I was scrolling through Facebook one weekend and in one of the groups, I saw a Collaboration post. Cass had commented, I checked out her Instagram account and loved her work. She had just released her Colouring Book and I was about to release our Memory Makers Self-Care Edition and I thought they would go perfectly together.
So we organised to meet and had so much in common and had such a lovely time - I'm happy to say that Cass has become a friend as well as someone I am excited to work with. Thanks MIB Int. Networking Sunshine Coast!
Tell us about Violet Beeline – who are you and what is it about?
Hi! I’m Cass Ravaga and I’m an artist and illustrator. I live in the beautiful hinterland of the Sunshine Coast with my husband, daughter, son and their grandparents! My business is called Violet Beeline, (who is possibly my alter-ego, I have quite decided yet!) and is all about creating modern, unique and intricate art pieces that provide meaningful experiences for my clients.
I guess you could say there are two sides to my art; the ‘spiritual’ side and the ‘animal’ side. I hope that people may find spiritual attachment to the mandalas I draw, to one or more of the animals in my wildlife series or to my unique intentional colouring book designed specifically for meditation on self-love. It also encompasses the whole reason I began drawing - as a way to connect with myself after experiencing PND and to calm my mind or to just BE in the moment. This is what ‘Violet’ represents in my business name as violet is the colour of spirituality and creativity.
‘Be’ has always been an important word for my artistic journey as I am always drawn to the present moment when I pick up a pen. Bees as animals also hold a very special place in my heart as my favourite animal and I have immense respect for their underestimated intelligence. Therefore bees represent the second side of my artwork; animals. I love drawing ALL kinds of wildlife and I especially love doing pet portraits for the four-legged members of our family! I chose the word Beeline for my business because there are two beautiful flowers with this name and as my art is both floral and consists of a lot of line work, Beeline fits perfectly.
So as you can see my artwork holds a lot of my own personal meaning and I always aim to provide that connection to meaning for my clients also - all while creating something beautiful of course!
Have you always done this or is it a new business for you? How did Violet Beeline begin?
No, Violet Beeline as a serious business is only around 5 months old. Prior to Violet Beeline, I have had a varied past which included studying two extremely different degrees; Linguistics and Zoology, living in 4 other countries, travelling and teaching English. But throughout it all, I have always loved drawing.
I only started drawing with some seriousness after the birth of my daughter in 2016. I fell into Post Natal Depression and also suffered Post Natal Anxiety. Drawing was the only thing I could manage to do that actually fed my soul, and now that I’ve recently had my son, it has continued to keep my mental health in check.
I started Violet Beeline at the beginning of this year. We moved to the Sunshine Coast from the Gold Coast when my son was 1 week old and around 2 weeks before the COVID-19 restrictions began. I knew eventually I would have to get creative (figuratively and literally) to find a source of income as teaching English may not be possible due to the ongoing international travel ban. But being in lockdown and on mat leave in the middle of the bush in a new region without knowing anyone, my creativity started soaring through the roof! It seemed as if absolutely everything was telling me it was the right timing to dive headfirst into what I had really wanted for many years - to turn my art into a (humbly) successful business - which, admittedly, is something I’m still working on!
What is a typical day for you?
Having two little ones at home means a routine is essential! I spend most mornings playing, making food and doing housework (every domestic goddess’ dream right?!) Luckily my daughter is old enough to play by herself and my son has a long midday nap, so I manage to work on my business for an hour or two most days. Then the afternoon consists of more cooking, housework, baths, and that hectic evening routine. Then if I’m not absolutely exhausted in the evening after the kids are in bed, I can spend another hour or two drawing while I have a wine and binge on Netflix 😆.
Which part of your brand do you enjoy working on the most?
Obviously I started this business because I absolutely love to draw and create pretty things, but I really do love the balance of the business side too. I’m learning a lot about running a business and that’s exciting. Life for me is all about learning new things and having balance so I like all aspects of it - so far at least!
