Welcome to My Design Alley. A design blog celebrating design in many forms - from interior spaces to new products, stores and interviews with designers both local and from around the world.

A Moment With | Rachel Castle

A Moment With | Rachel Castle

Ask artist Rachel Castle what her favourite colour is, and she's quick to respond -  it's all colours of the rainbow of course, depending on her current mood. Rachel's passion for bright and vibrant colour is a direct reflection of her effervescent personality. Her work is a celebration of bright, fun and bold colour which she applies onto mediums such as painting, screen printing and embroidery - without a dull hue in sight! Her business, Castle + Things has evolved slowly and organically, and includes homeware, clothing, bed linen, artwork and prints.

So Rachel, colour is such an important element in your work - why is it so important to you? As a teenager growing up in the eighties, everything was about a riot of colour. Wham!, Culture Club and Adam and the Ants... fluro was huge, slogans were huge, I think this lay dormant in me for a very long time.  

“Whenever I try a softer palette, I just get stuck, i need all the colours to make it really sing.”
Castle + Things    So Damn Nice sweaters - seriously fun!

Castle + Things So Damn Nice sweaters - seriously fun!

When was Castle + Things first conceived - was there a light bulb moment? The growth of the business has been totally organic. I’ve always made little things, for birthdays and Christmas. At home with two small children the need to ‘create’ rather than wipe up after everyone was overwhelming! I made a small website, nothing fancy, and didnt sell anything for 6 months. I still remember my first sale, that was the lightbulb moment. There's never been a plan and there still isn’t!

Have you always worked in the creative field? Yes, I have. From the beginning I worked in PR at Country Road for the Homeware division, then moved into production for shoots and printed material at The Conran Shop in London, and then onto our own branding agency. I have always been surrounded by creatives, and therefore very much understand the process, but was never in a position before recently to be the ‘creator’.

“Music, love and beautiful stories inspire me the most.”
Castle + Things  Limited Edition 'Nuts' Screen Print.

Castle + Things Limited Edition 'Nuts' Screen Print.

What's your most treasured item? I have so many. When I was first married I told my husband that for every significant milestone, birthdays, christmases, anniversaries, I needed him to make me something, a card, or a little poem or anything he could think of. And bless him he always has, and now our children too.  

“My family groan when they have to make cards for everyone... But hey suck it up, it’s a life lesson in showing love and respect.”

What's your favourite medium to work with? My least favourite is printing! You can spend FOREVER putting down all the colours and then the last one a week later can bleed and then... it's all over. It's a very unforgiving medium. Painting inspires me the most and sewing calms me down the most, which is good thing!

Creatively, what is one specific theme you keep returning to? Lots and lots and lots of spots. They just punctuate everything.

Castle + Things  Penny Round Cushions available in a rainbow of colours.

Castle + Things Penny Round Cushions available in a rainbow of colours.

What's your proudest achievement? My family for sure. They are EVERYTHING to me.

Favourite destination in Sydney? The Opera House - I swoon. Even the loos are incredible.

When it comes to your personal style, how does your aesthetic carry into your wardrobe? I'm a really boring dresser… jeans and t-shirt mostly, I wear a lot of navy.

“I try my hardest to look like Victoria Beckham but never once ever, never ever, have I even remotely come within a whisker of her fabulousness!”

What's in store for Castle + Things in 2017? A special collaboration which I cant talk about yet but which I am SUPER excited about. And lots of paintings, and a show at Koskela in October. And a baby for Leni (my assistant) which means lots of changes at work…. and of course tons of new products, which is currently being developed - watch this space!

Castle + Things  collection of playful bed linen.   

Castle + Things collection of playful bed linen.




The Two of Us | Sophie Tatlow + Bruce Slorach

The Two of Us | Sophie Tatlow + Bruce Slorach