Category Archives: creative hq

Kim Jaeger of Potheads

Studio Home Weekly newsletterStudio of Melbourne artist/sculptor/curator; Kim Jaeger who is behind the iconic one of a kind ceramic 's; Potheads / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeDespite it being some time ago now, I still remember the thrill of scheduling in a visit with Kim Jaeger while in Melbourne late last year. I had followed Kim’s instagram for months and marveled at the “work in progress shots” from her studio as she hand crafted one “Pot head” after another – each different and each strangely packed with character! I got the impression there was more to this project than the occasional shot on Instagram, so for her to accept my request for a visit felt like I was off on an art-filled treasure hunt!

What I didn’t expect to discover was that Kim is more than an accomplished artist with a loyal international following – she is a facilitator, educator and curator who works to bridge art with an audience at every chance she gets.

Studio of Melbourne artist/sculptor/curator; Kim Jaeger who is behind the iconic one of a kind ceramic 's; Potheads / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeStudio of Melbourne artist/sculptor/curator; Kim Jaeger who is behind the iconic one of a kind ceramic 's; Potheads / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

Kim grew up in the small coastal town of Coledale, south of Sydney. The University of Wollongong was her destination post high school, where she initially enrolled in Visual Arts. However a switch to graphic design progressed to completing her Masters in Graphic Design and New Media concentrating on interactive projects and installations using film, video and sound.

Studio of Melbourne artist/sculptor/curator; Kim Jaeger who is behind the iconic one of a kind ceramic 's; Potheads / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home Studio of Melbourne artist/sculptor/curator; Kim Jaeger who is behind the iconic one of a kind ceramic 's; Potheads / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

In 2001 she graduated and promptly found herself working in a call centre for a year – something many young graduates could put their hand up to!
She and her sister then headed to London for a few years with the intention to find work as a graphic designer. However the realities of client work grated with her and after a few months she moved on, finding jobs as a care worker, op-shop assistant, ticketing for plays and at Harrods over Christmas all with the aim to fund further travel.

Studio of Melbourne artist/sculptor/curator; Kim Jaeger who is behind the iconic one of a kind ceramic 's; Potheads / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home Studio of Melbourne artist/sculptor/curator; Kim Jaeger who is behind the iconic one of a kind ceramic 's; Potheads / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

Over this entire period she faithfully diarised her ideas. Continually drawing, remaining open and receptive to her changing surrounds until she had built up years of material just begging to be bought to life!

By 2005 she was back to Sydney in charge of the marketing and graphic design of a print company, bythe following year she decided to head South to Melbourne and join her sister (where she slept on the floor for a few months while getting on her feet…yes! We’ve all been there too!)
Between temp work and a role “scanning scanners” for Motorola (?!) Kim launched herself back into making again. Her first show was at Bus Gallery in collaboration with Emily Plunkett where they created work using embroidery. Kim’s work was text based where she made a wall of text from “overhears snippets of conversation”.

Studio of Melbourne artist/sculptor/curator; Kim Jaeger who is behind the iconic one of a kind ceramic 's; Potheads / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home Studio of Melbourne artist/sculptor/curator; Kim Jaeger who is behind the iconic one of a kind ceramic 's; Potheads / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeStudio of Melbourne artist/sculptor/curator; Kim Jaeger who is behind the iconic one of a kind ceramic 's; Potheads / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home Studio of Melbourne artist/sculptor/curator; Kim Jaeger who is behind the iconic one of a kind ceramic 's; Potheads / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home Studio of Melbourne artist/sculptor/curator; Kim Jaeger who is behind the iconic one of a kind ceramic 's; Potheads / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

Kim then moved into a great role which she held of 3 years in event management with the Australian Institute of Professional Photography. Over this period she continued with her art in a big way. She also became heavily involved with the board of the Seventh Gallery on Melbourne’s Gertrude Street. It was her involvement here from 2009 – 2011 that gave her the opportunity to connect with a group of active and ambitious artists, including her partner Andy Hutson who was also on the board.

As she began to exhibit more (with shows at Felt Space in Adelaide and Boxcopy in Brisbane) she also increased her work as curator and familiarised herself with the nationwide network of “Artist Run Initiatives”. She has created, facilitated, curated and project managed large shows (one included the work of 28 exhibitors) involving musicians, artists and many creative talents that had never had work placed in the public arena.

Studio of Melbourne artist/sculptor/curator; Kim Jaeger who is behind the iconic one of a kind ceramic 's; Potheads / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home Studio of Melbourne artist/sculptor/curator; Kim Jaeger who is behind the iconic one of a kind ceramic 's; Potheads / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home Studio of Melbourne artist/sculptor/curator; Kim Jaeger who is behind the iconic one of a kind ceramic 's; Potheads / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

In 2011 she took up a role with the Cancer Council  Arts Awards programme which recognises and publicises the work of those directly and indirectly effected by the disease. She was also responsible for coordinating the launch of an art therapy programme for cancer patients.

