Poepke Projects x Alex and Trahanas
November 2nd, 2018
For Poepke’s new edition of Poepke projects, we’re lucky to feature Alex and Trahanas, a lifestyle brand of treasures crafted by artisans and hand-picked from around the world. The duo’s first collection is informed by the outdoor living of the Mediterranean; think linen dresses to toast wine in, hand-made ceramics to eat olives from, and sculptural gold jewellery to glint in the setting sun. We talk to the designers behind the local label ahead of their arrival in store.
Alex and Trahanas is described as a lifestyle project. How did the project come together?
ALEX AND TRAHANAS was born out of a joint love for the Mediterranean way of living. Sun-filled terraces, seaside trattorias and tavernas; entertaining with delicious food, wine, surrounded by friends and family. Our lifestyle project is fuelled by the garments, accessories and entertaining pieces that enrich and create more of those experiences.
How did the two of you meet, and as a duo how does your relationship translate into your work?
We met in the world of magazines, (over 10 years ago) working for titles such as Vogue Australia, GQ, Vogue Living, Vogue Entertaining + Travel and delicious to name a few. We went our own ways and kept in contact via each other’s travel pics and upon reconnecting decided to create a lifestyle project, for the person who loves style, food, entertaining and travel – is full of life.
Your first collection ‘Aperitivo Hour’ has close ties with Puglia, tell us about your connection there?
Upon travelling to Puglia, we experienced the warmth of Italian hospitality and the quintessential Mediterranean Summer lifestyle. These experiences are at the heart of our project. On our travels, we discovered some beautiful ceramics, produced by artisans in a small village. We enjoyed the most delicious Italian meals and aperitivos with these ceramics. They brought fun, personality and life to the table, we instantly wanted to bring them home with us and give people the chance to experience a touch of Southern Italy in Australia. It was incredible to witness the creation of these pieces. The ceramicists sits on a timber stool with shutter doors that open to the cobbled streets and white painted village, whilst listening to opera and drinking espresso. Each piece is one of a kind, they are like little works of art. We have since been back to shoot our most recent linen collection ‘Apulian Summer’ in amongst the ancient olive groves. It is a truly inspiring and magical place.
The collection features Italian linen dresses made in Australia, and hand painted ceramics. Why these pieces in particular?
For us, timeless linen garments and beautiful hand-made ceramics are the tools which inspire social Summer experiences and a rich lifestyle. Our aloe-vera infused Italian linen, is sourced from one of the finest and most luxurious mills in the world, Solbiati and then made in Australia. Our ceramics are sourced from local artisans in Southern Italy. We wanted to bring a taste of the Mediterranean to Australia; where effortless garments can take you from day to night. We think about the ALEX AND TRAHANAS woman who lives for a warm summer of rolling long lunches, enjoying our pieces.
You’ve also just released a jewellery collaboration with Louise Olsen. What was your inspiration behind this?
Louise Olsen is one of Australia’s most recognised designer’s and artist’s, the collection features earrings and a bangle inspired by the beauty of olive trees, the backdrop for our Summer edition photo shoot. The organic curved olive leaf forms bring a touch of the Mediterranean into each piece, where golden leaves hang from the ear or wrap gently around the wrist. They make the perfect summer jewel to accompany our classic Italian linen garments.Tags: Alex and Trahanas, Interviews, Poepke Projects, Projects | Comments (0)
October 26th, 2018
Sara Lanzi’s ‘Slow Burn’.
One of the newest designers to be welcomed to Poepke has been quietly designing in her home base of Umbria since 2005. But since then, her designs are hung at Dover St Market, and the hallowed wardrobe of Rei Kawakubo who has become her mentor of sorts. Her clothes incorporate the dualities found in every human, the feminine and masculine (think tartan checks in pink and cream), vigour and lightness (sculpted skirts in the lightest of wool) and poetry and strength (mannish shirts in a stark black and white floral). We talk to Lanzi about her craft, her country and the culture she creates.
Your background is in art studies, how has this informed your work?
It is generally a great privilege to be able to spend some time studying a favourite subject.. reading and doing research opens and sensitizes the mind.
You live and work out of Umbria, tell us what you love most about the region.
