stationary range}

All photos from Daniella’s blog- i bought a pair of Camper boots and now i am broke


So most of you Durbanites might have seen her roaming the markets and beach front. Camera in hand, carrying a funky style and a sharp, humorous tongue. She can capture portraits in such a charming way, lighting always right and never shy of atmosphere. BOW Design (Birds On a Wire) owner and blog writer Kathy shared with Creative Stream about her passion – photography & design.

{Below: Wedding photographed by Kathy}

I believe Kathy not only holds an eye for graphic and web design but she explores photography, specifically people, in such a beautiful way with her trusted Canon. I am excited to share with you about this down to earth and honest women. I like her portraits and her style, I like her frank personality and her eagerness for honesty. She gives great advice if you venturing into photography or already hold a passion for it, read on … 

1- Tell us about BOW? What do you offer?

BOW Design is something I started in late 2009 when the company I worked for liquidated during the recession. We offer both graphic and web design, but the majority of our work is print based advertising.

2- When did you know graphic design was for you? Did you have a natural knack for design?

I guess it was when my mom dragged me to Durban and told me I was going to start studying it. I had great plans of living on an island as a divemaster, but alas it wasn’t to be. Good thing too as the island I was on in Thailand was hit pretty hard by the Tsunami.

I wouldn’t say I have a natural talent with regards to graphic design, I was one of those jack of all trades, master of none kind of children, so I never stuck with anything long enough to get really good at it. I’d say that 80% of the time you’re creating work to a specific brief on an extremely tight deadline and the other 20% is where you can give your creativity free reign.

3- What is the graphic design market like at the moment and do you do anything else that runs long side your design career?

For us, I’d say it’s pretty good. We have some really great clients that have been with us from the beginning. Cultivating new clients is pretty tricky and there are a ton of small agencies and freelancers in Durban to compete with. For us service really is key.

4- I know you take photographs and are very good at it! Tell us where that passion started and how?

I’ve always loved photography. I used to take my point and shoot film camera everywhere with me when I was younger but printing photos became so expensive that I gave it up. I really only took it up again a couple of years ago.

5- Do you have any photographic tips for us?

Practice, practice, practice and practice some more. Get an SLR and forget that the green auto setting exists. Build a rock-solid foundation, start with the basics and get them right before you go any further. Learn all the rules before you start to break them. Don’t try to turn your hobby into a business until you really are good enough to charge a competitive rate.

6-  Can you tell us about your favorite photograph and why?

Wow this is hard. I reckon it’s the pic I took of my grandfather’s brother in Joburg. It’s not perfect, but it embodies exactly who he is.

{Kathy: My grandfathers brother. He’s 78 and still plays tennis once a week}

7- Can you share with us your most fun or accomplished design project thus far?

BuDDys Designated Drivers. We created their logo, website and promotional material. They’re a fun company to work with and pretty much gave us free reign to do as we saw fit. Their emphasis is on the DD’s in their logo so we had some fun with that as well.

8- What kind of photography do you enjoy doing? Stills, Landscapes, people, fashion, creative….?

People, people and more people. I love candids, for me it’s about capturing a person interacting with others or their environment, I’m really drawn to happy people. I’ve got this thing about capturing people’s faces and I tend to zoom right in for the head and shoulders shot so I really have to force myself to zoom out so people can get a bit of context as well.

9- What camera are you using?

Canon EOS 5D MKII. I waited months for the MKIII to come out so that the price would drop enough for me to afford it. I’m just stoked to finally have a full-frame camera.

10- If someone wants to go into the graphic design field, what qualification or steps do you recommend them looking into, should they be just out of school etc.

I’d recommend getting at least a diploma if not a degree. You really need to learn as much as possible before you start working and companies are more likely to hire you with some qualifications behind you. People wanting to get into the field also need to be aware that 75% of their career is going to be spent deep-etching and only a tiny margin of your work will be completely your own baby.

{Kathy: Muth Suter – I love this pic, it was taken at one of the Gunslinger Pushes on the beachfront. It makes me think of California.}

{Kathy: Moses Mabhida – I like the symmetry.}

11- Why does photography blow your hair back?

Photography is a way for me to give my creativity an outlet. I’ve never been the best at translating things in my head onto paper but knowing your camera backwards can allow you to take a moment in time and preserve it any way you want to.

12- Tell us about your blog?

