Steph Bond Hutkin is a girl after my own heart…her blog Bondville is all about Australian-designed products and art for moms and the little ones. She even has a section called “Australian Art Spotlight.” What’s wonderful is Bondville started out in New York City but has evolved now to her new homebase. It’s inspiring to see how Steph has embraced her new surroundings. Jessica had a chance to ask Steph about how she manages to blog and balance family…
What is your background? Have you always been creative?
I have always followed creative pursuits, whether it was playing an instrument (the trumpet!) or simply keeping scrapbooks of design and product ideas. Even when it came to finding work with my business degree, I sought out media companies and entertainment. It took a while to find my feet and I spent time working in Belgium, the UK and then back to Australia. In the late Nineties I got hooked on creating my own little space on the internet, and continued to develop content creation in my own time while I worked in marketing in the videogame industry and children’s television in Australia and then in the US. Back in Australia again I dabbled in magazines and online media, and now with children I still have my online projects that I manage to fit in around nap-times.
Tell me about a day-in-your-life? What’s it like to be in your shoes?
My daughters both love baking, “decorating” (ie using pens, paper, scissors and glue to create masterpieces), playing at the park, visiting friends and reading. It’s an early-rising household (much to my chagrin), so the day starts early. During breakfast we like to skype with grandparents and cousins. Two days a week my eldest daughter goes to preschool, and my youngest daughter and I run errands and fit in a playdate or two. I’m about to start yoga again on one preschool day which I’m excited about. The other days of the week we go to the local library for storytime, or the early childhood learning college for an assisted ‘Play Session’ to train the students how to be kindy/daycare teachers. There are also swimming classes at the local indoor pool, and playdates with friends who have children of similar ages. We have a loose schedule, so try to fit in lots of play time, down time, and ‘muck around’ time for being spontaneous.
How do you balance work and family?
Of course this is everyone’s biggest challenge. I have to fit in my work around naptimes and on weekends. I have had to accept that it’s OK if I don’t manage to write a post every single day and I just have to prioritise my to-do list with Things That Absolutely Have To Be Done. The trick is to not be distracted by emails and ideas!
How do your daughters inspire you creatively?
Both my girls love to create, so having fun crafty things around is a bonus. But the real surge in creativity for me comes from taking the time to bake and decorate cupcakes or a beautiful cake; put together a bunch of flowers from the garden; sew a sweet little dress; put together an amazing birthday party… all things I might have overlooked without children. I’m now inspired to capture these creative moments with photographs that I share with others.
How do you make time for yourself? How do you recharge your creative batteries?
I have a super-supportive husband who loves to spend time with the girls, so I’m able to get some time out when I need it. We also like to pick a series to get hooked on together (currently it’s Game of Thrones). And I also have my ABCD (art, craft, design bloggers) meetups every few months that I organise to get together with other creative bloggers. I still need to get better at taking time out – I’m hoping my yoga classes will help move towards this goal.
Bondville is an interesting name – what’s the story behind it?
Bond is my surname and I wanted to create a place to share design and products with others online – like a village shopping area with beautiful handmade and independent products, made locally.
How does being based now in Sydney, Australia inspired you creatively?
Sydney is a gorgeous city – it’s all kinds of flashy with its sandy surf beaches, enormous harbour, boats, iconic bridges and Opera House. It also embraces the Australian bush with lots of nature reserves and bushland. I can be sitting at home, only a few train stops from the city, and see Rainbow Lorrikeets and King Parrots fly by, wake to the sound of Kookaburras in the morning and hear the squeaks of Fruit Bats and scurrying Ringtail Possoms on the roof at night. It’s my connection to native Australian flora and fauna that inspires me to seek out and promote Australian design on my website.
If you could do one thing this year that was totally frivolous, what would it be?
I’m working on this piece of art that I would love to spend time to finish. It’s an enormous square white canvas completely covered in coloured strips of post-it notes. The notes look like they are placed randomly, but there is actually dozens of mini sequences. It’s going to be one, big, feathered mass of colour. I’m 1/3 of the way through and can’t wait to finish it.