In conversation with Madeline Lebski from Auric Alchemy

“I think we are learning, slowly but surely that self care is not selfish but is the greatest act of respect. My hope is for more of us  to leave the age of glorifying ‘busy’ and hustle behind & allow for aligned action and grace to take its place”.

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Auric was born from a desire to reduce the toxins you were putting into your body - most importantly on your skin and particularly in makeup and perfumes. Can you tell me a bit about your journey to chemical-free living?

Yes, this is something I am definitely passionate about and have been for about 5 years now. Back in 2013 I was living in Bondi, which is pretty well known for it’s green juices, yoga and healthy habits. After deciding to leave the world of corporate/fashion marketing I by an act of total faith took a job at ‘About Life’, a really busy and well known organic store/cafe and it literally changed my life to this day!

I became so much more aware simply through chatting to customers who were huge advocates for natural and chemical free living and realised how many products were in my home that were causing longer term harm. It is funny how a decision like switching career paths can have these profound ripple effects on life overall.

For many, deciphering the ingredients on the back of makeup and skincare can prove difficult. Many of us are unaware of the dangers of some chemicals and struggle to make ethical and toxin-free choices. What are your top tips for those looking to transition into chemical-free beauty?

Oh my gosh I wish I were more of an expert in this field but my main advice that I would suggest is if you don’t recognise the ingredient then it’s a no go. Sometimes natural ingredients however do have fancier technical names on products for legal regulations so it is always handy to google something you aren’t sure of and if it still makes no sense then ditch it! It is a bit easier for me as I don’t actually own any makeup and haven’t for years now (I am fortunate enough to have good skin and I honestly look alot better make up free!) but there are definitely some amazing organic and ethical brands out there now. In terms of perfumes I would definitely suggest essential oils as a base as perfumes are incredibly toxic unless they are naturally derived. I have always been really sensitive to smells so most perfumes always gave me a headache so the transition was a bit more of an intuitive one for me to avoid feeling terrible. Oh, and there are also amazing DIY recipes online for skin care, a personal fave of mine is just some raw honey as a moisturising and cleansing mask!

Your newest release ROSE is a face and linen mist infused with Rose Quartz and a touch of lavender essential oil. Can you share more about this new addition?

Ahh Rose, She is a beautiful one. I have actually wanted to do this for about a year but was focused on the rest of the range until recently. For me rose is such a feminine scent and I have always loved how it makes me feel relaxed yet refreshed all at once. My middle name is Rose and my family always still refer to me as ‘Rosie’ so perhaps it was always in the stars for me. I added lavender for a bit of extra depth and it is also really beautiful for calming red or tired skin, or alternatively calming as a linen mist. Finally, rose quartz was a must! The intention for this mist was all things feminine and nurturing which this crystal is all about.

I’ve watched your business grow so much over the past year and have absolutely loved all your products – the Dream spray is an absolute staple in my evening routine. Can you share any details on upcoming product developments or collaborations?

Oh thank you, you have definitely been there from the start which is so beautiful to see people being so loyal towards what I have been creating. I am still quite dedicated to living the slow life as my body continues to heal and thrive once again (I detail this a little more over on our website) but in saying that I definitely feel that 2019 is a big year of growth for Auric Alchemy. I definitely do things a little differently and don’t really plan too far ahead and prefer to take ‘aligned action’ rather than hustling, and by that I suppose I mean a philosophy of following what feels right as it comes to me (so who knows… stay tuned!). I have a super exciting collab coming in the next couple of weeks with a beautiful local store where I have designed a custom scent for them, and I have opened myself up a little more for these type of really heart-felt connected collaborations! I really believe that is the key to success and having it resonate with people.

Not only do your products look and smell beautiful they also contribute to a self-care routine. Can you share how one could incorporate them into their morning and evening routine?

I actually wrote about this a little bit in my recently launched ebook (shameless plug!) ‘The Mystic Home’ which dives into how to create ritual and self care at home, something I talk about a lot. Every night I use the ‘Dream’ Mist on my linen, and in the morning I love ‘Zen’ if I need some grounding and ‘Clarity’ for those sleepy mornings to give me a lift. I am a big advocate for doing what feels right for me in the moment, I like to take a breath and naturally choose the scent I feel like I am craving.

On that note, do you have a morning/evening routine?