Now….this all paints a picture of the highly active, involved and busy professional life of Kim Jaeger, but I want to just rewind a step or two to explain how her marvelous tribe of Potheads came to life!

Studio of Melbourne artist/sculptor/curator; Kim Jaeger who is behind the iconic one of a kind ceramic 's; Potheads / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeStudio of Melbourne artist/sculptor/curator; Kim Jaeger who is behind the iconic one of a kind ceramic 's; Potheads / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeStudio of Melbourne artist/sculptor/curator; Kim Jaeger who is behind the iconic one of a kind ceramic 's; Potheads / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

POT HEADS: The Tribe

It was in 2008, in the backyard of a Melbourne share house that Kim discovered a creepy ceramic “head” with weeds growing out of it! She got over the creepiness but not her desire to maker her own “pot head”.

A few years later she took her idea to North Carlton Ceramics which led to regular Friday visits where she learnt from the best how to hand build and experiment with clay and glazes.
After some chat with Craft Victoria about their Craft Cubed project, Val Restarick of North Carlton Ceramics broached the idea with Kim of a joint exhibition. This was in 2011 and every single Pot head was snapped up and taken to a new loving home.

Following some great media coverage Kim began to field constant enquiries of people wanting to their own potheads so she began to liase with then secure a small group of local stockists. 

I found Kim’s Pothead project to ride a really interesting line. There is such demand for her one off creations however every single one is made by hand, has its own personality and takes between 6-8 weeks of forming, glazing and firing to be completed!
Despite the heavy demand Kim continues to see her Potheads as functional art and is in no way swayed to head down the road of mass production..

Studio of Melbourne artist/sculptor/curator; Kim Jaeger who is behind the iconic one of a kind ceramic 's; Potheads / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home Studio of Melbourne artist/sculptor/curator; Kim Jaeger who is behind the iconic one of a kind ceramic 's; Potheads / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

Kim was pregnant with her first child when I visited the Brunswick cottage she shares with her partner Andy. She balanced 4 days a week with the Cancer Council and spent 3 days in her little laundry studio filling private and retail orders of her Potheads. She now has a gorgeous daughter and this year has already been involved in the curating of an exhibition at Mr Kitly of women artists from Iwantja Arts in Indulkana titled “Pukulpa Pots”.
A new collection of Pot heads are heading to Koskela next week and in November Kim is running a workshop at Signal (an art space run by The City of Melbourne for people aged 18-25) teaching a class how to make ceramic planters. A trip to Japan with her 8 month old and a focus on the collaborative exhibition she is working torward with Anna Varendorff for 2015 means this is one thriving and busy artist!

I found Kim to be uncannily calm which belies her amazing ability to make stuff happen! So often artists get to their end of their making process and find themselves incredibly stumped and intimidated on how on earth to share their work. It’s amazing people like Kim who can carefully move them in the right direction and help them cultivate a following which before may have seem impossible for them to access.

Mission in life – to own my own Pot head.

Studio of Melbourne artist/sculptor/curator; Kim Jaeger who is behind the iconic one of a kind ceramic 's; Potheads / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home
Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home
……

WHAT I LEARNT FROM KIM JAEGER:

Be true to your ideas.
Let them grow…but in the way that sits comfortably with your gut.

Posted in art, australia, creative hq | Tagged | 2 Comments

Rust + Stardust – Auckland

Homestyle magazine - New Zealand

Rust + Stardust: Auckland studio of Evie Kemp and Amy Clarke / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeProlific designers, artists and creative partners in crime; Evie Kemp and Amy Clarke.
……

There isn’t a single creative out there that hasn’t harboured dreams of a lofty, industrial style work space where the studio dog naps in a corner and freshly painted white walls set off the rustic old wooden rafters. Yes, in fact I think we have all imagined ourselves in a space like this!

What’s more, while rustic modern studio’s are rife in the back streets of Melbourne and dark corners of Brooklyn they are virtually impossible to pin down in the much “younger” urban centres of New Zealand.

It just so turns out they are there if you are prepared to hunt and creative partners in crime; Evie Kemp and Amy Clarke can vouch for that. With accomplished businesses in their own right, the young women decided to join forces to find a work space that would move them out of their respective home studio’s and into a situation that not only gave them room to develop their own brands, but new opportunity to innovate and even collaborate.

