She opened her antique suitcase and out spilled layer upon layer of dreamy waterscapes. Women in the sea, overflowing with power and grace reminiscent of Greek goddesses. Christie Rigby’s paintings are mellow and feminine, yet portray immense confidence and strength.
Christie was the guest of honor at our dinner with Mamabake, and she graciously invited us to stay with her in Byron Bay. We accepted, and we’re so glad we did.
We caught her at a very busy time–prepping for an extended trip to Europe, working almost full time at Heart & Halo, curating and framing her paintings and prints for buyers and a group exhibit, painting daily, and trying to squeeze in surfing in the mornings.. her life was packed. Yet somehow she still found time to cook us an incredibly tasty quinoa stir fry (did we mention she’s a trained chef?), show us her studio, and send us in the direction of the industrial estate, where we met Real Creative Design and The Design Kids. Christie was an integral link to our epic Byron Bay experience and we are eternally grateful!
Christie’s paintings are just like her–calm, expressive, honest, energetic, and all about the sea. The daughter of a fisherman and an artist, it all makes perfect sense to us.
A stone’s throw away from Real Creative Design Studio, we moseyed over to round 2 of Byron Bay’s industrial estate and to another heaping spoonful of inspiration. Maria of Real Creative walked us there herself and introduced us to Frankie Ratford, the creator of The Design Kids.
Frankie is all over Australia’s design scene, having worked with Frost in Sydney, studying in Melbourne, managing the Design Kids in Byron Bay, and lecturing in Brisbane. Which is no small feat considering how huge Australia is and how many of those gigs she does simultaneously.
The Design Kids is a platform for emerging designers and creatives in Australia to sell their work. Frankie helps facilitate real world opportunities for design students to get a taste of what the industry is like outside of the classroom, and she’s doing a kick ass job of it. Their most recent exhibition, the Terrible Twos paired each student with an established studio to collaborate, and the sale of each canvas went to a charity of the student’s choosing. More on the win-win scenarios that Frankie’s created below (and a photo of Frankie’s collaboration from the Terrible Two’s exhibit.. the one with the kitchen stove.)
Frankie’s fire fueled our own. She’s got a fantastic mix of the necessary design skills, intuition, and business sense to create some serious damage (the good kind, that is). Finding my favorite business book the 4-hour-workweek on her shelf didn’t surprise me in the slightest.
Keep your eye on this girl. Read on for more about The Design Kids and Frankie’s background.
I have ‘Frankie Fridays’, I don’t work Fridays. You need time away to do what you want and refresh.
How did you fund the show?
I got the space for the show for free and got a drinks sponsor. Desktop magazine got involved too. Sales of the art went to charity and the studios and student got exposure.
Do you make money from this?
I lecture 2 days a week in Brisbane.
When did you move to Australia?
10 years ago I moved from Bournemouth. I lived in Canada, then studied in Melbourne for 4 years. I worked for Frost in Sydney for 4 years and have been in Byron Bay for 6 months. As soon as I had the resources and had learnt about everything creative, I moved here. I made sure to learn about blogging, teaching, and marketing. Once I had the skills, I moved here to set up the business. As soon as you say you’re looking for work, it snowballs!
Do you have any tips for emerging designers?
I would say to stay true to yourself. I have ‘Frankie Fridays’, I don’t work Fridays. You need time away to do what you want and refresh!
For more information on the Design Kids visit:
If you like this post and The Eat Team, subscribe to our free monthly newsletter for updates.
Handmade Ravioli, Australian Honey, Rainbow Fruit Flats
ON THE GLOBE
Byron Bay, Australia
ON THE TEAM
Byron Bay Farmers’ Market
Rainbow fruit and vegetables as far as the eye can see, soulful folk music filling our ears, the scent of chargrilled sausage happily wafting into the ‘ole olfactory and artisan food stalls lined back to back.. in other words, the Byron Bay Farmers’ Market is like Disneyland for foodies. It’s one of the most talked about farmers’ markets in Australia, and for good reason.
They’re the real deal–all the produce, as well as value added products are sourced locally (and checked on a regular basis), they’re highly organized, and have a very strong community following. Anybody and everybody in Byron was at the market that blustery Sunday morning, and despite the unfortunate weather, bright eyes and laughter were out in full force.
We chatted to the pasta maker, the beekeeper, food writer Victoria Cosford, and a man who makes rainbow fruit leathers. Here are their stories.
” Anyone that has had my pasta says it’s different to anything else out there.”
Do you make the pasta by hand?
It passes through my hands and nobody else’s, that way I can control the finished product. I have a lot of machinery but my hands do most of the work. Once you go to the next level it becomes much more manufactured and you lose touch with the product. Anyone that has had my pasta says it’s different to anything else out there because I really take care of the finished product. It has to stand out because it has to be better than the supermarkets, who sell it for a fraction of the cost, it has to be special. Each of the raviolis has a colour on it so my customers know which one their favourite flavour is just by looking at it.
