Marsha Golemac and Brooke Holm are a dynamic duo tackling projects across art, design, events and fashion. Their latest project? Bringing the best of Etsy's Australian community to the stylish surrounds of The Cullen, for our Etsy at The Cullen partnership. We got to know the ladies a bit better last week, talking creative visions, colour palettes and working with your bestie.
What brought you to working with each other? We hear you’re both creative collaborators and BFFs...
Brooke: We met working at Kikki K where I was doing photography and Marsha was doing product development. I’d just moved to Melbourne from Brisbane looking for a more creative pathway. To cut a long story short we were both looking for ways to explore and realise our creative visions. We didn’t really know what that was at the time - Marsha was a jack of all trades and was exploring paper art, styling, making, creative direction, among other things and I just wanted to take photos of amazing things. We ended up leaving our roles at Kikki K at about the same time and decided to collaborate on some projects.
Over the past three and a half years we’ve worked to build up our portfolio and our name. We work together and separately and have been really honing in on our specialities and figuring out what we love to do and what we’re best at. Now we’re now lucky enough to be able to focus on jobs that are inspiring for us with people that we want to work for.
Your projects are various and seemingly endless! Take us through some of your current and upcoming endeavours.
Marsha: They’re all a bit top secret so we can’t share too much...
Brooke: ...but there are lots of exciting things coming. There are always projects in the works for us - we have plenty of ideas we want to explore so there’s a mix of commercial and personal work that we want to find a nice balance for.
Marsha: We’re heading to Milan soon for our first proper inspiration trip. It’s something we’ve always talked about doing but have been so caught up with our projects. Europe will be time for us to stop and reflect on things we’ve done and what we’d like to do next.
Brooke: In terms of recent work we really loved, we did our first exhibition together in October last year which was a major milestone for us. We collaborated with K.W. Doggett to produce a printed magazine of our work, a mix of my landscape photography along with Marsha’s conceptual work. We hosted an accompanying exhibition of large scale prints in our studio, complete with an opening night event, which was amazing.
Marsha: And Brooke has a solo exhibition in August but I think we need to talk about our next exhibition together. Something to discuss in Europe!
What makes a great creative partnership?
Marsha: For us it’s the fact that we’re very different people and yet so similar in some really crucial ways. If we had exactly the same personalities we’d probably become static. But despite our differences we really respect each other, creatively and personally. If you respect each other’s talents, ideas, ways of doing things, it works.
Brooke: There’s a level of trust as well that’s proved crucial to us working together. We’ve never had any major disagreements. If one of us feels really strongly about something that the other doesn’t we trust that the other knows somewhere deep down that it’s the right decision, the right project for us to pursue. I think if Marsha is really strong on something and I’m so-so then I’ll trust her on it.
Marsha: And vice versa. If Brooke is telling me that this angle isn’t working, that there’s a better way to do something, I trust her judgement.
Brooke: We’ve also got a shared and deep set ambition to always do more and achieve more. I think if both of us were both comfortable doing the same thing forever we probably wouldn’t get along as well as we do. But we both want to grow, we want to get bigger with our ideas and our studio, we want to go travelling, we want to work overseas. We both have this progression ingrained in us which I think is really important for a partnership. You have to want to grow together.
Marsha: Our job is not just a job - it’s what we love to do. It’s a big part of our lives. Our working relationship comes before so many other things.
Brooke: We have no social life! But she’s my best friend so I get to work with my best friend all day every day. We’re very lucky.
Our job is not just a job - it’s what we love to do. It’s a big part of our lives. Our working relationship comes before so many other things.
What experience do you hope people will have at Etsy at The Cullen? How would you like them to engage with the space when they sleepover?
Marsha: I’d love for anyone who does stay there to feel comfortable - like it’s a home away from home. We’ve set out to create a space that is not your classic hotel room but still includes all those things that make a hotel like The Cullen so good by bringing in some of the best from Etsy’s Australian community. I hope we’ve been able to pay tribute to Etsy and The Cullen.
Brooke: I hope guests will appreciate and enjoy the selection of Etsy designs as much as we do. I imagine them walking in and saying ‘I’ve never seen something like before. I want this, I want that’ and then being able to find it all online at Etsy.com!
Can you share any crafty plans with us for Etsy at The Cullen? Any makers, objects or even colours you’ll be including?
Brooke: We’re excited about the colour palette - it’s going to be quite the transformation.
Marsha: There’s a bit of nude and there’s quite a bit of blue - it’s an interesting colour palette.
In terms of products, I really love what The Curious Craftsmen are doing and the amazing ceramics we’ve been able to source from an number of talented Etsy sellers. There’s also lot of amazing art, spanning works from really established artists to creatives who paint for fun. But you’ll have to come and stay or visit to discover all the delights!
See the fruits of Marsha and Brooke's labour this weekend when we host the Etsy at The Cullen Open Day this Saturday 11th April from 11am - 4pm.
Book free workshops and tours and get the full lowdown over at Etsy Australia, or book to stay the night at The Cullen here.