Camille Moir-Smith rents a studio located in the Pop & Scott workshop in Northcote, Melbourne.
For the past two years, this studio has been the headquarters of Camille’s label, Carpenter’s Daughter, which specialises in creating handcrafted leather and cotton aprons.
As well as running her own label, Camille is also a casual member of the Pop & Scott painting team. Founded by local couple Poppy Lane and Scott Gibson, the collective’s signature style is instantly recognisable, characterised by a liberal use of indoor plants, cool white walls and colourful pots.
Camille's private studio features a similar aesthetic, and includes many pieces from friends and makers within the Pop & Scott family.
One of her most treasured material items is a stone sculpture made by stonemason and friend, Den-Holm. This sculpture plays an integral part in Camille's day-to-day work as the place she conducts most of her leather craftsmanship. While there is a desk in the studio, this is reserved mostly for the admin side of the business, as the actual leather making of the aprons is undertaken standing up.
Camille’s craftsmanship skills can be attributed to her upbringing, with both her uncle and dad being furniture makers (hence the label’s name).
The idea for Carpenter’s Daughter spawned from her previous career as the co-founder of graphic design agency, Yolk Studio. Specialising in hospitality branding, Camille soon became interested in designing hospitality uniforms to suit her clients’ identity.
“There was a lack of aprons that were all at once beautiful, practical, and could be customised to suit independent makers and business,” she says.
Her studio is decorated with plants which have been purchased or gifted from a variety of sources including Gumtree, wholesalers and family. A particular favourite is the rare orchid from her grandmother, Elaine.
“My mum is a botanical artist and the scientific illustrator at the Royal Botanic Gardens so I’ve always been surrounded by specimens and plants and things like that, so I think that’s where my love of plants comes from," she says.
“The backyard was always filled with rare orchids…There were found dead birds, butterflies and spiders that lived in little containers in the fridge or freezer, and once we even had a live eel in the bath for a week. Brushing my teeth before bed was an interesting time with an eel we named Seaweed staring at you.”
Most of the furniture pieces in the space have been custom-designed specifically for Camille’s niche field of work. The bench is by Pop & Scott, the mirror was taken off an old deco sideboard found on Gumtree, the raw tree chopping block is by Greg Hatton, the desk is by 2nd Chance Tables, and Camille made the large loft/storage space/future daybed herself.
The ceramics and vases are a combination of pieces from Anchor Ceramics, op-shop finds, and some made by Camille in conjunction with studio-mate Bruce Rowe (of Anchor).
“My favourite part of my studio isn't a tactile thing, but the writing of everyone's heights I have measured in my studio doorway,” she says.
While on most days Camille and her kelpie Ru are the only occupants of the studio, they are rarely alone. On the other side of her door (with its cutout circle window) is the constant hustle and bustle of the Pop & Scott team at work, as well as tenants from the three other individually rented studios. Having worked from the home in the past, Camille prefers this semi-private set up.
“The workshop can get quite noisy, but my friend gave me these headphones that act as both headphones and earmuffs so it’s okay,” she says.
“I close my door when I work, but enjoy interaction and connection so I have cut a circle/hole in my door for people to pop their heads in for a chat. Without this window I can feel isolated.”
Ru is also a constant, although mostly welcome, distraction.
"Ru is very chilled out for a kelpie, who will sleep on the platform bed after breakfast and a long walk to the studio. Sometimes he does get bored which can distract me from work, and I'll leave prematurely from the studio, which is my responsibly for getting a kelpie!"
Top rental styling tip? Mmmm tricky. Perhaps pot your plants, put your herbs in a box, and give the landlord a friendly g'day if you want to paint or hammer something, as they usually say yes.
What are your most frequently searched home-related terms online? I draw a lot of home-related inspiration from artists and architect spaces. The ones that are stacked in the Google image history are Salvatore Fiume, Mark Borthwick’s house, Alexander Calder’s studio, Atelier Brancusi’s studio, Ricardo Bofill’s cement factory, Henri Matisse's home, Joan Miró’s studio, Xavier Corbero, Paul Klee’s colours, Charles and Ray Eames’ house, and the list goes on and on and on and on.
What are favourite furniture and homewares stores? After Store & Pan After have a unique, raw and natural aesthetic I admire. Phoebe regularly travels to Africa to ethically source her products, so it's warming knowing there is a compassion in what she sells. Also of course Pop & Scott by my marvellous friends, Poppy and Scott.
What's the best thing about renting? The best thing about renting for me has been observing and picking up people's positive/healthy ways of working/living that I would have otherwise maybe not of learnt as quickly if I lived/worked alone.
Words by Amelia Barnes
Photography by Dan Soderstrom