Sustainable + Ethical Textiles: Yolanda Zarins
Creative Conversations introduces you to the industries latest talent and the up and comers. Get to know more about what it’s really like in the industry and be inspired by everyday makers, doers, movers and shakers. Take 5, grab a cuppa and settle in!
Today we introduce you to the gorgeous Yolanda Zarins, a textile designer from Hobart. Yolanda studied a bachelor of Textile design at RMIT, in Melbourne and soon after returned to Tasmania to pursue her personal creative flare and build her namesake studio in the hip and artsy part of Hobart, Salamanca.
Yolanda wanted to create unique products that were not readily available within the Australian market, but particularly wanted these to be sustainable and ethical, and consequently, create items that last a lifetime.
As the years have gone on, her textiles have evolved with interiors and decoration at the forefront of her thinking. She creates beautiful pieces which have patterns and textures that are derived from the native flora and fauna of the Tasmanian bush. All of these fabrics are small batch, handmade, and created for a unique one off piece of art.
We sat down to discuss all things textiles, design, food and a day in the life of Yolanda.
“Sustainability Tip: Keep things simple and be content with less!”
Tell me about your background? Did your childhood lead you to textiles?
My Dad is an Artist and Sign Writer, so from an early age I had the opportunity to play and experiment with all kinds of materials and media freely and [that] fueled a lot of my curiosity to explore further. Seeing a parent make a living from an artistic occupation gave me the confidence I needed to pursue a creative career after I finishing high school.
Who inspires you or who do you admire?
I have a great deal of respect and admiration for arts workers, particularly those working in community arts, after working with a Tasmanian arts organization, Kickstart Arts for two years. Working in this sector of the arts completely flipped my perception of what art and creativity can be used for; to heal, to increase happiness, to connect people in remote communities… It was a refreshing experience after studying design at uni for years which is an entirely different world.
Do you inspect the soft furnishings and textiles in homes/hotels/restaurants?
I do! Anything that is a little unusual, has a clever trim or unique colour and material use is very attractive to me. Like most textile obsessed people, inspecting always involves touch to get the full tactile experience, too.
If you could only design with one color what would it be?
Blue. There is so much scope for different moods and styling depending on the shade and material used with blue hues; especially within an interior context.
What is a day in the life of Yolanda Zarins?
Above all else, I really just go with the flow of whatever comes my way! Having flexibility in my days is really important to facilitate a balance between meetings and production time, especially now that I have started working internationally. Even though I am producing a product, there is a fair share of servicing and consultation that comes with running the studio because it is such a specialty item.
During the week, I get up pretty early as I’m a morning person. I try to get anything that requires brain power out of the way because after 3ish I can be a bit hopeless with emails or anything too technical! During the afternoon, I usually print or dye and listen to podcasts. The weekend has a bit of a different flow, as I have a stall at Salamanca market every Saturday, and a chill out day on Sunday.
Best meal you recently ate out, Discuss!?
Dinner with girlfriends at Konsaten, a Japanese restaurant in Hobart. There is so much incredible, fresh produce in Tasmania, and when it comes to seafood such as tuna, kingfish and salmon (which are favorites of mine when having Japanese), we are definitely spoilt. There really is so much good food in Hobart. It’s actually a challenge to have a bad meal out.
Tell me your favourite bargain buy, and your favourite biggest spend, as well as your dream design purchase?
I got a really cute thermos for coffee and cuppas to take with me on chilly market mornings recently. I’m not sure if it was a bargain, but it is an awesome little item. I love anything practical and well designed.
Honestly, I haven’t made any big splurges in my life! I’ve been pretty transient as a renter, usually living in share houses. The kind of lifestyle I live lends itself better to buying things that I won’t be devastated about losing or getting damaged!
One day, when I’m a grown up, I’d love to have a pink Mochamaster. Again, most design I get into is really practical, and usually leads to assisting caffeine consumption…
Similarly, what is your favourite item of design, interior design or fashion right now?
Handmade ceramics with simple finishes and glazes. I really enjoy natural textures, colours, materials, as well as the functionality of ceramics and pottery.
“I really enjoy natural textures, colours, materials, as well as the functionality of ceramics and pottery.“
If you could give one sustainability or earth saving tip, what would that be?
To keep things simple and be content with less!
Describe your favorite travel destination or favorite place?
A really beautiful camping spot on the Styx River in the forest in the West Coast of Tasmania. I stayed there for two nights, but can’t remember how to get back there. I think it will have to just be a special place only revisited in my memory.
I know you have many career achievements to date, what would be your proudest to date?
Getting the opportunity to work with showrooms to sell my work has been a big milestone for me. It is so great to hand fabric over to skilled hands who can make it into a functional, interior item or soft furnishing.
Oh the want for a pink Mochamaster! Amen to that Yolanda! You can find Yolanda and her beautiful products at the below links.
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Eclectic Creative Blog Contributor
As an Interiors and design ‘devotee’, Georgia is lucky enough to work as a freelance interior designer, decorator, stylist and writer. From a young age, her love of rich textiles, heavenly antiques and eclectically styled spaces was innate. Hailing from the bottom of the world in Hobart, but now residing in Melbourne, she finds herself spending her free time scrolling through beautiful feeds of design orientated images, filling her tummy at the latest, yummiest and mainly design savvy eateries, traveling the world (her dad says she is not okay without a ticket for her next trip), or simply kicking back with friends. Georgia believes a house should be a home and a little bit of love goes a long way.
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