Ah my blog, I have been a bit neglectful. It’s going to call childline one of these days. Cherish is a way for me to share all the people and places that inspire me with anyone who cares to read it. I also use it as a kind of library so I can go back and revisit things without having to write it all down on a piece of paper I’m only going to lose anyway.

13- What do you love about blogging?

It’s all me. I can decide what I want to write about, when I want to write it and it gives me a good excuse to trawl the internet late at night.

14- Who is your favorite artist/photographer etc.?

I have a few but if you’ve read my blog you will have noticed that I’ve done a couple of posts on Kalle Gustafsson. He’s a Swedish fashion and lifestyle photographer and I’m completely in love with his style. Jose Villa  is one of my favourite wedding photographers. He shoots on film so he really manages to get the light to wrap around his subjects and the colours are nicely muted. Locally I like Andrew Brauteseth‘s work a lot. He does a lot of commercial work but still manages to find the time to get creative and get out there and just take pictures.

15- If you could have coffee with anyone- who would it be?

It might sound cliché but Annie Leibovitz . She has such a massive body of work behind her, specifically in portraiture. She’s pretty controversial at times as well so I find that quite intriguing.

16- And lastly, what do you rate most about where you live?!

The wildlife on a Friday and Saturday night and the drunken mating calls of said wildlife. No I’m just kidding although things can get pretty rowdy. I like that we’re so central, everything is really only a 5 minute drive away. Loads of great restaurants, the beach, parks, shops and friends all within the same small part of the world.

{Kathy:bf-tree , Just a pic I took on Florida Road}

{Kathy: Ché – She was laughing at something Rick said and you know how hard it is to get her to relax in front of the camera}

{Kathy: Dee Collard – My grans best friend throughout her entire life}

Pretty creative women don’t you think??

Thanks Kathy for sharing your photographs and your time with us. You’re awesome! 

Please be sure to check out more of Kathy’s work on Facebook and blog and website.


If you have blogged for a while or even just started looking into design and art blogs, I’m sure you have seen the work of Jen Ramos. I remember one of my 1st posts that displayed her prints and that was the day I started following Jen’s blog. Since then I have enjoyed her style and her attitude towards life, fashion, design and God. Do you know what I like about Jen? She is not afraid to say it like it is. I enjoy people with that attribute. It’s refreshing in this sometimes worldly world.

Now as Creative Stream is about creativity, it would not be a good enough blog if it did not display to you those who I believe to be truly creative. Cocoa & Hearts began its flourishing business when Jen started to showcase her love for art and colours. It truly has taken the world by storm with many paintings sold out within the week of being released. That just goes to show how fabulous her style and creative hand is.

Jen has written about how people relate to her art, some negatively and some positively. I guess that is art! People like it or they don’t and I feel that artists who can still work their heart into their art knowing the various tastes of consumers out there and not being hindered is indeed an artist!

Frankly, I love her work. I admire the simplicity of the linear paintings and how it catches your eyes. I love the emotion seen in the strokes she uses and of course adore the colours she so cleverly combines. Even Though this post is about Cocoa & Hearts I recommend you take a look at Jen’s prints. They are gorgeous as well. I have had my eye on them for years now … click here for her shop to see prints and more fabulous creations.

Let’s find out a little more about Jen as she answers some questions Creative Stream sent her about Cocoa & Hearts.

1- Can you remember the 1st time you picked up a paint brush to canvas? When was it and what did you paint, how did you feel?
When I was about 7 yrs old, but it wasn’t onto a canvas necessarily – it was on a piece of paper. I painted a scenery – like with an ocean & a sun, felt great!  I’ve always enjoyed drawing & painting, in fact it’s what I wanted to be when I grew up, an artist.

2- I know you are a graphic designer. You paint now as well. Does the one creativity work with the other? Do you find yourself often being motivated by one to progress in the other? Oddly enough, I don’t really mix the two at all. My inspiration when I paint is totally separate then when I’m creating graphics.

3- How did Cocoa and Hearts begin? When and why did you decide to make it into something? It’s a long story & a personal one. Perhaps I will tell it on my blog one day, but for now it is something that I had always wanted to do since I was a little girl and something im truly passionate about. I decided to make it into something in May of 2011 and im so glad I did.


4- Where did you live before you moved to New York and has your environment contributed to your painting style? I lived in las vegas for a few years, but my environment didn’t contribute to my painting style. I lived in a very suburban area, very unoriginal with very little culture. So, perhaps my desire for something colorful and different from what I was noticing around me is what I needed at the time. NYC is definitely a motivator, because everyone here is so creative and that alone is instrumental to my painting style.