Rust + Stardust: Auckland studio of Evie Kemp and Amy Clarke / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home Rust + Stardust: Auckland studio of Evie Kemp and Amy Clarke / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeRust + Stardust: Auckland studio of Evie Kemp and Amy Clarke / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeRust + Stardust: Auckland studio of Evie Kemp and Amy Clarke / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

Inspired by similar set ups overseas, like Melbourne’s Harvest Workshop, they let go of any need to be in the city centre and instead focused on West Auckland where their budget could go a little further. Gold was struck when they found and immediately fell in love with a large industrial unit in Te Atatu South , that on viewing was packed to the rafters with Indian wedding props. Think huge polyester rainbows, clouds, gilded pillars, statues and piles of fake flowers reaching the roof!

The ridiculous riot of colour and fantasy was so unexpected and the pair took it as a good omen, taking the leap and signing the lease!

Rust + Stardust: Auckland studio of Evie Kemp and Amy Clarke / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home Rust + Stardust: Auckland studio of Evie Kemp and Amy Clarke / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

The girls moved in late October 2013 and immediately pushed play on their “studio” brand; Rust and Stardust producing a range of homewares that combined their experienced pool of skills across art, design, sewing and construction. Their mutual ability to produce unique but covetable items was proven when they launched a hugely successful  Pledge Me campaign to get their first range into stores and their website.

Aside from the plus’s that come in working as part of a team both of them drive their own successful enterprises.

Rust + Stardust: Auckland studio of Evie Kemp and Amy Clarke / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home Rust + Stardust: Auckland studio of Evie Kemp and Amy Clarke / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeRust + Stardust: Auckland studio of Evie Kemp and Amy Clarke / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

EVIE KEMP

Evie moved to Auckland from the UK at 14 years old and in 2005 headed to Auckland University and a double degree in Law and Arts – majoring in Art History.
It wasn’t long before she realised that Law was not her thing and decided to leave after 1.5 years to concentrate on building a portfolio to apply for Design School. She entered her 3 year degree thinking the world of magazines was most likely her destination…however under the guidance of some terrific illustration tutors she took off in a new direction full of pattern making, fabric painting and a whole industry she had been unaware of. During her final year she began to connect with with other independant designers such as Dear Colleen, Devon Smith and Amy Clarke (writing was on the wall there!).

Rust + Stardust: Auckland studio of Evie Kemp and Amy Clarke / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeRust + Stardust: Auckland studio of Evie Kemp and Amy Clarke / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

After a successful exhibition of work she decided to follow suit and launch her own Etsy store to showcase and sell her collection of fabrics, cushions and prints. The feedback from customers was crucial in her development, responding and heading in the direction of what people actually wanted to own in their home.
While holding down a job as a full time Mac Operator at the NZ Herald she began to grow her business beyond her Etsy store, eventually launching her own attached to her site. Her continually growing series of bright, animal focused prints have led to a true cult following and healthy wholesale business. Now fully set adrift in the exciting land of self employment she can add not only an exclusive collaboration on cushions and ceramics for Superette to her resume but also the development of further homewares and cultivation of a growing stable of stockists.

Phewf!!!

Rust + Stardust: Auckland studio of Evie Kemp and Amy Clarke / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeRust + Stardust: Auckland studio of Evie Kemp and Amy Clarke / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home Rust + Stardust: Auckland studio of Evie Kemp and Amy Clarke / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home Rust + Stardust: Auckland studio of Evie Kemp and Amy Clarke / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeThis is Pebbles – she is very special. Learn all about her on instagram: #hyenapigdog
……

Rust + Stardust: Auckland studio of Evie Kemp and Amy Clarke / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

AMY CLARKE

At 32 years old Amy Clarke has just relaunched her independent label; “Mylarke”,  a fashion business that has found more success online then I think anyone can really appreciate!
Amy completed a Bachelor of Design at Unitec, majoring in photography. As a super keen sewer she relished having more time to indulge in this following her graduation. Sewing like mad she then decided to start listing her one off garments on Trade Me – it wasn’t long before she struggled to keep up with the demand for her pinafore dresses and the sales from this channel alone quickly grew to sustain her with full time work!

Rust + Stardust: Auckland studio of Evie Kemp and Amy Clarke / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeRust + Stardust: Auckland studio of Evie Kemp and Amy Clarke / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

In 2006 she then opened an Etsy store and expanded her collection under the name “Victoria’n’bird”, connecting with a largely American audience that put simply, couldn’t get enough of her style. When chatting to her I felt quite gobsmacked at this achievement – that she was really an unsung star for online based fashion in NZ!
Sure she faced challenges as a self taught designer, particulary when it came to sourcing fabric and pattern-making. But what she lacked in formal training she made up for in innovation and a savvy approach to answering the call of her customer base.

