Making art accessible: The new Tangerine Fox & Calamity Tash venture spreading craft cheer

The Tangerine Fox shop found its new home at Westfield West Lakes, highlighting a demand for local creativity to thrive in commercial spaces. (Image source: The Tangerine Fox)

By Helen Karakulak | @Helen_Karakulak

The Tangerine Fox, formerly located on Pulteney Street, is an award-winning brand known for its eclectic style, stocking a variety of products from emerging and established local artists.

Tash Evele, formerly of The Studio Adl located on Hindley Street, has been actively involved in Adelaide’s creative community for 12 years. In that time, she has established her brand, Calamity Tash, as inclusive, accessible and engaging.

Tash is bringing her trademark shimmer to the new Tangerine Fox, located in Westfield West Lakes. Tash has been stocking her products at the Tangerine Fox’s former location and on their site for the past two years after striking up a conversation while shopping.

“As a creative my biggest piece of advice is always if you want something ask for it, that’s how I became a stockist at the Tangerine Fox,” Tash said. 

As the new fox on the block, Tash is taking on a larger role in visual merchandising in the new space.

“I’m really excited about bringing some colour, some sparkle, some uniqueness to a shopping centre that largely has quite commercial businesses in it,” she said. 

“I’m hoping for lots of eye-catching foot traffic, even if it’s just people coming in, seeing things they’ve never seen before.

“They don’t need to buy anything, they just need to know that these things exist, and that local people are making them.”

Going beyond your standard trading, Tash makes an effort to engage customers in how her products are made, empowering them to take up artistic practice themselves and making her interactions meaningful rather than transactional.

“It hurts my heart when I hear people say, ‘I’m not creative’ or ‘I could never do that’ aggrandising these artists and creatives when the only thing stopping them from trying is their fear of failure,” Tash said.

Overcoming craft-fear is a key element of the workshops and events Tash has run with a variety of groups and institutions including YOUTH Inc and the University of Adelaide, incorporating creative thinking techniques with activities to stimulate motor co-ordination and relaxation. In doing so, she creates a supportive environment for individuals to grow and groups to bond without breaking the bank, believing workshops should be affordable and community-minded.

“Seeing all of these workshops running at what I consider to be extortion price made me say ‘I’m going to make my own workshops, they’re going to be affordable, I am going to give these people some competition and I’m proud of that because I’m not undercutting anybody,” she said.

“I’m still making profit and I’m spreading so much good cheer of craft … getting to see people’s faces when they show you something they’re proud of is something very special and I’m definitely looking forward to continuing workshops at the Tangerine Fox.”

Beyond the interaction of workshops, the Tangerine Fox and stores like it that stock local, with an emphasis on sustainability and ethical practice, are beneficial in the connectivity they promote within and beyond the local arts community.

The Tangerine Fox and Calamity Tash both have their own online stores established, with Tash selling her own products, and the Tangerine Fox listing a variety of local, interstate, ethically and handmade products. Having a collective site or space such as the Tangerine Fox, allows local creators to eliminate a large amount of admin work they would need to put in to generate sales, allowing them to solely focus on the craft.

“A lot of the products on the Tangerine Fox website come from artists who don’t have the resources to have their own site … if you have a shop owner that you can rock up to once a month and drop your stuff off and say ‘here it is, all lovingly made,’ you can walk away and wait for the sales,” Tash said.

The presence of physical spaces that provide this service and encompass these ideals are beneficial to introducing or engaging wider communities with the work being done by local creatives they may have never seen before.

“Having a physical shop is really integral, especially to small independent local designers who can’t afford to have their own shops or run websites, these are expensive things,” Tash said.

“To put them in a space with shop managers who know the brands, love the brands and are more than excited to promote them, that’s sales you can’t get anywhere,” she said.

“What’s so great about West Lakes is we’re going to reach a completely different demographic there that will hopefully find real inspiration and passion in the products we have.

“It will hopefully change their mindset a little bit more towards buying ethical, buying local and making this a tradition rather than a trend.”

The new Tangerine Fox store is now open, located in Shop 122 Westfield, West Lakes.

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