Session 6: Beci Orpin

beci orpin

For this month’s dröm sessions, we speak to Australian designer, Beci Orpin! As visual junkies at heart, we definitely went gaga crazy over Beci’s Orpin love for collecting and creating. Her great sense of mastering the art of orchestrating all that palette of psychedelic colours, and ability to harmonize all the eclectic elements within her work(s) is definitely a jaw dropper. It is definitely no easy feat for us, but they all seem so effortless for Beci. So here’s a little bit of what goes behind her magic.

Hello there Beci! We’d like to know how did art/design became a part of who you are, what started your passion?

hello! from a very early age i knew that i all i wanted to do was draw. my parents weren’t necessarily creative, but they were quite alternative and always encouraged me to be creative and use my hands instead of watching TV or things like that. then once i left high school i did a few art and design courses and then finally settled in textile design at RMIT, which is where i really fine-tuned my style and what i wanted to do.

(above) Wooden Mushroom – work in progress. These mushrooms double up as canisters too, the shroom caps can be removed and you can put little trinkets inside!

You express yourself through various mediums (seeing that you paint/draw/sew and stitch etc…), is there an all time favorite medium to use and why?

i actually love all mediums i had worked in so far – its pretty hard to choose! if “sketchbook” could be counted as a medium i would choose that. my sketchbook is where most ideas start, and the testing of ideas has a loose-ness in the way things come together which doesn’t usually occur in the rest of my work (which is quite clean and structured).

Beci’s artwork titled “Up”(pictured left), “Down” (pictured right) and “Around” (not pictured) for The Design Files Open House.

gucco print
gucco print
550 hand-gucco printed records covers for DJ Shadow.

You actually graduated with textile design (BA), that is rather different from your recent works we are seeing. Is this difference made on purpose or did it just happen organically? Or is there not any difference at all in your opinion.

perhaps because i have also been lucky enough to apply what i do to lots of different mediums and products it might look different, but i think it’s pretty much the same. i think motifs and colours have changed but my style has remained pretty similar.


Beci Orpin’s design on her husband, Raph’s, Taco Truck.

How does an idea or inspiration hit you, what drives you to create the way you do?

i have talked a lot about inspiration and where i find it in my book “find and keep” (which came out late last year through Hardie Grant). its hard to pinpoint exactly where it comes from. obviously the internet can provide you with endless images, but i also think getting out and seeing and experiencing different things – nature, exhibitions, movies, flea markets etc can give you great inspiration too.

book in progress
book in progressA
(top) Behind the scenes of Beci’s book – Find and Keep. (left) Offset colour proofs from the printers before binding the book. (right) Final and complete book, includes a sticker sheet too!!

Aren’t these amazing? These are pieces of embroidery work that Beci did when she needed a break away from her computer. Oh! How we all need such breaks like these every now & then!

You have such a knack for complementing all the vibrant and psychedelic colours together, it’s always such a joy just breathing in pages of your colorful works. Can we have a sneaky peek at some favorite pages from your sketchbook(s)?

Absolutely – here you go

Snippets of Beci’s sketchbooks

As parents, do you & Raph encourage and expose your kids, both Tyke & Ari to art & creativity? Are they very much like you, each good with their hands and having the love to create? Do they get to be your little helper elves when you work/create?

i have always made things with both of them – but not pushed them too much. they need to find there own groove. ari (the younger one) definitely has the drawing and making gene. he can often be found raiding the art supplies in my studio. and making bits and pieces. tyke is not as interested at the moment – he is more into creative writing and maths and physical things. i’ve go my fingers crossed that he will have raph’s business sense! but of course we will encourage them in whatever they want to do.
Ari's fox
(above) Ari and his whirlwind of creative mess. (below) We personally love this painting from Beci’s younger son. Ari.

Please share with us an all time favorite Beci Orpin creation, and tell us what makes it your favourite?

OH MY GOSH! that is really tricky as i have been lucky enough to work on a lot of projects that i have really loved! i have loved the collaborative projects i have worked on recently – products i made with sports girl, the home-wares i created with Urban outfitters, the chocolates i made with isetan japan were all really fun projects. but i pretty love everything i work on – even the most commercial projects too.

isetan chocolates
Isetan chocolates
Chocolates Beci Orpin did with Isetan (Japan)
pillowcase for 3rd drawer down
Beci Orpin’s pillowcase design for Third Drawer Down)
Beci Orpin for Sportsgirl

We’d imagine your studio/home to be really breathtaking & colorful, filled with a mishmash of eclectic objects, are we right in thinking so? 🙂 Can we also have some sneak peaks of your favorite spots from our studio/home, or even objects that you love very much?

yes – its definitely full of lots of things! i actually think its getting a bit out of control at the moment! but now that ari is in school i am thinking of moving into a new office so there might well be a cull of all my stuff in the near future! funnily enough out of all the objects i have, my paper drawers are probably my favourite – they are full of paper i have collected fro along time, which i use and add to all the time so its always changing. the random colour combinations which appear when i open the draws can be great too.

some other favourite objects:
• this woven bag i brought from local handcrafts store when i was visiting my friend in north New South Wales> i love the colours in it, and that it is hand made.

• my collection of books: even with internet i still go back to my books for reference and inspiration all the time

• this rabbit i brought from a flea market maybe 12 years ago. its concrete and was so heavy to carry home, but it is still on of my favourite things
Above pictured are Beci’s home studio.

For those of us who are hoping to visit Melbourne, could you recommend some of your favorite shops/cafes in Melbourne that are under your “Must-go” list.’

i would highly recommend a visit to melbourne! there are so many great place – i could happily write pages and pages of places to visit, but i think my favourite melbourne destination would be curtin house. it’s a building right in the centre of the city which is home to many of my favourite shops and restaurants: cookie – on the 1st floor is an amazing beer hall with the best thai food (we had our wedding there), the floor above is the toff in town – a live music venue, bar which also has great food. on the third floor are 2 of my favourite clothing stores – someday and pet shop girls, and a fantastic book store – metropolis. on the top floor there will soon be opening a mexican restaurant and tequila bar, and then on the rooftop there is a bar with a great view which also has an outdoor cinema during the warmer months.

my other current favourite area is gertrude st in fitzroy – its just a small strip but it has lots of great shops and food such as dagmar rousset, third drawer down, de clieu, gertrude st enotcha, lladro and … all live here!)

broadsheet is a really good guide for whats going on too.

GMTH map
(above) Logo design and map illustration (with landmarks in 3D perspective !!) by Beci for The Great Melbourne Treasure Hunt.

Lastly, is there anything that you can say to advise or encourage all new/aspiring designers out there?

my three top tips are:
1. stay true to yourself
2. break the rules
3. work really hard!



Beci Orpin’s Book – Find & Keep is currently available at the little dröm store!