Pretty Personal with Ingrid Auret

We all need a little something-something from time to time - and now, you can get sweet and stylish something somethings from Maiden Name. The lovely Ingrid left the daily grind with the intention of creating things that were a little different, and that you were sure to love.


  1. Hello Ingrid! Tell us a little “something something” about yourself.
    Well, I originally studied interior design, then started working as an
    exhibition stand designer; but as I’m sure most creatives feel, I hated
    sitting in front of a computer every day doing things other people told me
    to do. I never actually designed anything. I then decided that an 8-5
    office job is very much not for me, so I left the safety of a monthly
    income and started doing freelance stand designs for a company in Holland
    (which I am still doing) - I was very lucky in that regard. My ultimate
    dream is to have my own shop though, so I started Maiden Name as a small
    range and am now hoping to turn it into a loved brand and hopefully a shop
    one day. Other than that, I love food way too much, love cooking and baking
    as well, I am a sports fanatic and think dogs are the best things to ever
  2. Ah, a dog person. Oh well, we can’t all be perfect. ;)
    Why did you choose the name “Maiden Name”?

    I never used to like my surname, Auret, but over the last few years I
    have grown to super love it! And knowing that in a few years time I’m
    going to have to say goodbye to my beautiful last name, I actually wanted
    to name the shop Auret, but it didn’t work so well as a logo - so, I decided
    that Maiden Name would work well. So now it’s kind of a tribute to my
    surname, which will one day be my maiden name.
  3. That’s a really creative idea! Who and what do you look to for inspiration?
    I am so inspired and proud of where creatives, designers, and entrepreneurs
    in South Africa are at, at the moment. I think we are very much world
    class and I’m so proud to be a South African. And I have to say Cape
    Town is an inspiration, I am so in love with our gorgeous city, I would marry it if I could.
    I love wood, and am trying to keep most of the Maiden Name products natural
    wood - it is something that will always be so loved and wood products are
    just beautiful. At the moment I am also inspired by illustrators and
    beautiful illustrations - they’re right at the top of my “Want” as well as
    "Inspiration" lists. Also, I have a slight ceramics addiction, anything
    from animals to coffee mugs, bowls and plates. 
  4. (Hey Cape Town: Call her.)
    What can you tell us about the something somethings Maiden Name makes?

    A lot of the Maiden Name products are handmade, and everything that is
    painted is hand painted. I personally love everything in the Maiden Name
    range, that is where everything starts… I make things that I would love
    to have so hopefully everyone else wants it. The range is still small, but
    growing fast, and I plan to add a ceramics range later this year also, so
    holding thumbs for that. 
  5. We’ll hold thumbs figuratively. If we did it literally, we wouldn’t be able to type. Last question: Chocolate or vanilla?
    Haha, well that depends on what exactly you’re talking about. Everything
    flavour-wise definitely chocolate, everything else I’ll have to say
    vanilla. But think that chocolate and vanilla actually ALWAYS go really
    well together. :)

Ain’t that the truth. Whatever your preference, you’re sure to find something to tickle your design tastebuds in Maiden Name’s Hello Pretty store. You can also get acquainted on Facebook and Twitter.

Pretty Personal with Max Pienaar

Savior Brand Co. was borne out of a desire to find an alternative to the mass-produced dime-a-dozen phone and laptop covers available commercially. SBC went one better and created beautiful, quality leather goods that not only smell awesome, but are designed and made by hand right here in Mzansi. Founder, inventor of the word “ZARians”, and cheesecake fanatic Max took some time to chat to us.

Here’s what he had to say for himself:
  1. Hello Max! So, who are you exactly?
    I’m a son, a husband, a father, a friend, and a change agent…at the end of it all, I’m just a guy that loves design/creation and the freedom and pleasure that it brings not only to myself but to the individuals that “buy” into my designs…
  2. That’s quite a job title. How does Savior Brand Co. fit into it?
    Savior Brand Co. is a two part story:
    Part 1: I was working on a creative project with Laurie Holmes, founder of Holmes Bros fashion - I shared with him my dream to help older orphans make something of their lives, and help them realise their dreams, become useful to themselves, and integrate themselves as contributing members in their communities…by enriching their lives, they enrich ours, and also this beautiful land we call ZAR - this dream bore an organisation called SMLV+18.

