Look Out For Your Loved Ones

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World Glaucoma Week

This week is World Glaucoma Week, and to mark this important occasion, we’ve created the Look Out For Your Loved Ones series. Glaucoma is an illness that generally affects people over 50, so we’re profiling partnerships between young people and their parents and grandparents who work together creatively, exploring how important it is to check in with each other. Each day this week we’ll be profiling a new set of creatives, diving into their work, their relationship and the ways in which they look out for one another. Glaucoma is a progressive eye disease and is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in Australia, known as the 'silent thief of sight' glaucoma develops slowly and often without any symptoms, leaving people undetected until the disease reaches an advanced stage. Left untreated, it can cause vision loss and may even lead to blindness. While vision loss can’t be restored, early diagnosis and treatment can delay or halt the progression of the disease. That's why it’s so important to detect the problem as early as possible. Although anyone may develop glaucoma, some people have a higher risk—they are people who have a family history of glaucoma, are aged over 50, have diabetes, are nearsighted, experience migraines and who have a history of high or low blood pressure.

Optometrists recommend everyone 50 years or older visit an optometrist every two years for a comprehensive eye exam, and if you have a family history or are at higher risk of glaucoma you should get your eyes checked every two years from the age of 40. You need to keep top of your own eye health, but it’s equally as vital to encourage friends and family over 50 to have regular eye exams. So this week, start a conversation and check in with your loved ones about their eye health.

Book an eye test with one of our amazing optometrists online or in store.

Holly & Denise

Holly Ryan; designer, sculptor and founder of her eponymous jewellery label leads the way for the sustainable jewellery industry alongside her mum, Denise. Denise's focus on quality craftsmanship and love for the well-made is clear in every piece of jewellery, distinguished by Holly's signature minimalism and modern yet organic designs. The pair's integrity and honesty shines through both in their work and their close-knit relationship.

Firstly, tell us a bit about what you do. When did you start working together?
H: We hand make art-driven sustainable jewellery between our two studios, Mum runs the Coolum Beach studio in Queensland and my studio is in Redfern, Sydney.
D: Um, I think Holly was about one week old and she screamed for something and I came running, not much has changed since ;)

What is it like working creatively with someone so close to you compared to other work environments? What are the benefits and challenges?
H: It is definitely challenging, but we wouldn't have it any other way. We couldn't do it without each other. We both offer different sets of skills and ways of approaching things, it strikes a good balance.
D: "Mum, you just don't get it" could be commonly overheard in the studio when I don't agree with her design ideas. I don't hesitate to give her my honest opinion and in another work environment one might have to be a little less honest. I like that we can be real with each other, it means the outcome is better and stronger.

What are the ways in which you look out for each other?
H: I am a dreamer, mum keeps me grounded. She is a brutal realist, I remind her to relax and have fun.
D: The line between the personal and business is constantly blurred. Holly is good at reminding me to let my hair down and not stress all the time.

Can you tell us about a particular time you had to look out for one another?
H: We look out for each other every day but we have a tradition of treating ourselves to a mother/daughter long lunch at Bistro C overlooking the beach in Noosa about once every six months. We work really hard, we deserve all of the oysters!
D: I have always told her not to run before she can walk, but she's incredibly determined and has never listened. In hindsight, that's been a great thing.

What’s the best piece of advice Holly/Denise has ever given you?
H: Mum tells me to slow down all the time. I am always working six months to a year ahead of myself and on multiple projects at the same time. She's right, sometimes it's a little too much.
D: "No work talk Mum, it's Sunday!"

Are you working on any projects together or individually at the moment that you can tell us about?
H: I am also a sculptor and currently have a solo show at Jerico Contemporary gallery and I am about to collaborate with a denim brand on an exclusive range.
D: I'm working at improving our packaging, I want it to be totally compostable. We are both always looking at ways to improve to become more ethical and more sustainable.

