Kara Town, Curator
Today we are very excited to have Kara Town on #shemakesnice. Kara is the owner and Co-Director of AHD Paper Co., an Australian marvel that makes the absolute best gift cards around. She is also the Creative Director at NEST | TOGETHER, a truly inspiring collaborative online 'nesting' place for creatives. Kara talks to us about finding her self in Paris, taking big risks in life and not being so hard on yourself.
What do you do?
One half of boutique stationery label AHD PAPER CO. – My husband Chris and I curate and provide a collection of paper goods created by artists/ illustrators/ designers. We are primarily a wholesale business with stockists nation-wide as well as stockists in both New Zealand and the US. All of our products are proudly offset printed in South Australia on 100% recycled stock, using vegetable inks, with locally made envelopes, and packed by hand.
One half of online journal NEST | TOGETHER – My Seattle-based partner, Sanam Miremadi and I have worked to create a collaborative nesting space for our contributing community of creatives. It encompasses everything from editorials to interviews, art, style, architecture and more. It is an entirely contributor-based journal, where we actively work together to share each other’s stories and pursuits in an encouraging and all-encompassing manner. My work at NEST has also afforded me the opportunity to indulge in a number of creative pursuits like styling, creative direction, and designing.
Do you have a maxim that you live and work by?
"Nothing in life worth doing is easy". I find that for me with each challenge, brings growth.
What are the three milestones that have led you to where you stand?
1). I’d have to say, getting married. Almost ten years' on, I still have an incredibly supportive partner who encourages me in everything I do. He also openly questions me, pushes me, and wants nothing more than for me to be happy in who I am first. I provide the same for him. We consider each other as equals, and we really do work together quite beautifully.
2). Our three month sojourn in Paris was a moment of true reflection and change for us. We suspended our jobs, left Sydney and took that time in our little apartment in le Marais to think about who we were, about our happiness as individuals and as a couple, and what it was we felt we needed to do to achieve our ultimate happiness moving forward. In short, how we could take control of our life; and so the seed for AHD Paper Co. was sewn.
3). Three years' ago, within the space of a few months we: bought our first home, quit our jobs, moved to my hometown of Adelaide and decided to concentrate on AHD full-time (prior to this we had both worked full-time in Sydney whilst running our business). Around this same period I met Sanam, we began NEST | TOGETHER and I turned 30. Believe those other women when they say, turning 30 is something to behold, it is.
What is your dream project and what projects do you have in the pipeline?
Having studied Art Theory and History at University, before becoming wildly distracted in my early twenties, I had hoped to become a curator. This dream got away from me, and I’ve always hoped to revisit it some day. This year I’ll be fortunate enough to curate my first exhibition by New York based, English ceramicist Romy Northover at China Heights Gallery in Sydney. For me, at this point in my life, this certainly constitutes a dream project. Romy is both a friend and a woman I greatly admire and to be working with her, in this capacity, is something pretty special for me.
If you could choose to hear any female contemporary present at Make Nice, who would it be and why?
At present I’m most impressed with two young women from Adelaide, Sanja Grozdanic and Tess Martin of KRASS JOURNAL. Their voice is strong, their intention is clear and I believe they are a force to be reckoned with.
What is the best advice you’ve been given, or wish you had been told sooner?
"Be less hard on yourself". Though my (very apparent) perfectionist tendencies have meant I’ve been given this piece of advice numerous times throughout my life, by numerous people, it took me a long time to truly hear/ live it myself.
Do you have a supportive female network in your field? Was it always this way?
I surely do. I count myself very fortunate to be surrounded by a number of like-minded women who actively celebrate each other’s talent. Through NEST in particular, I’ve realised how strong our community can be when we come together to collaborate. For me, NEST has become far more than a journal, it has become a creative catalyst and a place where many significant friendships have been forged.
What are you listening to, reading, watching of late, that is inspiring or entertaining you?
For me, I do a great deal of the handwork involved in packaging our AHD product, and that often means I like to be ‘entertained’ whilst doing so. I’m currently finishing the second series of podcast Serial, and am juggling Shark Tank (US), Janet King and Inside Heston’s World (there are a few other programs in there that will remain nameless). Also, at the recommendation of Sanja from KRASS, I’m reading Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, and I’m always waiting for my next Architectural Digest to appear – I admittedly spend far too much time looking at architecture, interiors and landscapes.
What is one facet of your field that you want to see change?
To be honest, given I work for myself I find I’m perhaps not best suited to answer this question.
How can we find out more about your work?
AHD PAPER CO.
NEST | TOGETHER
Website – www.nesttogether.com