    Part 2: Laurie came back to me a few months later with a contribution “puzzle piece” that added to my initial dream; and in that nano-second of sharing, Savior Brand Co. was born, and leather became my medium of creativity…a significant portion of SBC profits will feed into realising the dreams of orphans over the age of 18.
    I get asked about the name and the logo a lot - it’s almost fun to watch people’s reactions when I tell them that I love Jesus, and he is my anchor…seriously though, it is more than that. The name Savior Brand Co. sort of evolved out of that first dream to help orphans. Wikipedia says that a savior “…may refer to a person who helps people achieve salvation, or saves them from something.” We’re passionate about transforming the lives of orphans, so by purchasing any Savior Brand Co. product we sort of enable you to be a savior in your own right, by literally saving the dreams of young adults and impacting the lives of our kids. 

  3. That’s some food for thought right there. What items does SBC make, and how does your ethos impact on their design?
    I started off making leather accessories for Apple products - iPhone, iPad, and Macbooks, pretty much because I couldn’t find anything I really liked in any of the retailers…everyone sort of carries the same mass-produced stuff made out of synthetics, and I wanted something with a bit more soul, something with a story. I have a few mates that are musos, so I got a call to make guitar straps; I wanted a lanyard wallet; someone else wanted a slim wallet; and as I got more requests for custom products our product offerings evolved to include leather totes, briefcases, lanyards, wallets, camera straps, keyrings, and a host of other leather goods. Now, we make pretty much any accessory.
    Pretty much anything with the Savior Brand on it is hand-cut, hand-stitched (only sometimes machine-sewn for quality), and basically handmade, with a bit of love thrown in…call me soft, but that’s just how I roll these days…fueled on love…
  4. Aw, Max, you big softy. And we thought that with all the leather and guitar straps and biker wallets that you had to be some kind of a badass!
    Let’s just say that I’m definitely not a conformist…I’d like to describe my products as badass (adjective: formidable, excellent: this is one badass leather bag…hahahaha).
  5. Is there anything particularly badass coming up that we should know about?
    We’re constantly designing new products, and recently launched two new tote designs - the SBC Brogue Tote and the SBC Farmers’ Shopper - coming soon to a Hello Pretty near you!
That sounds totes amaze! (Sorry. We’re really sorry.) You can find the (badass) Savior Brand Co. line on Hello Pretty, and get the 411 on SBC on Facebook and Twitter.

Copenhagen's Tietgen College in dorm rooms

Now here’s a college setup that students can truly be excited about living at! The dorms at Tietgen College in Copenhagen are something truly unique, beautiful and special and have been acknowledged as such with a string of awards that they’ve received.

They’re designed by Lundgaard & Tranberg and it’s clear from the pictures that every detail has been considered to make students feel comfortable and happy. Not only is everything cleverly laid out (the circular shape means that every apartment is outward facing) and configured, but they have also paid attention to small details such as the postboxes and washing machines, adding in splashes of brightness.

I’ve always wondered actually how much of a difference a student’s surroundings make on their ability to study. I’d like to see the results from this college compared to other more typical (and oppressive!) college dorms.

Seen on CasaSugar.

An awesome Mingo Lamberti / Raw Studios collaboration

It’s always an exciting thing when you see a local designer you love popping up in an international publication. Fans of South African Mingo Lamberti will be used to seeing this strong brand appearing all over the place.

According to the article I just read on DesignWorkLife, Mingo Lamberti was commissioned to come up with some graphic designs to apply to a furniture range for Raw Studios (also in South Africa). I absolutely love the result (and especially the colours used) - an amazingly well done job.

Open Studios Sessions at Artist Proof Studio

Oddly enough, we’ve had a fair few designers ask whether we knew of a good place in Johannesburg to do professional printing. We didn’t, but we’ve asked around and chatted with a few of the right kinds of people and feel that we can now quite confidently recommend that you talk to Artist Proof Studio, who are based in Newtown.

