Jessica Blume, Byron Bay, NSW
Images by Amelia Fullarton
We meet designer Jessica Blume in her home in the Byron Bay hinterlands. Set amongst lush rainforest and alongside Wilson’s Creek, Jessica’s home is filled with artwork and furniture made by friends. The space is a love letter to the local creative community and an ever evolving tree-top escape.
“[My partner Reu and I] bought our house with Reu’s dad in October, it had been abandoned for four years and had no bathroom or kitchen so we were having bucket showers and cooking on a camp stove for the first few months. My dad is a carpenter and Reu’s is a plumber so we have been slowly building it ourselves when we find time.”
“It’s been a really special time for us and I love that every day we paint a new area or put in a wall and it just makes such a big difference. It means that we really treasure and appreciate every part of the house. I have loved learning to build despite being covered in paint all the time. It’s also been an incredible bonding period with my father who I never lived with growing up, we have become so close all 4 of us really and it means the world to me.”
I have loved learning to build despite being covered in paint all the time. It’s also been an incredible bonding period with my father who I never lived with growing up, we have become so close all 4 of us really and it means the world to me.
“My favourite part of the house is the creek and being in this pristine valley with such tall rainforest trees. I have dreamt of living in the rainforest my whole life. Flocks of black cockatoos screech through the valley above the palm trees and we have a swimming hole in the creek ten meters from our house so we dip in and out all day, it’s so grounding and blissful.”
“The house had three rooms so we made one a studio for my label Jume and Reu’s synth and two as bedrooms so when we don’t have guests staying, which isn’t often so far, we have ended up sleeping in both bedrooms equally depending on what we feel like. The upstairs room looks down on the creek so you feel like you are in a lofty treehouse and it’s where we keep our clothes which I treasure. I also love my giant painting by our dear friend Sam Steinhauer which he painted and framed for my 30th, with little snippets of our time in Tamil Nadu in it."
The upstairs room looks down on the creek so you feel like you are in a lofty treehouse and it’s where we keep our clothes which I treasure.
“During the fires we thought we were going to lose the house and we took nearly everything but our clothes when we evacuated because it was all irreplaceable and sentimental. I am deeply in love with my couch from Pop and Scott, it’s a prototype made with turned timber from the floorboards of the first Myer in Melbourne that I am lucky enough to have and that so many significant memories from my life took place on, couches are very sentimental and rich in history, especially ones you can sleep on.”
“There is also a portrait of me in the living room that I sat for on my 30th birthday painted by my best friend Nell Pearson while she made us a delicious meal and we drank yummy wine. Reu thinks it’s very eccentric to have it on my own wall but I think that makes it more funny and we should have one of him up there too. In the painting I am wearing the silk khadi clothes that we made together in a collection after a trip together to India and Indonesia. Nell painted me into my dream dining room with giant windows in a palm tree forest and all my surfboards with snacks and a tarot card (the two of cups, a harmonious love) that I kept pulling over and over that year on the table. It looks so much like our current dining room I can’t believe it.”
“I love this area so so much. We try to surf every day and there are so many incredible beaches in this stretch of the coast. If there are no waves I love to park at Wategoes and run the lighthouse loop through the forest and along the headland then jump into the sea after. When I’m beached out the whole hinterland is full of swimming holes and waterfalls which are so fresh and healing.”
We try to surf every day and there are so many incredible beaches in this stretch of the coast.
“I started Jume two years ago when I wanted to work for myself and make ethical basics, something I really wished there were more of at the time. Now there are quite a lot which is so awesome! I wanted Jume to be a platform where I could make whatever I wanted under one name and am working on some home goods as well which I am excited about.”
“Before I started the label I had studied philosophy and art history at Melbourne University then left half way through to study textile design due to having extremely restless hands. During this time I started working as a studio hand for a few artists and ceramicists like Leaf and Thread and Gemma Patford and painting, weaving and doing floristry for Pop and Scott. All of these jobs offered me the freedom and creativity I craved and also taught me so so much about running a small creative business so it came naturally when I started my own.”
“I think that in this time of environmental crisis we really all should be trying to be as sustainable as possible and I can do so much more in that department. We all can. I do try my best to make ethical choices wherever I can and for me this means using organic fabrics, minimal cotton and more hemp and nettle, using low impact or plant based dyes and paying people properly and ethically.”
I think that in this time of environmental crisis we really all should be trying to be as sustainable as possible and I can do so much more in that department. We all can.
“[Outside of the studio} I love surfing and travelling, nothing brings me more joy and I love that it brings me together with friends, nature, new places and gets me out of my head and into my body. I also spend a lot of time doing up this house and garden, there is so so much to do to make it really nice and it’s so rewarding. If I’m not surfing or building or working I am reading or eating snacks with my friends – it’s a full and happy life!”