Meet the Designer Esther Fallon Lau aka Nouveau_Bohemian

MAR 27, 2017 updated Apr 27, 2021
Meet the designer Esther Fallon Lau | Click to visit her store or read more below
design by nouveau_bohemian

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’.”

Esther's workspace | Design of whales
design by nouveau_bohemian

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.”

Rabbit Teal by Nouveau_Bohemian
Rabbit Teal by Nouveau_Bohemian

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?

“- Nature of course! Especially animals, flowers and land. Not just landscapes, but the way animals and plants and people interact with their environment to tell the story of that land.
– My parents. My father made beautifully crafted furniture based on the perfection of Shaker design and my mother infused my childhood with an equal mix of English whimsy (Beatrix Potter, Alice in Wonderland, Arthur Rackham, The Brothers Grimm, William Morris, Treasure Island, Liberty Prints ) and ethnic influences (African and Indian fabrics, Chinese ceramics, Japanese woodblocks, Islamic tiles and tales of Native Americans, Inuits, Vikings and Kalahari Bushmen). I love all of these things just as much today and am re-exploring them with my own kids and in my design work.
– As a child my community was, and still is, counter-culture: brimming with artists, creatives, makers, mystics, wanders from all over the globe who are poking into other cultures looking for answers. Beautiful design is at the core and fringe of all these movements and I am surrounded, and inspired by, people experimenting and making original, beautiful things.”
Narwhale Symphony Leggings by Olive.me Handmade photographed by Island Moments Photography. Design by nouveau_bohemian.

What are your favorite small or independent shops?

“- Olive.Me Handmade. Marla is not only a skillful sewer and businesswoman but great customer and friend who’s helped me understand the North American market. Spoonflower’s business model – which actively fosters relationships within its community – is pure gold to designers. My customers are amazing and their feedback has been instrumental to my growth as a designer. Thank you!
Evohe skin care. The most lovely skin care products in the world. Ethical, sustainable, natural and made just up the road!
Entia Jewellery. Where every single stone from around the world is hand-picked, then individually and beautifully arranged by owner/designer, Deah.”
Mermaid Lullaby Leggings by Olive.me Handmade photographed by Bluetree Photography. Design by nouveau_bohemian.

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?”

Painting "The Balcony 2" by Brett Whiteley

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.”

Cephalopods and Old Sea Dogs by Nouveau Bohemian

I’d love to see one of my designs turned into:

“A theme park.”

My mantra is…

“Follow your bliss.”

Adventure Awaits Leggings by Olive.me Handmade photographed by Bluetree Photography. Design by nouveau_bohemian.

Esther Fallon Lau's profile picture

 See more of Esther’s ethereal designs here and try your hand at your own pencil drawings through her guided Design-a-Day tutorial from the archives. Say hello to Esther in the comments below, and let us know if you’ve ever made anything with her designs!

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