Beau Est Mien, which translates to ‘beautiful is mine’, is a Northbridge-based printmaking studio that offers limited edition printed artworks, stationery, and homewares. They also run a seasonal program of printmaking workshops, which will be wrapping up this Winter so that the business can move on to exciting new projects.
Earlier in the year, the team made their way a few blocks down William Street to a new studio space at Paper Mountain. Lydia caught up with Alina, the General Manager, to talk a bit about what they’re up to and where they’re going.
How have you found the change from your previous shop front to more of a studio space?
In our previous location, we were operating as a shop and studio in our own building, though we had some fabulous neighbours (shoutout to Daphne Cafe, the best coffee in Perth!). Paper Mountain, in contrast to that, is a very vibrant communal space. There are other artists working here all the time, as well as gallery attendants and the Paper Mountain board of co-directors looking after the exhibitions and events, so we find it really refreshing to be around all these familiar faces and creative energy.
And what was the catalyst for the move?
Although we loved our little community on the top of William Street, it was time for a change. We wanted to restructure the business to focus on doing what we love best – creating exciting new designs and products that beautiful gift stores, galleries and florists in Australia and around the world can stock. For this reason, a private studio closer to the heart of Northbridge just made sense. At the same time, Magali moved back to France earlier in the year, to be back with her family and focus on other projects which gave us a very exciting opportunity to expand to Europe! This means that Beau Est Mien will have a second branch in Paris next year.
That’s très chic Alina. So you will be running the business from France? Will you still be distributing to Australia?
Yes, we are working on maintaining our Perth branch, so that this new step will just be an exciting addition to the current business.
Up to this point, your designs have celebrated local plants and landscapes here in Perth and Fremantle. Do you think you will continue to make work from Western Australian subjects once you make the move?
We will probably take advantage of this exciting new development in our business to explore broader themes – more about travel, life and different things. We can’t help but be inspired by our surroundings, including architecture and nature (we love flowers!) but also the amazing people around us.
And so how does the current space work? Can anyone come in at any time?
As we have moved into a private studio, we operate by appointment so that we can prepare the space for the customer, and make sure we are not out running errands when they come in! We have all the facilities to sell directly from the studio, and love showing customers around our new space. We also sell a lot online through our Etsy store, as it is understandably very comfortable for the customer to shop from home!
How did you get into printmaking and what is your process for deciding upon a subject?
I studied fine art at Curtin and always thought I wanted to be a painter and a sculptor. I didn’t really know what printmaking was, but after the first session in print I just knew ‘this is it!’ It was incredibly process based, and really hands on. From there I was looking at different artists operating in Perth and I found Magali online. This was 2011 and we’ve been working collaboratively together ever since! When I met Magali we had heaps in common. We became really good friends and we would talk about love and boys, and we realised that this was a really great thing that we’ve got going on.
We really wanted to expand what we were doing together, so we moved to a few different studios in Fremantle, and ended up in Northbridge. I started out as an assistant, did work experience doing little things like cutting paper and printing. Over the years I have grown into my role as a manager looking after the business and our staff, and more recently I have come on board as a designer. It is definitely quite collaborative, the way we work together. Generally, it comes quite naturally and in an organic way – we know what direction we want to go towards and we have a supportive team – Johanna, Sophie, and Ina – who all make things run smoothly!
Do you have anything coming up or that you are working towards at the moment?
We’ve got a few of the big interstate markets coming up. We’ll be in Sydney this November for the Big Design Market, which is quite exciting. It’s always great to be around so many people doing their thing – it’s amazing to be a part of that! We are also working on a new collection that will be launched in September at the Fremantle Art Centre’s retail space, Found. We started out in Fremantle, and are very happy to be launching this collection in such a beautiful space.
We are of course also working on our new little branch in Paris. [Beau Est Mien Founder] Magali has been there for a couple of months already, and there is so much to be inspired by. We can’t wait to show everyone the exciting new direction the business is going in!
Images: Danica Zuks