The Gatherer Artist Collection is Stone & Wood merch with a twist. For the first time, we’ve partnered with local female artists and asked them to create their interpretation of The Gatherer.
On sale in our Tasting Room in Byron Bay and Brisbane brewery and via our online store as a bundle with a carton of The Gatherer, this 100% organic linen tea towel featuring artwork by Brisbane-based illustrator Brook Gossen is a founding piece for the collection. Bright, colourful and durable, the tea towel’s artwork brings The Gatherer into your kitchen and captures how friends might enjoy the beer together.
Starting her creative career once her children were at school, Brook threw herself into designing with a 100-day challenge on Instagram – and has never looked back. Through her Brissy design business she creates eye-catching illustrations and patterns used on clothing and accessories in colabs with local brands, plus her own bedding label, More Than Ever.
Brook draws inspiration from the simple beauty of everyday life: flowers, delicious food, watching her cat stretch and her indoor plant collection. We caught up with Brook to talk all things design and making a living doing what you love.
How did your journey to illustration and design begin?
My journey to becoming an artist started a little later in life, all after quitting my fine arts degree, living and working overseas, and starting a family. I never lost my need to create, but didn’t get fully back into making art until all three of my beautiful children were at primary school and I had a bit more time on my hands. I participated in the 100 day project on Instagram as a way of holding myself accountable and committing to making new art as regularly as possible, with no excuses. That project was pivotal in finding my love of pattern and colour and starting my design business.
Where do you produce most of your work?
Most of my work is made in my lounge room, on my iPad. I still pull out the pencils and paints and play with collage from time to time, but using an iPad has been a game changer and allows me to be a lot more efficient with my time. And my lounge room is my favourite room in my house! I finish most of my work in my home studio at my computer, but pretty much everything starts while sitting in the sunshine in my favourite chair with my cat by my side (usually waiting to be fed haha).
Your work captures several different styles – from cartoon ostrich prints to colour-block rainbows and intricate native flowers. Did you start with one style and evolve or have you always produced different works?
I’ve always produced a fairly wide variety of work because I get bored fairly easily, I need to try new things and experiment all the time. In saying that though, I have definitely developed a style over time, and for most of my work, even though the content varies, it all looks fairly cohesive.
From your own works, which is your favourite style of illustration? Why?
Definitely drawing the female form, I don’t get tired of it. Women are beautiful and strong and provide an endless source of inspiration. Often my illustrations depict something that I’m feeling at that time, whether it be something as simple as the joy I’m feeling while being away on a holiday or a more complex feeling that I’m struggling with and am working through. It becomes a form of therapy for me.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Inspiration is all around me! So cliched, but true. I find inspiration in flowers that I see when I go for a walk in the morning; my cat stretching; eating a delicious meal, travelling to a new place, near or far. I try and stop, slow down, and appreciate what is around me as often as I can.
You’ve collaborated with several cool Australian labels. What do you look for in a collaboration?
I love to collaborate with local labels, and those with similar ideals to me in regards to our planet and its beautiful people. We agree on the need to make our world a better place and diversity and inclusivity being the norm. It’s wonderful to work with brands who put their faith and trust in me to create an artwork that their customers will love and want to buy.
Who are your favourite Australian artists?
Ooooh that’s so hard! Some of my favourites that come to mind are Maggie Green, Hannah Carrick, Sally Anderson, Emma Currie, Marc Martin … but there are so many more.
Do you have a particular ritual or method before your start working – of getting into the creative zone?
I love to do a warm-up drawing before I get started for the day – often I just let my mind wander and just create for the sake of creating rather than with an end product in mind. It’s really freeing and a lot of my best patterns have been developed that way.
What is the best thing about a creative career, and what is the most challenging?
The best thing is that I get to do what I love every day, and I never tire of it. The most challenging however, is finding a nice work/life balance. Because I create for work and for pleasure, the lines are blurred and I have to take time out so I don’t end up burning out.
How do you best enjoy The Gatherer?
With good friends and a delicious grazing platter with meats, cheeses, pate, dips, vegies, biscuits, bread, olives, and fruits! Something for everyone and always with a great playlist and great conversation.