Michelle Crawford of Hugo & Elsa
Location :: Old farmhouse in the country side of Huon Valley, Tasmania
Family :: Leo, Michelle, Elsa & Hugo
Pets :: Dogs – Mabel and Spoon and five gorgeous brown hens
Creative Pursuits :: baking, photography, gardening, dreaming
Official Job :: mama, baker, blogger
Ideal Job ::I’m doing it!
Favourite Holiday :: Anywhere away with my family is a favourite, whether camping at the gorgeous Tasmanian beach or renting a cottage on a Greek island (dream)
Favourite Music ::I love lots of different music – right now I’m listening to Jenny and Johnny.
Favourite Thing To Eat :: Anything grown or cooked with love
Who makes you want to make things?! Who are your inspirations or influences… or who motivates you to be creative?
There are so many inspiring people out there, just about everyone I meet inspires me in some way, whether they have a lovely garden, a great dress sense or are clever at knitting. That said, my children are the most inspiring, they make me want to take photographs, grow things and create a beautiful home life for them.
How do you feel about clutter? Do you need interesting things around you to make things tick over creatively?
I love ordered, pretty clutter if that makes sense. I love having beautiful things around me, but I also need a sense of (my idea) order or I feel a bit unsettled. I like to look around me and see beautiful stories of objects, like a still life I suppose, to treat my eyes. That may be a washing basket full of clean white sheets, or a pile of mismatched crockery, or a bowl of brown pears.
How do you feel about the place where you live?
I’m so in love with the place we live. Our town is not fancy, no fancy stores, cafes or buildings. It’s a very conservative, modest town. But the people who live here are friendly and lovely and the surrounding countryside is so beautiful. The valley is full of green pastures, cherry and apple orchards and tumbling down old wooden sheds. Utterly charming. It’s a very creative place to live.
Do you have any collections, or beginnings of collections?! Do other people in your life collect things?
I have a healthy collection of cook books, but I do get very excited about my heirloom fruit trees, particularly apple trees. Since we’ve been here, about four years, I’ve planted about 25 types of apple, plus plums, pear, quince and nut trees. About 40 in total.I’m running out of room but there’s still more I want to plant, like a Peasgood Nonesuch and an Esopus Spitzenburg.
Elsa is mad about Sylvanians at the moment, cute little toy animals from the English countryside who live in houses with Agas and vintage radios.
If you could be better at something, or improve something, what would it be?
Oh gosh loads of stuff but I’ll keep it brief! I’d love to be better at sewing and knitting. I’d love to make quilts for my children and knit jumpers and socks for them. I have tried, maybe I give up or get distracted a bit too easily.
What elements make a beautiful photo, in your opinion, what do you aim for? What makes it work? Whose (photographic) work do you admire and what do you like about it?
Hmmm, it’s hard to put into words what photos I find beautiful, that certain tenuous moment captured. It’s part light; I love photos that capture a beautiful light, part colour and definition, but there is also a big part magic. I like photos that tell a real but beautiful story, that are real life and not obviously styled. I’m also a big fan of the chopped off head and the blurry action shot.
You work on some really interesting foodie projects: what have you loved doing and who have you loved working with?
I loved working with Matthew Evans
, Alan Benson (photographer) and Charlotte Bell (stylist), on a cookbook due out this winter. It was quite a challenge for me, but I loved every minute of it, shopping for ingredients, testing recipes and preparing food to be photographed. I learnt so much working with such a knowledgeable and lovely team of people.
That said, I love working with my business partner Jo Cook, aside from working together at the Tasmanian Farm Gate
market every week, we’ve also been involved in some fantastic food projects like the cover shot of the book Tasmania’s Table
and making desserts for the 100 Mile Café at the Tread Lightly Envirofest. I feel so blessed to have found someone who shares the same food ethics as me, is inspiring, generous and great fun to work with.
Thank you for being part of ‘This is my Life’, Michelle! I was wondering if you could give us an idea of your daily goings on?! What are you doing at these two hourly marks during the day?!
All images on this post, except the last one, are courtesy of the very excellent, lovely and creative Michelle Crawford of Hugo and Elsa.