Perth, I’m pretty proud of you. Even though we’ve always had our share of talented artists and makers, ten, fifteen years ago, we weren’t exactly known for having the most vibrant or connected creative scene. And I couldn't stand that awful term ‘Dullsville’ was so often bandied around by people smugly moving to Melbourne!
That’s definitely changed. Now Perth is pumping out these fantastic, talented artists and creatives, makers and designers of all backgrounds and all industries. Maybe, in a way, being the most geographically isolated city in the world is actually beneficial for us. We now have a thriving, growing community that encompasses local creatives of all kinds, whether your creative outlet is your full-time career or a passion project you do in your spare time.
I feel like people are tapping into their creative sides in whatever way that is – art, photography, writing, floristry, ceramics, textiles, graphic design, candle-making, whatever. On top of that, the surge in social media has seen Instagram and Facebook connect so many people. Yes, yes, I know some people hate social media… but I think it’s such a fantastic outlet for people to showcase their work to people all over the country. If you’re starting a creative venture, it can be such a brilliant aid for breeding confidence, support and real-life friendships.
As the creative community in Perth has quadrupled, so has its number of creative spaces – studios, joint workspaces, warehouses, rent-a-desk hubs, concept stores and cafes. One of these newer ones is Stackwood - and it’s one of my favourites.
Stackwood is run by director Sarah Bell and Amy Snoekstra. If you frequent Fremantle often, you might think Sarah looks a little familiar – she began iconic George Street boutique shop Willow and the Bowerbird. I first interviewed her years ago for a story for George magazine (I told you everyone in the Perth community is connected somehow!)
Sarah tells me after many years running the store, where she formed bonds with tons of creative folk and community members, she was ready for a new challenge to present itself. “So when the opportunity to take on a large former diesel mechanic's warehouse and transform it came along, I jumped at it!” she says.