People / Aysha Monticone
Aysha Monticone is the creative heart behind tableware brand Kinfolk & Co. Her vision was to establish a small sustainable business that might celebrate local artisans and create beautiful earthen and tableware to bring the art of food back to its roots. Pieces born of the earth; from natural and recycled materials; brought into existence through collaboration with skilled local crafts men and women. These are objects of function and beauty; carefully shaped by hand and intended to age gracefully by passing through generations of use.
In an age where convenience and overconsumption rule, it's refreshing to see the renaissance of an heirloom mentality; whereby the things we own might be considered with care and adoration rather than impermanence. Coming to know Aysha she is deeply dedicated to such revival and has strived to make it a cornerstone of her business. Recently I was privileged to have a candid conversation about the inspirations and ideals of this lovely woman.
1 / What inspires you?
Morning light, the sky at dusk, art, music, travel, nature, design, healthy living, sustainability and creativity.
2 / What does the idea of gathering mean to you?
Gathering is the coming together of kinfolk- friends, family and the unknown sharing a mutual space.
3 / What do you think makes the perfect gathering?
Beautiful lighting, warmth, love, laughter, joy, delicious food and drinks, interesting conversation and of course music.
4/ Do you think routine has a place in a creative life? Do you have any of your own daily rituals?
Yes, routine is what holds us together and makes us feel comfortable. We thrive from routine because it’s our human nature. As a mother to a one and half year old my daily rituals mainly revolve around him and his needs. However, one thing that I always do for myself is go to sleep with a grateful heart. I find this ritual very grounding and gratifying.
5 / What is your idea of a perfect day?
Sunshine, beach, reading, swims, delicious food, friends, bonfire - I think a day that includes one or more of these things is my idea of perfection.
6 / What are your go to resources; books, websites, podcasts or stores?
I can never have enough cookbooks. Anything by Ottolenghi or Sally Fallon, I also love Grown & Gathered and The Cooks Companion by Stephanie Alexander and the River Cottage series.
7 / Do you tend to choose possessions for function or beauty? Do you have any of special meaning or significance?
I like to choose possessions that combine both function and beauty, I believe they both have an equal importance. My most prized possessions are items that are made with love, one of a kind, beautiful yet functional. Items that represent me and that I would like to pass down to my children one day.
8 / The traditional and slow preparation of food has seen quite a renaissance of late. Why do you think it’s important for people to be more considerate of how they eat?
Traditional foods are deeply nourishing, unprocessed and completely natural. They allow you to live a healthy lifestyle free from illness and disease. In particular, traditional fermented foods, which are popular amongst many cultures. These have been proven to aid digestion, improve your immune system and play a major role in preventing and dispelling heart disease, cancer, autism, asthma, allergies, arthritis, depression and diabetes.
9 / It seems Kinfolk & Co is strongly tied to its community of makers. Were local artisans receptive to the idea from the outset and did you go about approaching people to come onboard?
Yes, I believe so. I think the artisans I approached felt comfortable with the brand and what it stands for and were therefore very willing to come on board. I initiated contact via an email or phone call and we then took it from there. I remember spending a couple of hours at one of my first meetings with an artist. We discussed everything from our love of fermented foods to yoga and of course pottery. I have been so blessed to work with such incredibly inspiring and talented artists of this area. They are all incredibly passionate about their work and it gives me so much joy to support them.
10 / What does success mean to you?
Success to me is living your life to the fullest and enjoying all the things life has to offer. I feel like you are successful if you are able to spend extended time with your loved ones. Success is being able to travel and experience other cultures and ways of life. Success is spending time outdoors, surrounding yourself in the natural wonders of the world. Success is having the opportunity to give - to give back to the earth and to those in less fortunate situations. Success is being apart of a wider community and supporting one an another in whatever way we can. Success is raising healthy and happy children with open minds and grateful hearts. Being healthy and grounded is success to me.
11 / Fear can be a rather potent force in the life of creative people. How do you overcome moments of self doubt or adversity?
There are certainly moments when I feel fear and self doubt in life. Whenever I experience these feelings I remind myself to trust the process and simply let it go. Without sounding too cliché, I try not to hold onto anything that no longer serves me. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I also like to practice breath work and meditation, both of these yogic tools have a profoundly positive effect on my mind and body.
12 / The beauty of hindsight is a precious notion. What wisdom would you offer your younger self given the chance?
Not to worry about what others think, to embrace every opportunity, not to be fearful and to simply trust. To know that we have the power within us.