Sibling duo, Anna and Simon Mould, have moved past the lounge room wrestling stage (almost) and squeezed out the creativity from their combined DNA to create their own artistic collaboration, Salt Country.
They've created a label that truly encapsulates the taste of the salty ocean and the feel of the hot, red sand.
Image: Simon Mould
We had a chat with them about how it all got started, the complicated Australian identity and what it's like going into business with your sibling.
Anna by Elize Strydom
What's the story around Salt Country? How did it all originate?
We’re not really sure when it started, but for a long time we were talking about how complicated the Australian identity is. We love this country, but we also have grown up through some pretty weird times, like the (first) rise of One Nation and the Cronulla riots, and stuff like that makes us feel differently about Australia. So we spent a lot of time thinking and talking through our complicated relationship with our home country and that lead to Salt Country, which is about the ways we are connecting with our country through the landscape, and also about learning how other people are feeling their way into a sense of place.
Simon by Anna Mould
What's it like going into business with your sibling, (does it bring up old memories of arguments at the dinner table)?
There are still some creative decisions that can only be settled with a wrestle in the living room, but generally speaking we keep it pretty cool. We have ‘business meetings’ every week or so (read: going out for matching soy caps) where we throw around ideas and make sure we’re on the same page with where we want Salt Country to be heading.
Embroidery and photo by Anna Mould
How do you maintain your creativity? (What makes your heart sing?)
Simon: This video.
Anna: I work on a couple of different projects in addition to Salt Country, so being able to switch and channel my creative energy in different ways really helps to keep things fresh. When I’m stuck, though, the best medicine is to go out bush and camp or swim in the ocean.
What advice would you offer to other creatives who may wish to emulate your success in starting up a small business?
Look, I’d be cautious about calling what we do ‘successful’, but we sure are having a really good time doing it. Our favourite thing about Salt Country is the people it’s brought us into contact with. We’ve made so many good friends and I think the more good will you can build, the better. Focus on your community.
Jamie by Anna Mould
What is it about the Australian landscape/identity that piques your interest?
Simon: People-place relationships are so powerful and I love hearing people talk about places that are important to them. That’s what I do as a full-time job - I research rivers, scientifically and socially, to understand how those relationships change over time and what that means for how landscapes might be in the future. Salt Country lets me work on those ideas but in a looser, more creative way and I love the balance that gives me.
Anna: I find it so sad that peoples’ connection to the landscape counts for next to nothing when money is involved, whether it’s mining, developments or other commercial entities who are just after the land. As a white Australian, I think there’s so much we can and should learn from the people who have lived here for tens of thousands of years before us about how to love the country. I’m really interested in finding out how non-Indigenous Australians can feel a sense of identity in ways that are harmonious with the Indigenous philosophy of belonging to the land, rather than possessing it.
Embroidery and photo by Anna Mould
What's next on the cards for you both?
Simon: I’m really excited about a photographic project I’m starting on, all about the glaciers that used to cover parts of Australia in the last ice age.
Anna: This year we’re going to chase down more stories from other people about they places that are important to them and we’ll be presenting them in some cool ways for Salt Country. Personally, I’ll be starting a brand new jewellery line called Pearler and I’ll be putting a little more focus on my own art.
Check out Salt Country's online store for a whole heap of funky bits and bobs and follow them on Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with their happenings.