I definitely have rituals in place but they tend to vary each day a little bit! I love to keep flexible and not be too strict as I feel like the stress of ‘routine’ can create more stress sometimes. Every morning I drink a dandelion tea with cinnamon, raw honey and a dash of bonsoy (this is my fave coffee alternative as I am terrible with any stimulants!) and I take it pretty slowly these days in the morning. I am still in the recovery phase of the last 2 years of some quite serious health imbalances that actually were the birthplace for Auric Alchemy and creating my own lifestyle that my body, mind and soul all worked in harmony within. After my tea I will sometimes listen to a podcast, draw some angel cards, journal or laze in bed with some music on. I truly believe a morning ritual doesn’t need to be unrealistically lengthy, it can be as simple as 10 minutes with a cup of tea as a way to connect to yourself and the day ahead.

Evenings for me are always a time of winding down with dim lighting, a nice long shower (essential for cleansing the day away),  cooking dinner with my partner (this is our time to reconnect after he has been at work for the day) and then usually watch some Netflix and unwind. Sometimes I find in the world of wellness things like Netflix and television can be frowned upon and judged but after ditching it for a couple of years myself I love nothing more than switching off to a series. There is something funnily sacred in having ‘our show’ that we only watch together of a night. I always have the diffuser on from late afternoon with lavender, frankincense or vetiver for calming and love to lay on my shakti acupressure mat and sip a lunar latte with coconut milk from Nutra Organics (If you have any issues sleeping I highly recommend this I just finished my 5th bag of it!). Finally I will rub some magnesium spray onto my belly for a rejuvenating sleep.

What’s currently on your bedside table?

‘Dream’ Mist, Hemp CBD oil (something I started recently trialling), a basal body thermometer (I take my temp every morning for tracking my cycle) &  a smokey quartz crystal.

Finally, I’d love to know a woman who inspires you. 

This would have to be my dear friend (I feel blessed to call her that) Tess Guinery (@tessguinery). We met about 2 years ago via the wonderful world of Instagram and we then connected when I moved to the Gold Coast at the end of 2017.  Not only does she create magic from the tip of her fingertips she has this beautiful ability to make others feel welcome and part of the community. I am forever inspired by how in the midst of rising success and abundance she is forever humble, is also a cheer-leader for the slow life and shares a value I hold deeply myself which is leading a life in connection to our creator/spirit.

Learn more about Madeline Lebski
www.auricalchemy.com.au
@auric_alchemy

In conversation with Bonnie Gray from Bonnie Gray Art

“The idea that people can wear a message or something that has a woven revelation that releases beauty and freedom is something I am really passionate about”.

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2019 has already been such a big year for you, with two exhibitions wrapping up and your wearable art being released at the same time! Could you tell me a little about both exhibitions and what went into preparing for them both?

The first exhibition  was held in a triangle delight of a building called Shadow Bang in Long Jetty on the Central Coast.  It was a moment and night I will never forget. The range of works were all inspired by a venture I found myself on a year ago with a friend who took me around Marseilles in the south of France. I had unravelling moments whilst climbing up the dusty pink terrain that overlooked the Mediterranean sea. Heaven kissed revelations brought me to singing and tears I had so many mixed emotions. I was literally filled with wonder and it exploded my heart and eyes with new hope. The range of works are kissed with abstract vessels, poetic mysteries and dusty pink brush strokes.  

This exhibition night was really beautiful, so much more than I expected. Every friend and collaborative creative creature came along. I had no idea who was coming but it really taught me to surrender and enjoy the friends that show up. I was so at peace while the busking of live french music played in the background, and baguettes, Nutella croissants, European meats and red wine were consumed. White linen table tops were chaired by young and old, chatting and getting to know each other. Upstairs was the gallery, it was a very hot night! Whilst everyone looked around they used the exhibition hand out as a fan to cool down. The night started at 6:30pm and people left at 1:00am in the morning – crazy beautiful. People lingered and that was my desire; to have art as an excuse to gather, chat, form new friendships and celebrate beauty. It was a night I will never forget…

I’d love to know a little about your background and what motivated you to become an artist. Did you always know you would take this path?

My career background consists of dance teaching, songwriting, floristry,  teaching guitar, youth work and anything that consists of hands on creativity; people and teaching has always been my strawberry jam. I think having an undetected case of Dyslexia growing up has encouraged art. It really has helped me along my journey to comprehend, as the drawing of ideas and formulas helps me understand in a way that may seem easy for others but has always been more difficult for me. Art was and is a language that my brain can gobble up and then lay out answers sweetly, easily and quite colourfully. 

