Brick and Mortar Creative | DEER HENRI
20078
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DEER HENRI

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KNOW YOUR MAKER 

DENISE HODJYSSEK – DEER HENRI

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What were you doing ‘before’ starting Deer Henri and what was it that spurred you to make the leap?

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I fell in  love with fabric design after working for many years in various creative fields, styling and window display, and most recently makeup artistry and photography. It was only after having my first child Henri in 2012, which inspired the name Deer Henri, did I return to my roots of art and design. In my early years I had completed a BA Visual Arts Degree, later I followed it by studying a year of Design Fundamentals at the Design Centre at Enmore Tafe, Sydney where I grew up. 
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After having my son Henri, I recognised a time for a creative change. I have always had a passion for fabric design. So I leapt at the opportunity to do a workshop in Brunswick, Melbourne on screen printing onto fabric. Screen printing like photography is immediate, the results can be bold and powerful straight away. During this period I was also learning to sew, another dream I wanted to achieve sometime in my life journey. The two skills I was learning felt immediately right and slowly have developed and changed along the way, screen printing on to fabric has been replaced by digital print, the final designs now completed in illustrator. 
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What have you found to be the biggest hurdles/scariest moments in starting a creative business?
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One of the biggest challenges is having to do everything yourself at the beginning, designing, making, website design, styling, photography etc I have also had to learn lots of new skills, that can also be overwhelming sometimes. However, when you look back and see what you have achieved and the skills you have developed along the way it can be very rewarding. The scariest moment for any designer or artist is putting your art or product out there and then the wait to see what people think and how they react to what you have created. So far I have had a wonderful response and that builds your confidence and reaffirms that you should carry on.
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And conversely what have been the biggest joys/rewards/lightbulb moments? 
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There are many different types of wonderful experiences at the moment. I am the most happiest (outside beautiful family adventures) simply when I am being creative. When I have time to relax in the studio and just play with shapes and then something just takes place, colour, shape start to harmonise and you can see a design coming together right there. What is also very rewarding to me and inspiring is meeting other makers and being able to share journeys and experiences. It can be very solitary sometimes working in your own creative business. 
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Do you have a ‘creative routine’ to start your day or anything that helps get you in a creative frame of mind, and how would your day differ from an office type job?
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When I am embarking on some design work for Deer Henri I try to start as early as possible in the studio. I pop on some music, something uplifting and perhaps start going through some of my favourite art books. More often than not the designs develop from exploring various colour ranges and playing with organic shapes which can arise from simple doodling and automated drawing. These shapes may be cut out and placed into collages so that I can see the effect before they are screen printed, painted or scanned into the computer. I think the difference from perhaps doing an office type job is that I really never switch off, and will often work odd hours. I think you do have to  be quite disciplined too, especially if you are working from home like I do. I usually shut the door to the rest of the house in order to really concentrate.
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Any advice you’d give to  someone looking to start a creative career?
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If you are embarking on a creative career just do it!!! Surround yourself with other creatives if you can so that you can give and receive encouragement and advice. Create a good sized space for yourself in which to work if possible. Take breaks so you don’t burn yourself out. Im still learning to do this!!! Feed your creativity with doing the things that inspire you. I have just got back from seeing the Marimekko Exhibition in Bendigo that was creatively inspiring for me.
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What are you reading/listening to/eating/drinking/using apps at the moment?
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I am currently reading the latest edition of Uppercase Magazine which is a magazine for creatives published in Canada. I love music, generally a mix but one that is often on repeat is Mauve by Fefe who I saw at the Frenchy So Chic 2018 concert. I have just started to listen to Podcasts as I usually love to also listen to ABC National also when I am working it makes me feel connected. One of the podcasts I follow is Goal Digger by Jenna Kutcher and that is very inspiring and motivational. I am drinking lots of herbal tea at the moment since the cooler weather has set in. I love T2 teas and Brick+Mortar lattes!!! I have an addiction to photographic editing apps. My go to selection are Instagram (of course) ProCamera, Colour Story and Enlight.