I grew up in a small bush town in South Africa called White River. It was nestled on the border of the world’s largest nature reserve, the Kruger National Park. My childhood was filled with long, sunny days, hours exploring the rocky outcrops, making forts and playing with clay while my mum threw pots. I was the oldest of 4 children and what I remember most about that carefree time, was the community I grew up in. Everyone seemed so connected, supportive and caring. Children called friends’ parents ‘Aunty and Uncle’, not because they were family, but because we were all treated like family. Lift club to and from school meant that we spent extra time with our friends, but it meant that our mums only had to take us to school a day or two a week as they spread the load. This was the community I grew up in, so I guess you could say that collaboration is in my blood. GRAND DESIGNS Debbie O’Connor 14 GLOSS JUNE 2015 Imagine my surprise then when I grew up, left home and began to explore the world beyond my borders. A world full of disconnect, solitude and single mindedness. It seemed crazy to me that everyone was working so hard - and all alone. Why didn’t they connect with people and share the load? I say this now with the luxury of hindsight. The truth is that I started my creative studio, White River Design (WRD) alone after moving to Australia.