ART BEYOND THE BRUSH :: GEORGIA MACMILLAN PAINTS
I have had my eyes on Georgia's beautiful linen collection for quite some time, yet I was waiting for the right interior project to use her designs to compliment the vision we had opted for.
Luckily the project did come about and the pieces looked spectacular in it. But how did Georgia Macmillan Paints come about? We chat to Georgia about her business adventure ...
Please tell us about your business and what inspired you to start your business adventure?
Georgia Macmillan Paints offers linen homewares and a cotton children’s bedding range. The textiles are digitally printed with my original watercolour artwork. The range is driven by a desire to take my art beyond brush and paper and see how I can push the medium. While digitally printed artwork on fabric has been done before, I don’t feel it has oversaturated the textiles market. Block-printing and screen-printing are bigger! Art is such a personal, unique medium, which automatically differentiates the products. My main goal has always been to create a high quality, aesthetically beautiful, unique product, which can be sold at a good price point.
A news broadcast journalist by trade, I worked for many years at the Seven Network in my native Queensland before moving into luxury PR in Sydney (chefs, restaurants, champagne). Motherhood and our family’s move to the desert three years ago inspired a return to my first love - art.
About the new range – The Bernalda Collection:
I sought great inspiration when designing The Bernalda Collection from a recent family holiday where we stayed at Palazzo Margherita – a grand and dreamy 19th century palazzo in Bernalda owned and operated by Francis Ford Coppola and his Family.
Bernalda is a southern Italian town in the Basilicata region where days are slow, animated men sit outside and chat, and the gelato store is always open! A cinematic town – untouched and authentic – where little English is spoken and few tourists venture.
Everywhere you look at Palazzo Margherita are Italian still life compositions — I loved the iron tables and chairs in the courtyard outside the stone kitchen with local ceramic bowls of walnuts and fresh fruit, small cups of strong espresso and an assortment of freshly baked biscotti. The beautiful overgrown garden of enormous cacti, bougainvillea and palm trees around the old fountain added to the tranquility. This is where the Coppola Family holidays and they want to share this experience – the beauty and barefoot quiet luxury.
It was overcast when we stayed, which added to the allure – so I have worked with a watercolour palette of deep inky ocean blues and steely greys to represent the clouds rolling in over the village. A touch of peach and burnt orange was added to reflect the Palazzo courtyard colours. Inspiration can come from anywhere!
Where can we find your products?
The whole range is available via georgiamacmillanpaints.com or you can find the linen goods at Tribe Dubai and The Odd Piece. My textiles range is exclusively sold in Australia at Coote & Co in Melbourne.
ABOUT LIVING IN DUBAI
What inspire you in/about Dubai?
Two things influence me – firstly, my girlfriends in Dubai. It’s the same old story… highly educated, worked their way to the top, left to have children, and went out on their own to follow a passion and make the career/family life juggle work. It’s inspiring and motivating. The same can be said for the majority of my friends in Australia. I always feel boosted and encouraged spending time together discussing work (and everything in-between!).
Secondly, from the exquisite tiles on the Iranian Hospital, to extravagant hotel designs, vast desert space and endless sky, the mayhem of Satwa, sunsets over the Arabian Gulf, abras on the Dubai Creek, the call to prayer, palm trees, endless rows of petunias lining streets, visual merchandising in the malls, Emiratis looking super stylish in traditional dress – EVERYTHING inspires me in Dubai. Plus given our proximity to Europe, travel is easier (and quicker!), so it’s also a major influence. Who doesn’t love discovering beauty around every corner? The lighter sunshine, scent of lavender in the air, chink of rosé filled glasses, olive groves, historic cities, buildings and monuments. I could go on… inspiration is everywhere and it usually creeps up when least expected.
Favourite thing to do in City?
Enjoying sunsets in the desert. We love packing a picnic and driving out to the desert for drinks and dinner. It’s hard to beat – escaping the city, sitting around the bonfire, enjoying silence, the stars, the dunes and immense space. I find it very moving. It’s also a fantastic place to let children blow off steam running up and down the dunes.
What's your favorite way to spend the weekend?
Starting the day at the beach, followed by a casual lunch with the children and other families. I also love going out to dinner – our favourites are La Petite Maison and Zuma (which we usually try to reserve for special occasions!). You can always find us at Din Tai Fung for an early casual lunch on Saturdays.
A Dubai store you could spend hours browsing?
Level Kids at City Walk is one of the most incredible retail experiences. It is sensory and beauty overload. I am in awe of the design. I also love Al Serkal Avenue which brings together various forms of art. The cool new warehouses boast excellent art galleries and interior design stores, such as The Odd Piece. It’s an exciting addition to Dubai.
A LITTLE EXTRA...
Things you can't live without?
My Nespresso machine, family and friends and our beloved dog Freddy.
As an entrepreneur please share some tips that help you set up?
I never overthink what I’m trying to achieve. In the beginning I attempted writing a business plan but, as I was investing so little financially, it seemed futile. In all fairness, I didn’t really know what I was trying to achieve or where I saw the business heading. I just got on with doing what I enjoyed – painting. I think the main thing is to follow your heart and do what you love. Corny, but true. Be inspired by the trailblazers, but don’t let their success overwhelm you. Instead, let it be inspiring. Never compare – that’s a dangerous road. And remember – most of us are winging it so don’t feel you need to be an authority to pursue it. Journalism and textiles design…. I have a university degree for one of them and it’s not what I’m pursuing now!
Do you read any blog? If so which ones are your favorite?
I love The Grace Tales – a website for the stylish mother. One of my best friends is the founder and editor. She’s done an incredible job. I’m actually Lifestyle Editor and contribute from time to time. It’s a wonderful site – I love the profile stories on all of these fabulous mothers and how they juggle work, life, children etc. Always an inspiring read.
GEORGIA MACMILLAN PAINTS & PAPER GOODS
Photography Abbi Kent
Styling Tory Waller