You have 2 young children – how do you balance motherhood with running a business?
This one is tough. One of the reasons I started Violet Beeline was so that I could stay at home with my children. But I am also someone who has a strong work ethic and wants to provide a high level of professionalism in my customer service. So I often have to pull myself up and remind myself of why I started the business and put my phone down while the kids are awake. It’s not easy but like I said before, balance is key. I don’t want my kids to remember me with my phone in my hand at all times! I just have to work hard and efficiently (I write A LOT of lists!) when they’re sleeping (like right now 😆).
Can you tell us what you have in mind for Violet Beeline over the next 12 months?
Thinking about this makes me simultaneously nervous and excited! I hope to bring out at least one other colouring book and have them widely available and being used successfully as a tool in improving mental health.
I’d also LOVE to be booked up with pet portrait and mural commissions. I would be very humbled to have this business provide a small steady income for my family so I can continue to be available for my kids at home. I also hope to have my name and art out there on the coast so people will recognise and recommend my work- as an artist, what more could you hope for!
Your Everyday life
What do you enjoy doing (outside of your brand!)?
I love love love live music and festivals, although that has been quite challenging during parenthood and now COVID has made it almost impossible. *Sigh*.
I’m also interested in making sustainable lifestyle changes towards zero waste, so I’m always learning and experimenting in that area. I love cooking, yoga, and having deep intellectual conversations about the world - although in all honesty I don’t have much time for any of these things now that I have two young kids... but a girl can only dream!
What are you reading at the moment?
To be honest I’m always drawing rather than reading. However, I do love to read and almost always have a few books with bookmarks in them! The current ones on my shelf patiently waiting are Shantaram (for the second time), The Power of Now (for the second time) and The Gap (written by my favourite lecturer at university - Prof Thomas Suddendorf) which is about animal intelligence.
What are you watching at the moment?
I just started Dead to Me on Netflix, I like the dry humour in it so far.
You live on the Sunshine Coast and have a day with no responsibilities to do anything you like. What do you do?
Oh, the luxury!! I would probably start the day with an early morning swim in the ocean at Coolum or Noosa (both beautiful beaches!) then go for a drive in the hinterland to look at the countryside, find little boutiques and to try a new restaurant for lunch. If I had enough energy I’d also visit a waterfall and check out some incredible views along the way...then crash on the couch at home! That sounds like an exhausting day, to be honest, but I’m sure without the kids in tow it’d be quite amazing!
Which do you prefer?
Dogs/cats - I know as a pet portrait artist I shouldn’t have a favourite, but I do! Dogs for sure! (Ask me about the street cat we adopted when I was a kid and you’ll know why 😆).
Camping/staying in a hotel - Both! Depends on the occasion...
Home cooking/eating out - Home cooking definitely.
Watching a movie/reading a book - Also depends... both have their moments.
Summer/winter - Summer, although I’m starting to like winter more and more.
Waking up early/staying up late - Waking up early, though it’s the harder option!
Tea/Coffee - Definitely coffee.
Sweet/savoury - Sweet. No, savoury. No, sweet. Yeah sweet!
Breakfast/no breakfast - People do “no breakfast”?! Nope, I’d faint!
Online shopping/in-store shopping - Love online shopping at the moment!
What is your happiest memory?
I’ve had a wonderfully lucky and privileged life both as a child and an adult, so it’s hard to pick just one! Maybe it’s of spending all summer as a kid in Cairns with my grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins. Weeks and weeks of tropical weather, mangoes, swimming in dams and lakes and having loads of giggles. Those were the carefree days!
And finally, what is the best gift you have ever received?
This one has really stumped me. I can’t think of a “thing” that I’ve received, but when my mum gave me my inheritance from my grandmother, I bought a one-way ticket to Spain. Living there shaped who I am as a women today, and that was the best gift I’ve ever received.