Rust + Stardust: Auckland studio of Evie Kemp and Amy Clarke / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home Rust + Stardust: Auckland studio of Evie Kemp and Amy Clarke / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home Rust + Stardust: Auckland studio of Evie Kemp and Amy Clarke / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home Rust + Stardust: Auckland studio of Evie Kemp and Amy Clarke / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

With Rust and Stardust now established they are able to realise their dream of an interactive studio, collaborative label and have just started rolling out a series of creative workshops which you can read all about here!

As independent creative’s they are SHINING examples of people that continue to explore their own ideas but with some business acumen and strategy thrown in. As a combined force they have become one of the first in New Zealand to introduce the concept of an open doored and multi faceted studio space which has SO much potential!

Rust + Stardust: Auckland studio of Evie Kemp and Amy Clarke / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomePhotography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home
……

WHAT I LEARNT FROM EVIE AND AMY:

It is entirely possible to be a successful self employed creative in NZ by innovating online, identifying your audience and “what” you can sell them and partnering your art with a pinch of business acumen.

Rust and Stardust Workshopshomestyle magazine

This feature was made with the partnership and support of Homestyle magazine.
A shortened version of this feature appears in the current issue along with a great deal of other inspiring content for kiwi homes.
Posted in art, collaborations, creative hq, emerging designer, fashion, for the home, new zealand | Tagged | 6 Comments

Hannah Kidd – Methven

Homestyle magazine - New ZealandStudio of NZ sculptor; Hannah Kidd - Methven, New Zealand / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeFrom left: Hannah Kidd and Sue Bamford.
……

Sculptor; Hannah Kidd has long been on my list of people to interview. I can remember seeing her work as a design student in my early twenties – her agricultural subject matter rung bells for me and whats more we both called the rural/seasonal ski town of Methven home at different times.

So a few months ago I drove the grid of long straight roads of Mid Canterbury and made for the small town sitting at the foot of the shadowy Southern Alps. Its pretty beautiful!

Studio of NZ sculptor; Hannah Kidd - Methven, New Zealand / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home Studio of NZ sculptor; Hannah Kidd - Methven, New Zealand / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

Many an eyebrow would be raised in surprise when passing Hannah’s Methven studio. A peek through the doors offers a glimpse of the blue glow of welding torches and flying sparks as two women wrangle steel and iron into three dimensional animals charged with such life-like vigour you expect them to trot off down the street!

Studio of NZ sculptor; Hannah Kidd - Methven, New Zealand / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeStudio of NZ sculptor; Hannah Kidd - Methven, New Zealand / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

Hannah Kidd is pint sized and packs a relaxed, “can do” attitude which barely matches her rise as a wildly in demand artist and international exhibitor. Her interest in art and making came early and was likely influenced by her father who was a set builder for the Christchurch Court Theatre. After high school she headed for art school in Dunedin where she majored in sculpture. Looking back she noted that even then she had a fascination with trying to create three dimensional shapes and the subtle beginnings of her style grew from casting in bronze.

Studio of NZ sculptor; Hannah Kidd - Methven, New Zealand / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeStudio of NZ sculptor; Hannah Kidd - Methven, New Zealand / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeStudio of NZ sculptor; Hannah Kidd - Methven, New Zealand / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeStudio of NZ sculptor; Hannah Kidd - Methven, New Zealand / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

In 2001, she joined her then boyfriend (now husband) in the small Canterbury town of Methven. Not exactly the artistic hot spot of New Zealand but as it turns out, the perfect environment for Hannah to cultivate her art and sculpture heavily concentrated on the animal kingdom. She secured her first exhibition at COCA (proud supporters of young artists in the region) with a collection of drawings depicting genetically engineered animals (think glow in the dark rabbits etc!) But drawings weren’t her calling – what she really wanted to make was “big stuff”!

Studio of NZ sculptor; Hannah Kidd - Methven, New Zealand / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

She promptly talked herself into positions at South Pacific Seeds and then Methven Engineering with the aim of mastering the art of welding and learning to “make things stand up”. A year was spent developing her skills and she then followed it up with another show at COCA using fiberglass on frame work (this time think astro turf and glossy fiberglass sheep!)

In 2003 she was still experimenting with materials – frustrated at the limitations of fiberglass. She began to play around with discarded pieces of iron and slowly but surely developed her now iconic technique of cladding her wire frames with metal to create three dimensional creatures ranging from magpies, fawns and dogs to life size bears, orangutans and elephants!

Studio of NZ sculptor; Hannah Kidd - Methven, New Zealand / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home Studio of NZ sculptor; Hannah Kidd - Methven, New Zealand / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeStudio of NZ sculptor; Hannah Kidd - Methven, New Zealand / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

Most of her work has been produced from various garages around Methven and for a time, Franz Josef. Balancing marriage and babies with group shows and a rapidly growing list of commissions it wasn’t long before Hannah needed to add some hands to her team. Graduating from hauling in her husband, friends and family to the welding shed she hired her first assistant in 2006 and then in 2007 met Sue Bamford her current welding extraordinaire. Initially, while still based on the West Coast, Hannah would freight the large wire frames she had made over to Methven where Sue would piece together a patchwork of metal to complete the works from a garage studio.

