Brooke Holtz - Leonard and Clay
I'd like to introduce you to one of my closest, and incredibly talented friends, Brooke Holtz, who has just launched her creative endeavour, Leonard and Clay. Brooke's beautifully bubbly personality is matched only by her stunning Shibori dyed pieces, which she creates with love and care.
I met Brooke in 2013 when she started working at the desk next to mine. What started out as a friendly working relationship very quickly became a solid friendship, especially after discovering each other's love for Instagram (hers was, and still is, SO much better than mine). Brooke always struck me as the type of person who loved to create, which is why I'm so excited about the launch of Leonard and Clay. Working from her studio on the Gold Coast, Brooke creates unique indigo fabrics which she currently turns into stunning tote bags, though she plans on progressing into a greater range of products soon.
Brooke was kind enough to spare some time and answer a couple of questions I had from her. I hope you enjoy!
Photography Matt Burt
+ What is your background and what inspired or led you to start shibori dyeing?
I was raised within a very creative environment. Growing up, we were always drawing or painting or writing stories or building things. My mum is certainly key to all of this too, she is a master of spinning and weaving. At university I studied marketing and photography and I now work in content creation. It's important to me to always be making things in any which way - it's what allows me to feel most fulfilled.
As for Shibori, a while back I was wanting to make a blanket for a good friend who was expecting a baby. Dying the fabric myself popped into my head which lead me to researching techniques which lead me to the traditional Japanese techniques of Shibori. I am now in love with the art. My home couldn't be more indigo right now and I'm so excited as opportunities arise that allow me to share it with others.
+ What’s the story behind Leonard & Clay? How did you come up with the name and where do you see yourself heading?
I used to live in New York. This was the most creatively inspiring time of my life and upon returning to Australia I made a pact with myself that I would dedicate my spare time to learning new crafts and making as much as possible. There, I lived on Leonard Street in Brooklyn and the most influential friend that I made over there lived on Clay Street. It made sense to pay a special homage to this time and place as I created this umbrella label for myself.
The objective of Leonard and Clay for me is to create a space where I can talk about and document my creative and exploration endeavours. In turn, to become part of and somewhat build a greater creative community. My ultimate hope is that it will lead to larger opportunities that eventuate to my being able to create full-time. The dream!
+ What’s your creative process? What do you find most rewarding about your work and what is the most frustrating?
I'm really fortunate to have an incredibly creative companion by my side every day, Matt. Matt is a photographer and together we have formed our home into a hub that allows us to being inspired daily and motivated to create as much as possible. We don't own a TV which has been instrumental in forcing us to always be partaking in meaningful activity when we spend time at home.
The most rewarding thing about my work is when people like it! I am a pretty shy person who has the tendency to lack some confidence. So, when I put my work out there and people respond positively - well, there isn't much else that feels better.
And most frustrating? When my sewing machine jams. 100%.
+ How accessible is shibori as a hobby? Can anyone just jump in and have a go, or do you need some dyeing experience behind you?
Shibori is super accessible! I think it is one of those things that perhaps seems more difficult than it is. But in fact, it's a beautiful process of trial and error and experimentation.
In July, I am running my first Shibori Workshop. I'm really excited for it and to be in a room with a bunch of humans turning things indigo and generally creating beautiful textiles. If anyone is interested in coming along, it will be held at The Craft Parlour which is an amazing craft studio at the Miami Marketta on the Gold Coast.
+ Using any drawing instrument quickly sketch out the very first thing that goes through your head.