The Canberra Times
by Bree Element.
See the full article here.
So you’re a fan of the Belconnen owl - but have you hit ‘wear it all summer long on a t-shirt and stubby holder’ level?
Because if you have, local artist and public servant Sophie Kristine's got your back.
She's designed a new fabric that features a few of Canberra’s favourite things: bogong moths, a little bunch of Canberra bluebells and there, taking pride of place, is our favourite feathered phallic friend from the north.
Thanks to online store Redbubble, you can have the blue Belco owl design printed on basically anything your little heart desires - from phone cases, wallets, and bumper stickers to baby onesies and doona covers. (To whoever got me in the Secret Santa draw this year, I'm a size 'Belco owl' in literally everything.)
The owl print is Sophie's follow-up to last year's pink Skywhale print, featuring the booby-licious lady of the sky, Telstra tower and our iconic bus shelters. Leggings in the Skywhale print were hugely popular last Christmas, as were stubby holders and tote bags. Sophie sells under the artist name ohlittlespark_art.
"I'm a born and bred Canberran which is why so many of my designs feature Canberra-centric things," Sophie says.
"I genuinely, genuinely love Canberra so very much. And there's a whole breed of people who are Canberra lovers too, which is so exciting.
"I just started out making designs for myself but then people started saying, 'Where can I get that?' and it's grown from there."
Growing up on the southside - "I was born southside, I've lived southside my entire life, my kids go to the same primary school I went to" - Sophie says the artistic talent of her grandmother Della had a huge influence on her life.
"Instead of toys [for Christmas] I'd get pencils and paints, and she always believed that kids should be given the opportunity to use good quality products which makes a huge difference," Sophie says.
"When my grandma passed away her art supplies were split between the three artists in the family - one of which was me.
"And from there I used the process to grieve a little bit because in using her products I realised that I'm my own person, I've got my own style and it's ok to be different."
Sophie's design signature is "smashing iconic things together". She started out with a magpie / fairy bread print, then launched a bin chicken / VB stubby / bin print, and then a print featuring the arboretum's 'Wide Brown Land' public art sign. She now sells her designs on both Redbubble and Etsy.
"I was on my lunch break the other day and a lady walked past with one of my Skywhale bags," she says.
"I was like oh my God what is happening? It was totally surreal.
"I just love how people get as much joy out of my designs as I do."