From the Artist Proof Studio bio on Facebook:

Artist Proof Studio is a quality Art Education Centre that specialises in printmaking through a variety of diverse partnerships with creative young artists, established professional artists, community groups, patrons and funders.
Every Friday from 9am to 4pm they have their Open Studio sessions. It costs R120.00 per session and that includes inks, solvents, studio space and the assistance of one of their printers. You must have basic print knowledge and have used the press before. There will be a maximum of 6 people per session.

You’ll need to buy your own plates and paper, which you can buy from Artist Proof Studio themselves (let them know by the Tuesday before you attend what you’ll need for your Friday session).

Here are the contact details for Artist Proof Studio:
      +27 (11) 492-1278
      address: The Bus Factory, 3 President Street, Newtown, Johannesburg

Samantha Huang's Altered Books

Reblogged from fuckyeahbookarts:

Samantha Y. Huang was born in 1985, in Changhua, Taiwan. She began studying business upon graduation from high school, but decided working in an office was not for her and quit after one semester. She subsequently moved to Vancouver, Canada where she studied English and began to take an interest in the Arts.

“In my art practice, I use mediums that have a strong relationship with people’s creative art productions: books, crayons, coloured pencils, paper, and acrylic paint. This is intended to portray the awareness of mediums as themselves through a sense of touch and lead the audience to reconsider the relationship among mediums, creators, and audience. The art pieces are as accessible for touching as the mediums being experienced initially by the artist. 

I believe that the messages of mediums /ideas/concept cannot be received fully by sense of sight alone. Many hidden characteristics can only be unfolded by other human senses. I would like to invite my audience to explore the experience and interact with my artwork by using sense of touch. The experience of art provides more feelings and understandings when it has a multi-sensory approach.” - Samantha Y.Huang

saatchionline flickr

Pretty Personal with Aaron Kearney

If Irish eyes are smiling, it’s probably because they’ve spotted one of the talented Irish-born Mr Aaron Kearney’s designs. Once he got tired of overachieving at school (100% for Art & Design in his final year of high school, and Honours from Central Saint Martins) he put his talent and energy into making beautiful, imaginative furniture and ceramics.

Here’s what he had to say for himself:
  1. Hello Aaron! So, who are you exactly?
    Well, I grew up in Ireland and was always surrounded by art. Whether it was playing with clay, or paint, or whatever, it was awesome. My mum is a very talented former art teacher and has a couple of degrees so it all started there I guess. Then around my early teenage years I started getting into woodwork as my retired grandfather tried to find things to do with his time in the garage. Add on a fantastic art department at school, the wealth of creativity in London and Saint Martins, some years of experience, and you’re ready to serve.
  2. Sounds delicious! Can you tell us about the wonderful things you make?
    My Hello Pretty store is quite a good representation of the direction I’ve gone in the last year or so. There is bespoke woodwork, lasercut sculptural pieces, ceramics, and my recontextualised wheelbarrow. I realised that I had to embrace different mediums. I had ideas that didn’t lend themselves to wood, my plates being the obvious example of that, and decided I would delve into various disciplines depending on what I wanted to achieve. I’d like to think my pieces and products have a stem running through them, similar to going to a solo show at an art gallery - you can see the same palette of colours in various paintings, and you know the same artist is responsible for all the work.
  3. What influences and inspires you?
    People, my son, the thought of school/art college reunions, the natural world, geometry.
  4. Is there anything interesting coming up for you that we should know about?
    I recently sent a new Octahedron up to the Southern Guild exhibition at Everard Read in Johannesburg. Also, we’re working on the prototypes to extend the range of ceramic plates.
  5. We’ll definitely keep an eye out for them. Thanks for taking the time to chat to us - we’ll have to buy you a drink sometime!
    Sure, a White Russian would be ideal - Big Lebowski playing on a big projector!
We’re pretty sure The Dude would be a fan of Aaron’s work - much like the rug, his pieces really tie a room together. You can find them in his Hello Pretty store, and stay up to date with his projects on Facebook.


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