Studio of NZ sculptor; Hannah Kidd - Methven, New Zealand / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeStudio of NZ sculptor; Hannah Kidd - Methven, New Zealand / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeStudio of NZ sculptor; Hannah Kidd - Methven, New Zealand / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

In 2012, Hannah and her family returned to Methven and along with Sue, moved into the new lofty studio in the centre of town in February last year. While still fulfilling their steady stream of commissions through Milford Galleries, they have just completed a collection ready for a solo show at Artis in Parnell, Auckland next month!

Studio of NZ sculptor; Hannah Kidd - Methven, New Zealand / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeStudio of NZ sculptor; Hannah Kidd - Methven, New Zealand / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeStudio of NZ sculptor; Hannah Kidd - Methven, New Zealand / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

I found Hannah to be the real deal.
By that I mean, she is obviously super talented but it was her “no jobs too big” attitude and ability to innovate to extremes to achieve the creative result she has in her minds eye. She was casual, friendly and without a SINGLE pretentious bone in her body which you might expect from a sculptor who has exhibited at the iconic Sculpture by the Sea events in Bondi, Perth and Denmark multiple times.

Grass roots attitudes combined with steel capped boots are the way to go!

Studio of NZ sculptor; Hannah Kidd - Methven, New Zealand / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home Studio of NZ sculptor; Hannah Kidd - Methven, New Zealand / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeAll photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home
……

WHAT I LEARNT FROM HANNAH:
Girls can do anything. Seriously.

homestyle magazine

This post was made with the support and partnership of Homestyle.
A shortened version of this feature appeared in last months issue and you can check out their latest one for some more exclusive Studio Home content!

 

Posted in art, creative hq, new zealand | Tagged | 8 Comments

George + Willy – Tauranga

Moodie Tuesday George and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeFrom left: Will McCallum and George Wilkins in their Tauranga workshop
……

Any of you with an interest in young NZ design talent will have had George and Willy “blip” on your radar over the last 18 months. It may have been for their cool swings or perhaps trestle tables. You might have spotted their hardy duffel bags or have been swept up in the international popularity of their industrial paper roller. I can assure you if you haven’t seen any of these yet…you are definitely going to enjoy the pioneering, grassroots aesthetic that shines through in all of their ideas and products.

Fittingly, it was a good old kiwi backyard workshop where I finally got to meet them.

George and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home George and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

George Wilkins, 22, grew up in Tauranga before heading to Dunedin where he studied Design and is just wrapping up his thesis for his Masters in Commerce and Management. Will McCallum, 23, spent his childhood between Auckland, Argentina and Tauranga before heading off to University in Dunedin as well, where he studied Marketing and Design.

The pair first met while skiing at age 12 through their parents who were family friends and then went through secondary school together in Hamilton. Both had always been keen “makers” but it wasn’t until the last semester of university in 2012 that they had a real chance to collaborate! A design project for class led them to make model helicoptors which resulted in an order of 10 for the Westpac Rescue HQ in Wellington!
With their design and production appetites whetted they then got a roll on. They struck off to various markets with a collection of laser cut MDF products including mini beer crates, letters and dinosaurs which they sold with great success!

George and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home George and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeGeorge and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

Then the organisers of a university business competition asked them to produce centre pieces for the tables at the awards dinner. Dinosaurs were their decoration of choice and while they only had a few sales as a result, in true student thinking, they felt buoyed by how many were stolen! They must be cool!

With the wrap of University at the end of 2012 they both moved back to Tauranga for the holidays and immersed themselves totally in making. Ideas for swings and lamps had been tossed around for months but and with the opportunity to use a space behind the work of Will’s father they got experimenting. Family and friends took an interest in what they were producing and custom work started to flow in.
They LOVED it!

George and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeGeorge and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

Up until this point, their “business” had been a pretty casual endeavour. But with Will having finished Uni (George decided to do his Masters which meant one week in Dunedin per month) they started to organise their project. Between pool painting jobs and custom cabinetry/office fit out work they also wholesaled their lamps with the Dunedin based design store; White Room.
Armed with their hardy duffel bags they stalked the huge agricultural show; Fielddays in an attempt to meet and promote their product as corporate gifts – something that worked with Volkswagon placing an order for their conference. They also had a look around for smart, innovative designers locally that perhaps would be willing to share some wisdom and advice. They found this in Simon James which also led to him stocking their swings in his Auckland concept store.
The Paper Plane store in Tauranga, led by successful kiwi furniture and product designer; Timothy James and his wife Krista also stock some selected products and have made themselves available as a source of encouragement and guidance should the boys need it.

