A few minutes with Madalyn Ward From Newcastle’s Birdhouse

The Birdhouse Space

With the recent grand opening of Renew Newcastle project Birdhouse we decided to get in on the action, having a chat with one of the four female creatives - Madalyn Ward - about the inspirations, influences and what the Birdhouse space has to offer.

What are your inspirations and influences?

As a collective The Bird House has the ethos of creating original and/or one-off products, from clothing which utilises and up-cycles vintage fabrics, jewellery which recycles retro fabric patterns to artworks and illustrations inspired by motifs and designs connected to the natural environment.

In regards to the layout and aesthetics of the space, it has been influenced by featured spaces documented through magazines such as Frankie and Green. This inspired us into creating a space which reflected more of an eclectic living room.

What has your experience been with Renew Newcastle?

It has been a very positive experience, not only from the perspective of showcasing and selling our ‘products’ within a commercial setting, but from also providing us with opportunities to develop on our business skills through free TAFE courses to industry based forums.

It has also provided us with an opportunity to network and form friendships with other Renew participants. It’s a very supportive community of creative and like-minded people, which is great.

How did four female creatives get together & where did you meet?

I’m the link between the girls. Imogen, Nat and I met through a mutual friend 7-8yrs ago, and Rachel & I met during our time working for the same organisation around 5-6yrs ago.

How did the idea for Birdhouse begin?

Individually we were engaging with various markets as stallholders, as well as facilitating art based workshops. Nat and Imogen also owned a business in Mudgee. Since we were all residing in Newcastle, and ready to take our creative enterprises to the next stage, we decided to form the Bird House.

What happens in the Birdhouse space?

The Bird House reflects each of our individual styles and talents. It is basically a retail outlet with a quirky twist. This is due to the space showcasing and selling all our handmade and original pieces from paintings, illustrations, clothing, jewellery, home furnishings and accessories.

The space will also host monthly events from fashion shows, art exhibitions, workshops to high tea events.

What does each member of Birdhouse do?

Madalyn Ward (ArtsMad) - is inspired by the spiritual and botanical world with designs reflective of linear and abstracted illustrations and paintings symbolic of cultural motifs. The designs are reproduced and manipulated into functional design features for soft furnishings, wall pieces (sculptures & wallpaper), textiles, stickers, resin pieces and cards.

Rachel Steel (Lady Land Studio) - is inspired by vintage dress patterns, vintage objects and intricately designed rice paper, which are utilised in creating a series of original jewellery pieces, including, glass pendants and earrings. The range also includes a stationary line incorporating Yuzen Washi paper and an expanding range of hair and wedding accessories.

Nat & Imogen Numeyer (Nat & Mim’s) - is inspired by everything vintage and second hand, up-cycling already made clothing and vintage material into wearable art, including an accessory range of textile based brooches.

Where do you see Birdhouse in 5 years?

As a sustainable retail outlet, with the opportunity, individually and collectively to reach a national and international customer base. In time we would also like to grow our partnerships amongst other artists/designers wanting to sell & showcase their ‘products’.

More info about events and Birdhouse can be found on our Facebook page and blog Upcyclebirds.

Sophie is in her final year at Macquarie University studying a Bachelor of International Communications and has just moved to Newcastle. She has a passion for working in the media industry and is currently completing an internship at StickyAds. She loves reading, drinking tea, yum cha & playing board games.

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Thanks Sophie for this interview. I have recently published an interview of another Renew Newcastle project, THE WOODS, which has just recently opened its doors. You can see it here : http://interviewsaloud.com/2011/08/15/the-woods-newcastle-australia-gallery-vintage-handmade/
Renew Newcastle is doing great things for this city.
Cheers, Laure.

Wishing you girls all the best! Sounds very interesting and i will surely drop by. Please do consider my artworks for your exhibitions.

Kind regards

Eddie Botha

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