Belinda Doyle is a local artist and creative who has turned her passion into a profession.
Born and raised on the South Coast, her signature style blends timber grains with aerial coastal colours and has seen her go from a backyard setup to one of the biggest buying platforms in the world.
This is her story.
Art has always been in the background for me. I started studying art when I was in year seven and then majored in art in year 11.
Once I left school, I lost my way. I worked in different fields and spent a lot of time travelling Australia and doing other things. I even worked for a software company in a teaching role, which wasn’t creative, however when I had my first child, things changed.
When I was pregnant, I couldn’t sleep and used to sit up and muck around with acrylics, and when my son was a couple of months old, I started doing nursery art. Initially, I set out to sell a few pieces on eBay, but it became really busy, so it wasn’t long before I launched an online kids store selling the nursery pieces.
The nursery paintings were just a hobby but that’s when I started studying interior design which took me to where I am now. And while I still do interior design, photography and resin are my main focus and passion.
Photography inspired my resin work. It started with the work of a photographer that, before drones, worked out of a helicopter. I didn’t have the resources to do something like that so instead tried to work with resin to replicate the ripples in the water, tides, waves coming in and crashing. This is my signature style.
Photography was my main focus in high school, but I was never comfortable selling this work. It is more of an outlet for me, allowing me to get out in the fresh air and be creative. It wasn’t until I started selling my resin work that people began asking to buy my photography too.
And as they say, the rest is history.
My art has become a full-time gig for me now. It depends on the time of year, but a usual week sees me in the studio Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday making products. Thursday is sanding day, which is not a favourite day! Everything must be sanded, washed and oiled. Packed and made ready for dispatch. Friday is usually re-stock day, where I go around to each store and bring more products in.
I’m lucky to have a studio that I can lock myself into; the studio is my solitude. Everything outside of those doors is busy family life, but when I’m in the studio, I can close the doors, embrace the silence and take time to perfect my art.
On the washing, packing and sanding days, there might be a few other people with me so then we usually turn on some music!
Right now, my work is stocked in four stores. The Collective Beat in Gerringong, Kiama and Huskisson and a beautiful little café in Towradgi – Sketch Coffee and Art who also stocks a small amount.
Initially, my studio was based down in Gerringong, but I moved to a larger studio in Shellharbour after I was included in a very successful national campaign with Facebook.
Every year Facebook does a gift guide, where they handpick makers and feature them. This was a massive exposure opportunity for me.
I was invited onto the Today Show and I got to have a fancy dinner at Parliament house, where I met the Australian bosses of Facebook and Instagram. Since this campaign, everything has changed.
What makes what I do unique is the emphasis on local. Everything is locally made and locally sourced. Everything is Australian made, no imports.
The South Coast is a big part of the influence of my design too. Everything is based around the South Coast. So, the coastal aspect is significant in all my pieces.
And the stock is constantly evolving or the demand changing.
There is always a change of popular pieces, and I always try to keep adding new things. I have a reputation for my grazing boards which are still popular, but now the bowls and platters are becoming best sellers. These are made from scratch and one-of-a-kind pieces.
The community play a significant role in people knowing who I am and what I do, and my brand. They help spread the word and are super supportive. People will come into the shop, take photos and send to their friends in Sydney; it’s amazing and really why it’s so important to focus on the quality of what you produce and do.