Monday, 7 December 2015

Thursday, 22 October 2015


Photography: Hilary Walker. @ hilarywalkerphotography

Using traditional joinery techniques Benjamin Baldwin
crafts furniture by hand with recycled materials giving
each piece it’s own individuality

Tell us a bit about your business?
I have a small workshop in Brunswick East where I make fine timber furniture using locally sourced recycled materials.

Tell us about yourself and your background?
I grew up in Melbourne and as a kid I always spent time drawing and building things. I studied industrial design and engineering at university and specialised in environmental and sustainable design.
When I finished, I wanted to get further involved in the environmental movement so I joined a Sea Shepherd ship and utilized my skills onboard. I began managing ships for them in 2008 and have worked there ever since. But in this time I never lost interest in design, so in 2012 I started building this business part time and it has grown from there.

What sparked you to create your business?
I was frustrated with seeing so many products being sold with little consideration for the environment, either because of their material choices, manufacturing processes or their ephemeral design. So I wanted to offer a real alternative to these unsustainable manufacturers.

What processes are involved in creating your pieces?
I only use locally sourced recycled timber, so usually there is a fair bit of preparation to do before it is ready to use. Once I have dimensioned the timber down to size with machinery I begin measuring and marking out for all the fine joinery.
I don’t use any fixings or screws in my furniture so most of the time that will involve very traditional framing joints like wedged mortise and tenons and lapped joints or dovetails for panel work.
This is where I move to using hand tools to fine tune all the details. I love getting all the components to fit perfectly before gluing up and applying the final coat of finish. The variations in timber densities and grain mean that each piece is a little different from the last, setting it apart from all the mass produced furniture commercially available.

What inspires you in your designs?
I am inspired by gradual change in my product design. Everything I produce has a purpose and I like to see the processes and forms evolve over time to fulfil that purpose more efficiently.

What do you love the most about having your own label?
I love having my own shop because it allows me to keep developing and refining my products in a positive direction.

“I am inspired by gradual change in my
product design. Everything I produce has a
purpose and I like to see the processes and
forms evolve over time to fulfil that purpose
more efficiently.”

Who are some of your favourite designers?
I have always been inspired by the furniture of the shaker communities from the 18th and 19th centuries in the US. Here furniture was made to be very practical and functional with minimal ornamentation. As a result, the furniture looks as good today as the day it was built.

What is your favourite item in your store right now and why?
My favourite item in store is my chair. This product has been slowly evolving over the past five years. It is practical, functional and will last a lifetime. I also love the processes involved with building it.

What has been your biggest highlight?
I have enjoyed the entire process of setting up the business. I love working with traditional hand tools and learning new joinery techniques.

What are your plans for the future?
In the coming months I will be introducing some new items to my line-up. Beyond that I am looking forward to continuing the slow evolution of my products in the years to come.

Photography: Hilary Walker


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Wednesday, 21 October 2015


Photography: Hannah Blackmore

Anna Harrison from The Balcony Garden chats
about their designer pots for the savvy gardener plus
landscaping design services

Tell us a bit about The Balcony Garden?
The Balcony Garden is one of Sydney’s largest distributors of garden pots and planters.
Since 2006 The Balcony Garden has been designing garden pots that compliment modern gardens and architecture.
We have a range of lightweight garden pots specifically suited to balcony and rooftop gardens. As well as a range of ceramic feature pots and Thai style urns suited to classic and contemporary landscape design.

Tell us about yourself and your background?
I come from a corporate background, working in product
marketing for over 5 years for various companies including 3M and Nespresso. Following my wedding in 2013 I decided to join my husband’s landscaping business and embark on a landscape design diploma and have never looked back.

What inspired you to create The Balcony Garden?
In its infancy The Balcony Garden was predominantly a design business focusing on small spaces however over time as we experienced difficulty finding stylish and contemporary pots it seemed like the obvious next step – to start selling our own.

Where did your love of gardening come from?
I think working in a corporate environment where you’re locked indoors all the time all I wanted to do was get outdoors. My husband and I spend most our weekends pottering around the garden in the sun – I just love it.

What services does The Balcony Garden provide?
We’re predominantly a garden pot distributor however we are also offer a design service for larger projects.

What are your top 3 gardening tips?
• Install an automatic timber operated irrigation system, this takes away all the guesswork and means less maintenance!
• Take care when selecting plants and be sure to choose varieties suited to your gardens conditions e.g. aspect, soil type, shade
• Always plant your plants in a high quality potting mix and fertilise regularly, particularly leading into Spring as this is the time your plants will grow the most.

What are your favourite plants at the moment and why?
My favourite at the moment for outdoors is Crassula ovata ‘Blue Bird’, I love the colour tones and natural shape of the plant – it also works perfectly in almost all our pots.

Photography: Hannah Blackmore

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Narin Barnett draws sweet personalised illustrations for your
loved ones with a sense of fun and loads of charm

Tell us a bit about your artwork?
My Hidden Forest illustrations are all drawn in Melbourne, Australia and are all produced with lots of care, thought and love. My inspirations come from my natural surroundings and the loved ones in my life that help me to create and draw upon a place where my heart is forever smiling. All illustrations are unique and can be customised with a special message to add that personal touch.