George and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeGeorge and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

This is where I see George and Willy being part of a wider network of exciting young go-getters, innovative entrepreneurs and most importantly I fresh new breed of young professional who are not even remotely bound by any of the “industry” rules that may have existed before them. Their graduate friends working in the media have been instrumental in drawing their products in front of a receptive audience. Below you can also check out a video made for them by good friends and collaborators Motion Sickness Studio who are challenging the ideas of online content and communication like they have invented it! And lastly the brand on board in support of this post as a Naming Sponsor is Moodie Tuesday, a growing art based fashion label led by former class mates of the boys!

It doesn’t stop there… the under 25’s coming out of Dunedin are definitely a force to be reckoned with and George and Willy are cruising at the front of this bunch!
(watch this space!)

George and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeGeorge and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeGeorge and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeGeorge and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

Quite early on they also decided to work with only a very small collection of retailers, instead pushing and growing their collection from their own site and online store. Their product range is not at all restrained by any kind of theme, nor does it have them pigeon holed as any kind of designers. Currently they have furniture both online and in the works, dog bowls, paper rollers, duffel bags and so much more! I have no doubt that in a few more years lovers of the George and Willy style will be able to furnish and use their products in endless parts of their day to day lives!

George and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeGeorge and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeGeorge and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeGeorge and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

Shortly after I met the boys, Will was winging off to New York to intern in a design based company while George was wrapping up his Masters and working on the expansion of their business. Despite the geographic separation, the pair presented a super motivated, design AND business focussed front which quite frankly inspired and impressed me.

If I was under 25 I would be begging to be part of their team.

George and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeAll photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home
……

WHAT I LEARNT FROM GEORGE + WILLY:
Age is no barrier – only old school thinking.

Moodie TuesdayThis post was made with the support and partnership of the exciting young label, Moodie Tuesday. 
 

George And Willy | One from George and Willy on Vimeo.

Enjoy this great look into the world of George and Willy by Motion Sickness Studio.

Posted in creative hq, emerging designer, for the home, furniture, new zealand, product design | Tagged | 2 Comments

Joska + Sons – Lyttelton

Yoyo FurnitureJoska + Sons lighting brand workshop, Christchurch, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

The workshop of Christchurch based lighting brand; Joska + Sons is exactly that….a space packed with tools and machinery both in use and stored, prototypes, screws, packaging, bikes, patched walls and wood with not a pot plant to be seen! 31 year old Joska Easterbrook is in the business of making exceptionally awesome lighting not curating a dreamy studio!

I invite you to read the story of the long way round that Joska took to discover/uncover his passion and skill for making. Its a great one for those of you still on the hunt for what makes your heart strings ping!

Joska + Sons lighting brand workshop, Christchurch, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeJoska + Sons lighting brand workshop, Christchurch, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

The product of two super creative parents with strong interests in photography, art, music and interiors, Joska attended to a Rudolf Steiner school from start to finish. He relished “making” things and in his final year he made a range of lights out of scrap metal…in hindsight this was a telling project!
With no strong idea of what he wanted to do yet, on leaving school he became a nanny which he did for 3 years straight. At 22 he then  skipped the country for London and helped kiwi; James Gurnsey set up popular Soho cafe; Flat White. He continued on his travels in Europe and after 2 years returned home and back to Christchurch – at 24 still on the search for a career path.

Joska + Sons lighting brand workshop, Christchurch, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeJoska + Sons lighting brand workshop, Christchurch, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

Spurred on by his love for making things with his hands, he enrolled in a building course but left it after a year. Next he tried painting but lasted just 6 months. The tradies culture just wasn’t for him.
So it was back to hospitality, this time in the small hill and harbourside suburb of Lyttelton. Joska’s previous employer James Guernsey was also back in town and he joined his team at the Lyttelton Coffee Company where he worked for 3 years.

Joska + Sons lighting brand workshop, Christchurch, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeJoska + Sons lighting brand workshop, Christchurch, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

Then life changed immensely.
The February 2011 earthquake bowled violently through Christchurch rendering the cafe’s premises unusable. James found a temporary site then in an amazing act – armed his team with equipment and coffee machines and said go for it. Employ yourselves and keep the coffee flowing for the locals!
Joska took on the interior design of the space which he LOVED doing. The project acted as a catalyst and finally he felt a real calling. He designed and made much of the furniture himself and had idea after idea piling up in his mind. Around the same time he visited the local Kingswood Ski factory owned by his friend Alex Herbert and spotted piles of bamboo offcuts, a by-product of ski construction. His mind began to whir….