James, Hal & Ray

Nestled in the heart of Collingwood, Melbourne, Hunter Bros Cycling is a one-stop-shop for all your bike apparel needs. Run by James Hunter and his sons Hal and Ray, the trio have been working together since Ray and Hal were teens. From designing riding apparel and streetwear to modelling and photographing the product, creating films and running all aspects of the business; it's taken passion, collaboration and mutual support to get to their (very impressive) position in the industry.

Firstly, tell us a bit about what you do. When did you all start working together?
J: Hal, Ray and I run a Melbourne based cycling apparel brand. We design and sell high end race kit for road and track cyclists. We all bring something different to the brand, all our design work is drawn from Hal’s work as a tattoo artist, Ray is the primary photographer (and model) for our online content and has done much of the work on our bikes and my background is in apparel and brand management. We started the business in 2014. Hal was just starting in his career as a tattoo maker and I was wanting to explore something new after 25 years working for some of Australia’s best loved menswear brands. We had really gotten into cycling and it seemed like a great fit. Ray was only 15 at the time and came into the business once he finished school.

What's it like working creatively with people you are so close to as opposed to other working environments? What are the benefits and challenges?
J: When we first started, Hal and I were working from the kitchen table and we realised very quickly that we had to start having ‘meetings’ out of the house to keep some distance between family and business. Our studio in Collingwood is the ideal set up - it’s part office, part bike workshop and part retail space. Like much of what we do, it’s not a normal work environment but it makes sense for us. The creative side of the business cannot happen in isolation from everything else that’s going on. We’re often travelling with our race team or riding so finding the right balance between the operational and inspirational can be a challenge. Once we set up the studio though, we committed to all being there together every Wednesday so that the creative side of the business had its own time without distractions.

What are the ways in which you look out for each other?
J: We have all got other things going on in our lives as well as Hunter Bros Cycling and I think we’re all aware that our health and well-being and our relationships as a family will always be the most important things. The brand will always have to fit into that context rather than the other way around.

James, can you tell us about a particular time you had to look out for Ray or Hal?
J: Hal and Ray were racing at the Red Hook Crit Milan last year and I was there to help out with the bikes and gear as well as documenting the day. Ray came off his bike in his first race and was really banged up. My first instinct was as a parent and I wanted to get him to a hospital and finish the day, but I had to step back and let him decide how he wanted to handle it. He had travelled a long way to get to this race and didn’t want to give it away without another effort. Once he knew there were no broken bones he got himself bandaged up and ready to race again in the last chance event. In the end he didn’t make it through to the final but he had a serious crack at it. I am not sure how well I was looking out for Ray, I felt bad about letting him race again but I had to trust him to make his own decisions.

Hal and Ray, what’s the best piece of advice James has ever given you?
H & R: Dad has always said that if we keep doing what we are doing and be ourselves in the process we will be successful. I think this is particularly relevant to Hunter Bros Cycling. It’s something we obviously want to do well but not at the detriment of passion and enjoyment.

Are you working on any projects together or individually at the moment that you can tell us about?
J: We are about to start filming our second movie, Born 2 Raise Hell. It’s a sequel of Born To Raise Hell which we filmed in 2017 and although not a true cycling movie its something that really epitomised how we approach the brand.

Charlie & Mieke

Mas & Miek Ceramic House is a hub of creativity in Newstead, Brisbane, run by mother and daughter duo Charlie and Mieke De Deyne. The fully equiped ceramics studio is home to an array of offerings including shopfront, teaching studio and cafe. Handmade at The Ceramic House or their Sunshine Coast hinterland studio, their work is unique and fluid, with no two pieces the same. We visited Charlie and Mieke's beautiful light-filled studio to ask the pair about their inspiring work and relationship.

