Post Industrial Design

Coat racks by Jos Van Hulsen

For some reason it is Jos's work that I always to neglect to get up on our website?? Sorry Jos! By far our most popular product has been his bicycle coat rack’s. Each one is hand made from steel and recycled timbers, which are now available to purchase on our online store. Jos recently was commissioned to do a number of these racks for Kathmandu stores in New Zealand and more recently in Melbourne. I will post some pics of them as soon the new Kathmandu fit outs are completed. Included in the range of photos is a picture of Jos in our backyard (gardening is not my strong point) as well as jos working on some of the coat racks in the studio. 

Lene Kuhl Jakobsen ceramics

I was lucky enough to meet the lovely Lene Kuhl Jakobsen the other day where she showed me her amazing ceramics range.  What could I do? I couldn’t not stock her work it is . . . well fabulous! Lene is a Melbourne based Ceramic Artist and trained in her birthplace in Denmark. Moving to Australia in 1985 Lene continued to pursue her love for ceramics. Exhibiting here and overseas Lene’s work has found its way into prominent public and private collections throughout the world. Her work is largely vessel based and is all hand thrown in stoneware clays. Drawing inspiration from both the Australian environment and from her Scandinavian background, Lene creates pieces with tactile qualities and shapes of restrained simplicity in order to achieve a contemporary yet classic look. We now have a range of Lene's work in store and on our online shop.

A bookish tale - Jessica Dean

How did the Idea for your children’s book come about? The idea for Gertrude came while myself (Jessica Dean) and Marc Eiden were preparing a pitch for an animated music video. The clip fell through, but the idea wouldn’t let go, so Jessica set to writing a first draft. Marc and I have worked together many times over the years - on animations, short films, video clips and other writing projects - but I always had a desire to create a children’s book. Once the story was a solid first draft, Marc began drawing the illustrations and then the pair set to bringing his images into the computer and to transform them into their final form. A major consideration was how all three elements: story, illustrations and design could come together - it was important that all elements of the book really sing and that was where the broader collaboration evolved, including Sean Hogan and Kim Aleksandrowicz of Trampoline Design. Being a non-writer myself, I am always intrigued as to where you would start in writing a book?? The mind boggles – did you already have the story in your head? When I write, my ideas always start with images. Then I think about how I can interpret what I’m seeing in my head and transform it into story. In the case of Gertrude, the story needed to be compelling and exciting and create a world that children would want to explore.  It is not a traditional picture book in the sense that it’s quite a long story and there are some ‘big’ words weaved in - but I don’t think you should ever dumb things down for children. Learning is a wonderful experience and getting lost in a book is one of the best things going. I really do hope children and grown-ups enjoy it. Marc your illustrations are amazing!! Can you tell me a bit about your process and your technique ‘visual sampling’ – what’s that all about? From the get go, I really wanted the images to be tactile, textured, to feel alive and jump off the page. For the artwork I worked with Jess, which was great to bounce ideas and also it was great to collaborate, share ideas and the workload and it was great to see what Jess had come up with. Every element of each character and all the backgrounds are made up of photographs of textures. You can easily see the textures in some of the images, but not all and I hope kids try and guess which textures were used and have some fun with it. I come from a background of art and hip hop and the artwork for Gertrude was very similar to traditional sampling. We took little bits from all over the place and it took time to find all the right elements to make it work, I guess it was like a kind of visual sampling. It’s taking the traditional collage technique that was used so well in books like the hungry caterpillar and turning it up to 11. The thing I love most about Gertrude is that all the elements appear to work seamlessly together. I know this is something you were working hard to achieve. For this you brought in a professional designer Sean Hogan from Trampoline Design. How did this work to create the look you were trying to achieve? The job of the designer is to compile the total book and make it whole. The task was two fold: to compile the illustrations and make sure they read succinctly in the layout and also design the typography so it equaled the illustrations. They key is to get a marriage between the illustration and typography right.  I wanted the typography to be another character, another illustrative part of the book. Typefaces have voices and character and are kind of imbued with their own history. I developed a series of rules that I applied throughout the book and very quickly the typography started to bounce around and have it’s own voice - in a concrete poetry kind of way. But I also wanted it to retain some timelessness – an echo of classic children’s books. The best part is that we’ve put our own individual thoughts of what Gertrude should be, but its been a true collaboration where the product is the most important thing, not just each of our opinions. The second you remove ego from the equation, is when you are all working towards the same goal, no matter what the process or what’s required for you to do. You decided to self publish Gertrude. To do this you pulled in Kim Aleksandrowicz from Trampoline Design – what have you learnt from this collaboration? Save your money. And plan as much as you can. It’s always much more difficult to work on the fly and try to put out fires all the time. If you have an idea in your head, it’s much easier to take those steps and project in the future what you need to do. You need to do your research and you need to be flexible. Collaboration seems to be integral to your process. How do you feel this has added to your work? Marc and I have worked together many times over the years and we bring different things to whatever project we work on but a commonality is our desire for quality and difference. Marc has such an open mind and he is so full of ideas. 90 per cent of the collaboration for Gertrude was with Marc and without Marc the book as it is just wouldn’t exist. I also had the privilege of working with Sean Hogan & Kim Aleksandrowicz of Trampoline Design and Gertrude has benefited hugely from their ideas, influence and dedication. We had a really clear idea of what we wanted the book to look like, but Sean was instrumental in guiding us through the process and taking the project to a higher level, so we ended up with such a beautiful end product. Kim has also been integral. Her advice and knowledge guided me in all the right directions and thanks to Kim the book is printed on the stock it is – which has just come up so beautifully. I was really lucky to collaborate with such talented people who came onto this project with a lot of generosity and honesty. Working with them has been absolutely brilliant. I think when you collaborate you do need to work with people you trust and respect. It can be a tricky thing, but for me it was about giving them as much freedom as I could because it had to be an enjoyable process for them also. I feel very privileged that everyone was willing to give huge amounts of their time to my story and take it beyond me and make it something that belongs to all of us. We all created it. It’s a very rare and powerful thing and I’m very humbled.

