Andes rug in a living room

Grounded in Nature with Studio CD & Sharyn Cairns

The newest additions to our Classic Collection – Acacia, Andes, Winnow and Bramble – explore how filling the home with furnishings that pull the outside in can lift our energy levels from the moment we cross the threshold. Below, we speak to stylist Claire Driscoll Delmar of Studio CD and photographer Sharyn Cairns about shooting the campaign and how they maintain a connection with nature in their day-to-day lives.

Andes rug in a living room
Andes rug in a living room

What are 3 things that make for a seamless shoot experience?

Preparation, collaboration and adaptability. Working with like-minded creatives that have the same vision and energy goes a long way in making a successful shoot. Each person has their specific requirements in order to bring the campaign to life, so it’s important that concepts and mood boards are established, defining the look and feel of the imagery. If challenges are considered prior to the day, it also allows you to be focused solely on being creative. It’s good to have a plan but also to be organic and adaptable. Often situations arise that take you in a different direction, leading to a better outcome.

Andes rug in a living room

Claire, how do you balance your beautiful signature aesthetic with a campaign like this, where we want to give audiences the blank canvas to imagine our rugs in their own spaces?

I love natural textures and materials, so working with the Armadillo range always allows a beautiful base to build upon. The colors, piles, knots and variations mean I can introduce a variety of styles – whether it’s contemporary forms, vintage pieces or complementary natural and organic layers. A customer can then connect with a color or style that’s within their home or that they aspire to, and in turn, imagine how the rug would work within their own space.

Acacia rug in a dining room
Acacia rug in a dining room

Sharyn, how important is natural light in your style of photography?

I really love natural light, so it’s important for me to establish that the location has the right light for what I’m trying to achieve. I like the challenge of its unpredictability, the chance to play with sun shafts and shadows. Other times, I prefer the flatness of an overcast day for consistency and neutral color tones.

“Nature is like a form of meditation.”

Winnow rug in a bedroom

With our rugs, the beauty is in their detail. How did you go about capturing their tactility in your imagery?

I think it’s important in the campaign to convey the rugs in the beauty of a space. The overall feel sets a tone – it provides inspiration as well as a practical scale. Rich, intriguing details or more tightly framed crops can then show the texture of the handwoven craftsmanship. The stylist also works to create scenes that are complementary to the rugs.

Claire, did this influence your choice of props?

I like to work with a calm approach through the props and add a touch of uniqueness to give it life. I feel this balance really speaks to the brand, allowing the rugs to tell a story of their own.

Bramble rug in a serene interior
Bramble rug in a serene interior
Featured in the August/September 2020 issue of Belle.

Our new collection is all about being “grounded in nature” and using nature-inspired furnishings to enhance our well-being. Do you find that your own interiors have an influence on your mood and energy?

Absolutely, I love the use of natural and organic pieces throughout my home, which make it feel comfortable and relaxing. Alongside my Armadillo rug are pieces in timber, travertine, linen and leather which complement the rugs in a timeless manner.

It’s important to have a home where you can relax, feel calm and centred from the everyday pace, especially in these times when we are spending so much of it at home. A sanctuary of simple but comfortable furnishings, objects and artworks that are personal mementos, and colour hues that promote the same feel. Mood lighting has a huge influence on this – I like freestanding, dimmable lamps so that I can create a soft ambience, a place to withdraw and restore my energy for busier shoot days.

Andes rug in a serene interior
What are some small ways that you maintain a connection to nature?

Sharyn: Whether it’s walking, running or just sitting in the park or staring at waves crashing on the beach, nature is like a form of meditation for me. It erodes so many of the daily complexities and has the ability to just make me be still.

I live right near Centennial Park, so I enjoy daily walks through there. My children also love being outdoors, so this keeps me connected to nature.

Acacia rug in a serene interior
Winnow rug in a serene interior

What is keeping you grounded these days?

Given the current climate where so many people are facing hardship, I am more grateful for small wins in a day. Being healthy, exercising and enjoying the slower pace of life is keeping me smiling.

Daily walks, pilates via Zoom and lots of cooking and wine! Special times spent with family and friends have also been very grounding of late.

Acacia rug in a serene interior

Follow Claire Driscoll Delmar and Sharyn Cairns on Instagram.

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