Can you tell us about yourself and your background?
My name Narin - means delicate in Turkish.
I would describe myself as caring, creative, and overly organised. I love pretty things.
I have been a primary school teacher for the past four years. Currently, I am teaching a beautiful Grade 3 class at Brighton Beach Primary School who I simply adore. They inspire me every day and always make me smile.
I have always being passionate about art but this year I have had more time to pursue my passion. I love drawing, there is something about it that is really calming and relaxing for me and I find it is the perfect down time for me as a teacher because it gives me some time with my thoughts.
Before teaching, I was working in marketing at an educational toy company called Colorific. Among many things a big part of my job was to conduct all the market research for the new toys that were developed in house.

What sparked you to begin your own business?
My spark to begin my business was ignited during a recent family holiday to Noosa. I was inspired by all of the beautiful scenery in the Noosa National Park and I just started drawing. After doing a bit of research I realised that there wasn’t many (if any) brands in Australia that do customised illustrations so My Hidden Forest was born.
It’s only been one month since I had this idea and I now have around 30 pieces in my range. I am launching on etsy in September and have already had a lot of interest in my illustrations, which is really exciting.

What inspires you in your designs?
The little people in my life, my students, and my beautiful little nephew Noah, my family and my friends who have been so supportive and encouraging.
I am also inspired by the pretty things in my surrounding as they seem to revitalise my soul. I love flowers and being in nature.

Who are some of your favourite artists and why?
Brett Whitely – I have always been fascinated with his work. I love the soft lines he uses and the exaggerated strokes and beautiful warm colours.

What is your most favourite artworks that you have completed?
I’m not sure I have a favourite. I do love my illustration ‘New Friends’ because it encapsulates that gorgeous time where little people make friends for the first time.
I also love my illustration ‘Tea Party’. This piece was inspired by my husband Simon, who is always the best part of my day. I love coming home after our busy days at work, sitting down togethers and exchanging stories about our day.

What has been your biggest highlight?
Seeing my range come together in such a short time. My highlight so far was receiving some beautiful feedback from my first customer
‘I received my little parcel today. I love them. You have done so well. I just adore the packaging, it looks amazing. I am so proud to be your first customer’


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Sunday, 11 October 2015


Photography: Marnie Hawson


Handcrafting utilitarian woodwares from recycled timbers
woodworker Erin Malloy adds her own individuality to her craft

Tell us a bit about your business?
I create simple and understated utilitarian woodwares out of recycled timbers in my home studio using traditional woodworking techniques and tools, allowing me to create pieces that maintain a sense of individuality and personality.

Tell us about yourself and your background?
I studied Visual Communication Design (Hons) and worked for a time as a graphic designer/project manager in a design studio shortly after.

What sparked you to create your business?
I picked up woodwork as a side-hobby and after looking at a computer screen 5-9, 7 days a week, I relished in making functional objects with my hands (even if I get bruises and scratches from time to time). Majority of my tools, I inherited from my grandfather who was a carpenter, so it seemed like a natural progression.

What processes are involved in creating your pieces?
Depending on the object, I would first slab then carve the wood, cut out with a bandsaw then keep carving, sanding and shaping by hand until I am satisfied with the finish. I’ve also just recently dusted off my fathers old table-top lathe which I am really enjoying using.

What inspires you in your designs?
Just simple objects designed and made beautifully. The perfection of imperfection, but more importantly, the grain and characteristics of each individual piece of wood. For example, if there is a knot in the base of a handle, It changes the shape of the object because you can’t carve any further.

What do you love the most about having your own label?
The freedom and flexibility that each project provides, and judging/allocating the time and attention into each object where I feel it’s necessary.

Photography: Marnie Hawson

Who are some of your favourite designers/creatives?
Katia Carletti, Pop & Scott, Marnie Hawson, Bridget Bodenham.

What is your favourite item in your store right now and why?
(It isn’t currently, but will be in the next day or so!) A collaboration with Katia Carletti of spoons, where I have attached wooden handles to her ceramic spoon heads.

What has been your biggest highlight?
Being featured on the Design Files and taking part in the Domestic Frontier pop-up shop event with fabulous local creative makers.

What are your plans for the future?
Continuing to work with others in collaboration, more shop updates and quite possibly incorporating more design/influences into my work.

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Thursday, 1 October 2015


Carly Buteux packs a punch with her fun and quirky ceramic
pieces that are both stylish and functional

Tell us a bit about It’s A Public Holiday?
Public holiday is a growing brand focused on fun and functional ceramic pieces, made for everyday life.

Tell us about yourself and your background?
I have always been a very visual and tactile person. From typography to crochet I like to push my own boundaries as well as the common conventions of materials and the part they play in daily interactions.
My background is quite multidisciplinary with roots firmly in the graphic industry, a degree in visual communication and a masters based around materiality in design.
Through this I am consistently looking to explore new materials, expand my skill base and stay in a constant state of experimentation and play. Recently I’ve been working on the relationship of leather with the clay vessel.

