I first met the charming Colleen Blomfield on Instagram – I’m always looking for NZ creatives and I came across her account and was instantly charmed by her (for lack of better words) ‘coolness’. She has unbeatable style (Colleen looks like she belongs on the streets of Milan sipping an espresso) and seemingly everyone in the Auckland clothing or creative scene knows her – something I truly love about connecting with people on social media. I sat down to meet Colleen in person, and instantly felt a kindred spirit – she’s a true individual. Lazily putting on a pair of bright turquoise glasses to read – looking like the editor of an European Vogue, while sheepishly commenting she is just a small town girl from Whangaparaoa. You instantly love Colleen.
SP: Tender and Light was first introduced to me via instagram and then I found out it was stocked at the wonderful Goodness Boutique! Tell me about your brand and what you make.
C: The name Tender and Light represents my handspun and knitted wool shawls, throws, ponchos and beanies, by in a gentle caring attitude and a lightness of being.
SP: You mentioned that you were retired now. What were you doing before that? With such creative talent like yours I imagine you were in the fashion industry?
C: Never in the fashion industry, office administration. I’m more a consumer with an abiding interest in modern design, fashion and architecture.
SP: How long has Tender and Light been going for?
C: About 2 years in it’s current form, so its first steps forward right now.
SP:What sets you apart from other labels?
C:Very little because tender and light is so new but for the future the aim is to slowly building a presence that’s true to where we are in these southern seas, using materials we have in abundance such as wool and combining the verve and vitality of my working class English and vibrant Polynesian heritage.
SP:What inspires you when you’re creating?
C: My inspiration comes from the act of creating itself. It’s such a joy to do whatever I choose at any particular season or time. So long as I’m able to use tools and have access to a good quantity of material I give it a go. The constraints
are only ever of a technical nature such as how to weld or drive a tractor to haul a log from the bush.
SP:Who are your favorite designers?
C: It’s a long list, but right in here are Zambesi, Simon James and Tom Dixon. I’m in a constant state of awe and delight at modern innovative pushing forward design in any form, from anywhere.
SP: What do you love most about what you do?
C: Simply that the permission has been given to create, because I have two hands. Whether the medium is paper and glue; pvc and my sewing machine, wool and my spinning wheel, earth and a shovel, there’s no boundary and if you understand scale, you can make the thing as you like.
SP: Lastly, I always ask everyone I interview what advice they would offer to up-and- comers. What would you suggest?
C: Start with what is familiar, what’s hiding in plain sight, listen to that quiet whisper of creativity and if you’re enjoying the work, keep doing it!
Follow Colleen and Tender and Light on Instgram: @tenderandlight
And me @sans_pareil_blog (you might be my next feature!)