Firstly, tell us a bit about what you do. When did you start working together?
M: We always enjoyed exchanging creative ideas and have been making ceramics together under the collaborative name Mas & Miek for five years. We build up a following selling at markets like the Goma artisan Market. We always received a lot of interest from family and friends, asking to come see our studio on the Sunshine Coast in Woombye. They always wanted to see how we create work together. A lot of people asked for tutelage in learning how to use the pottery wheel or hand build in clay but our studio was very much our own space, our own little heaven but too small to teach in. So we realised there was definitely a desire for a larger space where people could come and learn about clay. People were craving to get their hands into mud. When someone offered us a space, a seed was sown. We opened our space in Newstead on the 18th of April 2017.

What's it like working creatively with someone so close to you as opposed to other work environments? What are the benefits and challenges?
M: My daughter and myself spend very long hours in our studio so we made it a comfortable and beautiful space to be in. I hope that our passion is contagious and nourishing the need in some people to find a creative outlet. We love the term ‘soul craft’ in describing ceramics as it’s a very meditative and relaxing pastime. The process of clay forces you to slow down, be in the moment, take it step by step. In a fast paced environment like a city, I think a lot of people find sanctuary in coming into the studio to unwind. We love working together as we know each other so well and at times we clash but resolve this so much easier then if we didn't have this bond.

What are the ways in which you look out for each other?
M: It takes an enormous amount of organisational skill to operate a popular studio and a cafe but after nearly two year of trading and the normal teething problems, we have the studio running smoothly. Both of us have different qualities that stretch over two generations, Charlie is better on the social media and public relations where I am better at the setting up of a business having some previous experience.

What’s the best piece of advice Charlie/Mieke has ever given you?
C & M: Rule number one, it has to be fun ...

Are you working on any projects together or individually at the moment that you can tell us about?
M: We are working on several projects, one of them is for the Sunshine Coast cultural centre and based and is a body of work based on our love for the coast. This collection will be in Turquoise and Ochre, sand and water. We also have an exciting collaboration with the IMA, Gerards Bistro and the Museum for small things at the Callille Hotel ... watch this space!

Will & Valda

Will Cuming, better known as LANKS is a songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist living in Sydney. His dreamy electronic tunes have caught listeners attention Australia-wide, and beyond. Will has just started a new project, OK Moon, another gentle, impassioned and genre-mixing endeavour. Will's grandma, Valda is an 89-year-old visual artist from Melbourne, who in her own words, "can't stop being creative'. As well as her impressive body of solo work which spans sculpture, paining, and digital art, Valda has created artwork for LANKS EPs, singles and merchandise; transcending the average grandparental relationship. We caught up with the pair at Valda's beautiful Brighton home to chat about their unique bond and creative connection.

Firstly, tell us a bit about what you both do. When did you start working together?
V: I started drawing as soon as I could hold a pencil in my hand. My father was very pleased because I was the only one of 3 sisters who was interested in art and art was my focus from the time I was young. Over many years of my life I’ve travelled and I did drawings wherever I went. Not long after Will finished at the VCA doing music, he started asking me to do covers for his albums and that’s where our collaboration began.
W: I’ve been playing music since I was a little kid and making my own music from the moment I picked up an instrument. I now write and perform my own work as LANKS (as well as my new project, Ok Moon) and write/produce music for other artists as well. Grandma and I have been collaborating on my record covers for the past few years of my LANKS releases and we have a strong artistic connection.

What is it like working creatively with someone so close to you as opposed to other collaborations? What are the benefits and challenges?
V: The benefits are that I usually like the art I get to make working with Will. Ever since school I’ve enjoyed stylising and I get the freedom to interpret my way in this collaboration.
W: I think the more you can connect and get into the deeper concepts and ideas in art, the more fun and better it usually is. Openness is the sweet spot for strong collaborations and with family you can usually get there a lot faster because there is an inherit trust already there. You’re not starting from scratch each time.

