Photography : Mariana Garcia-Katz – m2matiz


The images of Mariana Garcia-Katz are still and spacious; there is beauty always to be found in the everyday. Space is an element of the image in its own right, worthy of closer investigation; this and texture are at the core of her work.


m2matiz – ‘earthly’ series


m2matiz – ‘earthly’ series


m2matiz – ‘earthly’ series


Mariana admits to being an admirer of Charles and Ray Eames, the American husband and wife team best known for their iconic mid-century furniture designs. But it is also their other achievements in the fields of film, fabric design, graphics, photography and architecture, that she finds inspiring. She says they were “A wonderful couple, that were acutely aware of the environment around them and how to harness technological advancements to make theirs and our world a better place. Their whole aesthetic is completely inspiring to me.”

I can see a similar kind of eloquence in Mariana’s images. I’ve loved her photography for a long time, originally discovering them through her work as m2matiz – the business that makes the t.lighthaus© and the luMierebox.  These illuminated images came about from combining her photography, her skills as a graphic designer, and as a maker of things.


m2matiz – ‘objects’ series


I asked Mariana about her approach to photography. “I don’t really have a working method, as such. I have a pretty spontaneous approach to what I do. All of the products I make, are foremost, about the image. Inspiration is all around us. The more I photograph, the more I see, the more I want to create.”

Her love grew from a childhood filled with beautiful images. “My family travelled a lot when I was growing up and my dad took loads of photos. He also loved slide film, so the combination made for incredible slide nights. I think back then people thought a bit more about the pictures they were about to take. There was such clarity and detail which, I think, seems to have been lost today.”


m2matiz – ‘objects’ series


Mariana has worked for many years as a graphic designer, and also spent some time studying interior design and decoration.

“Photography has always been important to me, however, it developed into a real passion in 2007. The camera was with me everywhere I went. Initially, it was purely a creative outlet for me, but eventually I decided to find a way to make my passion viable.” She started out by making stationery, cards and jewellery, as well as the t.lighthaus© and luMierebox and set up m2matiz in 2009.

She started selling her wares at a small stall at a market, and it all grew from there. While she still attends several markets throughout Melbourne, she also sells through other established retailers, and on her own website, which she says, “has been a revelation”.


m2matiz – ‘objects’ series


m2matiz – ‘objects’ series


“After designing and creating the t.lighthaus©, [which came about very organically], I really wanted to find a way of using my images with an electric light, something more permanent. I was inspired by an old lightbox I’d purchased many years ago. My father had made plywood box shelving for our home and I thought a similar construction would make fabulous lightboxes. So, there began the idea. Dad made up a few prototype boxes, fine tuning materials and finish.” She says the design was then further tweaked and honed, to become what it is today.

She works from a studio at the back of her home in the Melbourne suburb of Thornbury. “It is nice being away from the house and it has a different vibe. There is great natural light and plenty of space, so I can relax and spread out. It is great to turn the music up and think about my next creation or cut, stamp and tie with string.”

But the house is good too. One of her most favourite things is the north light that spills in through her back living/dining/kitchen space. “I’m very much inspired by the shadow play on the walls, ceiling and objects. I can’t but pick up either my Nikon or iPhone to capture something that changes in an instant.” (Her home was featured on The Design Files last year! You can check some images here.)


m2matiz – ‘abstract’ series

Her best piece of advice? She has two. “I can hear my parents say, ‘What ever you do, always do your best’… I try to live by this. And to quote Charles Eames, ‘Choose your corner, pick away at it carefully, intensely and to the best of your ability and that way you might change the world.'”


You can find more of Mariana’s images, as well as the t.lighthaus© and the luMierebox on her website –


With thanks to Mariana for sharing her words and images here.

Design How-to : Size


One of the purposes of Design is to stimulate and engage the viewer/user, especially if you have a product to sell. Wouldn’t you rather a customer who appreciates your effort and loves what you do? Someone who admires and uses your work for years to come? I know the things I love always have a kind of mystery about them, perhaps a little something left to the imagination. They stretch my expectations in some way, and I love that they’ve come through someone else’s inventiveness, skill, and hard work.


Continuing my series on the Elements and Principles of Design, this post is about the element of Size. This is really such a simple element to play around with, and yet it can be used to incredibly dramatic effect. It is not just whether something is tiny or large, it is also about the relationships between the objects in your composition or design. The final purpose of the design is also relevant. And it is important to remember that size is a relative thing – compare a grain of sand to a seashell, or a seashell to a whale.

Try these.

‘lilypond’ fabric design by uzumakijo via spoonflower


What a stunning print this is. This segment of the fabric repeat is fat quarter size (21″ x 18″, or 53cm x 48cm), so you can imagine how striking this would be in a full length. If the repeat were much smaller, it may start to lose its details, and most certainly it would lose its impact.


‘succulent cactus’ photography by FacingTheLens


Size can be used for impact though comparison. By showing a full flower head, and then only a portion of another, we get drawn off the top of the frame and are encouraged to use our imaginations. When we look back at the image (as we inevitably do, to investigate further), we are then more inclined to notice the small leaf-like bits on the stalk – another nice big-small thing happening in this image.


