“Creating is something I’ve done since I was very young and it’s continued to be a big part of who I am as a person,” says artist and designer Sarah Kelk. It has followed her throughout her life - from growing up on the South Island of New Zealand to creating a homewares business, Hello Polly in 2011 from her current Melbourne base. Sarah started that venture after a period of living and working overseas, including time in Edinburgh in 2004 running a gallery space. “It solidified that fact that I really wanted to work with and alongside creative people, as well as showing me that I really enjoy working for myself,” she says. A few years ago Sarah was keen to start painting again, and she used her artworks as a starting point for a range of homewares for Hello Polly, which she runs with her sister Helen Adams, who joined the business in 2013. All of their products are made in Melbourne, using local printers and textile manufacturers. As for Sarah’s art practice, she says, “I loved painting again and haven't stopped since.” She is exhibiting All Things Now at Modern Times in Melbourne’s Fitzroy until 6 August.
Which five words best describe you? Busy, happy, driven, practical, creative.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? It started by someone giving a fresh-out-of-uni, driven and enthusiastic girl a chance. From there I’ve put my head down and worked incredibly hard in every role I’ve worked in since.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? I’m a firm believer of the “do it now” policy. I use it everyday and thank my sister for sharing this great bit of wisdom with me.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Working on the solo show All Things Now for Modern Times has been incredibly rewarding. I’m really proud of the fact that I managed to pull together 22 pieces that I love, whilst running Hello Polly and making time for my family. It’s been hard work juggling it all, but it’s been well worth it.
What’s been your best decision? In 2003 I was about to start post-grad study, but at the last minute threw it all in and ran away travelling the world with my now husband. This decision started the wheel of self discovery and was instrumental to feeding my creativity.
Who inspires you? Busy people who not only make time for their creative pursuits, but also give lots of time to their families are endlessly inspiring. I also have really strong female role models in my life - my sister, Mum and Grandmother - and they have always been a strong pillar of inspiration and support to me. I really hope I can inspire my kids to follow a dream of theirs in the future too!
What are you passionate about? My family, friends, food, ideas and creating.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I’d have loved to have met my dad’s father, George Adam. He sounded like a total character and I’ve always thought we would have got on. Oh, and Ryan Gosling!
What dream do you still want to fulfil? To continue painting, and in an ideal world, find the time to take a couple of years out and go travelling around the world with my husband and kids.
What are you reading? The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton.