Monday, 3 June 2013

Yo Mama! An Interview With Briar Stanley


About three years ago I had the great fortune of meeting Briar Stanley through work. She's a wildly talented woman with so much going on you don't know where she'll pop up next. Since meeting her three years ago, she's become a mum to the most ridiculously beautiful baby girl who makes me go clucky every. single. time I see her pop up on Instagram.

Briar's blog is this hotspot of cool. I love clicking through and wondering what I'll find. I'm never disappointed. Briar carefully curates a visually rich snapshot into her life. It's like visiting a good friend to catch up. Except much more beautiful.

She's terribly humble, utterly charming, and her work just appears BOOM - so effortlessly stylish. 

So let's do this thing - I'm lucky to have Briar Stanley on PMM today. Look out for her credit on Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby. Let's GO!

PMM - Briar Stanley. Props buyer. Interior stylist. Food enthusiast. Crafter. Blogger. Mother. How do you fit it all in?

BS - I don't watch a lot of TV and I rarely sit still. 

To be honest, I'm concentrating on styling resedential properties since I have been on maternity leave, working from home with more flexible hours - so I haven't been experiencing the long hours as a props buyer on a film for a while. 

I've also always got time to be a food enthusiast. My husband is a great cook, and I love nothing more than trying out a new restaurant or cafe with my baby in tow...she loves her toast and babycino.

How did you first start working in interiors and prop styling?

I studied Graphic Design for three years at The Design Centre, Enmore. After graduating, I was a graphic designer for a few years at a big advertising agency - but my heart was never really in it. I one day found myself on the client side of a Kelloggs commercial and had a complete life changing/light bulb moment when I spotted the crew Set Dresser decorating the lounge room. A few months later, I took a bit of a gamble. I quit my day job and started waitressing in a pizza restaurant at night so I was free during the day to take on work experience in the film industry. Experience work I did! That was over seven years ago, and all the free work paid off - I work with the same people today I met in those first few months.

You worked on The Great of Gatsby (squeeeee!!). What was your favourite part?

I was surrounded by sparkles, gorgeous furniture and sumptuous fabrics as a Senior Buyer in the Set Decorating department for close to a year, it was definitely one of the highlights of my career. The huge size of the production and the healthy budget meant that we had the luxury of highly detailed and layered sets with months of research behind us. It was a challenging job, but thrilling at the same time. Working with the best in the industry and witnessing things like Gatsby's extravagant party scenes being shot at Fox Studios was truly electric. 

It must be demanding working on a film. How do you maintain your stamina?

Exercise definitely helps - not only physically but also for mental stamina. For the past few years, I have been part of a Manly based personal training group PinkFit a few times a week. For me, a day beginning with exercise is a much more productive one! I also walk/pram push a lot with my baby. In the first few months of her life, we would clock about 9km a day, because that was the only way she would nap...oh, fun times! When I'm working on a film, I'm always in bed before 9pm, as I usually have to set the alarm for 5.30am.

What other awesome projects have you worked on?

Some films I really enjoyed working on include Australia, Wolverine and Tomorrow When the War Began. I've also worked on the television series Underbelly, Rake and Paper Giants. I especially enjoyed Paper Giants, the story of Ita Buttrose - when she was editor of Cleo in the 1970's. 

I've also had some fun shoot days in the world of magazines - assisting the stylist Megan Morton was always a joy, and styling my own 3 x covers for Real Living magazine was definitely a highlight.

What's one of your favourite parts of your job?

It sounds so clich√©, but I was able to forge a career based around my hobby. I was obsessed with interiors as a kid (I was always moving things around  my bedroom), so to be able to play with furniture and props all day really is a dream come true. 

What's your least favourite part?

When I'm working on a film, it would have to be the long hours.
You have a one year old baby. How do you juggle life?

My Mum and family are a big help and I have a very supportive husband. It's taken a while, but I feel like we are juggling things quite well. It's coincided with the baby becoming a better sleeper too. Sleep makes the world such a better place!

I found working from home, I always found distractions such as the washing machine, the sink and making beds (plus much, much more), how do you keep your eyes on the prize?

I'm pretty used to working alone when I'm on the road. When I'm out sourcing props and furniture, it's really important to keep focused with a strict to-do list. When the day comes to an end back at the office, I have to have some exciting things to show and tell. I treat working from home in a similar way, I'm a big fan of my to-do list (including daily domestic chores). I also make sure my office space is always looking nice and inviting, with good natural light.

Do you take time out for yourself? What do you get up to re-energise your batteries?

I'm not great at switching off - I can't even sit through a whole DVD at home. I do love to go to the cinema though, and pre-baby, would often go alone.  

I get the urge to craft/create often. It's almost my form of meditation, and I like to complete projects while the baby is napping.

What's up next for Briar Stanley?

A trip to New York. I kid...I wish. I'm decorating a gorgeous home for a client at the moment, so I'm looking forward to seeing the project come together. I also hope to style a few more children's bedrooms in the near future - that's where I can really have some fun.

Find Briar's consistently beautiful blog Sunday Collector here
Find her on Instagram here
And Facebook here
And Bloglovin here

This is the 10th interview in my Yo Mama! series. Interviews with creative working mamas. Look out for them (sometimes) weekly.


Christina said...

Sigh. What a talented Mama! Love her style and her sincerity. Always love finding to know more about creative working Mamas. Thanks Lexi! xx

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Karen March said...

Great interview!! As a fellow designer, living Sydney, and about to experience motherhood for the first time, I find great inspiration from people such as Briar. She is a super talent x