Broadsheet review

We are really excited to be reviewed in this edition of Broadsheet. We meet the lovely Neiyo Sun who took all the amazing images for the article . . . of which I had to crop rather badly in order to fit on my site - sorry Neiyo! If you haven’t heard about Broadsheet you need to get on board! They are an independent publication that reviews and discusses all that our beautiful city has to offer. Bars, restaurants, galleries, music and theatre are just some of the topics covered. They have a hard copy publication but there biggest distribution is electronic and you can subscribe to their newsletter to get the latest in what’s happening around town. Broadsheet also have great directory Apps too . . . just need to get myself an iPhone!!! [gallery link="file"]  

Anne Black

New to our stock range is Anne Black’s hand crafted porcelain vases, earrings and necklaces. Anne Black is a Danish designer, based in Copenhagen. Her classic contemporary porcelain designs are increasingly finding their way into quality design shops in Australia and the rest of the world. The thing I like about her work, in particular with her vases, is the designs are classic contemporary. They are modern but with a touch of the old world. Her timeless designs work in any aesthetic - the ‘little black dress’ in glassware . . . or should one say porcelainware??

Love of glassware

I was going to use a witty caption like “Can’t be glassed?” get it?  No? Well actually its not very funny at all?! . . . Hopefully I can make up for my lack of wit by scouring the countryside for beautiful new things. My latest find are these gorgeous glassware sets that I thought I would share. These 70’s inspired genie bottles are really fun. They come in blue and green and I just love them. Ranging in 4 different sizes they start from $55.00 for the smaller bottle going up to $110 for the large. The largest bottle stands at 63cm so they are a real statement piece.                     Also in, are these modern olive green vases, which also come in 4 sizes. Prices range from $59.00 to $100 for the large. I don’t know about you but I always struggle to accommodate a large bunch of flowers. When I do finally find a vase that is big enough it ALWAYS topples over. Who designs these things I wanna know?? The great thing with these vases is they are really wide at the base and have a wide mouth at the top . . . no more falling over vases for me!!                 All products are available in store or on our website.

Design in focus - Susan Williams

There are sooo many talented people out there and I am hoping to do a post each week on one of our designers. . . well thats the plan anyway! This week I will be looking at Susan Williams our very own designer from the  west! Here goes  . . . Tell us a bit about yourself ? I’m a 39 year old mum living in Maidstone. I have a hubby, two young kids and two adopted cats.  With two kids under the age of four my house is often like a bomb has hit it and I spend a lot of time just trying to keep my head above water and push back the chaos. Apart from my jewellery, which is something I do for charity, I make other larger mosaics, both representation and abstract. At present I am working on a large Modigliani style nude, all made out of tiles.  For paid work I do crisis counselling which is something I get a lot out of. What about your jewellery?. My jewellery is all about colour. I like to break all the rules and put together vivid and bold combinations that are unusual, or playful.  Colour is instinctive for me, and my jewellery celebrates the sheer visual pleasure of colour and its decorative effect. The main material I use in my mosaic is smalti, which is a traditional mosaic material that comes from Italy. Traditional smalti tiles are still found today in many European churches and ornamental objects. 100 per cent of the profits from my mosaic jewellery go towards supporting a charity called CanTeen. CanTeen is a national support organisation for 12 - 24 year olds who are living with cancer, and is the only organisation of its kind in Australia. The inspiration behind CanTeen is the belief that young people are better able to cope with the uncertainties of a cancer diagnosis through meeting and talking with other young people who have had a similar experience and understand exactly what they are going through. I made a decision a while ago that I would not try to make a profit out of my work. This sounds strange I know, because most businesses are about making a profit. But for me it didn’t feel right to use my art for this purpose. When I thought about just making money it changed my headspace and felt too much like work, which I didn't want it to be. So I do it for the sheer love of it, and for the good feeling I get out of helping others, which is an amazing feeling. I'm a Christian so you try and do what you can. What inspires you? I look for beauty in ordinary everyday objects, such as rust on a gate, or autumn leaves in the park.  Modern architecture and urban industrial landscapes also fascinate me, and suggest unusual combinations of light and colour. In some ways my work can be seen as an attempt to reconcile and seek harmony with my environment.  What else?  Old maps and illustrations in old children’s story books, things made out of stone and precious metals,  stain glass windows, vintage fabrics and wallpaper are all pretty rad. What does handmade mean to you? Handmade = love, and fragility. What it means to be human. The very imperfection in non-manufactured items, is both their humanity and their beauty. Who has been most influential in your craft? My mother is a compulsive knitter. When I was a child she always had cupboards in the house full to the brim with wool, her “supplies”. Mum had a knitting machine as well as knitting by hand, so was very prolific. It would be clackety clack all day long.  She now has arthritis and her hands are bent out of shape but she can still knit a kids jumper in a day and the doctor says it is good for her health to keep her hands moving. Mum has always been very selfless in giving her creations away so in that sense she has also been a role model. She still gives a lot of her knitting as gifts, and used to donate a fair bit to the local hospital for charity. When did you know you were an artist/maker? I knew I was into art from a young age and the first real job I ever wanted was to be a cartoonist. When I found mosaic, I was instantly smitten. It’s been really lovely to discover this source of energy and flow in my life and let it unfold in a unique way. I feel as though my connection to my art is something deeply spiritual. It's a huge part of my  identity, and makes me feel happy and connected to myself and others. [gallery link="file" columns="4"]