Articles

Making magic

by Madeleine Baud

4 October 2018

At Liquorice, we talk about the magic that happens at the intersection of technology and design. Side projects are one of the ways we're able to find the magic loitering in the spaces between other disciplines, too. I asked the team here at Liquorice to talk about what they've been working on and found some pretty inspiring side projects.

Tam, Account Manager & Baker

What is your side project?
Sourdough bread and pastry baking since 2010. 

When did you start it and why?
I have been getting my hands floured since I was probably about 5 but, since moving to Melbourne eight years ago, I found it brought me closer to my Texan heritage and family roots. Here at Liquorice, I've been known to surprise clients with morning tea cakes, so, I guess it feeds into my love of client service, too.

What do you love about it?
Here are a few things: 

1. No matter what I'm making, the act of baking is therapeutic and calming

2. Baking for others and seeing them smile

3. It's my creative outlet 

Do you ever feel like abandoning it? What stops you?
As relaxing as it is, it definitely requires skill, dedication and time. When life gets too hectic, I sometimes have to hit pause on my baking and recipe projects, but only temporarily. I don't think I could ever give it up though, I'd miss that 'just baked' smell too much. 

What's your next side project?
Help draft, source materials and design a modern, 'off the grid' shed on my property located in South Gippsland. 

Hammy, Technical Director & Webmaster

What is your side project?
A footy tipping website - https://afltipster.com

When did you start it and why?
This is its third season and I've rebuilt it every year. Basically, I was fed up with being bombarded with gambling advertisements on all the other footy tipping apps. I also thought I could do some cool things with all the data, something I'm yet to get around to!

What do you love about it?
There are lots of technical challenges and I've always used it to test out some new tech I've been wanting to play with. The most recent incarnation I used to teach myself a particular Javascript library (VueJS). I also enjoy being able to implement the things I've learned in my day job.

Do you ever feel like abandoning it? What stops you?
All the time. While a lot of the work is new and interesting, like all websites, there's a lot of hard slog as well. There are people I don't personally know using it, though, so I do feel a certain obligation towards them. It's actually a great bunch of users who get in touch all the time with (usually) constructive feedback. Third time around, I think I'm starting to get it right.

What's your next side project?
I have an idea for a music player, sort of my own personal Spotify. I also have an idea about a wine database that I built a version of quite a few years ago now and have been thinking about building another.

Lucy, Account Manager & Jewellery Designer

What is your side project?
I am a jewellery designer (@lucyserretjewellery), predominantly working with recycled and repurposed materials. My aesthetic is largely built on collaboration; whether it be a combination of materials, techniques and colours all in one piece, I rarely have one colour, one material design.

This collaborative mindset is a really valuable tool as an account manager, as I am often collaborating with a variety of people with different skills sets and experiences, and together we create amazing outcomes. 

When did you start it and why?
I started making jewellery about 2 years ago. My creative companion (Erin) and I just had a session where we had a go at making some earrings, and I found it was such a satisfying experience and I just kept making and collecting materials ever since.

What do you love about it?
As my job involves me being on a computer a lot of the time, I really love the hands-on, detailed nature of making jewellery; focusing on the little features, having to use my hands to create and undo pieces. It’s become a bit of a therapeutic outlet really. I became a lot more invested in jewellery making when I started creating it for my own wardrobe, rather than for the sake of the piece.  I began colour matching beads and designs with my outfits, and it gives me so much joy when I get it right. 

Another aspect that I really enjoy is the hunting for materials. I frequent garage sales, op-shops and markets to find random objects that I can repurpose into a wearable piece. I have used colour cards, tea towels, napkins rings, tin lids, curtain rings and even pieces of hard plastic found on the ground. It becomes a real creative challenge and I love the process of repurposing objects that people don’t necessarily expect to be used. 

Do you ever feel like abandoning it? What stops you?
I am the type of person who often gets really excited about starting a new project, but then restlessness takes over in the middle, and all of sudden the project is sitting there, picking up dust and dripping with guilt. I have had times where I haven’t picked up anything for months, or I just don’t feel inspired to create anything, but I try to remind myself that sometimes you just have to take a break, and even though I may not be creating anything physically, I am always thinking about it.

I have delved into many creative outlets in the past; video making, digital illustration, weaving, music, painting, claymation... to name a few, but I find Jewellery such an accessible and creative art form. You don’t necessarily need a block of time to focus on it, often I might start something, put it down, and then a week later, add something else, or take something away. It’s an evolving process, and you don’t need a whole lot of tools or space to create something awesome! 

What's your next side project?
I recently finished a fantastic ceramics class focusing on small object and wearables at Slow Clay Centre, and It really inspired me to continue making ceramic jewellery. I love the ambiguity of ceramic clay, nothing I made came out the way I expected, and I am really interested in the whole science and chemistry of the process.

Steve, Designer & Photographer

What is your side project?
I run an Instagram account called Black Tide (@blacktide_) that showcases my 35mm film photography.

When did you start it and why?
I’ve been shooting film for about 4 years now, casually at first and then more seriously in the last 2 years. I started the Black Tide Instagram in 2016 as a way to share my work and as an incentive to get out and shoot more.

I’ve always been interested in photography, but extra hours at the computer doing post-processing had become a bit of a deterrent to shooting digitally. Everyone was trying to emulate the film look, so I thought why not shoot the real thing?

What do you love about it?
As a designer who spends all day in front of a computer, there’s something really lovely about going out and shooting with a manual film camera. The tactility of the process forces you to slow down and be more considered when it comes to your subject and composition.

With only 24 or 36 frames to work with, you want to make every shot count. I also love the simplicity of shooting film and the overall aesthetic of the medium. There’s no need for filters when the different film stocks have such distinct looks. And that film grain…*drools*.

Do you ever feel like abandoning it? What stops you?
Not at this stage! Admittedly, I recently bought myself a new digital camera, but I’ll continue to shoot film concurrently. Film can be an expensive hobby. Scanning and processing through a lab can be as much as $30 per roll, plus you have to buy the film stock to shoot on. This can slow down the project, but I’m not working to any deadlines. I’m happy to do things at my own pace.

I think shooting film has really improved my photography, and it’s nice to have a creative outlet outside of graphic design. There’s always another camera to buy or film to try and developing and printing is a whole other area of film photography that I’m yet to explore. My photography skills also come in handy when we need to take some photographs for a job in the studio. Ultimately, it’s something I get a lot of enjoyment out of, so until that stops, I’ll keep doing it!

What's your next side project?
I’ve dabbled in making patches and enamel pins in the past, so maybe revisiting that? In terms of this project, I’d really love to print more of my work in the darkroom. I’ve also considered making a zine which would combine my passions for graphic design and photography.

There you have it. Side projects are an invaluable way to explore and grow our multitudes. A side project is what you choose to do when no-one is asking you to do anything. While they might not be what's on our business cards, in a very real way, they make us who we are.

So, what are you working on?