People

Interview – Rachel Castle

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Friday 27th August 2010

Velvet and polka dot bedlinen, and artwork by Rachel Castle – photos by Jason Busch, Styled by Megan Morton.

Artwork by Rachel Castle

Artworks, yellow velvet cushion and confetti garland by Rachel Castle.

Right so last night I txt Megan Morton – ‘I am interviewing your pal Rachel Castle on the blog tomorrow… how I should I intro her?’.   Because, you know, I LOVE Rachel’s beautiful bedlinen range and super sweet artworks…. and of course I’ve also seen her styling prowess within the pages of Inside Out magazine… but, truth be told, until this interview I didn’t know toooooo much more about her!

Megan called me back immediately, and, with a sense of great urgency, said the following -

“Oh. My. God.
words cannot describe how I feel about that woman….
Rachel Castle is….
.SUNSHINE!
I love her so much it makes me…….
….a bit scared.”

I am not exaggerating. In actual fact if anything I am paraphrasing. There was a great deal of LOVE which I really wish I could remember more of!

So really with an intro like that, what more can I say?   This Rachel Castle lady is clearly one super lovely lady!

Rachel wears her heart (art?) on her sleeve.   According to MM, to know Rachel’s artwork is to know Rachel – so I’m guessing she must have a truly bright, summery and optimistic outlook on life!  I love the upbeat personality of her work… it’s just so cheerful!  Just think how much more chirpy the world would be if everyone woke up to Rachel’s polka dot bedlinen in the mornings?  I reckon polka dots could solve a lot of the world’s problems actually.

But there’s more to Rachel than polka dots and pom poms.  After graduating from RMIT in Communications, Ms Castle spent years working at Country Road in the homewares marketing division, before heading to the UK to cut her teeth at The Conran Shop (as you do).  After leaving The Conran Shop, she established her own successful branding agency in the UK with two business partners.  THESE DAYS Rachel is busily designing gorgeous things for her homewares brand CASTLE, being a Mum, contributing to the odd magazine, and being generally busy / lovely / smiley / optimistic.  Hey, someone’s gotta do it!

HUGE thanks to Rachel for this fab interview!  Please do pop over to her website and buy yourself something with polka dots on it.  Or a pom pom.

Rachel Castle gets crafty

Tell us a little about your background – what path has led you to what you’re doing now?

I originally studied Communications at RMIT and moved straight into the PR department at Country Road doing all the marketing for the Homewear brand. From there I moved to London to work with Alex Willcock at The Conran Shop in the buying department, and ended up heading the branding division responsible for all the printed material for the shops and restaurants worldwide. From there Alex Willcock, myself and Russell Pinch set up our own branding agency called The Nest which we sold 7 years later to St Lukes in the UK. From there I started having babies and re-engaging with my love of hand-making anything I possibly could.

You have spent the past 20 years working in the homewares industry both in Australia and abroad…. What prompted your move into interiors styling and writing for magazines?

I guess the freelance nature of styling and writing is perfect for stay at home mothers. We need to work in little snippets of time and so a day on a shoot and then writing 2000 words at your own pace is a real luxury.

How do you find a balance your freelance editorial work with designing your gorgeous line of homewares and artworks for CASTLE? How do these two roles complement each other?

With difficulty at the moment. CASTLE is taking up more and more time, both the bedlinen and the artworks, and so I’m finding I do the odd house here and there at the moment, rather than a consistent amount of work.

How would you describe your interior decorating/styling aesthetic in your own home? How does this compare with the aesthetic you bring to your commercial styling work?

My style at home is very ‘abundant’ or as my fussy architect friend calls it ‘chaotic’. It’s a lot of stuff everywhere in a big white backdrop. I love clutter I must say, it makes me feel at home. I do however, like to have a specific spot for everything. This is where the jugs go, this is where all the chopping boards belong, this is where the cookbooks stand, this is where the sugar bowl sits. I tidy the house to within an inch of its life every Friday afternoon and Monday morning, without fail.

With the clutter comes a need to make everything else as neat and tidy as possible. On a shoot I will ALWAYS make the bed, set furniture at right angles, be careful to put everything in its place.

oh my.  Is there any better colour combo than dusty grey and egg-yolk yellow!?

Which designers, artists or creative people are you inspired by?

There are just so many. David Band, Gemma Smith, Paul Rand. I love Jonathan Adler, he is hilarious. You should read his book, I laughed out loud it is so funny. I remember as a child my friends mother, Annamieke Mein, was an embroiderer, and I was very inspired by her workspace. I like to sit in my ‘making’ room surrounded by my ‘making’ stuff, probably just like she did.