What sparked you to create your business?
After a year or so of experimenting with clay, it’s complex form giving properties and physical outlet of expression, I began creating pieces for friends, for friends of friends and eventually for strangers.
With this dedicated and growing following I was inspired to further share this new found messy love with the greater creative community.

What processes are involved in creating your pieces?
All of public holiday’s pieces are made by hand and undergo several processes in their creation. Each ceramic piece starts with a lump of clay and is finished in a stoneware firing. The process in between varies depending on the piece but can be hand formed on the wheel, hand built, extruded and decorated. Whether its patterning with oxides, wax painting or experimental glaze techniques, each piece is individual and unique in its creation. Other materials such as leather also include processes like weaving, burnishing and hand stamping. Each and every part of public holiday is hands on and made with the intent of bringing appreciation to the simple moments in life.

What inspires you in your designs? 
My designs are often inspired by my surroundings. Time spent in nature, with friends, and from the visual culture and landscape that surround my daily interactions. Coming from a very visual background I am especially drawn to patterns, shape and repetition.
Inspiration seems to come to me when I least expect it and mostly when I’m on the move – watching the world from a train window, rambling through the bush, on the way to work.
I often photograph patterns and textures from within my environment (whether that be the tessellated patterns of a rock pool or the tile detailing on a cafĂ© floor) to save for visual reference at a later date, I suppose this visual referencing is something I’ve acquired from my many years in the design field.

What do you love the most about having your own label?
The fun, the freedom of expression, and the thrill of a fresh firing.
Who are some of your favourite designers? I admire so many talented individuals from such a diverse range of disciplines. Olfafur Eliasson and his amazing sculptural installations with light.
Genevieve Griffiths and her complex use of form and texture in woven textiles.
Josephine Noel of recreation centre and her beautiful rubber dipped ceramic creations, the illustration and tattoos of Stefan Marx and the crystallized sculptural work of Kyle Montgommery. The list goes on and on.

What is your favourite item in your store right now and why?
I’d have to say that my leggy planters take the prize as favourite at the moment. Each one is so individual and embodies a personality that is fun to pair with your favorite houseplant. One of mine currently has a very hairy ‘old man of the Andes’ cactus in it that brings back a childhood connection to the ‘muppets’.

What has been your biggest highlight? 
My biggest highlight so far has been the rewarding process of growing this brand from the ground up. Everyday I am excited for the opportunities ahead. I have been so lucky to have a support system of amazing creatives around me, who have offered advice, love and helping hands throughout it all.
Also working with the team at the Finders Keepers Markets and some incredibly talented and supportive retail stores has been an outstanding experience. I find it so rewarding to be a part of a close knit community of designers, makers and retailers who really embrace and appreciate the handmade aesthetic.

What are your plans for the future?
Public Holiday is still a very new adventure and is constantly expanding and growing.
The continued exploration into all the possibilities the ceramic medium has to offer, as well as furthered creation of new experimental pieces with various complimentary materials are definitely key objectives moving forward.
I would also really like to initiate some collaborative projects with like-minded individuals in the coming year.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us about your business?
I didn’t choose the muglife – the muglife chose me.

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Thursday, 24 September 2015


Earth-friendly coconut wax and pure copper
candles are essential to any homes ambience

The Cocolux Australia is a fusion of stylish product design, eco-conscience candle making and wistful art direction. The essence of glamorous coastal living, Cocolux candles were created and are poured on the NSW Central Coast by friends, Meisha Styrkowski and Natasha Nicholson, who share a love for earthy, yet luxurious, modern homewares and interior design.
Bringing coconut wax and pure copper together for the first time, Cocolux Australia launches with six fragranced candles in two collections, Sol and Luna.

Cocolux candles are scented with the finest fragrances and hand poured from clean burning coconut wax. Organic by nature, coconut wax is made by cold pressing and hydrogenating its raw material - the protected coconut flesh. Unlike many other waxes, production is sustainable and free from toxins, the use of pesticides and the need for deforestation.
The copper vessel was designed with purpose to be re-used as vase, container or planter. Stunning in the home, polished or verdigris - copper’s oxidised, natural patina, copper’s glamorous lustre will add a little ‘lux’ to any stylish interior.
A Cocolux candle makes the perfect gift that lasts a lifetime, long after the candle has burned. The smooth white wax, signature re-usable solid copper vessel and fashion-forward textured banana-leaf print packaging position this new and covetable candle company aside from the crowd.

COCOLUX ~ where design and luxury
meet Mother Nature.
Coco referring to coconut
Lux meaning light in latin

earth’s light by day
Wild Frangipani infused in coconut wax
Sweet Pomegranate & Acai infused
in coconut wax
Grapefruit & Lemongrass infused
in coconut wax

earth’s light by night
Tonka Bean & Lime Zest infused
in coconut wax
Tropical Gardenia infused in coconut wax
Island Fig, Cassis & Peach infused
in coconut wax

FREE from Paraffin wax | FREE from Palm wax & oil | FREE from Soy wax
We have two new fragrances - Exotic Amber & Spice, in the Luna collection, and Bergamot, Lily and Moss, in the Sol collection. Both of these have a unisex appeal!