I like the fact that it is secluded, that the way to reach it is a ribbon surrounded by nature. I like its open horizons and the smell of the seasons, so strong.
‘Restraint’ is a word that is often spoken about with your clothing, where do you think you restrain, and where do you not when it comes to your clothes?
Restraint is the inner measure, not always conscious, which makes me stop before feeling uncomfortable. Sometimes may be a limit, but it always speaks of me and keeps me faithful to myself.
That said, even the opposite of moderation – overkill? – is the basis of my work: there must be no limits to dedication and passion, having my job several moments ‘above the lines’
You’ve been designing since 2005, what inspires you to keep designing?
I think it’s my life now. It’s not just about designing, but it’s the whole cycle (from production, to sales campaign) that represents my daily life and what I love to do. Inspiration is a mix of passion and commitment.
To view Poepke’s range of Sara Lanzi you can visit here.Tags: Interviews, Sara Lanzi | Comments (0)
Introducing: Deiji Studios
June 8th, 2018
With the season of hibernation upon us, Poepke is now stocking a new range of sleepwear to lounge in. Born out of Byron Bay, Deiji Studios has created pyjamas and robes made from fine French linen in colours such as mustard, cyan and olive. It is the kind of sleepwear you want to venture out in, bringing you a little bit of comfort wherever you go. We talk to one of the founders of Deiji Studios about how it all came about.
Talk to us about the ethos behind Deiji Studios.
We created Deiji almost two years ago now, with a vision to deliver high comfort, high quality linen bedding and sleepwear. Our ever-evolving sleepwear line has been designed in Australia, creating timeless pieces to be worn in bed at home or out and about.
What compelled you to start the brand, and why sleepwear?
Having a French background, I have seen so much linen passed down through to my mother from her great aunts. Whenever my mother goes back to Paris she always sends me pictures of the beds at her family homes, so the love for working with linen back home was quite strong. We started with bedding with always the intention of doing sleepwear and we wanted to create something that was comfortable to sleep in, host a dinner party, wear to the beach or the shops to grab the milk without offending anyone.
You’re based in Byron – how does the environment there inform what you do?
We try look beyond Byron, as it tends to be a bit of a bubble. We get our inspirations from all over.
Deiji is a Japanese name, why Deiji?
Our first sleepwear was Japanese inspired, we are very inspired by the Japanese culture and clothing designs, so minimal and effortless.
We love the colours of your sleepwear – olive, mustard, and cyan. Tell us what inspired you to use these colours.
They are just the colours that stood out to us at the time, Emma wears more of the Mustard and Olive, and I love the Cyan and white. We are bringing out plenty of new designs and colours soon!
To view Poepke’s range of Deiji Studios, you can visit here.Tags: Interviews | Comments (0)
Poepke Projects – Stephanie Said
May 11th, 2018
Our new edition of Poepke Projects features local jewellery-maker Stephanie Said. For Stephanie, the fluidity and mechanisms of her geometric jewellery begins with a humble piece of paper. Used to using this blank slate as a starting point when she worked in fashion, it’s sculptural malleability informs her work, as does the desire to evoke curiosity in the wearer of her creations. Stephanie’s collection at Poepke over the next two months, features her foray into working with 18k gold and limited designs in soft blush and soft matt yellow. We spoke to Stephanie about her concepts, motivations and influences for the collection.
A lot of the sculptural shapes of your jewellery have evolved from playing with the shapes and folds of a plain piece of paper. Tell us about how the piece of paper became your starting point and what it reflects in your jewellery’s forms.
I studied and worked in fashion, and to create clothes, we would often start with paper to map out the form the fabric would take. I guess paper became the way for me to visualise in 3D what something could look like on the body and it was a natural process for me to be able to visualise jewellery this way. You can cut and fold and see how the shape feels in relation to the space of your hand or neck before beginning to work in metal. It has a definite affect on the evolution and feel of my collections and has allowed me to create some interesting pieces because of the movement that can be created with paper as opposed to metal. My pieces are often very simple geometric shapes but the detail comes through in the angle, or fold of the metal, and the way it is able to reflect light and create sounds with the movement. There is a pureness to the pieces, much like a blank sheet of paper. It is calm and ready for your own sentiments.