Where else do you find inspiration – ie books, magazines, your environment, travel, your family and friends?

I feel really inspired by work itself, by the process of retailing, even if it is online I still have interaction with my customers who are just so appreciative and delightful to deal with. If I just had to sit and sew or screen print all day every day I would go potty. The mix of making and selling is really a perfect balance. Oh and I read every magazine known to man and just as many blogs.

CASTLE bedlinen and artwork

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

Sewing, there is always sewing, wrapping parcels, pleading with my bedlinen manufacturer to PLEASE let me have just 15 metres more of our cotton fabric, then pleading with our lovely printer to print me another batch of spots yesterday, and then I spend the other half of my day at the Post Office. My Post Office people are so lovely because I spend my entire life there. Can I say hello and send my love to Janet and Sam from Northbridge Post Office?

What are you looking forward to?

Time to make some new embroideries and do some new screen printing. Ask me what I’m not looking forward to… our house renovation where we have to move out for 4 months.

Sydney Questions –

You favourite fossicking spots in Sydney for unique furniture and home accessories?

I would have to say Koskela. All Australian design, everything from furniture and rugs, to pottery and exceptional aboriginal weaving and paintings. They are lovely, lovely people.

What and where was the last great meal you ate in Sydney?

Spice Temple in Sydney on my birthday.

Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning?

On the side of the road arguing with the sat nav somewhere in Pymble driving Cleo to netball.

Sydney’s best kept secret?

I adore the Sydney Opera House. It is my favourite building in the world. It is an unbelievably beautiful piece of architecture inside and out, and I feel a serenity and peace whenever I am there. On any given day there is music and ballet and caberet and theatre and tours and things for children, so much going on. It is a very special, sacred, magical place that I visit often.

Confetti Garland by CASTLE

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Friday 27th August 2010

14 comments

  • Georgina 4 years ago

    Great interview… such praise from the lovely Megan who is herself a dose of sunshine.
    Off to find those gorgeous yellow velvet pillowcases now.

  • Juliette Samuel 4 years ago

    Great interview. I love the poker dot bed spreads!

    Juliette Samuel

  • Brendan Hardy 4 years ago

    SUNSHINE. Thats the best description ever!
    Thankyou again.

  • JULIE 4 years ago

    Oh, I love Rachel Castle work! Such a great interview Lucy and I just love Megan’s description of Rachel. I will own a Castle artwork one day, yes I will :)

  • cleamoureuse 4 years ago

    beautiful . sunshine yes! but RAINBOW too!o)

  • Fiona 4 years ago

    a castle artworks has been on my wishlist. now I will have to add a lovely garland as well

  • alex sunday 4 years ago

    no. there is not a better colour combination than grey and yellow. in fact, i’m trying really hard not to over do it at home. seeing rachel’s work makes me want to put out my sewing machine. so lovely.

  • Barb Fisher 4 years ago

    Isn’t it the most perfect compliment to have someone describe you as ‘sunshine’?

    I love Rachel Castle’s work. And I agree with you Lucy that many of the world’s problems could be solved with just a few more polka dots!

  • jess 4 years ago

    Oh. dear. heading over to Rachel’s shop RIGHT. NOW.

  • beci 4 years ago

    thanks lucy – rachel’s work is so great and i loooooove castle bed linen (in fact happened to purchase some last night!) once again so nice to hear the stories behind the genius

  • mimi 4 years ago

    Oh dear I think I might have a small crush as well!!!! LOVE that bedlinen, can not agree more on the yolk and grey combo. They were my wedding colours with a splash of green and orange thrown in for fun. I would LOVE to wake up in yellow polka dot bed linnens with grey pillows! Feels perfect. Does she ship world wide? I’m in Ireland at the moment, but hoping to make it down to OZ soon!

  • Jess 4 years ago

    It’s lovely to see a Rachel interview :) I absolutely love her work and admire her personality and zest for life! I’ve been dealing with Rachel recently getting a custom piece made for my wedding anniversary and she was absolutely delightful to work with. Unfortunately I have to wait til October to share the pictures! It’s going to be soooo hard!! :)

  • shelley t 4 years ago

    so glad to hear that someone who does great work is a great person; rachel may not be looking forward to her renovation, but i am sure there are dozens of interior magazine editors with an extra glint in their eye just reading that!!
    have been meaning to order bed linen from her since forever….note to self! and i think i have to get one of her artworks too…
    thanks again for bringing a beautiful creative mind to us, ms lucy. x

  • Aw, this was an exceptionally nice post. Spending some time and
    actual effort to create a good article… but what can I say… I
    hesitate a whole lot and don’t seem to get nearly anything done.

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