Take three passionate people, a team of supporters, nine months of collaboration – and you may be somewhere close!
The three key people in the Clovely collaboration were Susan Mercer, Clovely’s owner and managing director; Nicki Lloyd, owner of branding consultancy Lloyd Grey Design; and Claudia Husband, Brisbane artist and printmaker.
The other vital ingredient was the South Burnett region itself. Clovely Estate is proud of its South Burnett origin with its magnificent terroir, similar to the Hunter Valley. Early rebranding work had established that the labels should reflect the unique mood and motifs of the evocative regional landscape.
A number of local Queensland artists were invited to submit examples of their work and Claudia Husband’s style and approach to her work was the ideal fit.
Claudia was commissioned to create three large works that captured the essence of the South Burnett and that could also be used in sections on wine labels.
She admits it was an usual challenge to think about the whole work and to capture enough detail that different parts could be used alone, but it was a challenge she took on enthusiastically.
When spring was enlivening the landscape in October, she took the first of a few trips to South Burnett to immerse herself in the country and find her inspiration.
“I realised it was a beautiful part of Queensland. The rolling hills were a big part of what impressed me. I was inspired by the view from Susan’s home (Barambah Homestead) – the hillsides, gum trees and vineyards,” she said.
“The whole country experience was really wonderful – Susan’s hospitality, being at the Moffatdale Cellar Door looking out over the hills, the dog Morton… and of course I met the winemakers and sampled the wine too.”
Claudia made many sketches and her partner Chris took photographs that were all used to guide the artworks.
Normally an artist will refine a work from initial sketches but, in this case, the collaboration required not just the artist’s own perspective but input from the vineyard owners and design team to make sure the result fulfilled all the practical and brand needs. The resulting artwork needed enough distinctive elements to create labels for a full range of reds, whites, special artisan wines and olive oils.
Nicki Lloyd said it was vital that Claudia was given real creative freedom as an artist and that her style was allowed to shine through. The three-way collaboration was not about dictating specifics but harnessing the different perspectives of what Clovely Estate is all about.
“Sometimes artistic collaboration can take things to another level and Claudia really understood this dynamic and that there were specific practical criteria to meet,” Nicki said.
When final refinements had been made over another few weeks, Claudia worked in her studio to create the artwork on aluminium plates for the lithographic printing process. She experimented with both Japanese paper and heavyweight 300gsm cotton rag paper. In total she created five works and three were chosen as the final triptych.
The baton was then passed back to Lloyd Grey Design to work with pieces of the artwork to create a unique label for each wine and pantry item. More creativity and experimentation followed with different papers tested until the final designs were agreed. Despite having her masterpiece cut into pieces, Claudia was delighted with the results!
“I’m so happy with the way the selections have been used. It has been really well thought through,” she said.
Susan Mercer is also thrilled that finally the Clovely Estate labels resonate with the feel of the regional origins and the quality of their winemaker’s art.
“I hope Queenslanders, and Australians further afield, are now proud to bring our award-winning wines to dinner and to share them with friends,” she said.
“And we invite you to come and see our all new labels at our Vineyard Cellar Door at Moffatdale in the South Burnett.”
Clovely Estate’s founder and owner, Brett Heading, was presented with the 2020 Samuel Bassett Award, which recognises his significant contribution to the Queensland wine industry.