There is an aspect of the hidden with some of you pieces which you can open up to find hidden diamonds or unfold to create new forms. What is your inspiration behind these?
There is often so much sentiment in a piece of jewellery, so it feels more true to me this way, that there is an element which is private and personal created by the design of the jewellery itself. I am really interested in creating objects that have a curiosity to them, or a secret pleasure – When you pick up one of my pieces for the first time, you will often discover something unexpected. That discovery creates an instant private experience between you and the jewellery. There is something quite beautiful in being able to keep precious things close to you and create this curiosity for the people around you who may see you wearing them.
In using diamonds, they create a really beautiful light when subtly revealed which I find much more exciting that when they are so obvious.
There’s a musicality to wearing your creations, they often make sound when you move. Was this something you intentionally wanted to capture?
Yes, it feels quite perfect to be able to have the extra sensation to hear your jewellery, and be reminded of its presence when you can hear the piece moving with you. They can make the most delicate sounds depending on the combination of pieces and where it is worn. The sounds become a part of you.
You use 50% of recycled material in your designs. How do you manage to achieve this?
We use a minimum of 50% recycled sterling silver and are always aiming for 100% recycled metals. We do this by asking the questions to our suppliers and only working with those that can we can trust, ensuring we have that guarantee. They will refine pure silver and copper from various industrial users of precious metals to create silver that is as good as new.
You can view Stephanie’s collection at Poepke here.Tags: Interviews, Projects | Comments (0)
Artist Collaboration with Mary MacDougall
February 13th, 2018
Poepke’s new online backdrop is an art series organised by photographer Rafaela Pandolfini featuring Sydney based artist Mary MacDougall. We chatted to Mary about her work, the textures that inform it and her scientific, geological and ancient inspirations.
For someone who is coming across your work for the first time, how would you explain your aesthetic and theme of your work?
I’m primarily a painter and drawer but I like to work all kinds of materials to get unexpected effects. Textures are important to me and keeping the forms in my work mysterious. Sometimes I will abstract a figure or object and other times I will push automatic marks towards something more descriptive.
What are some defining moments in your work as an artist?
The first works I exhibited were on glass and then I moved to ceramic tiles. More recently I have shown drawings and developed artist books with an imprint in New York called Cooperative Editions. The biggest project I have completed to date is a commission for a tile mural in a house and later this year I’m having a solo show at ReadingRoom, a new gallery in Melbourne.
What or who influences your practice?
I am fascinated by the history of art and I hoard images from everywhere. I’m interested in art and architecture from the ancient world and I collect news, scientific and geological images. I guess I cast my net quite wide! I think a lot about collage and I am influenced by artists who can really animate their materials.
Images courtesy of Mary MacDougall and ReadingRoom, Melbourne. Mary MacDougall is represented by ReadingRoom, Melbourne
Tags: Interviews | Comments (0)
Sloane Angell Ceramics
September 8th, 2017
New to Poepke this Spring are Sloane Angell ceramics. Based in Los Angeles, Sloane creates vases and planters known for their striking colours and textures. There are vases with dripping turquoise and oxblood glazes, and planters with shiny veneers and portions left raw. We talk to Sloane about his design background and approach to his craft.
Before you focussed on ceramics, you were part of Marc Jacobs’ design team. You also have your own label – Mercer Market. Tell us what prompted you to change direction?
I started making ceramics in 2000, while I was in high school. I have kept the craft ever since. My clothing company Mercer Market took a few years to get off the ground. Now that it doesn’t require all my time, I was able to get my hands back in clay. I really enjoy splitting my time between both projects.
You know live in Los Angeles after living in New York and Maryland. Does L.A inform your work in any way?
I think L.A changes the way I work based on environment, but I don’t think it effects my aesthetics. Fortunately my vessels seem to translate well in the homes here, I have been very successful with local customers collecting my work.
We especially love the oxblood and turquoise drip glazes on your pots. What inspired your use of colour?
These are some of my favourites as well. A little secret about these colours; the blood red and turquoise are actually the same glaze. It reacts either way depending on a specific firing method. Both colours evoke a great response from the viewer. The blue drips on porcelain have become somewhat of a signature of my work.