Joska + Sons lighting brand workshop, Christchurch, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeJoska + Sons lighting brand workshop, Christchurch, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeJoska + Sons lighting brand workshop, Christchurch, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeJoska + Sons lighting brand workshop, Christchurch, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

Inspired by the steady rise of more and more talented young NZ designers he tossed up studying product design, but was reluctant to take on the realities student life in his late twenties. Instead he tapped into his network of talented friends and family and got straight into the making business. His mother had done furniture design over 10 years ago and had invested in a portfolio of tools and machinery. He ploughed into her New Brighton workshop and armed with his bamboo offcuts he began the process of bringing his designs to life.

Inspired by his love of industrial design he then decided to examine movement in his work – drawn to the idea of something that could go from small to big, a scissor effect. An impressive debut lighting range took form and his Lyttelton crew rallied to bring the new and fresh Joska + Sons to life. Friends photographed his lights, designed his logo and took on getting his work out into the media. The development and prototyping of his collection, design and manufacture of it AND the packaging and launch of website took about a year. It was March 2013 it was thrown into the public eye!

Joska + Sons lighting brand workshop, Christchurch, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeJoska + Sons lighting brand workshop, Christchurch, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

When I visited Joska he was just perfecting his second collection of lighting using spun metals and cool, pared back wooden stands and wall mounting. (check it ALL out here!!!)
Despite being homeless due to major earthquake repairs happening on his Lyttleton home and still involved in the running of the cafe part time I found him to be industrious and focused on the next step of his business.

The guy is a busy, unassuming talent that really could be a poster boy for post-quake Christchurch. It was strangely comforting to meet someone who, like me, had taken a longer road to nail down what it was that they could offer AND someone who managed to set off on the right foot using networks, common sense and a practical approach as opposed to the mainstream route of education.

Inspiring I would say!

Joska + Sons lighting brand workshop, Christchurch, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeAll photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home
……

WHAT I LEARNT FROM JOSKA:
More than often, where our interests lie is where our career is hiding.

Yoyo furnitureThis post was made possible with the partnership and support of YOYO Furniture .
Posted in creative hq, emerging designer, for the home, new zealand, product design | Tagged | 4 Comments

Amelia Guild – farm life

Nodi handmade rugsArtist Amelia Guild - at home on High Peak Station, Canterbury, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeArtist/actress/high country farm girl; Amelia Guild has those sparkly, glinty eyes that instantly captivate you. I have spent much time with her over the past few years as a close friend on many an adventure and not once did I ever see the sparkle level drop. Not once!

So on my recent trip to Canterbury I finally had the opportunity to visit her with the intention of delving deeper into her story and sharing the grassroots life she has chosen with her husband and family – almost at odds with her recent success under the bright lights around the world.

Enjoy and welcome to Tom and Amelias cottage/studio/home of great ideas – High Peak Station.

Artist Amelia Guild - at home on High Peak Station, Canterbury, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeArtist Amelia Guild - at home on High Peak Station, Canterbury, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

Amelia grew up on High Peak as the youngest of three, whole heartedly absorbed in the farm life of a child – pets, farm work, tree huts and more. She was one of just two children in her class at Windwhistle School, the other being her first cousin, and that was out of an almighty total of 12 on the role. Like many isolated country kids, the best opportunities for learning lay in the city and at just 9 years old she went to boarding school in Christchurch.
It was here Amelia was introduced to Drama for the first time and totally relished it. She left behind her shy little farm girl persona to dive head first into school plays and as she got older, theatre sports and leads.

At 15 she decided she wanted and must be an actress.

Artist Amelia Guild - at home on High Peak Station, Canterbury, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeArtist Amelia Guild - at home on High Peak Station, Canterbury, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeArtist Amelia Guild - at home on High Peak Station, Canterbury, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

But another creative pursuit had also begun to grab her attention too. Her mother, Anna had got back into painting while her kids were away at school and it piqued Amelia’s interest when she was home in the holidays. With a team of influential and knowledgable art teachers on her side, she plunged very quickly into oils. At 16 Anna invited her daughter to join her in a group exhibition which was where she sold her first painting.

That was it – she wanted to be an artist too!

Artist Amelia Guild - at home on High Peak Station, Canterbury, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeArtist Amelia Guild - at home on High Peak Station, Canterbury, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeArtist Amelia Guild - at home on High Peak Station, Canterbury, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

At 18 and just on leaving school she joined forces with a friend to enter into a national Under 20’s short film competition. They promptly won and part of their prize was 3 months work experience and total immersion into the television world in Auckland. While she relished the Auckland life and the valuable knowledge gained behind the camera she still burned to be in front of it. When voicing this desire it was met with cynical and pessimistic attitudes advising her she will only ever get a role with an agent, a drama degree and the list goes on.

