Surf Shacks 059 – Celeste Twikler
/ Matt 09.27.2017
Suffolk Park is a suburb in the Byron Shire of the Northern Rivers region in New South Wales, Australia. It is five kilometers south of Byron Bay and home to one of the best waves in the area: Broken Head. In this coastal haven lives Celeste Twikler, a free-spirited surfer and jewelry maker with more natural Boho-chic style than a van full of gypsies at Coachella. Her home came with the bones of the perfect beach shack, complete with a large front porch, timber walls and plenty of natural light inside. Since moving in, Celeste has renovated one space at a time and now lives in a picturesque, cozy dwelling where every nook has been considered and designed in her own style with an eye for unique vintage finds. As a self-professed outdoor shower aficionado, I must add that I think Celeste has a real future in backyard shower design in case the whole jewelry thing doesn’t work out.
Who are you? Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Celeste Twikler. I’m a jewelry designer, surfer, skater, illustrator, chance interior designer, and a twin with an incurable passion for hoarding jewels.
Where are you from?
I grew up in Flinders, a windy seaside town on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, Australia where my love for the sea was born. A desire to be immersed in less mind-numbingly cold surf brought me to Byron, the place I now call home.
How long have you lived here in Suffolk / the Byron Bay area?
I moved to the Byron shire in 2010. It captivated me, the warmer climate was a big draw card too. And although I had only visited a handful of times, Byron’s magical mix of beaches, hinterland and casual charm won me over.
How did you find this rad surf shack?
After a year of obsessively trawling real estate sites and a serendipitous conversation, I finally found my beach shack. Through the process I never compromised my must-haves; which were oodles of natural light, timber floors, white walls and the absolute non-negotiable sea at my doorstep. I am still amazed by this place. I knew it existed and never gave up, nor do I loose sight of how blessed I am to have found my dream home.
What are your favorite parts about the area in which you live?
There is a sense of place here that feels right to me. I love the empty beaches that run along tea-tree lakes, the point waves, artisan markets and cafes. Byron doesn’t take itself too seriously, its playful and fresh and full of new possibilities.
Byron seems to have a pretty strong creative community. What do you think is the draw?
Yeah, Byron is certainly known and loved for its absence of formality and nurturing of the creative. It’s a long day’s march to find a pair of stilettos or a man in a suit and tie on any professional here, instead it’s this great movement where there is no demarcation between work and play – it’s one and the same for us lucky ones. Byron has a magnetism or magic and allows people to busk, paint, sing and being resourceful with any talent they have in order to stay in this Shangri-La-like town.
What are you favorite parts of your home?
Where do I start?! Everything! I adore my studio where I work with sandy feet on sandy floors and how the sun filters through the frosted windows warming everything. Timber walls and vintage spaces housing my personal collection of life’s flotsam and jetsam-small achievements to look upon. My mantel holding masses of trinkets and bits and pieces I’ve collected, scavenged or been gifted all live together with books and things. Outside I adore the shower, swing and fire bowl and copious cups of tea on the veranda.
Your outdoor shower is amazing. Was it there before or did you design that little nook outside your bedroom?
Just a big drop from the door to dirt waiting for some creative thinking. The shower idea evolved from my original vision of having a bath on stilts in the yard, with a hose for hot water. With no plan and help from my gung-ho Dad and a very methodical she’ll-be-right approach, we hammered, sawed and swore our way to victory. The result: a sweet-as outdoor shower with deck! A glorious feat for Dad and I. One we still stand back and congratulate ourselves on. The best part is it remains in use daily even when its raining!
About how many Instagram photos do you think have been taken of that shower?
Yep, there’s been quite a few Instagram photos of the shower… I have considered putting a hot dude under there in the hope it goes viral but that’s probably not PC. Who knows that could still happen haha! Any volunteers?
Tell us more about your jewelry. How would you describe your style?
I’m heavily influenced by Indian womens’ approach to wearing jewelry. I love their bold, “more is more” school of over-the-top gold jewelry, some real, plenty of fake. When it’s all in the mix who can pick it and who cares? Although my individual pieces are quite simple, I often incorporate a mix of both brass and silver in the one piece. Simple pieces but worn en masse with loads of other jewelry.
When did you first get into jewelry making?
Living by the beach of course I had collected many, many shells but the cowrie was prized and so very hard to find. The romance in the smell of saltwater, the sound of the ocean when pressed to your ear and dreams of tropical islands. I hunted without success for cowrie shell jewelry in souvenir and tourist shops even for discarded cowrie shell jewelry in the local Op Shop. So I started my jewelry making career at a precocious 13 from cowrie shells I had collected. It involved a big strip of black elastic that I stitched shell after shell onto and I added blue and white beads around it for the tribal look. I wore that bracelet with my sleeve pulled back shamelessly hoping to impress. So jewelry making kind of festered from that elastic masterpiece into the business I have now.
What do you want people to know about Australia?
Australians, we’re a friendly bunch of migrants who are from just about every corner of the world, a veritable melting pot of cultures and food. There is much to see, to do and to experience – and great surf of course!
Any parting thoughts, words of wisdom, or sage advice for other artisans and makers just starting out?
My advice is to create what pleases you, don’t try to second-guess taste or please others. If you like it, then it follows that others will like it. You must also be willing to Iive and breath what you do, and above all persevere.
/ Photography and interview by Matt Titone
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Special thanks to Hiromi Shibasaki for helping to produce this story.