‘knit stools’ by Claire Anne O’Brien


Using unexpected shifts of scale, as in these super-size knit stools, is another way of engaging and confronting the viewer. What is also so engaging about these is their fabulous tactile quality – they look so squishy and soft!


‘ladybug stacking ring’ sterling silver & 14k rose gold by PatrickIrlaJewelry


A tiny bug on a little ring intrigues because of its sweet delicacy. If the ladybug were much larger, it would start to look pretty kitsch.


‘bee & sagura blossom’ photography by MurrayBolesta


Besides size (being a little bee on a big flower), there are other elements and principles at work in this image – a sense of symmetry and balance, beautiful contrasts of textures in the flower itself and on the bee covered in pollen, and the intriguing detail of the almost-unnoticed bee in the background to the left. There is also a lovely tension between the bee and flower – we know they’re just about to connect.


This beautifully humorous piece relies on a sense of space as well as scale to convey the Kraken’s enormity. Note also the simple flat colour, and soft layering of hand-cut shapes which add to its sense of whimsy – those long and sinuous arms are not threatening, they’re waving.


Keep watching this space! My next post in this series will be about the use of tone (or maybe perhaps shape…. or direction?)

Cheers, Julie x

(P.S. – Each of the images link back to that shop – just click on them to be taken there.)


The seductiveness of nature : the 3D prints of Nervous System

Nervous System is the design studio founded in 2007 by Jessica Rosenkrantz and Jesse Louis-Rosenberg in Massachusetts. Both have diverse academic backgrounds – Jessica holds degrees from MIT in Architecture and Biology, and she spent 2.5 years studying architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Jesse also attended MIT, majoring in Mathematics. He previously worked as a consultant for Gehry Technologies in building modelling and design automation.


cellular pendant – black nylon


The beginnings of their production happened more or less by accident, when Jessica was working on an architecture modelling project. She had thin pieces of board laser-cut for a model, but after being left on her desk for a while, they started to curl up. The many enquiries from people asking “Is that a bracelet?” prompted the next step – they cut some bracelets from polystyrene, started selling on Etsy, and haven’t looked back.


dichotomous pendant – black chromium plated stainless steel


hyphae brooch – black nylon


Nervous System draw inspiration for their designs  from items such as leaves, hard corals, sand dunes, and algae. They don’t start with the finished product in mind, but rather look at the the forms of nature and try to recreate the way in which those patterns generate in nature.

In this way, they create a bunch of applets (small pieces of code designed to do a specific task), that they then use in creating their finished concept. Each rendered idea is then discussed as to its final function, its appropriate choice of material, and then its construction method. Methods include laser-cutting, water-jet cutting, and 3D printing, as well as the relatively old technology of photo-etching. But what is particularly fabulous is that as a bonus of them creating these applets, they have released the code on their website under Creative Commons Licensing! This means that anyone can use it for free to create their own custom pieces of jewellery, which you can then order through them, or you can just go and have fun with it online (and yeah, it’s fun! High-tech DIY).


cell cycle bracelets – black nylon


Besides jewellery, which they make available in a variety of materials from nylon through to sterling silver, they also have started making homewares, including cups, plates, and lamps.


reaction cup – porcelain, with reaction-diffusion texture

seed lamp #1


I love these forms, they are delicate and elegant and capable of infinite variation. It is a wonderful nexus between Nature and technology.

You can find them on Etsy here, on their own website here, and you can find the code to play with and create your own here.


I would like to thank Nervous System for their kind permission to reproduce images and text here.


Photography : Rebecca Leathem – letterbox








“I am a reader, a writer, a photographer and a mother to 4 beautiful
children: Molly, Jacob & Findlay and Pete.

Photography has been a hobby of mine since 2007 when I give birth to
twin boys Jacob & Findlay. To our great shock and sadness Findlay was
stillborn at delivery.  I picked up the camera in response to the
overwhelming grief that I felt at the loss of our precious son.
Beyond that first year I discovered I love photography and that it is
a wonderful way of using my creative side which doesn’t require the
intensity (always) that sitting down to write demands.

Earlier this year I took a series of photographs of letterboxes in our
area. In the back of my mind were thoughts about mail and the lack of
now we are in a digital age and that perhaps one day we won’t even
have a letterbox in front of our houses. I also love the way people
individualise a utilitarian object.”

You can find Rebecca on Twitter – @Becs

and find some of her writing and more photographs on her blog.

Rebecca lives and works in New Zealand.

launching soon…

I am so excited that I will be able to share my new blog with you soon! Featuring the things that are dear to me – craft, surface design, and books, I intend it to be a visual feast of colour, texture, and pattern (with text, of course!).

I’m just adding to my (already large) collection of beautiful ideas and images at the moment – there is so much wonderful stuff, I almost don’t know where to start….. but I will, and I’ve set the launch date for 28th November – that’s less than two weeks away, friends!

So mark the date in your calendar, sign up for emails (just there to your right), or join me on Facebook and Twitter, so you don’t miss it.

See you all soon!




Julie x