Feature Creative : Genevieve Gibson

A special Mother’s Day feature celebrating one of Mornington Peninsula’s clever creatives…who also happens to be a mum!

When you think of a mum, what do you imagine? Is it the image of your own mother, from whom you learnt so many life skills and lessons, social graces and style? Do you visualise your fellow mum-friends from school or kinder? Is it a picture of a woman dressed in her active wear and North Face jacket or is she wearing jeans, a jumper and sensible shoes? Does she have her hair fashioned in a manageable bob or piled high on her head in a messy bun? I think, growing up I always struggled to find ‘my style’ and made every fashion faux pas trying to just fit in. Then along came motherhood to add another layer of perceptions and expectations, the desire for style clashing fiercely with practicality.  After moving to the Mornington Peninsula eight months prior, my eldest daughter started kinder and my world was opened to friendships with some of the most amazing women I’ve had the good fortune to meet. Clever, warm, generous, ambitious, kind, creative and the list goes on. 

Mornington Peninsula creative, Genevieve Gibson, knows how to make the most of her creative abilities, combining her love for cooking, design and parties in her two businesses; Platters on the Peninsula and Confetti Party + Design. Image supplied.

One of these wonderful women was Genevieve Gibson. Mother to three daughters (just like me – although her girls are a little older), wife and friend but more interestingly, she was a creative. She was not following one career path, much like me, and like some modern renaissance woman, showed me a version a mum that I could identify with. Showing me that although we may shift from careers and various roles in our lives we don’t need to be anything more, or anything less, than our true selves. For all of you reading, I am thrilled to interview Genevieve as our Feature Creative for May and share with you all of the wonderful work she does. And to you, Gen, thanks for the friendship, cake recipes and decorating advice, but more importantly for being a relatable mum, not a ‘perfect’ mum but a ‘real’ one at that. Happy Mothers Day! xLC

LC : Are you a Mornington Peninsula native?

GG : I am a New Zealander who has lived in Bolivia and Canada for 15 years, and then moved to Melbourne in 2015. We grew up near the ocean and were looking for a beachside suburb to raise our kids, similar to what we had growing up. We moved in 2016 and absolutely love it.

LC : How did your journey as a creative begin? 

GG : I was always arty and creative as a child, my parents and grandparents were my biggest mentors, teaching my sisters and me many practical and creative skills – sewing Barbie clothes on mum’s old sewing machine when I was 12. Living on a beach, the neighbourhood kids would be out until dark scrambling around the cliffs and playing in the bush behind our house. Gardening and cooking have always been hobbies and what I use as ’therapy’ where I switch off and create. I was really inspired by my Home Economics (cooking) teacher in Grade 7-8 and I loved metal work and woodwork classes in the same years too.  

LC : Tell us about your various creative pursuits.

GG : I am trained as a graphic designer, and have spent most of my career in advertising agencies in NZ and Canada, along with publication design, which I still do a bit of today. 

I have diversified after moving to Australia when I wasn’t able to find a part time job suitable for still being available for my kids. So I now combine my hobbies, passions and creativity into my two businesses that are separate, but definitely compliment each other; Platters on the Peninsula – grazing platters, tables and picnics where I use my designer’s eye to colour coordinate the food and florals, cooking and baking – I make my own dips and some of my own crackers and sweets.

Gen’s creatively curated platters are a feast for eyes as well as the taste buds. Image supplied

Confetti Party + Design, where I combine my graphic design, party printables, prop design and construction, sign painting, vintage shopping and up-cycling items to be used in party themes.

Dad taught me how to change a car tyre, chop wood, and I fed from his creative talents as an architect – so I think all of these things combined are helping me to fill up my garage and study with curios that you won’t see at any other parties. My party themes are all bespoke, I aim to be as eco-friendly as possible and don’t use any plastic table cloths, straws or licenced products where possible. 

LC : Where do you find inspiration for your work?

GG : I find a lot of inspiration in nature, in my garden, at vintage and thrift shops. Online, my first port of call is always Pinterest, eBay is a valuable source for interesting party supplies, and then I follow some party and platter businesses on Facebook and Instagram.

LC : What are the biggest challenges you face as a creative person?

GG : To push self doubt aside and have more belief in myself, I think that is my biggest nemesis. 

Procrastination is a problem I am working on this year when I have something (such as accounts) that I would rather not do.

And being organised – I have a trusty diary at my side this year which is helping a lot.

LC : What role do you think the Arts play in our community?

GG : Arts is a huge part of the community, I think it is so important for kids to have the arts in all its forms as creative a therapeutic outlets. Especially in our fast paced and have-in-minute mentality, it is important to give them slow, uninterrupted time to think laterally, use their hands (so cathartic) and achieve something they may not have thought possible.

LC : Do you have any advice for kids wanting to pursue a creative career?

Definitely take as many creative courses as possible, immerse yourself in arts and theatres, and there is so much to be said for having practical hands on experience in many things, and I love a bit of construction as well. Also combine arts with some admin/marketing/web experience, because there is a lot of admin that needs to be done in life!

LC : Who are your favourite Mornington Peninsula creatives?

GG : I can’t go past Emma Morgan, I love her fine nature drawings and prints of animals. Also, Narelle Callen for her gorgeous, colourful and abstract paintings.

LC : Tell us your favourite place to eat or grab a coffee on the Mornington Peninsula.

GG : I know I am always going to get a great coffee and meal at Commonfolk, Johnny Ripe undoubtedly has the best cronuts around, and Petit Tracteur is phenomenal.

LC : A Sunday on the peninsula is best spent?

GG : Ideally exploring lovely villages such as Flinders and Balnarring, stopping for lunch at Merricks General Store, or Johnny Ripe, exploring more wineries (there are so many favourites). But realistically I am more often home gardening, creating a new prop, or picking up party props that have been hired over the weekend.

LC : Exciting things to come in 2019?

GG : The Confetti Party + Design website – finally! I have a few possible collaborations in the early stages, and some more exciting party themes being added to my offerings. (*editor note : check out The Confetti Party + Design Instagram or Facebook for photos from their latest party creations for a Harry Potter theme party)

LC : Where can we find you and your work?

GG : Both businesses are home-based so Instagram and Facebook are the best places to connect with me: @plattersonthepeninsula and @confettipartydesignau

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