Beautiful Mess

Beautiful Mess

A maker’s studio is their haven – no matter how messy it may seem to an outsider.

This week we go behind the scenes into the workshops of some of the designers behind our range.

Elodie Darwish 

Elodie Darwish works from home – more specifically, in the garage.

“I don’t need a lot of space really, because generally jewellery tools are all miniature versions of the big stuff,” she says.

The daughter of a French librarian and an Egyptian remedial masseur, chlorophyll-drinking, molten silver-obsessed maker Elodie Darwish makes delicate, organic brass and silver jewellery that has earnt her a fiercely loyal cult following. 

From her corner of the garage, Elodie spends hours  bending, cutting, polishing, filing and holding something called a mandrel over a naked flame for a very long time.

“My space feels a bit chaotic, which is something I used to think was cool, but now I just always have this urge to take everything out and re-place everything again.”

Tom Hounslow

Tasmanian bladesmith Tom Hounslow forged his first pocket knife from a nail when he was six. His knives come to life in a shower of hot sparks in a shed in one of Tasmania’s greenest valleys. 

The son of renowned cutler John Hounslow-Robinson, a renowned legend in Tasmanian bladesmithing circles, Tom works closely with Penny Hansen of 1803 to create bespoke antler handled knives, cleavers and carving sets.

Images via Tom Hounslow Knives

The exact location of Tom’s workshop remains a mystery (rumour has it it’s somewhere past Tinderbox) – and both Penny and, no doubt, Tom would like to keep it that way 

“He is creative, strong and quietly spoken; his aesthetic is minimal and understated and we enjoy working together,” says Penny. “A handshake, an order and it has been just like that ever since. I am very lucky.”

“A handshake, an order and it has been just like that ever since. I am very lucky.”

Dinosaur Designs 

The Dinosaur Designs studio is in an unassuming brick building in the ramshackle part of Strawberry Hills. While the 'Extinct' store and showroom are open to the public and perused by prop stylists and magaziney types in thick framed glasses, behind the double doors is a Willy Wonka-esque labyrinth filled with bright resin delicacies in various intriguing stages of production.

There's a cavernous store room filled with shelves upon shelves of glowing resin bowls, vases, platters - all in Dinosaur's signature bright blues, burnt oranges, yellows, charcoals and glossy blacks. Towering stacks of tortoiseshell dishes vie for shelf space above drawers of bangles, earrings, and cuffs – all sorted by colour like the best kind of boiled sweets. 

Upstairs, there are rooms piled with silicon moulds, benches stained bright with spilt blue and magenta and orange dye, and ponytailed designers pouring liquid resin into moulds like it's magic potion. In another room, there are two women leaning over long tables covered with intricate handmade coral-shaped beads, painstakingly choosing and arranging them in the right formation for threading.

Image via The Design Files

The whole place is noisy with the sound of silversmiths soldering, sanders polishing and – everywhere - laughter. The walls are adorned with pictures torn from magazines, lengths of neon ribbon, hand written notes and scrawled cartoons.

Image via The Design Files

It has to be one of the happiest and most productive places in Sydney – which kind of makes sense when you consider the unfailingly upbeat products these guys having been putting together for the past thirty years.

Wootten 

Jess Cameron-Wootten is a second generation cordwainer working out of a red brick studio in Prahran, Melbourne producing leathergoods under his label Wootten.

His father, Ross, learnt the craft in the 1970's from expert Bulgarian shoe maker George Koleff in South Australia and Jess grew up surrounded by the quirky language and delicious smells of his father's dying trade. Now he has his own workshop filled with his father's old lasts (wooden foot-shaped moulds) and an exotic array of animal leathers to meet the needs of an increasingly niche market.

Images via Wootten

“I'm told it smells wonderful, nostalgic and of leather... I can't really smell it anymore,” says Jess. “But everyone else enjoys it!”

 

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New pieces from Wootten1803elodie and Dinosaur Designs are available now.