Creative expression lives at the heart of Southern Wild Co.
Artist’s emotive brushstrokes and evocative words from Australian storytellers directly shape our candle range, but it’s a patchwork of inspiration that enriches our daily movements. From the textural layers of our creative hub in the bush through to the sounds, scents and rituals of each day, Southern Wild Co is the sum of many magical elements.
We are pulling back the curtain and inviting you deeper into our world with a blog series called ‘The Alchemy of Southern Wild Co’. Each instalment will delve into a source of inspiration close to our heart, teasing out the nuances that make Southern Wild Co.
It would be amiss to start this series with anything but a tour of The Shedquarters.
It’s the home of our operations and a special place brimming with ideas and a warm, inviting atmosphere.
The Shedquarters is located just outside of Rockley in the Central Tablelands of NSW, nestled between a towering pine forest and hills of ancient gums. Try to find it at dusk, and you’ll be sure to encounter bounding kangaroos and moments of “Did we just miss the turn off?”
The converted shearing shed is owned by SWC founder and creative director Tania, and her partner Matt. The shed was built in the 1960s, constructed with parts of older shearing sheds from around the district, some of which date 100 years back. It was operating up until 2009 when a fire event destroyed sections of the home and sheds. “The fire changed how we thought about this place,” says Tania. “We stopped running sheep with our neighbour and gave the land a rest. It was around this time that I realised the potential of using the shed as a creative workplace.”
Removing and reworking the shed’s damaged layers revealed totems of the building’s biography. “We found rusty metal shearing combs and old toothbrushes dipped in tar and strapped to the wall with shearer’s names above them (like ‘Stuart' and ‘Trevor’). There were children’s scribbles on the walls, where I imagine they had played and waited patiently for their Dads to finish shearing,” Tania shares. The front deck (above left) is the spot for medicinal sun-soaking and well-earned sundowners. It’s also a viewing platform for the flourishing garden (above right) filled with hardy perennials, a crisscross of vegie beds and a cascade of creepers. “We planted the garden where the old shearing pens were, so it’s really fertile with a hundred years of sheep poo!”, Tania explains.
Boris, the loyal labrador (above), is a mostly silent observer of the shed’s activity. He is either right under your feet (all wagging tail and wet nose) or taking a nap on an old chair. The glorious curation of furniture and other bits and pieces is a soulful complement to the shed’s original lanolin-worn floorboards and rough-hewn timber beams. A self-confessed ‘curb-burgular’, Tania is the bowerbird and effortless stylist behind the Shedquarter’s deeply textural look. “I will pick up interesting things from the roadside if I think I can incorporate them into the space,” Tania says. “I get much more joy out of this than buying something new.“
A gathering of soft, squishy seating and a cluster of low hanging woven pendants (top) draws you deeper into the Shedquarters and makes a convincing case for lounging all day. The layout of the furniture shifts with the season’s changing light. “I love natural light,” says Tania. “I’m constantly watching and following it, seeking out sunny spots or cosy corners and making them into spaces for reading, drawing or just sitting and looking at the view.” The Australian landscape’s magical light-play soaks into everything we do at Southern Wild Co, especially when it comes to the packaging and visuals.
From dog-eared guides on the history of Australian logo design to weighty art tomes that teeter on intimidating, printed matter is an essential element of our inspiration hunt. Typography and design prints hang next to vintage paintings in Tania’s office area (above). “I am a visual person,” the seasoned art director says. “When it comes to developing a candle concept, I will put images down to it, creating Pinterest boards, using InDesign, or pinning magazine pages and images onto the big mood board.”
An artwork in itself, the mood board wall is richly layered with images, vintage advertising and an array of textural ephemera, the flotsam and jetsam of the bush (above). Signature SWC colours and iconic Australian visuals sing through. “I'm not one to be influenced by current trends,” Tania shares. "The mood board keeps me on track, pulling me back to my core values and things I love.” Over in the test kitchen corner, aka ‘the lab’, you’ll find a wax melter, rows of essential oils and the tools of scent blending. We are constantly hunting for new ways to express the fragrant beauty of our land and spirit.
We can’t wait to bring you the next instalment of The Alchemy of Southern Wild Co!