5- When painting or choosing to start a painting, what factors do you consider to create what you create. (do you think about each painting or do you let your hand do the talking?) 🙂 I usually pray prior to beginning a piece. I ask God to guide my hands to create something people will love. Normally, that is all I do..I don’t think too much about what I want it to look like. I just trust that my hands will know which direction to move at that point.

6- In your opinion, what is the best advise you can give someone wanting to ‘go further’ in their art? Well, I would say building a large following helped me. So, building an audience to sell your work to, can help.  When I was blogging for the first 3 yrs – I had no idea that I would be introducing my readers to my artwork. I always thought of my art as being just in my home…odd. But I’m glad I brought it to my readers, as they’ve been quite welcoming & supportive. 

7- What do you love most about what you do (blog, design and painting) I love that I can see my work and say – I did that. Whether it’s in a magazine or being written about on design blogs, or just pinned on Pinterest, it’s cool to see other people getting into it. Thank God that I can say I love 99% of what I do.

8- And lastly – name your paintings by one word?  Colorful

Jen– thank you for sharing with me and Creative Stream readers. You and your work are inspiring and beautiful.


Please refer to Made By Girl and Cocoa & Hearts for prices and artwork.

EMILY ZIZ Style Studio

I love meeting inspiring people! That is why I love blogging so much. I have been extremely blessed being able to meet so many people from around the world and interview them. There is many more lined up for 2012! This woman is no exception. Emma Levitt (who is originally from South Africa I might add) has rallied up a team of unique and inspiring textile designers. You might remember her from this post. It was about the launch of one of their new designers Sixhands.

Emily Ziz holds many more beautiful imported fabrics and accessories. She is a platform for interior designers and textile designers to connect as well as for plane-Jane-interior-lovers to adore the designs. This is much more than just an agency. It feels like a community of all things beautiful from lighting to  fabrics. As previously mentioned Emily Ziz, offer’s styling and interior advice to businesses and individuals as well.

I asked Emma a few questions…

#1 Tell us about how it all began? (I love the story behind things) I’ve always had a passion for “beautiful things to decorate the home” and am the daughter of 2 creative parents so design has had an ongoing presence in my life.  When we launched the business our collection initially originated exclusively from South Africa (where I am from), and fabrics and products from this region still form the predominant part of our range.  Though we have now taken on 2 wonderful Australian design houses, Sixhands and Grace Garrett, as well as a British wallpaper product from the talented John Burgerman.  In terms of how it all started…I would frequently go back to SA to visit family and friends and come across amazing textiles and beautiful design, but realised that many of them had no real presence in Australia.  3 days before the end of a holiday I approached some of the designers to see if they would be interested in working with me out here – by the end of the trip I had secured 3 designers and now we represent close to 40 design houses!

Jesse Breytenbach
Congo Rose

#2 Are you able to share with us a little about each designer? What they hold and who they are? Since there are almost 40 of them it probably makes sense to give you a general overview!  The best way to explain the collection of designs and products that we offer is: boutique, statement fabric, wallpaper and product to be used by designers and decorators who want to make an impact in the spaces they are designing.  Our collection spans from delicate hand painted fabrics through to screen prints and block prints as well as high-end woven and digitally printed commercial applications and outdoor fabrics.  We’ve recently expanded into wallpaper and rugs and we also have a beautiful hand-made lighting range called Willowlamp.  We have a broad collection of textile accessories and also original and limited edition artworks.


#3 Share with us about Sixhands launch event on the 2nd Feb.  We were very excited to be approached by the designers at Sixhands to become their Sydney based agents.  I have always loved their bold design and their style of work fits our story perfectly.  We launched our collection with them at Decoration and Design Sydney earlier this month and that same week we had a launch party in their design studio.  It was a great way for Sixhands to meet some of our design clients and for us to meet some of their customers that we haven’t worked with before.  Most importantly this was our entry into working with Australian design, along with Grace Garrett (who approached us the same week that Sixhands did!),  which is very exciting for us.


#4What does the word creative mean for you? Or the designers. To be bold and unconventional in your approach!

#5 Looking forward, what does 2012 hold for you all? Most importantly we need to get all the amazing product that we have to offer in front of all those designers, architects, high-end retailers that aren’t familiar with the product. As we are Sydney based we will also be very focused on expanding our presence in the key areas interstate.

