April 26, 2024
People & Places

A state of inspiration

SALIFE asked talented South Australians to let the state inspire them to produce a bespoke creation. Together, they’ve come up with the colours, tastes, sights and styles that are uniquely South Australian, showcasing the creativity that flows through our state.

A Cristina Tridente creation. Photograph Naomi Jellicoe

Cristina Tridente

Cristina Tridente stands on the beach, near where she grew up at West Lakes, looking out to the ocean as dolphins playfully leap out of the water.

The fashion designer and creator of label, couture + love + madness, can be found here at the beach whenever the temperature reaches 30 degrees, with her rake and head torch, partaking in her favourite past time – crabbing.

“We come out here with our foam box and our rakes tied around the waist,” Cristina says.

Cristina with her creation. Photograph Naomi Jellicoe

It’s this upbringing that inspired the creation that Cristina is showing off – a stunning layered tulle gown with a tone that feels at home here beside the ocean.

“It’s got that ocean feel and the colour is seafoam; very reminiscent of the beach. The dress has about 50 metres of tulle and I’ve introduced a net, which I’ve never done – a fish-eye net – that actually looks like fishing net.”

The designer says South Australia is such an inspiration to her. “You can experience the best of everything here, wineries, ocean, hills and forest. I just love it, I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.”

Photograph Naomi Jellicoe.


Kate Mason

Illustrator Kate Mason is so obviously passionate about the state she was born and bred in.

The artist finds the beauty in the details of South Australia – and so she draws it all as a map. Frequently you’ll find her intricately mapping streets, such as Melbourne Street, in her drawings, but is perhaps most known for her larger colourful, playful maps of Adelaide.

So, for SALIFE, she has created a map of the entire state and says there’s something wonderful in the balance of creativity, research and the technical aspects that went into bringing it all together.

“I do all sorts of illustration, but I’m really passionate about Adelaide and South Australia,” Kate says. “We went on lots of holidays around SA when I was a child and that’s what I put into this map.”

The map shows Kate’s journeys around the state, with icons of the areas immortalised on the land and in the sea.

Kate Mason’s interpretation of her South Australia.

From the seals on Kangaroo Island, to Sturt’s Desert Pea in the Outback and opals in Coober Pedy, to the lobsters of Robe.

“I remember going camping at Normanville. We used to cross these watermelon fields and go crabbing,” Kate recalls.

“We drove through the Flinders Ranges, up through the Gammon Ranges and right up the Birdsville Track on our way up to Queensland.”

Anw illustration such as this one can take Kate around 30 hours to complete and you can find her at markets around the state, including Bowerbird and Gathered, or on Etsy, selling her range, which is popular as gifts for those who have moved overseas
or interstate.

Kate says from a young age she loved all sorts of art but didn’t consider it as a career, working for the government.

Winning some art competitions, she she began to take it more seriously and won a competition to be represented by US-based agent, Lila Rogers.

Kate says this piece has inspired her to create something similar for sale with variations on other SA icons and landmarks.


Photograph Ben Kelly

Lena Baumgartner

An itch to break out her long-packed-away paints while on maternity leave led Lena Baumgartner to a whole new career.

Now a full-time artist, the former aviation company training coordinator finds her pieces on the walls of beautiful homes and lauded restaurants.

She describes her work as abstract expressionism that is entirely dependent on her emotions.

“When people ask me to do a commission for a piece similar to something else they’ve seen of mine, I tell them I can use the same colours, but the strokes will be different because it’s so completely based on how I’m feeling at the time,” Lena says.

In this piece, Ever Flowing, created for SALIFE, Lena was feeling nostalgic about time spent at Morialta Conservation Park.

“It’s one of my favourite places and holds many happy memories for me and my kids,” she says. “This was the location that I caught up with many of my mum friends who have kids the same age. This is where we bonded over many conversations about our sleepless nights, and compared notes about our journey of motherhood.

“These days, our kids play in the creek and there is an ever-flowing sound of laughter and giggles.”


Cheryse Zagler in her beloved home region of the Barossa. Photograph Peter Hoare.

Cheryse Zagler

The things that inspire Barossa Valley cake artist Cheryse Zagler can often be found beside a road.

The pastry chef is known around the Barossa and further afield for her botanical cake designs, decorated by nature.

“There are different elements that I use every day, such as flowers – roses – things that grow in most regions,” Cheryse says. “We love going to Mount Crawford Forest in the winter and finding pinecones and berries.”

It’s these missions to forage for decorative elements, as well as the journey to discover them, that have inspired Cheryse’s sweet creation.

“I’ve used greys and blacks to represent South Australia’s roads.” The colours signify her travels and the opportunities that present themselves at the end of those roads. Cheryse says becoming a mother to baby Sadie late last year, along with her business moving to the Barossa Farmers’ Market, has been an incredible journey, and one that also inspired her cake.

On the inside of her creation, Cheryse says it’s all about going back to basics – layers of sour cream chocolate cake with milk chocolate and caramel.



Emma Young in her studio. Photograph Naomi Jellicoe.

Emma Young

Glass artist Emma Young is well-known for her glass replicas of frog cakes and FruChocs, so when we tasked her with creating something SA-inspired, it was only natural that she’d make another much-loved treat from our state.

As she stands in her shared space in the Warehouse Studio in Edwardstown, a row of clear glass cloches resting on plates is set out in front of her. These cloches have delicate handles made out of a rainbow of glass that have been inspired by Haigh’s Chocolate Speckles.

“FruChocs and frog cakes are icons of childhood happiness and nostalgia and they’re iconically South Australian,” Emma says. “When I was a kid, we’d have Allen’s Freckles and now I’m an adult and my taste has developed, I go to Haigh’s for the Speckles. (Eating these) is still a way to be quite childlike and fun, but with a more refined palate.”

Emma has taken in every detail, creating the different coloured freckles on the milk chocolate and the dark chocolate Speckles.

But being a glass artist wasn’t always in Emma’s plans, having started studying psychology, until joining a friend who was doing a visual arts course, which has now shaped her work today.

“I didn’t come from an art background so I like it when artwork can sort of be for everybody; more approachable and accessible,” she says.

Of the many things Emma loves about the state, JamFactory has to be very close to the top of the list.

“Being an artist can be really topsy turvy and hard to find security, but I know I’m always going to have that facility there so I can keep creating and have that community there.”


Kane Pollard

To have seagull poo land on you is meant to be a sign of luck, and that’s just what happened to chef Kane Pollard.

Kane, who owns Topiary in Tea Tree Gully, turned the happenstance into inspiration in the form of a dish he’s created for us today, which he’s titled Luck of the Seagull.

“It’s a bit of a fun way to showcase some of South Australia’s best seafood,” Kane says. The dish packs in some of the best things we have to offer in the form of squid ink pasta, shellfish and a heavy garnish of sea succulents, with flavours of chilli, spring onion and confit garlic.

“And then we have a fun splatter of what looks like seagull poo – it’s cultured buttermilk and a squid ink mayonnaise.”

Kane finds so much joy getting around to SA beaches and says he and his family often venture to Port Elliot.

“I also love to stay in Encounter Bay and I’ve spent quite a bit of time on the Fleurieu because I have family in Aldinga and Sellicks Beach, and Goolwa Beach is definitely a favourite spot for us.

“We’re very lucky to be in a state where everything is so close – the best food and wine is at our fingertips and the best seafood is right here.”



This article first appeared in the December 2023 issue of SALIFE magazine.

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