What are the ways in which you look out for each other?
W: I think grandma has always taught me not to be self-conscious so you can take more risks. If you stay in your comfort zone it generally leads you to create safe and boring work and she challenges you to do that. She also preaches the importance of daily practise and always encouraged me to do that.
V: I’ve become much more wobbly in my old age, so for example, Will helped me get off the escalator safely this morning. The fact that Will asks me to do creative things is supportive. They’re often things I wouldn’t do normally and it keeps my mind and my hands active.

What’s the best piece of wisdom Will/Valda has ever given you?
W: When I was young I remember doing a sketch and throwing it in the bin when I did a line wrong. Grandma fished it out of the bin, uncrumpled it, and finished the drawing in front of me. It was beautiful. You can’t judge a piece too quickly when you’re creating, and she showed me how to keep pushing unconsciously until you can see what you’re actually creating. Then you can assess what you want to do with it, but not until then, or you’ll never create anything.
V: Will’s made me become more creative because he gets me to do things beyond my usual things. He’s good at pushing me out of my comfort zone.

Are you working on any projects together or individually at the moment that you can tell us about?
V: I am doing a solo exhibition at the Beaumaris Art Group from the 12th-22nd of March. I’m putting in my watercolours and some sculptures. I’m not putting any of my digital work in this exhibition but I’m still drawing on my iPad whenever I go away and I love to do more stylised work on my iPad. It’s work that comes from within, rather than exactly what you see in front of you.
W: Grandma did the cover for the LANKS EP I put out in November, and we’re working on a little collaboration with my new musical project, Ok Moon, that will be around some time this year.

Dwayne & Bert

Meet Dwayne Rowsell; co-founder of Studio Box Newmarket and former professional athlete turned personal trainer turned entrepreneur and his father Bert Rowsell, owner and operator of Rowsells collision and repair centre. Together they are one extremely close knit father and son duo. Read more to find out how these two kiwi blokes have supported each other through life and reconnected through the art of DIY.

Firstly, tell us a bit about what you do. When did you start working together?
D: As a former professional athlete I've always had a passion for health and fitness. I discovered a love for boxing and training other people - helping them discover their full potential. It was during this process I knew I had found my passion and wanted to share it with as many people as possible. My business partners and I then travelled to Los Angeles and New York to explore the fitness markets there, finally deciding to open our own studio here in Auckland, NZ. My father Bert has always been my right hand man when I've needed him. He knew the time pressures we were under getting the fit out of the studio done in time plus the budget was stretched; so without hesitation he stepped in assisting the team of builders I had on site and producing all the steelwork. Making all of the steel structures in Ruakaka (far north of NZ) and delivering it all by trailer to Auckland (with some aggressive turnaround times!) He spent 5 consecutive nights on the couch at one point. Legend.

What's it like working with people you are so close to as opposed to other working environments? What are the benefits and challenges?
D: It's great working with people you have that close connection with. A father-son relationship is special, you often don't need many words to understand what's needed. Dad has always genuinely cared about what I've been doing and has helped at every moment possible. We have done some demolition home DIY jobs together, much to mum's distaste.

What are the ways in which you look out for each other?
D: I chose to go to boarding school at age 13, so I missed out on many of those important teenage years sons get with their fathers. Reconnecting with projects now we are both older makes you appreciate how special that bond is that you have. If I keep him fed - the productivity stays high and it's not often his smile wears. We have different views on things as you can expect but I can't wait for other projects we muster up.

Bert, can you tell us about a particular time you had to look out for Dwayne?
B: These last few months would probably be a great example. I've taken a bit of time off work panel beating to help my son out. When I found out how much Auckland contractors were quoting Dwayne to produce steel for the build, I immediately put my hand up to help. Gotta help my boy out anyway I can.

Dwayne, what’s the best piece of advice Bert has ever given you?
D: The best advice he's given me is actually his daily attitude towards life. Showing me how to work hard, respect women, prioritise family time and ultimately how to enjoy life.

Thanks for following along with us.

Be sure to take the time to chat with your loved ones about Glaucoma and book an eye test with us here

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