Ronel Jordaan

Emma you are inspiring and I am very pleased to meet you!

Thank you for creating a place where we can connect with some talented designers. I look forward to sharing more about everyone at Emily Ziz Style Studio.

FOLLOW the Emily Ziz blog here for updates.



Brothers, Bound, Fallen Chance and Flamingo Sands

Bold color. Beautifully sketched. Emotion enhancing. Are all factors when looking at this artist’s work. Belinda Chen is 24 years old and has just settled in Shangai after having lived in Berlin and Melbourne.

Belinda’s background is in Communication design. Her heart held interest in illustration and while in Berlin, her pursuit and exploration in illustration took off. Her work has been used by Nylon magazine, Gloss Creative, SOKO magazine and Madison to name a few. Exhibitions have been at the Penthouse Mouse, L’Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival, Melbourne, 2011& 2009 as well as State of design festival and in other Melbourne and Berlin galleries. Publications have reached Desktop, Marie Claire, Fault … and that is naming 3 of many.

What I love about her work is that it’s unique. She has held her own style and her own emotion in each piece. I love her imagination and creativity. It is very hard  not to get inspired by Belinda. When asking Belinda what the best thing is about what she does, her answer was “Being free to create and experiment, to have an idea and make it. I also like creating illustrations which represent a message or tells a story.”

You told me a bit about how it all started, can you tell us of the day your passion moved toward illustration from graphic design or did it just fold that way?

After working a few years in various design studios, my partner and I decided to move to Berlin. It is a wonderful city with many inspirations and endless possibilities. Each person makes their own way and you just have to make things happen for yourself. I began to draw one day and have continued ever since.

Do you still have your first illustration? How have you progressed?
These are one of the first illustrations I did (1st above). I’m really interested in fashion and at the time, there was this huge influx of men’s fashion magazines, editorials and blogs solely dedicated to menswear and fashion.

I saw that there were countless illustrations portraying women and fashion, yet not really for the men, so I did a series of illustrations that were inspired by a fashion editorial by WATARU for Huge Magazine and it started from there.

What are you currently working on?
I have recently finished a few personal commissions and editorial illustrations for magazines.

You say that you inspired by fashion, cultures, stories, nature. Tell us a bit more or do you have work that relates to these points that you would like to share with us? I love all those things you mentioned above and they are my constant inspirations. They influence the work I do, give me new ideas and make me happy.

Name one word to explain ART? 

If you could encourage a person to go with their dream, what would you say?
You are the one who can make it for yourself, go for it!

If you could have coffee with-who would it be? David Foster Wallace

Do you have a favourite artist?
I have many! But some of my favourites are Rei Kawakubo, Olafur Eliasson and Jonathan Zawada.

Above: Street style portraits, Food illustrations which I really like.

Above: Summer and then her Piccolo Degree apartments Lift lobby graphics.

I really smiled at her profile photograph. Sending me one of her in the midst of African animals!

Hanging out with my best friend, having a relaxing coffee, afternoon picnic with family & friends… is the best way to spend a Sunday.

Being an artist makes me…happy.

The diversity, the city, the people, sights, observations, sounds, adventures—they’re all my favourite parts of Berlin.

When I create I like to… listen to music and podcasts.

Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami…is one of the best books I’ve read so far.

I’ve always wanted to be a fashion designer when I was small.

One word to explain my home is…happy.


INTERVIEW- Nicola Ashe

I spent days trying to find a way to introduce this woman to you. I found she needed an entrance. For the life of me, nothing seemed to fit well enough. I know most of you know her. She was the first person to ever communicate with me via blogging. She always held such truth. She made me cry with laughter many times, I’m sure my office thought I was barking mad. Her personality lit up any situation and her fetish for white decor and stationary got my attention. Open and honest, real and informative fits this wonder women quite nicely. Stylish and unique, hardcore and sweet are sure oxymoron’s for her. If you are part of any South African social, entertainment or retail industry or simply a night owl in and around Durban you have crossed paths with her no doubt.  Known by her knowledge of what’s hot and what’s not in Durban and surrounds, you can be sure to receive genuine updates on monthly hot spots, trendy stores, market notices and restaurant reviews. She brightens your day with on-line magazines and includes you in her fetish finds. You can also count your lucky stars that she is who she is because without her I doubt Durban would have such a kick-butt market attendance. Lets face it – you heard first on Ask Ashe!