How long have you been selling at the Byron Bay Farmers Market?
We’ve been doing this for about 3 years now. We have very separate roles; he does the sales, book work and accounting stuff, I just deal with making it. I don’t like selling because I tend to give it away and then we come home with no money! I’d be a very poor artist if he didn’t manage the front. It’s a good team.
Do you grow the ingredients yourself?
We grow some of the ingredients and whatever we don’t have we buy here at the market. We get some things in obviously, like the wheat. We use as much organic as we can. The eggs are ours and we organically feed the chickens.
Do you cook it and then freeze it?
No. It’s completely raw when I freeze it so you take it home and cook it.
How would you recommend that people eat it, would they put their own sauce on it?
With a lot of the raviolis, they’re really nice without a sauce. They’re nice just with a drizzle of oil and a sprinkle of cheese. I don’t recommend putting sauces with ravioli because you want to taste the filling. I would advise people who want to make a sauce to use really fresh tomatoes and don’t make it to heavy. Some people do a pesto, but the ravioli are best on their own.
Why is there such a range of colour in your honey?
Usually, the lighter the honey is the milder it tastes. The darker ones are stronger.
What makes them lighter or darker?
It’s if it comes from different trees. I’ve got bee sites all over the place, about 40 odd sites in this area. I take the bees to the tree. I know when they’re flowering, and they all flower at different times. Even if there’s 2 trees flowering together I can tell the difference in the honey.
Are they different prices?
Nope, all the same. The only one that’s a bit dearer is this yellow box because it’s got a unique flavour. We get it from over the gorge, from the western slopes of the great divide, but the rest are local.
So you have to travel with your bees?
Any commercial bee keeper has to as you don’t get the trees flowering all year round.
How do you make sure that other people don’t pinch your honey?
No one is daft enough to go to the bee hive to get the honey! I haven’t had it happen but if it did, it would be another bee keeper. We’re all respectful of each other. A little bit goes on in the metropolitan areas. You get some one wanting to get into the industry quick and easy, so it does happen but not so much around here.
Do you do anything to it once it’s collected?
I don’t interfere with it, no. I don’t heat it or do anything.
So it turns crystallized?
Yeah. Some of them, especially if they’ve got more sugars, turn very quickly. If they turn I make creamed honey, which I just whip until it turns white. It takes quite a while but it turns white with the air going through it. I’ve only just sold the last one, otherwise I could show you!
What do you get when you mix a world-famous surf scene, beautiful beaches, hippies, hipsters, a lush region for fruit and veg and a whole lot of sunshine? Answer: a booming hub of creatives working and living in the same tiny space. In our eyes, Byron Bay lived up to all the hype we heard about it and then some.
Surf artist Christie Rigby tipped us off about an industrial estate full of art and design studios just outside the buzzing hum of Byron’s core, and what a treat it was.
We set off in our campervan in the late morning, the sun breaking through the rain clouds for the first time in days, a double rainbow filling the sky, as if to say.. this day is gonna be fucking awesome.
This is the first installment of a small series of the people we met that day.
Maria welcomed us in with a knock-out smile and showed us around their big, bright new studio. Brilliantly curated antiques and op shop goodies collected over the last six years peppered the entire space. Colors splashed all around, old mixed with new; the art and design created in the studio blending seamlessly into their collected treasures.
We chatted to Maria about the design scene in Australia, her immigration from Sweden, and the gorgeous custom surf board covers that she sews. Read on.
Everyone gets together and hangs out, we all have a unique style, so we work together. We put on creative nights all the time where we have parties and do art.
When did you move to Australia?
I moved from Sweden in 2006.
Did you study in Sweden?
Yep, Media. Then I studied design in New Town and moved to Byron Bay in 2009. I spent the holidays in Byron Bay and loved it. As soon as I had the chance I moved here and started Real Creative.
How did it all start?
Real Creative started in internet cafes. Diva and I worked as a team, we called ourselves ‘Real’ and grew from there. For a while we were sharing a studio with The Design Kids on one computer. It wasn’t long before we realised we needed one each as things were taking forever to get done. It hurt our brains! We earned some money, bought another computer, moved in to a new unit, and got going!
How did you find your clients?
We got our initial clients through friends as we had our previous portfolios of work to show. We visited art shows too and got work from those. We’ve also been asked to do Byron Bay Surf Festival.
Is there a lot of competition within the design community in Byron Bay?
No. In Sydney I found it was quite competitive but here not at all! Everyone lives and breathes for each other. Everyone gets together and hangs out, we all have a unique style, so we work together. We put on creative nights all the time where we have parties and do art.
Do you sell the art that you make?