You have also worked under the L.A based ceramicist Mirena Kim. What did you take away from your time with her?
I wanted to learn production techniques and the day to day of a ceramics business. I was extremely fortunate that Mirena hired me, and allowed me to work and learn with her. She taught me a lot of great practices for being a successful potter.
What is the favourite part of your craft?
I love the process of changing ideas into form. My ceramics are handmade, functional art. Dishwater or vases that can be used on a daily basis, hopefully serving many generations of owners. Each piece is unique and individual.
You can view Sloane Angell’s Ceramics here.Tags: Interviews, Sloane Angell | Comments (0)
Maryse Botanical Skincare
August 29th, 2017
At Poepke, we’ve recently discovered Maryse – a range of potent, nutritive botanical skincare. The collection is the brainchild of Maryse O’Donnell, a beauty specialist from New Zealand who uses many of the native ingredients her homeland has to offer in her optimal blends. With her pared-back approach to beauty, her formulations are comprised of rich ingredients and subtle scents.
We chat to Maryse about her beginnings, her brand, and what we should be doing with our skin.
Tell us how you became to be a natural beauty specialist.
After being in the beauty industry for a long time, I had worked with so many skincare brands but felt there was a lack of really effective natural and organic products out there. So, I decided to develop a collection myself using highly concentrated, botanical ingredients. I feel there is a shift away from mass market beauty and a move towards more honest, bespoke, handcrafted product. We formulate and produce everything in our studio in Auckland.
Some of your ingredients are sourced locally in New Zealand where you are based, such as the clay and the Manuka Leaf. Where do you source other ingredients from?
There is an amazing selection of native, botanical extracts and ingredients to work with here in New Zealand. I use locally sourced ingredients wherever I can in my products. Where the formulas require a specific non-New Zealand ingredient, we make sure they meet our standards for purity and sustainability.
What’s your go-to product at the moment?
Over the cooler months we can forget about the skin on our body, so the Multi-Vitamin Body Oil is my go-to as it delivers a concentrated boost of vitamins and omegas to replenish moisture levels that may be depleted over winter. It’s fast absorbing, revitalising and has the unique natural scent of green fig and tea leaves.
If you could give us one tip of how to improve our skin, what would it be?
My approach is rather simple and pared back. I would suggest using pure, plant based skincare. Not only because they are free from toxic ingredients but because they are far more nutrient rich and beneficial for the skin. The collection coalesces naturally with other active ranges, providing a base to add to as needed. But really, my advice is – keep your beauty rituals simple!
You can view our range of Maryse skincare hereTags: Interviews, Maryse | Comments (0)
Poepke Projects: Jodie Boffa
July 26th, 2017
Jodie Boffa has been designing clothes both here in Sydney and in London since the mid 1980’s. Over the years, numerous trips to Japan for work helped to forge her love for vintage kimono fabrics, of which she amassed a number. Finally the time was right for her to put her hand into designing a capsule collection out of these vibrant fabrics, giving them a new lease of life. Poepke is proud to be the exclusive stockists of her range, as part of our Projects at Poepke, an initiative which heralds the work of Australian designers. We sat down with Jodie to ask her about how it all began.
December 20th, 2016
You seem to be a man of many projects, with numerous working relationships and collaborations to your name – including Dior Homme, Alexander McQueen, Georg Jensen, Swarovski and TopShop, as well as costume design for Sydney Dance Company. Which, of all these relationships, has had a particularly significant effect on your jewellery work?
It has been a great experience being involved in these projects.
I feel that the projects i was involved in at the beginning of my career, such as interning at Alexander Mcqueen and working at Dior Homme, made the biggest stamp on my creative process and aesthetic. Georg Jensen was a beautiful experience, as i really felt a pure collaboration took place connecting both our design processes.
Amongst your numerous collaborators are your own brothers, Daniel and Lorin Askill. Tell us a little bit about one of your favourite projects that you’ve all worked on together.
A really beautiful project the three of us worked on several years back was with designer and artist Michelle Jank for her runway show Suspended Disbelief. We created a projection of a larger than life-size woman, immersed in cascading water. This image reflected the mood of the show.