I wanted to get to know the women behind the blog, the creative she is and the love she has for our city. Nicola is such an open and welcoming person in this blogging world. The blogging sphere can get quite intimidating at times and I have always admired her for her matter of frankness. I know she appreciates good grammar & spelling and even when mine needed some attention, she still liked my posts and shared the love.  I have learnt to be open to correction.

Behind every good blog is a wise, warm and unique character. Be it with a brutal sense of humour or a cool zest for life. CS has interviewed Nicola asking her about the bits and bobs of life, her passions and Durban.

Tell us about when you were younger-where did you go to school? What was your fave subject? Did you always have a creative side?
I went to an all girls school in Durban. My memories of school are not fond though, I don’t yearn for them at all 😉 – they were a pretty long time ago too!
I loved history (still do) and I took art which I suppose is where my creative side first blossomed, but I was pretty crap at the traditional painting and drawing. I studied interior design after school at Natal Tech and then a few year’s after that studied web design. I’ve never worked as an interior designer, it’s become more of a hobby, but I worked in web design for a few years and this is where I learned how to ‘design’ and edit graphics for the web.

Is there a time where you realized Graphic design was your career or did it just happen that way? How did this career path start?
I soon realised that I was far better at organising (read bossing) than I was at designing and I moved into project management and client services. I’ve worked at some of Durban’s top design and production companies and now work at an ad agency in client services.
I love graphic design and am in awe of the amazing things graphic designers can produce, be it by hand or computer and I go weak at the knees for beautiful or clever typography. But I leave the design to the professionals and love my career to bits.

What’s the best thing about what you do(work)? What’s the best thing about blogging?
No two days are the same in my job. One day I’m taking a brief on a new packaging range, the next I’m sourcing 1500 biscuits for a tea party! The people I work with are extremely creative and inspiring and the company I work for is just awesome – sometimes it doesn’t even feel like work… I love it.
Blogging however, is a complete outlet for the mess in my head. My blog is called Ask Ashe because I’ve always been asked questions about everything – “where do I get this?, what’s the best restaurant for that?, when is this on?, how do I do this”, so I was nicknamed ‘askashe’. The blog is now an extension of those recommendations and referrals, mixed in with a bit of tongue-in-cheek and of course my love of interiors (especially white ones!)

What would you NEVER leave the house without?
I’m pretty easy going, I can fly out of the house with no make up or cellphone, but it’s best that I don’t 😉 – at least a lash of mascara so I don’t scare the children!

Who would you want to have coffee with?  And why?
My future husband, I want to know what took him so long 😉
That might take a while though, so I’d choose Richard Branson, half an hour with him would be so inspiring.

Can you give 3 words-of-advice to anyone interested in graphic design, advertising or blogging?
Don’t compromise integrity.

What has been your most memorable moment in your life so far? (Or is that an unfair question?) 🙂
Not getting married at 25, best decision I ever made. I can only say this with hindsight though.


Would you ever want to write a book? And if so what about?

One day I will write my memoirs, but then I’d have to burn them… I’d get far too many people into trouble 😉

I love that you are who you are and say what you say, what key points can you give someone who is wanting to pursue a dream, yet does not have the courage?
I came about attaining my dreams the hard way, learning many a lesson along the way. And I haven’t yet got them all. I believe networking is the key to opening myriad opportunities. It’s amazing what you can find out just by talking to someone or reading about something and then tying those 2 entities together. So get out there, or get online and start networking with people you admire or can relate to, you’ll be amazed at how similar most of us are and how willing people are to help you out or give advice. However, don’t believe everything you’re told and never be afraid to have your own opinion on anything. There’s nothing more spineless and uninspiring that someone who agrees with everything you say!

As you recently bought your own place, have you found the decorating and renovating easy? The decorating part will be the fun, easy part once the renovating is done. It’s the renovation part that’s proving to be a ball ache! Unreliable suppliers who work at their own pace, having to get plans passed, boring body corporate’s, silly rules and having to wait for walls to be knocked down before I can do anything else means I’m completely uninspired and brain addled with ideas at the same time. It’s quite frustrating having to wait – the longer you wait, the more times you change your mind! I’ll be documenting the renovations on my blog, so as soon as my plans are approved you can expect many a post and picture.

Click on Ask Ashe Abode logo to follow her Reno progress, if you don’t already follow her blog.

