My degree in Industrial Design exposed me to the reality of our consumer culture, the devastating condition of our environment and the unfortunate division of designing from crafting. Where once a designer was a maker and an expert in their material, the methods and forms, now the focus has shifted to the market, the machine and the bottom line. I chose instead to follow my passion for the materials themselves. I did a PhD in Materials Science and started my own studio exploring and experimenting with the most interesting materials and processes I could find. I keep it small, slow and local, working with natural materials and striving to make the best design choices I can, such as using recycled packaging and branding my own boxes.
What materials are you using?
My latest love is ceramics. I have a little kiln and I have been experimenting with melting silver wire works into ceramic pieces.
I am constantly looking into new processes and materials and weighing their pro’s and cons, whether that be the sustainability of the resource, the ethics of manufacture, or the energy in transport. I use a lot of silver, because it’s strong, durable, lovely to work with and recyclable. I use some leather, usually Kangaroo, as it is local, compostable and abundant. I have also started making pieces using mushroom and kombucha leather as a vegan alternative.
“Where once a designer was a maker and an expert in their material, the methods and forms, now the focus has shifted to the market, the machine and
the bottom line.”
What does the whole process look like from the idea to actual pieces taking shape? What’s the most difficult aspect of the making part?
I have a collection of little notebooks with research on subjects as varied as the Kikuchi patterns of crystals to evidence of aliens in ancient decoration. I add notes and sketches as I come across information that follows the thread. There is always a focus on the materials I could use and the techniques for making, so at some point this starts to take shape in the form of designs. I never really know how a piece will turn out when I sit down, but I do a lot of planning.
I find the most difficult part is staying true to the concept and not getting distracted by other ideas as I’m making. I work with other artisans to work out techniques and I try to make a lot of the decisions about materials, chains, clasps, shapes and construction before I sit down.
Who or what inspires you the most? Do you use any symbolism?
I am inspired by the various ways people from all over the world tell stories. The written languages themselves, of course, but also pictorial illustration, such as cave paintings, carvings, patterns and especially tattoos. I have had a fascination with tattooing for long time and love finding the hidden meanings in the assembly of images. The intersection of mythology and science also fascinates me. My newest pieces refer to the flow of matter and energy from one state to another, starting with a sound and transitioning through the 5 elements of earth, wind, fire, water and ether. To me this is the oldest story.