Song writing and painting go hand in hand for me. Song writing is something I have always loved It was my first love and art has been a dance I danced with randomly. However, over the past three and a half years art has become the greater focus . Songwriting dances all throughout my paintings. I cannot help but write music, poems and melodies then paint from this space of inspiration into colours and art. The music springs from pen to paper, then to paint brush to canvas. This has been my rainbow dance process. When people receive a painting they are really receiving a colourful song on their walls.

Your studio is bright and beautiful - the perfect background to show off your striking work. How important is your environment when you are creating?

The environment I work in is so important to me. When the space is clean, ready and pretty it feels like a trampoline, built ready for me to jump around. Without a doubt if the room is a mess it feels like my mental state is cemented with slowness. A clean, prepared space that is ready to play is pure bliss and encourages mental and physical freedom.

Can you share a little about your wearable art collections and what inspired you to move into garment design?

Wearable art has been something I’ve sketched out for years but the dream is now alive and women are wearing them. The idea that people can wear a message or something that has a woven revelation, that releases beauty and freedom is something I am really passionate about. We can create ''cool things'' but to create mystery and beauty that only encourages greater depths of freedom in someones life is something so unique that I value dearly. Art does this, it runs past the mind straight to the heart.

You recently announced a break from social media to unwind and relax post-exhibition. First of all, YOU GO GIRL for taking a moment for yourself, secondly, can you tell me a bit about this decision? 

Social media is literally a vacuum cleaner, it sucks time, growth, creativity and being truly present. It obviously has it positives too though. It’s been fantastic as a platform to meet people, to create with new hearts and make new friends, plus its’ a free gallery. But I am aware of the slim shady side for sure. I have learnt to be really strict with myself by placing healthy boundaries in my life. I am still learning and I falter many times. I only have instagram on my iPad that stays in the studio. My phone is sacred (haha). I don't  have instagram on this so I can break the habit, and my room is sacred free from social media and work. I make sure I only look at instagram twice a day from Monday to Friday. I delegate 9:30am and 4:00pm as my instagram check. I also now only talk to clients through emails as the portals of back and forth conversation through instagram + emails clouded my time and stopped me from doing what I should be doing for them – painting.

On that note, do you ever feel pressure to be present on social media? What do you do to combat this?

To combat the pressure, I have now started with a day of full rest – this is changing my life. Friday nights from 5:00pm till the following day at 5:00pm I call my sabbath. My phone is off, I rest, sleep, swim, hang with friends. I don't shop, go online or any mechanical instrument and have a full breather from stuff, those '“life fillers''. This was crazy to start as I could feel everything in me want to check things, to go on my phone, to check my to-do list, shop, and spend money on clothes, but by Monday, WOW I noticed how mentally free and ready to start the week I was. I value new, freeing space most, as well as more self-control, more peace, creativity, being more present and seeing my friendships grow in greater love and authenticity. There is a unique dance to this and a constant check up but i am learning how to navigate this still.

Where do you source inspiration for your collections of work from?

The Mediterranean South of France inspires me. The ocean and coastal walks, old buildings and quaint alley ways, pasta, croissants with Nutella smothered in cream, smoothies and tropical sunshine. Henri Matisse is such a beautiful man and his story and perseverance undoes me every time. My sisters Tess and Sharee who are creative geniuses and cheerleaders in my world inspire me and my friend Mel Hope.

Do you have a morning or evening routine?

My process is morning sunrise podcasts and the book of proverbs – the passion translation at the moment. Holding hands with words and new sunrises helps me process and fish for new ideas and revelations from a place of refreshment and rest, instead of busy and to-do lists. When I get back into the studio and all dressed in my painted overalls I start to work on new client commissions, reading and hearing their story. All their valuable memories I consume like milk and cookies.

I then bring out my red diary and write. I write loads of stories and poems and sometimes my guitar greets this imagination with un-pioneered ideas and words. After I have captured all the words I then mix my colours and create dusty pink magic. Clients sometimes send me their colour palette from previous work and I utilise them in the painting dance. From there abstract shapes patterns and hidden etched words are placed layer by layer. Some paintings have so many layers like a cake, that songs and words are hidden and will never be seen but thats the whole process to get to the finish line.

If I'm losing my bananas and feeling clogged and halted creatively I drop my brushes. Sometimes when I find myself frustrated I literally stop and go for a beach swim to come back rested. I would say my art work is like backing lush cream pink cakes.

Finally, I’d love to know a woman who inspires you. 

Mel Hope, who is the most selfless human I know. She loves people and works at a homeless shelter. She inspires me to love big, to create with my whole heart and to share hope and joy in new levels of colour kinds.

Learn more about Bonnie Gray
www.bonniegrayart.com
@_bonniegray