What would a weekend in Durban be like if you could take someone on a tour of our finest places and events? It would have to be a long weekend jam-packed with food, crafts and sights including breakfast at Corner Cafe, a whirl around the I Heart Market, shopping at iKhaya, The Space, Karrin Hatfield, lunch at Craft, a dinner at Livingston’s, cocktails at Billy’s, a quick steak at Butcher Boys, sushi & tapas nibbles at Czar, more shopping at Fat Tuesday and then walk or ride it all off along Durban’s promenade at sunset with a mango daiquiri on Moyo Pier.

Regarding being creative, What’s your outlet?
I’m around creatives and creativity all day, so when I get home and need to unwind, it’s usually with a game of sudoku, a book or lately I play myself at Scrabble! It’s addictive! (there’s an iPad app where you can play yourself so I don’t set up a board and look like a complete retard 😉 )
I’ve also been known to watch a marathon of tv series’ in one sitting – no one saw me for days when I discovered Spartacus, Game of Thrones and Sons of Anarchy!
If I’m feeling creative, I blog or read through over 900 blogs I follow via bloglovin (amazing site – highly recommended)

Name your top 5 creative’s? Alberto Vargas, Rob Ryan, anyone who designs for Ikea, anyone who designs for Fred & friends, Yoshitomo Nara

What would be in your handbag right now? Ipad, blackberry (oh the irony), keys, notebooks, wet wipes (can’t live without these critters!), pens and pencils, makeup bag, numerous hair elastics, business cards, wallet filled with every loyalty card imaginable, gum.

What’s the best thing about your home? It’s all mine 🙂

What would be your dream holiday destination? Anywhere cool where cozzies are not required. Hate the sun, don’t do sand or sea and should have been born in Iceland. A skiing trip with mates would be awesome.

What’s the most mouth-watering dish you have ever tasted and where was it?
I eat out a LOT and have had many amazing meals, but there are only 2 I always fall back on when I think about my favourites. The first is the lentil & feta and calamari combo from Mo’s Noodles and the 2nd is a rib eye steak from either Livingston’s or Butcher Boys served with creamed spinach.

What is the coolest home interior item to get right now?
Everyone is on the green, eco wagon, so sustainable energy, appliances and materials are all the rage. My one contribution to this movement will be installing a gas hob – cannot wait to get that baby fired up!

Who cracks the nod as the most desired artist/art work in Durban at the moment?
Difficult question! I think anyone creative is an artist, so it doesn’t have to be an artist in the true sense of the word. I know Durban has a wealth of creative talent and the desired items I most covet are from small businesses like Cupcake Couture, iKhaya and I Love Bokkie, or KOOP, the Shaw Sisters and Clinton Friedman.

What’s the most valuable lesson learnt while being overseas?
I had my first ‘corporate’ job overseas. I worked for a team of traders at a large multi-national company. Make yourself indispensable to people like this and you’re set! I was nicknamed ‘komodo’ because I kept them all on their toes at the grand old age of 21 😉


Personality…..makes a home, a home
Relaxation and me time …..are what weekends are about
My favorite book at the moment is…… any new James Patterson, haven’t read one in a few months though (*makes mental note…)
Blogging is……an escape into the mind of my alter ego.
My next purchase for my home is…..bathroom sanitary ware and kitchen appliances
If I was a super hero, I would….make all lemon meringue pies fat free
The close proximity to everything…..Is the best thing about living in Durban

You just got to love her! Follow Nicola on Twitter here or her blog here

Photo credits: Nicola Ashe, SafariNow, RoomsForAfrica, The Space, Fat Tuesday, Travel Start, Karrin Hatfield, Elle Decor.

Mary-An Hampton – INTERVIEW

Picture-Sloth. Event posters – Us Kids, John Ellis, Thomas Krane. Event Poster for Desmond and the Tutus.

