Interview | Gab Abell of Studium Essentials
Gab Abell is a local maker in Newcastle and her herbal skincare makes up part of my favourite everyday rituals, preparing for a big day at the studio and settling down of an evening (LOVE smothering myself in her Anointing Oil before a hot shower). Seriously. The smell? To die for.
Here, SAINT chats to Gab about slowing down and making space for the good stuff.
Tell me a little bit about yourself?
I'm Gab, I’m 25 years old and founder/formulator of a holistic skin care business called Studium Essentials. Studium aims to explore the balance of science, art & spirit – bringing the magic of plants into our everyday lives. I am also a part owner of a collaborative retail space maker store & studio. I’m a big herb nerd and am currently studying Naturopathy. The things I love most in life are good food eaten with loved ones, my dog/dogs in general, challenging myself, moving my body through yoga/bushwalks/climbing & spending time in nature.
What are you enjoying listening to at the moment?
Heavy rotation between albums by Men I Trust, Playing Piano for Dad by h hunt & Nu Guinea or Pino D’Angio when I need some groove in my life. I love taking baths to either start or end my day, I always play my meditation playlist or my transcendence playlist in the bath. My dad sent me a link to ‘petomani’ by Melbourne composer Grace Ferguson, the poem at the end is so beautiful & raw. My grandfather taught me to play piano and is responsible for my love of classical and jazz music too. I also love hip hop and rap because you can hear the jazz influences/samples in a lot of tracks! Tara Brach’s podcast is always relevant to me.
Who are you inspired by?
Patti Smith forever. I love how unapologetically authentic she is. She is the true definition of a multidisciplinary artist. Also inspired by all the women in business out there – it’s so refreshing to see a softer, more intuitive way of business. It’s really exciting to see the paradigm challenged and changing.
What’s on your bookshelf?
I always have an ambitious pile of books & journals beside my bed! Currently I’m switching between Dark Emu by Burce Pascoe, Tracks by Robyn Davidson & High Grade Living by Arran Russell and Jacqui Lewis of The Broad Place. My all time favourite books are Just Kids by Patti Smith (obviously), Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer & A Walk Across America by Peter Jenkins.
How would you describe your personal style?
If I don’t have to leave the house you’ll find me in something oversized and comfy but I also do love dressing up, I think my personal style is always evolving. My wardrobe consists of probably 80% vintage pieces in neutral colours and fabrics that stand the test of time; wool, silk, cashmere, linen etc. The other 20% is a mix of considered, investment pieces and dorky outdoor adventure clothes!
If I had a uniform it would be a good pair of jeans, a basic tee, pointy western style boots and gold hoops with a simple tote or crossbody bag. Being comfortable in what I’m wearing is when I feel best.
What are the longest standing pieces in your wardrobe?
A pair of true blue, fit like a glove vintage Amarni jeans, I’ll mourn the day they become too threadbare to wear and a Oroton leather messenger bag from the 70’s that my nan gifted me.
A favourite piece in your space?
A vessel/moon vase by a local ceramist named Ron Pinkerton that he hand built, burnished, pit fired on his property, glazed with natural glazes (seaweed, banana skins, iron oxides) & finished with gold leaf.
What’s on your wishlist?
To finish my degree, a Bottega Veneta bag and a lightweight hiking tent – I think that sums me up in one sentence?
Signature dish / what are you currently cooking?
Honestly, my love for food is far reaching and never ending. My ideal meal is a vegetarian ottolenghi style ‘bit of everything’ meal on one plate. That way I get to eat allllll the flavours. Nothing beats fresh, warm sourdough and a slathering of butter or ghee.
Sleeping in the Forest by Mary Oliver, An Eastern Ballad by Allen Ginsberg & Memoirs of a Spinach Picker by Sylvia Plath.
“Being at ease with not knowing is crucial for answers to come to you” – Eckhart Tolle
“Life is all about balance” – from my dad
When do you feel most yourself?
I feel my fullest when I do things purely for enjoyment's sake, making space for joy. It’s a rebellious act to do in a world where purposeful activity is so highly valued and validated.