Esther Fallon Lau aka nouveau_bohemian has amassed a serious following on Spoonflower thanks to her whimsical, earthy designs that inspire so many makers. Her animated life takes place in a little, rainforest-like valley in the foothills around the world-famous coastal town of Byron Bay, Australia. Keep reading to learn about Esther’s process and keep up with her life on her brand new Instagram account!
How does your average day begin?
“Inhumanely early with my baby yelling at me; then cuddles in the ‘cuddle chair’ with my two bigger boys and an endless round of herding, feeding and preventing these three wild animals from dying (in the dam, flooded creeks, tree-houses, explorations in the bush, bike jumps etc) and overseeing their elaborate creative ‘projects.’ Designing happens in the cracks, mostly in my mind. I compose layouts, add texture, flip through palette options all inside my brain while I am sweeping, driving, falling asleep. The best thing about this is that it keeps the ideas fluid, so I can chase the ‘feeling’ of a design right down the rabbit hole without choking it too soon. The physical act of designing is crammed into the two tiny windows when my baby is asleep each day…so in these moments I am a ferociously-focused, uber-efficient powerhouse.”
When I’m in my studio, I feel…
“Jealous of people with a studio. Ha Ha. Only joking (sort of). Seriously though, when my delightful husband is home (he works away for three weeks at a time) and has taken the kids away for the day, and the phone is off, and the only distraction is a bird call or small breath of wind in the trees and I get to sit down and just d.e.s.i.g.n……oh my!!! I feel like Charlie when he walks into that first room in the Chocolate Factory. Like the luckiest human on the planet. I feel timeless, weightless, worry-free and totally and utterly in the present moment. I am in ‘flow’.”
I fell in love with design when…
“I was a kid. Mother nature is the High Queen of Design and I was an avid collector and arranger of shells, seed pods, flowers and feathers. I loved to paint and draw and craft. Unfortunately though, I did very well at school and got off-track in a string of ’serious’ jobs…the Prime Minister’s Department, a political media advisor, working on big government initiatives to grow industry. All good stuff, but not my calling. Off work, little kids, desperate for a creative outlet – it was Spoonflower that welcomed me back to art, with its safe, non-judgmental, low-risk, low-cost platform for dabbling in design. I fell in love with design all over again, but this time as an adult and have been having a full-blown, passionate and, at times, addictive love affair with it ever since.”
What’s in your toolbox?
“My lovely, lovely Mac. Photoshop. Illustrator. Wacom Tablet. Scanner. Lots of white paper. Pencils, black pens of all sizes, water colour, ink and brushes. I mainly draw and/or paint on paper then manipulate digitally, keeping as much of the handmade feel to my work as possible.”
Who or what influences or inspires your work and why?
What are your favorite small or independent shops?
If I could live in a painting…
“I would live in Brett Whiteley’s “The Balcony 2” (1975). It is so quintessentially Australian, with its bold sense of space and unapologetic, saturated colour. Who wouldn’t want to live and work in a studio with with a view of Sydney harbour, overlooking the fray but peacefully removed from it all?”
If I could only wear one fabric…
“It would have florals on it.”
My favorite Spoonflower fabric to work with is:
“Minky. I sew lots of throw cushions for my kids’ schools and friends children. Kids love that fabric. My son says it feels like he is snuggling a polar bear.”
I’d love to see one of my designs turned into:
“A theme park.”
My mantra is…
“Follow your bliss.”