If you are serious about entertaining and the magic of slow luxurious living you know about Corey Ashford. We are in love with his simple yet opulent designs which have been become a firm cult fav between Kinga staff. Currently burning at HQ ~ Corey's Citrus Grove incense, laced with fresh citrus notes it is an ode to a summer gone.
Thank you for taking the time to chat Corey! On inspecting your new Oyster incense holders, it's almost like we can visualise you growing up as one of those kids who would disappear off to the rockpools on beach trips, vibing with anemones and disturbing the crabs. Does nature feed your curiosity in a big way?
Absolutely! I've always had an affinity with the water, but especially the mysterious and oasis-like rockpools. There was never a beach day as a child when I didn't come home with a few foraged treasures - even now you can find me wading through the shallow waters looking for something special. I think nature is the purest and most fascinating form of inspiration. The simplicity of a rock that's been smoothed over time, or the way a pool of liquid has formed; there are so many references for shape, colour and texture to be found in nature.
What are your favourite go-to spots in the natural areas around Melbourne?
Having grown up in Sydney and only living in Melbourne for a few years (two of those in and out of lockdown), I'm still getting to discover so many beautiful spots for the first time. My go-to spots are the greenhouse in the Royal Botanic Gardens and Burnley Gardens, which is a short walk from our home in Richmond - both are such peaceful escapes from the city. I also love being able to travel down to the Mornington Peninsula to spend time exploring the back-beach coastal trails and Diamond Bay.
We've read that your incense is developed by one of Japan's oldest incense ateliers. Can you tell us more about the traditional origins of some of your products?
My pieces always start with my own hands - it's important for me to walk each idea through the creation process. I began my design journey with Linen Beach Throws and Table Linens, which I made by teaching myself how to dye and sew. I handmade my original set of coasters from clay and had a local Victorian metal foundry cast them in solid brass. Now, I work with a small family business in Europe who dye and sew the linen, a fabulous couple in New York who individually blow all of the glassware and a Japanese atelier who uses ancestral techniques passed down through generations to create the incense. Each piece is a celebration of the individual processes, supporting artisans who are experts in their craft.
We're big proponents of effortless style here at Kinga. Can you offer us a secret to creating a richly and decisively detailed dining room table setup, that is also very easy to throw together?
Stress less! There's no point entertaining if you're not having fun. I believe it’s worth investing in high quality table linen, as quality will stand the test of time and save you money in the long run. I love the playful feel my raw-edge table linens bring to each setting, as they're so easy to throw over a plate or fold under your cutlery, with no ironing needed. With layered linen as your foundation, you can build your desired scape from there. I like to have a place setting laid out for each guest and then serve food in the middle of the table, using a range of organically-shaped dinner and serving ware by Mud Ceramics, Dinosaur Designs and di Lundì. Add height and mood with flowers and candles, keeping vases low so you can see the faces of your guests and not obstruct the flow of conversation. Select a delicious menu, pour a few glasses of wine and enjoy the company of your loved ones.
You've got a proud and conscious affinity with studio artists like Gabrielle Penfold and long time Kinga mate, Libby Haines. Your incense, The Studio, also signposts a love of studio practice. Tell us more about what draws you towards grand, artful workspaces.
For me, an artist's studio is a sacred and inspiring place. It's a place an artist can be truly vulnerable and expressive when exploring their ideas. My mum is a painter and I think there's something comforting and nostalgic about being in somebody's creative hive. For me, The Studio incense aims to capture that memory and my hope is that each person that experiences it can be transported to their own place of inspiration.