Artist Amelia Guild - at home on High Peak Station, Canterbury, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeArtist Amelia Guild - at home on High Peak Station, Canterbury, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeArtist Amelia Guild - at home on High Peak Station, Canterbury, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

Luckily there were positive, enthusiastic voices in her ear too and on some solid advice she set off for Dunedin and study in English, Art History and wonderful practical theatre classes.
In 2006 she skipped the country to complete her final semester of Uni in Amsterdam where she had success getting her art into a local gallery and was able to stay on over the summer. Feeling buoyed she then headed for the UK – “the land of opportunity!” to only be beaten back into the ground.
She found herself auditioning for unpaid theatre roles against 200 other hopefuls and was told that at 21 years she was “over-the-hill”. Combined with the dismal acting scene she also had no luck in getting her art into any galleries. Bouncing between soul destroying temp work and the occasional nanny job she felt stuck in the mud.

Artist Amelia Guild - at home on High Peak Station, Canterbury, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeArtist Amelia Guild - at home on High Peak Station, Canterbury, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home Artist Amelia Guild - at home on High Peak Station, Canterbury, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeArtist Amelia Guild - at home on High Peak Station, Canterbury, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeArtist Amelia Guild - at home on High Peak Station, Canterbury, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

Then the dream job arrived! She auditioned and won the role of travelling exhibition artist/presenter (unpaid) on a documentary called “Tracing Tea” which was set to explore the origins of tea and the rituals, impact and social effect it had across many countries. The crew travelled overland following the physical route that tea took from Indian tea plantations. Unfortunately the director was “bat-s**t-crazy” and when the 3 weeks in India turned into 3 months there was a mutiny by the team and Amelia boosted back to NZ to work with her brother at High Peak and paint for 7 months. Safety and calm after a series of challenges!

Artist Amelia Guild - at home on High Peak Station, Canterbury, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home Artist Amelia Guild - at home on High Peak Station, Canterbury, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

But….the desire to act was still burning hot. In 2008 she threw caution to the wind and this time headed to Auckland where she enrolled in the 2 year Mike Saccente Meisner Acting Course which she attended 1 night a week. She got herself an agent, started to win roles in ads and slowly the paid acting work added up. She then found a gallery and took part in group exhibitions as well as a successful solo show followed by another in the South Island.

By the late 2009 she was legitmatally supporting herself between acting and art full time. Dreams were finally coming true!

Artist Amelia Guild - at home on High Peak Station, Canterbury, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home Artist Amelia Guild - at home on High Peak Station, Canterbury, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

In late 2011 she received an invitation from a friend to take part in a casual theatre project which threw strangers together to create a small piece to perform. It was here she met Emma Newborn. Amelia very nearly pulled out like her original assigned partner did but was then matched with an actress visiting home from her UK base having won the trip off the back of a jar of Marmite!!

Emma and Amelia immediately bonded and decided they would do a short comedy piece. They shared some crazy banter about talking animals which progressed to the Amelia telling non-farm girl Emma about the bitches that get put up high in “boxes” while they are on heat to keep them seperate from the other male sheep dogs. Their resulting 10 minute performance was REALLY well received so from there they rolled with it.

With writing, rehearsing, developing on repeat they created a full length, two women show called The Bitches Box which debuted at the Splore festival in 2012. From there they joined forces with like minded muso, Mel Parsons and took the show on the road performing sell outs at 19 woolsheds in the South Island followed by 20 in the North Island by the end of the year. In early 2013 they tested their country dog stories with city folk at the Auckland Fringe Festival, Amelia squeezed in her wedding to Tom, then the girls were off on invitation to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe. Rave reviews followed including an unprecedented 5 stars from Libby Purves of The Times…a women who on ever reviews West End Shows!

The Bitches Box are on the road and heading to do 9 shows at the Melbourne Comedy Festival from the 11-21st of April followed by a tour of woolsheds in central NSW.

Artist Amelia Guild - at home on High Peak Station, Canterbury, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home Artist Amelia Guild - at home on High Peak Station, Canterbury, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

As Amelia’s friend I felt sure that I pretty much had her story covered.  But on sitting there and listening to her take me through in the same way I do all my interviews, I suddenly realised how easy it was to miss the creative hurdles, journey and inspiration from those right beside us.

Take the time to explore her creative world and take heart in the fact being a “slashy” is a totally possible and legitimate career outcome – even living on a high country station with no cell reception!

Artist Amelia Guild - at home on High Peak Station, Canterbury, New Zealand. Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeAll photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home.Animals in order of appearence:
Prince Wirimu the black lab
Mimi the deer
Martin the calf
SBJ the pig
…….

WHAT I LEARNT FROM AMELIA:
Follow your bliss. Hard.

Nodi handmade rugsThis post was made with the partnership and support of Nodi handmade rugs.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Posted in art, creative hq | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments