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Interview with Lauren Elise Cassar of Mirador.


When Milly's 'shop-in-shop' opens at Limedrop tomorrow (Sat. Oct. 03), a feature of the space will be new cotton voile sarongs by Mirador. The pieces are large, and truly lovely - each depicting a vivid (albeit partially abstract) 'scene'. Lauren Elise Cassar is the artist behind the works, who we knew previously in her role as a graphic and textile designer for Kuwaii. We asked Lauren about her move from Kuwaii and Melbourne to Austinmer, and to working on her own... and which bit came first - the idea of sarongs, or the idea of applying her artworks to cloth ...


LEC: It’s quite funny ... the ideas came in tandem, riding alongside the idea behind the name: Mirador. It means a 'view point' in Spanish. I wanted each artwork to emulate the feeling of looking into a view, with large obvious shapes (like a mountain) but also with all the tiny details that add up to make that view so breathtaking.

Sarongs have been on my mind ever since I stared visiting the beach where I now live, each Christmas, four years ago – they haven’t moved from traditional aesthetics in the Western world since they were introduced in the 1940s – this frustrated me, as we have seen swimwear be refined year after year. I kept waiting for someone to pick up on the idea, and then I decided to stop hesitating and do it myself!

… I did first voice the idea last year when hiking in the Spanish Pyrenees. You know when you are travelling and you have this clarity, this drive. Mirador has been brewing in my mind for years, but speaking about it aloud made it real. I’m not one to say I am going to do something unless I am absolutely sure about it.

I remember writing to Melbourne fashion and design schools from the age of 14, from my little country home very south of Hobart, enquiring about their courses... so, to a degree, Im not surprised that I ended up contributing to this industry in one way or another. What does surprise me is the amount of courage I have had to rustle up to step out on my own – it is pretty intimidating. I have had some amazing mentors, namely Laura Albee from Per-Tim and Kristy from Kuwaii. Working alongside these two strong, powerful women influenced me to no end.

I do find it very intimidating [to paint on a large scale]! I actually paint many small paintings in my sketch book and then collage them together. Each design was created like this!

I mostly use watercolour when I want the effect to be dreamy/soft/floaty, and then layer it with acrylic for the brilliant paintbrush texture that can be left behind when painted on thickly. I also mix the two kinds together and often paint on coloured paper too, as this can add some fun contrast when the paint breaks up and becomes transparent from, say, a lot of water added on with my brush. I scan everything into the computer and my graphic design background takes over.

… Oh, my beloved Melbourne. I miss it so. I moved to a small town called Austinmer, around one hour south of Sydney a year ago. Purely for a sea change, to look at open spaces, see new colours. When the full moon falls on the ocean, the decision to move to Austinmer all makes sense! It isn’t permanent, but I don’t know where my next home will be!

[When I visit Melbourne] I just love to see my friends - we all have a big group dinner at someone's home with lots of chatter and salads. This, to me, is the most important and happy experience in my life! And then a visit to Brunetti’s for dessert before a film at Nova cinema!

… Spring means one thing to me: jasmine!

And Summer... [this Summer] Im finally going to learn how to surf! Purely from peer pressure, but wish me luck! I also need to visit Tasmania (home) as I’m feeling very home sick. There is nothing like the cool air on a sunny Hobart day!

I am also really looking forward to seeing a sarong on a stranger. There is no better feeling than seeing your paint strokes being worn on a body!

(More images of Lauren's pieces will be posted soon).


Hello and goodbye.