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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 | Amber Creswell Bell

A Moment With | Amber Creswell Bell

For author, curator, lifestyle writer and speaker Amber Creswell Bell, inspiration for a new project can come at the most unusual places. A self-confessed 'creative hustler', Amber spends her days doing what she loves the most, finding it hard to call what she does 'work'. Amber's passion for art is fierce, she is a regular curator for local exhibitions showcasing the best local talent, including artists and ceramists. Her beautiful book 'Clay' was released late last year and is now stocked in places such as the The Metropolitan Museum in New York. I caught up with Amber to find out why her job makes her heart race with utter joy. 

Hi Amber, I love that you are described as a ‘creative hustler’ in your bio on your website - have you always worked in the creative field? No! I actually studied Psychology and went on to have a corporate career, which I did well at – but h-a-t-e-d. I felt constantly tired, stressed and unsatisfied. I didn't feel like I was working with “my people”. When I turned 30, I decided that I alone had the power to change that. I quit my job, navel gazed, did some courses in design and was very lucky to have some amazing opportunities to work with the likes of Jamie Durie, Lisa Messenger and Arent&Pyke. About 5 years ago I decided to go out entirely on my own, first as a writer, and then crossing over into curation – and the rest is history.

“It was the best risk i’ve ever taken.”
  An extract from  Clay: Contemporary Ceramic Artisans     by Amber Creswell Bell.

An extract from Clay: Contemporary Ceramic Artisans by Amber Creswell Bell.

Where do you go for inspiration? Exhibitions, Instagram, old magazines, beautiful books, travel, conversations with other creatives. It's everywhere.

“Sometimes the concept for a whole project can fall out of a single line in a song I heard while driving.”

What inspires you the most? People bravely doing their own thing, bucking trends.

What’s your most treasured item? Our home. It’s a little patch of planet Earth that is all ours.

 A snapshot from the exhibition Fleurt, curated by Amber Creswell Bell.

A snapshot from the exhibition Fleurt, curated by Amber Creswell Bell.

 Tell me about your book Clay - how did the idea to showcase artisans first come about? It’s funny. At the time I had just started out curating exhibitions, and was always mindful to include both painters and ceramicists – which wasn’t necessarily the norm thing. At that time I was also contributing to The Design Files, and probably filing quite a few profiles on ceramicists and potters! And I was collecting ceramics myself and posting a lot on Instagram. It was obviously clear I had an interest and the nice people at publisher Thames & Hudson noticed this – and asked me if I would like to write a book about it!

“Writing a book was always on my bucket list - it was a major, major dream come true.”
 Ceramic artist Milly Dent in   Clay: Contemporary Ceramic Artisans   by Amber Creswell Bell.

Ceramic artist Milly Dent in Clay: Contemporary Ceramic Artisans by Amber Creswell Bell.

What do you love most about art? Buying art, seeing art, reading about art and working with artists makes my heart race with joy... it feels quite primal and I’m not sure how else to describe it!

“Art is an honest, timeless and beautiful way for humans to communicate their ideas – and it’s somewhat addictive.”
  An extract from  Clay: Contemporary Ceramic Artisans   by Amber Creswell Bell.

An extract from Clay: Contemporary Ceramic Artisans by Amber Creswell Bell.

 Geometrica exhibition curated by Amber Creswell Bell.

Geometrica exhibition curated by Amber Creswell Bell.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job? I absolutely love working for myself, and the life flexibility it affords me.

“My entire job, whether it’s writing about creatives, or curating exhibitions showcasing creative talents – essentially distills all my favourite things, wraps them up with a bow and I get to call it ‘work’.”

Essentially I see myself as the conduit behind the scenes that makes things happen – whether it be providing the platform, the promotion, the connections, fostering collaborations, securing sponsorship, putting ideas into words and everything in between. Seeing plans and ideas come to fruition is so, so rewarding!

 Matilda Julian exhibition curated by Amber Creswell Bell.

Matilda Julian exhibition curated by Amber Creswell Bell.

What are you loving right now? I love the podcast S-town. Oh my goodness. I listened to the whole thing (7 hours!) in one sitting. It is ADDICTIVE and I could not stop thinking about it for days. Still thinking about it actually, I love Conversations with Richard Fidler on ABC. I’m sure I’m not alone here, but it is something I look forward to daily. I also love the artwork of Clara Adolphs.

 Ceramist Tara Burke in   Clay: Contemporary Ceramic Artisans   by Amber Creswell Bell.

Ceramist Tara Burke in Clay: Contemporary Ceramic Artisans by Amber Creswell Bell.

What’s in store for you in 2017? I’m currently in the early stages of writing a second book, which is so amazing! I’m so lucky. I have a few more beautiful exhibitions in Sydney lined up for later in the year. And I’m turning 40 – so planning a nice little getaway somewhere!

“Seeing my book clay stocked in places such as the metropolitan museum in New York or the Louisiana museum of modern art in Denmark is a little bit mind-blowing.”
MCM House | Paddington

MCM House | Paddington

The Edit | 5 Sofas

The Edit | 5 Sofas