Paths of Purpose with Euphony Designs & Anna Wilshire Photography
Georgia Beard meets a creative couple whose individual paths allowed them to follow their passions before leading back to each other.
When Serena Darling cut her hair short, she became obsessed with filling the bare space with statement-making earrings.
Jewellery has always been a joyful part of Serena’s self-expression; and before earrings, it was necklaces – big, bold and beaded pieces in bright colours, an impressive collection she still owns.
While studying an International Business major, Serena worked at Brisbane’s Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, guiding tours, taking polaroids of koala encounters and later leading the sanctuary’s transition to digital photography.
It was there she met fellow zookeeper and budding photographer Anna Wilshire, her soon-to-be best friend and eventually, life partner!
But before this dynamic duo would come together, Anna embarked on overseas travel – volunteering with Orangutan Foundation International working with orangutans in Borneo; teaching children about Australian wildlife in India; and working in hospitality in the UK and Ireland.
Meanwhile, after graduating, Serena settled into her first career-moulding position in Lone Pine’s marketing team and over the next two decades lived in the corporate world providing marketing, brand strategy and communications services in the commercial, public and not-for-profit sectors for global brands across Australia and the UK.
Mastering her craft back in Australia, Anna worked as a cinema projectionist before riding the professional wave of real estate photography for ten years, and thanks to her early career start in architectural drafting, became one of the first photographers in Brisbane to offer floor plans as part of her service.
Reuniting and making their relationship official, Anna and Serena settled on the Sunshine Coast after years of building their own businesses in Brisbane. Serena had founded Darling Consulting to assist clients in building and protecting their brands from the inside out, while Anna built a real estate photography business she later sold before creating her Noosa-based business, Real Exposure.
In 2022, Anna’s love for capturing local beachscapes, bushscapes and mountainscapes lingered, leading her to establish Anna Wilshire Photography to provide accessible framed prints of her images via an online store.
“After spending day after day shooting properties with bare walls and dated, mismatched prints, I realised there was a need for local and affordable contemporary wall art,” she said.
“I set about capturing imagery that works hand in hand with interior design and offers something to suit all tastes.”
Now Anna offers original fine art photography in modern coastal, country cottage, minimalist and monochrome styles designed to stand out, subtly complement or spark memories.
She also works closely with local real estate agents and property managers, providing her stunning local landscape photography to brighten the walls of accommodation outlets.
Serena’s creative spark was also lit when she reconnected with her lifelong fascination with jewellery during a polymer clay earring workshop on the Sunshine Coast although the desire to share her creations had already been stirring in her mind.
“I’d decided it would make a great side business and had dreamed up the brand and business plan before actually doing the workshop,” she said.
Equipped with her savvy understanding of marketing, Euphony Designs emerged onto the artisanal stage in early 2023.
Handmade in her home workshop, Serena’s limited collections of earrings are designed to reflect the natural surrounds of Noosa and the Sunshine Coast with down-to-earth, effortless elegance.
“A pair of fabulous earrings can be mood-lifting and empowering,” she said.
“I wanted to bring joy to fellow earring lovers through a distinctive coastal style and a handmade touch that’s personal and unique, yet still affordable.
“Polymer clay is so versatile and lightweight on the ears, but I’d previously found it hard to find polymer clay earrings in soft neutral tones and minimalist styles. So, I wanted to ensure my creations filled this gap.”
Her recent collections Earth Tones and Terracotta Dreams offer sophisticated neutral tones reminiscent of the sand and soil below us, while the bright, impressionist strokes of Spring Wildflowers reflect swathes of wildflowers in national parks and hinterlands.
When she sits down at her worktable to craft, Serena uses mixed materials and often combines polymer clay pieces with gold, brass and bamboo charms and scatters brass, gold, silver, gun metal and rose gold in her designs.
The earring pairs then attach to high-quality hypoallergenic posts and hooks with many one-of-a-kind pairs created.
Local businesses supply her with clay, charms, tools and display stands, closing the loop of the circular economy she has slipped into with ease.
Serena and Anna have been true to their own journey while also giving a stage to the artistic voices within them.
Together, this creative couple have proven that no matter the journey, passion will always lead you where you are meant to be.
Until the end of January, Euphony Designs is offering FREE SHIPPING within Australia for all earrings purchased online! Browse the range and secure your pair HERE!