Updated: Jun 18, 2020
I was so blessed to be asked to answer some questions from beautiful Darby @ HillSixty blog. Darby is the most amazing writer and such an eloquent storyteller. Check out her instagram here, and her blog here.
Hey Meg! Tell us a a bit about yourself.
I am a Kuku Yalanji woman and I also have dutch heritage. I was born in Ayr, QLD and moved to Yugumbeh/Kombumerri area when I was 5 years old in South-East Queensland. We moved around a lot when I was younger. Whether it was trips to and from Ayr and Brisbane, moving house, long Sunday drives. I loved it all. I moved from Meanjin to Bundjalung 5 years ago and another move in the making hopefully soon to Narrm! We were brought up to work hard and honestly, to put our all in and do things properly. Which in hindsight has been such a blessing as it has served me through all my experiences. Sometimes it can be a little frustrating if you just want to switch off.
Coming from a very busy and driven household, I didn’t have many hobbies. The messaging was that there wasn’t much value held around doing something with no ~tangible~ yield. These days I have so many – clay, painting, roller skating, working out, Groove Therapy dance sessions on Zoom, teaching myself video editing. I also just took up sewing again after 13 years and hopefully surfing and maybe even pole after ISO life ends! Basically, just anything I’ve ever told myself or been told that I can’t do, I am doing it. Not to necessarily get better or prove anyone wrong, but to continue to practice playfulness and bravery and stepping out of my comfort zone on the daily.
What do you do for work each day?
I work as a domestic violence specialist case manager at an Aboriginal women’s refuge. We’re the only one of our kind in our area and we work hard to advocate and support women to find long-term and sustainable housing post-domestic violence experience. We also support women to access services that support their mental health and well being, and love getting flexi and creative to maintain culturally safe practices within the system.
If you weren’t working in this area what would you do?
If I wasn’t working in this area, I would totally be an interior decorator or a ceramicist. I think I will always have like five things going at once. One of the things that lights me up the most is designing beautiful spaces and putting together a good outfit. Getting the ambience right is the most important thing for me, and from there you can create the magic!
Let’s talk about Waymbul Studio.
Waymbul Studio was created one Saturday on a really slow shift as a support worker. I was researching my country and came across a dictionary. Out of curiosity, I spent most of the afternoon looking up words. One that stood out was Waymbul meaning slowly, gently. I don’t think I had even started ceramics yet but I wrote it down to remember as I resonated with the intention. I started ceramics in 2018 and officially selling pieces last year, so fairly new still.
I started off as murrigrl clay as a spin off to my Instagram name but wanted to change the name to make room for expansion. I always put so much pressure to put myself in a box, or a specific niche. I feel like Waymbul Studio gives me more licensing to explore different modalities. I will always be ceramics, but also have a strong pull towards dying fabrics with foods and plants, painting and making art and prints.
I feel like the meaning behind Waymbul is the perfect sentiment for the brand and business – it costs so much to set up, buy supplies and equipment and be consistently producing. Waymbul to me is starting when you’re not ready, imperfectly and growing with your business. Moving with the cycles rather than responding to deadlines and being true to myself in that way.
Have you always been a creative?
I have always been creative but I haven’t always embraced it. When I was 15, I wanted to be a photographer more than anything and had plans to study it out of school. That was until a family member warned me to start thinking about more practical options. I had no idea what to do but felt a mounting pressure to choose. A few days later I overheard someone say they wanted to be a psychologist. I instantly imagined what I would wear, decided I would look BOMB AF in a pencil skirt and made my mind up! The idea also made my family really happy.
It turns out, it was never aligned. After years of suppressing my creativity, I had to unblock the fear and shadow around being creative. I had to show my subconscious I would still be loved, accepted and most importantly safe, to do so. I started slowly with ceramics and since then have opened a whole can of worms! I still hit blocks and will continue to as I think that’s the case when we have been programmed against our innate ways of being but have been enjoying allowing myself to explore.
My inspiration comes a lot from the internet/Instagram. I always save photos of people who are living in their full design, creating, or have something that I admire but never thought possible or that defies mainstream social constructs or expressions of a normal career. Also, my long-distance friend Jade Lister Buttle (@jadelisterbuttle) has been the most amazing source of inspiration and who is unapologetically creating some of her best art yet whilst experimenting dropping new-age ~spiritual~ teachings and basically anything we’ve been programmed the we need (degree etc) before we can be an artist.
She’s a huge inspiration to me. My rubric for something to serve as inspiration is that I need to feel represented. Like there’s something about that person’s story or position that I’ve felt before and it feels like a sign from the universe that it’s possible. I am a big believer that you can’t be what you can’t see. If you’re finding it hard to find inspiration, don’t look for the biggest or best in the industry, rather the people and stories you resonate with the most.
How do you take care of yourself during these unprecedented times?
I had a whole heap of expectations through these times and put a lot of pressure on myself to make use of the time as strategically as possible. This didn’t last long and ended in many internal meltdowns, I have to admit. Naturally living so close to Byron, I put extra pressure on myself to strip down to basics, meditate extra hard and to start cooking from scratch and reject the masculine patriarchy. After a few weeks of trying different things that seemed to be the ‘right’ way to isolate, I started to practice following my gut and being more impulsive.
Some weeks it looked like three masks in less than seven days and panic-buying oversized sweats. Other weeks it’s been 7-hour straight sessions of clay and making art prints for my store. I have also taken up dance lessons with Groove Therapy on Zoom twice a week and am enjoying moving my body in different ways.
I have made an extra effort connecting with friends and family, and then disconnecting just the same when needed. I have been mourning the beach a lot and taking depression naps when needed, watching KUWTK for hours on end, doing inner work via ‘to be magnetic’ and redecorating lots! The collective energy is low and mourning which makes it hard to be productive at the best of times. Learning to not compare experience with others and exercising releasing my expectations of self and others.
What is a valuable lesson learned recently?
Recent valuable life lessons would be to cut ties with toxic people. It’s one of the hardest things you can do in life but there’s literally no way around it. I think Brene Brown helped me realise that nearly everyone is doing their best. It’s both terrifying and liberating because now the responsibility is in our own hands again and for us to decide whether that person has a place in it anymore.
Favourite book? You Were Born for This by Chani Nicholas – Oooft what an astrological game changer! 10/10 recommend! Oh, and the Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson.
Best way to unwind? Wine and clay!
What is a 10/10 series you’re watching? Favourite series watched recently was The Morning Show and Big Little Lies (little late to the game). So good! And Reece Witherspoon!? Phwoah, amazing!
Honest coffee order? Large long black with cream. My first ever coffee order was a small extra shot soy latte with caramel – cue *started from the bottom now we here* by Drake… shame!
Sweet or savoury? Savoury always! Anything slow cooked and with deadly aromatics – legit weakness of mine.