We make most money through design. People don’t like to pay too much for art, especially if you’re not a well-known artist. We get clients from the shows and markets that we do. We sell prints and photo blocks. We find that people just want a little memento from Byron, so the smaller pieces do well. It’s something little, like $20, not a big investment piece.
You have quite a few surf boards here too, do you paint them?
Yeah, we paint them, send them off to get waxed and there’s a company that sells them.
Hannah and I are so excited about our feature in this week’s issue of The Byron Shire Echo. We happened to meet the lovely and oh-so-talented Victoria Cosford at the Byron Bay Farmer’s Market and we’re very pleased to share her article. (Click the images to enlarge and read.)
Big thanks to Victoria and The Echo for your wonderful feature! What an honor!
Victoria Cosford is the author of the gastro-memoir ‘Amore and Amaretti’ and is a writer for the Byron Shire Echo, Sample magazine, The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide and 2011′s inaugural SMH ‘Good Pub Food Guide. To learn more about her and what she does, visit her website La Vittoria. Her book is available for sale online at Wakefield Press.
Visit and read the rest of this week’s issue of The Byron Shire Echo online at The Echo Online.
If you like this post and The Eat Team, subscribe to our free monthly newsletter for updates. Enter your email address below.
On a bright and sunny Byron Bay day we sat down with Tusta, head chef of Heart & Halo, a hare-krishna inspired restaurant. His tangy home brewed chai awakened our senses (and tastebuds) and the beautiful curry really did remind us of family cookin’. It was hearty, wholesome, and downright delicious. We’ll let the photos, his description, and the interview speak for themselves.
It’s basic human nature to look after each other.
“Heart & Halo offers a wide variety of global vegetarian dishes with distinct Indian Ayurvedic influences. Tusta, the head chef brings over 20 years of experience and adds his own flavour and style to all meals he prepares. Tusta has travelled to many places of the world but it is his love of India that has influenced his cooking the most. All meals are vegetarian and will tempt even the most fussiest of eaters.
Heart & Halo sources only the freshest spices, beans and grains to ensure the fullest of flavour. Only healthy oils are used for cooking and Himalayan salt is used to help improve your wellbeing.
The best local & organic produce is used when and where ever possible to make our fabulous vegetarian meals.
Heart & Halo offers an amazing range of great value Curries, Vegetable Baked Dishes, Hearty Lentil and Vegie Soups, Rice, Bean and Grain Dishes, the freshest salads and a selection of mouth watering drinks, sweets and snacks.
All that we prepare and offer contains only the best ingredients including Himalayan Salt. With 84 trace minerals, your body will benefit even long after your meal is complete.
Heart & Halo only uses oils that are good for you, not the common oils that may leave carcinogenic residue in your body.
But above all, Heart & Halo food is prepared and served with LOVE to benefit you and our beautiful community.”
They are always wholesome foods that remind you of home.
Why did you decide to open a restaurant here in Byron Bay?
I realised that local people want down to earth, quality food. There are a lot of health shops offering organic produce but they tend to be very expensive. I opened Heart & Halo to offer the local people exactly that but at affordable prices.
Could you name some of the produce that you use here at Heart & Halo?
We use organic Himalayan salt and cold press oils to improve my customers well-being.
Why do you think it’s so important to use organic produce?
It’s basic human nature to look after each other, and by growing foods organically, it’s simply looking after something that looks after us. It’s really nurturing through food. Festivals and celebrations are based around feasts and sharing, food is so important to so many cultures so it’s only right that we respect it.
Are you vegetarian?
Yes, by the time I was 17 or 18 I was over meat. I had worked in cafes and restaurants in Sydney and was sick of the smell, oil, and fat. There’s a huge disconnection between people and meat these days. They only see it in cellophane.
What inspired you to open Heart & Halo?
The idea came together after I had travelled. I’m a believer in indigenous cooking and the way it’s made with love. They are always wholesome foods that remind you of home. Backpackers come here and say that ‘it tastes like home’, which is great. I loved how diverse the diets were in India. How they live is just amazing! Too many people live on land that’s half the size of Australia, and they manage it in harmony. I believe it’s because they are all working for the same reason, whether it be a group or family unit. I was looking for something real to do, so naturally I thought of feeding people.
So you teamed your beliefs and travel discoveries together to create Heart & Halo?
It’s not about me, it’s about the food. There’s no ego here, not like MasterChef! I didn’t create it, I’m just passing the message on through the love and appreciation of food. I’m so thankful of the opportunity I have been given to spread the love through the food I serve.
For more information on Heart & Halo, please see:
Heart & Halo Good Food Bar
Shop 4/14 Middleton Street
(Corner of Byron Street & Middleton Streets – underneath the Budget Motel)
Byron Bay NSW 2481
Ph: 02 6685 6685
Special thanks to Tusta & Christie for making this happen.
If you like this post and The Eat Team, subscribe to our free monthly newsletter for updates.