Local creative Mary-An Hampton shares with CS about her illustrations, Hruki and much more.
Mary-An’s work dances all over Durban and surrounds in forms of posters, clothing, music, novels, branding and much more. She owns the clothing label Hruki and that ventures into many other streams as well as being involved with the marketing of Unit 11 here in Durban. Mary-An’s work is distinct, it’s got humour and it’s got character. I’m hoping to pop into the “Buy Art Not Drugs” Art Group Show that will be up and running in December above Spiga D’ora on Florida Road, which Mary-Anne is involved in and hopefully meet her face to face then.
Please tell us a little about your creative background. When did illustration start becoming your passion? I’ve been scribbling things for as long as I can remember, so I guess I took to it naturally, which always helps with a passion.
You play the tambourine? Please do tell? It is a joke. No one takes a tambourinist seriously. Except maybe that guy from Spoon. But he’s more of a percussionist per say, although I do think tambourining is his true gift. But I’m in a band called Thomas Krane, where I almost picked up a tambourine once. (I got sold a lemon)

How old are you and do you think ist too late to get into illustration as means of making a living, if you never started earlier? I’m 26, and no? There’s that quote about Julia Child only starting cooking when she was 37, which seems to comfort people. We mostly all live for ages now. There’s plenty of time for things.

What is a normal day like for you? I answer emails, and then work on whatever project is most pressing. In between doodling small animals, day-dreaming and squandering time on the internet. But each day is a little unpredictable, which is one of the joys of being freelance and not having a strict 9-5er.

If you could describe yourself in 3 words, what would they be? Um. er. not sure. (crap that’s four.)
If you could describe illustrating or creativity in 3 words, what would they be? Repeat above answer.
Please tell us a bit more about Hruki? Hruki is a music based street wear label. We work with different bands, they provide us with a little music, we make a design for them, and sell a shirt and album as  a sweet package deal.
Where can people get their paws on Hruki clothing? From Look & Listen, Idols in Durban and our site.
Wedding Invitation. Dear Reader illustration. Illustration for kids book The Beard that swallowed the World.
I love your work and think you are extremely talented. What advise can you give an illustrator trying to get into the market. And to someone who has talent but not sure where to start? Thanks! I’m afraid I don’t think I have it all down at this point. I’m not sure I ever will. But having a site up is a number one priority, as you need somewhere to point people when they want to see what you’ve done and whether they can find a use for you.
Where can we buy your  work or get in touch? My site and you can order posters and whatnot personally from me at I’m also involved in a budget art group show, ‘Buy Art not Drugs,’  which is going to happen in the space above Spiga D’ora in Florida Road sometime in December (for some christmas shopping.)
What are you working on? I’m working on a cover for a teenage romance novel, some branding for a coffee operation in Burundi, and a whole bunch of posters for various gigs. So some variety! Which is always nice.
Hruki shirt design.

Do you have a few of your favourite illustration that have been your most memorable creating it or history behind it? I like the winter trees design I did for a Hruki shirt. It’s simple and striking, and came easily. I find designs I have to fight with don’t age gracefully.  There isn’t much of a story behind it, besides a fascination with snow and bears. Being from Durban I haven’t seen all that  much of either.
I really like the Dear Reader illustration, tell us a bit about that one? It was made for Dear Reader, a great band from Joburg now based in Berlin. They write really beautiful songs. This illustration was loosely based on art they had for their 2nd album, Replace why with funny, which was quite a dreamlike landscape with various monsters. It’s a girl with a large, protective imaginary friend. 
Who is your favourite artist? I love the art of Gaugain, such intense colour. He was a bit of a __  though.

Can you tell us what inspires you? Most of the natural world. I find a lot of what I do is just a childish copy of something God did a whole lot better.

What does it mean to be creative, in your eyes? Creativity is such a strange thing, it’s hard to know exactly what the point of it is or why I feel like I have to scribble things. So that’s not really an answer. 

Where do you get your ideas from? Have you always had such amazing imagination? I wasn’t allowed to watch TV till I was 12, so I was forced to develop an imagination. Bit cruel of my parents. Talking to other kids at school was such hard work! No common ground. No Ninja Turtles.


Hruki Shirt designs.


What is your favourite things to do on a sunday? Sunday is one of my most predictable days! In a nice way. I go to my church, Oasis, in Amanzimtoti, which is such a wonderful mix of all sorts of unlikely people. Then I have big fat family lunch at my folks house. And then a recovery nap. Every Sunday. Pretty much.
If you were an animal, you would be…Something small that could hide underground. I would like it to be a fox, but it would probably be more of a rodent.
…..Is the best book to read. Tough! I think it would have to be Winnie the Pooh. Now that stuff is profound. And timeless.

Today is…Friday.

The best thing about where I live is….My bay window! It’s amazing. I quite like my digs mates too. I’d like them even more if they washed the dishes sometimes.

If you want to see more , check out her website here.

Thanks Mary-An for sharing a bit about yourself and your work! I am looking forward to seeing your illustrations throughout the world!