Interview - Jessica & Marian

It is always inspiring to see creatives set their own working standards to suit their own lifestyles. Textile artist Jessica Blume and all-round creative and painter Marian Kelliher Scott are doing just that. With a mutual craving for the untouched wilderness, Joom and Mazzy (as we know them) are making their days work best for them and their crafts.

We caught up with the girls recently at their home, curated with eye-stealing treasures and a plethora of indoor greens. It’s the kind of space that, when entered, you instantly feel your own pace slow down. Our conversation was warm, interesting and grounded. Much like its inhabiters, really.


Interview with Jessica Blume & Marian Kelliher Scott

Textile Designer, Painter and all-round creative duo

Can you share with us your favourite childhood memory?

J - For me, my favourite memories of childhood were our family camping trips along the coast. There are so many rain forests and stunning coastlines around northern New South Wales and the southern coast of Queensland, there’s always something new to explore. My mother, sister and I were all avid adventurers and loved ‘roughing it’ so we would often go away together for weeks. We felt free and safe in isolation from people who weren't on ‘the level’, us kids were completely free to explore, make fires and make friends. I never wanted to come home. 


Mazzy, you’re originally from New Zealand. How did you find your way to Melbourne?

M - My mother is from Melbourne so that's the connection there, but initially I moved to Sydney and studied at the National Art School, Sydney. Once I had graduated, I moved to Melbourne for a change of scene. I've moved back and forth between the two cities a few times and love them both!


Jessie, did you have any secret spots growing up in Byron Bay?

J - I really love Protesters Falls. It's a breathtaking rainforest with ancient fig trees and luscious ferns. You follow these paths with endless little waterfalls and rock pools along the way until you get to the giant waterfall. You can climb behind the wall of water and look back on the forest. There is a story of people coming together to save the Nightcap National Park from logging that is really empowering too. The protesters could feel how sacred and special the area was and went to extreme lengths to save it; pushing trucks off cliffs and tying themselves up for days on end - and it actually worked. They saved it!


How did you two meet?

We met at an art exhibition, initially, and then properly at a bush rave! (They both laugh). Which is pretty surprising, considering neither of us would normally go to a rave. I guess intuition dragged us there…


Being in a creative partnership, how do you encourage each other to keep pursuing what you love?

J - Well, I think we both know what the other is capable of and we let it be known. You can forget sometimes, get complacent, or just fall into doing all the other fun stuff you love doing like eating snacks, reading, surfing and camping. Having someone genuinely believe in you and admire what you’re doing is really inspiring. We want to make each other proud. We also give each other enough space to work.


How do you find living and working together? 

J - I'm into it. It's cozy and nurturing and really fun. We both appreciate each other’s work ethic and energy so that's a bonus. We spend most of the day apart, with study and other projects going on, so it’s not overkill!


Jessie, where does your connection to looming come from?

J - It actually happened really organically. I was making a lot of garments for myself and for my friends, and getting a great response. I was also really into print making and exploring with glazing designs for my ceramics. At that stage I was studying, majoring in Philosophy, and I started to realise that I didn't have any spare time to do the things that made me most happy. I decided to drop out of Melbourne University and started a diploma at RMIT in textile design to get some extra skills. It was here that I fell in love with weaving.

Weaving for me is like painting, but with textiles. I have so many more avenues I want to explore. I love that it's meditative and that I can have such an ethical and simple supply chain in my production. I love the incredibly rich history of textiles for women and various traditional cultures around the world. It's dense and can provide insight to society in a way that the written word cannot, especially in cultures that did not use text to document.


Where do you spend your time when you are not painting beautiful pots at Pop & Scott?

J - I am at school, working for Gemma Patford at Magic Johnston studio or camping. We try and get away every weekend to surf or go to the country with friends.


Mazzy, what is it about painting that you love?

M - I love that an idea or a thought can become a tangible image. It's one of those special tasks that makes me completely focused and present, like surfing or riding a motorbike!


Is there somewhere that you have been dreaming about visiting?

J - Ecuador and Guatemala are calling me at the moment. The jungle is my spiritual home! Also the United States, I would love to spend next year driving around America, go to Big Sur and Canada. Travel always has been my favourite thing in life.


Plants are a big feature in your space and artwork. Where do you think your love for greenery has stemmed from?

J - It seems weird to me to think that anyone wouldn't love greenery. I feel weird and lost in barren places without greenery. The closer to the sea or forest I am, the happier I am, so I turn all my spaces into little forests. 


What are the most important elements to you in making your environment feel like home?

J - Shit loads of plants, beautiful textiles, my books and artworks. 


What are you reading at the moment?

J - I’m reading two at once actually, Girl in a band, the autobiography by Kim Gordon and The mandarins by Simone de Beauvoir.


Interview by Camille Moir-Smith

Introduction by Yasmine Ganley

Photography by Bobby Clark

July 22, 2015
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