When you’re in nature, you can relax and see what unfolds.

Moving to Maldon has enabled Sally Anderson, founder of the Dangerfield fashion label, to turn her artistic eye towards nature.

Sally Anderson loves getting up at dawn to watch the sun rise over her bush property in Maldon, but in a previous life she made fashion for people who preferred to party until dawn, not rise with it.

Started as a small label called Euphemia Dangerfield, Sally’s custom-made fashion became popular with celebrity stylists who bought Sally’s bold, eclectic garments for musicians like Bono and Lenny Kravitz – not bad for a label started in her lounge room.

When Dangerfield grew, she sold the label and enjoyed stints living in Paris, Barcelona and Los Angeles, before moving to Maldon four years ago with her partner Simon to enjoy life in the slow lane.

After purchasing 120 acres of bushland protected by a Trust for Nature covenant, Sally and her partner soon discovered the joys of the Maldon township.

“It’s an authentic, beautifully-preserved town. A lot of writers, artists and musicians have retired here. There are always people playing music and running workshops,” says Sally, who now runs Nature Lab, an enterprise that facilitates art workshops in nature.

Buying a property protected by Trust for Nature has enabled Sally and Simon to conserve land while living close to nature.

“Yesterday a flock of black cockatoos landed next to the house and we’ve also got a mob of around 30 kangaroos that hang about,” says Sally.

Importantly, the property has nesting boxes for native wildlife like the Brush-tailed Phascogale, a small marsupial experiencing worrying population declines due to habitat destruction.

Running art workshops from a shed that’s been converted into a studio allows Sally to share her love of nature with others. In the past she’s facilitated plein air painting workshops with Castlemaine artist, Mark Dober, but she’s planning drawing and walking workshops too.

“I’m planning a spring walking workshop with lunch from Le Sel Bakery in Maldon, which do amazing baguettes. It’s easy to access beautiful food here. There’s farmers ’markets, organic shops and local growers. We try to grow our own veggies… but the kangaroos eat most of them!” she says.

Apart from running open-air painting workshops, Sally recently created Duchess of Walmer, a one-off clothing label stocked at a local boutique, Tres Doux Tres Beau.

“My neighbours jokingly call me the Duchess of Walmer because I live on the border of Maldon and Walmer, so I used that name for the label. I try to use antique fabrics and ends of fabric rolls, so I’m not creating waste,” she says.

Waking up to watch orange and pink sunrises is a regular ritual that inspires Sally to paint. Having lived in some of the world’s busiest cities, she’s now enjoying the inner peace and creative freedom that comes with living a slower, more conscious life.

“In the country, you’re less bothered by other people’s influences and opinions. The stresses and competitiveness of the city can paralyse you. When you’re in nature, you can relax and see what unfolds,” Sally reflects.

“Here, I’m surrounded by inspiration all the time.”

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About the author

Jo Stewart 2
Jo Stewart
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Jo Stewart is a freelance writer and book author who lives in a 100-year-old workers’ cottage in Kyneton. Her work has been published in Monocle, International Traveller, The Age and The Saturday Paper. She is also the author of That’s So 90s, an illustrated book dedicated to the pop cultural wonders of the 1990s. When not writing feature articles about food, music, travel, culture and sustainability, Jo likes listening to live music, spending time in nature, drinking good wine and beer, and hunting for vintage treasures in op shops.