There’s a distinct conceptual and sculptural bent to your jewellery. Do you have a previous background in sculpture?
My work is based on the idea of connecting to something that is precious, and being able to carry it with you; in a sense immortalising it. I studied and worked in fashion. When i was living in Paris and exposed to the history and architecture there, a greater connection with a sculptural aesthetic became prevalent.
In fact, you’ve created sculptures which accompany your jewellery collections. Is that right?
Yes that is correct. I’ve created sculptures to accompany my Jewellery pieces. They have told a story. I see my work as a novel, and the sculpture helps bring together each chapter.
Partly as a result of these sculptures, you were invited to exhibit at the Museum of London in 2014. What was that experience like?
Yes that is right. This was amazing. The Museum is a real part of London history and feels so rich with it. It was a real honour to be part of it, especially as at the same time, there was an exhibition of The Cheapside Hoarde. This was a collection of jewellery from the 16/17th centuries, found on an excavation site in 1912.
What can we expect to see from you in store at Poepke?
It is great to see all the pieces for Poepke come together, as it feels like a past and present display of some of my work up to date. We have some pieces availible in 18K, 10K AND silver; some pieces from my latest collection “THE RACE “, pieces that have just been released; some pieces that are pure one offs, and some Jordan Askill classics, also featuring the JORDY heart rings. This is exciting as it’s the first time my jewellery has been available in Australia in more than two years.Tags: Interviews | Comments (0)
Projects at Poepke: halfnoon
May 18th, 2016
Nicole Sudjana first started playing around with jewellery making as a way to occupy herself in the early hours of the morning, when she suffered from insomnia. She then studied gold and silversmithing and fell in love with the silent process of creating, which differed greatly from her day job as a hairdresser and its constant chatting. Nicole describes her jewellery, as ‘understated and on the masculine side’ The pieces are all simple but with a twist; the Edamame Pendant, Wiggle earrings and an oversized Fob Chain and are all hand crafted in sterling silver.
We spoke to Nicole about her journey into jewllery making, her aesthetic and her key influences.
What first drew you to making jewellery by hand and how long have you been making?
I have always been one of those people that are into making things. I originally started making more DIY style jewellery because I went through a long phase of having problems sleeping and needed something to do late at night to occupy myself. As far as halfnoon goes, I have been studying and making jewellery for around 2 years. Prior to halfnoon, I was a hairdresser of 10 years, so I have always been about keeping my hands busy- halfnoon has been another venture to challenge myself and learn a new skill set to experiment with.
How would you describe halfnoon’s aesthetic to someone who has never seen your pieces?
Understated – probably on the more masculine side at this point. I wouldn’t say I have a set aesthetic with halfnoon- I expect it to be something that is forever evolving. I’m really into the formation of shapes and want to get more into the relationship between colour and shape.
Do you work primarily with sterling silver?
Your Instagram beautifully meshes kaleidoscopic images of your jewellery with the work of photographers and other artists. Who have been some of your key influences?
I don’t really have specific people whose work continuously influences me…. I like looking at colours, shapes and shadows and the relationship between the three. Sometimes there’s just one moment in one photo that I’m into and am inspired by.
Tags: Interviews, Projects | Comments (0)
Carded and Combed
May 29th, 2015
An unusual knitwear label, Carded and Combed centres on a code of ethics that guarantees their pieces are ethically and sustainably made. Avoiding the compromises that others in the industry make, this Australian label produces incredibly soft, high quality knits.
Poepke spoke to Sarah Perry, the creator of Carded and Combed, about their code of ethics and the pieces that are in store.
Where does the name for your knitwear line come from?
It’s a technical description. The name focuses on the fibre and processes involved in creating the range. 15.9 is a fibre micron measurement (which is superfine). Carding and Combing is the refining technique used to create the yarns that I use in my knitwear line.
What is non-mulesed wool, and why is this important?
I choose to source raw-wool from growers that are certified non-mulesed. Mulesing is when a lamb, up until the age of one year, has the skin removed from under its tail. This is painful for the lambs and often results in death. It was introduced in the 1920s in Australia to reduce the effect of fly strike. For me it’s an ethical choice, as the non-mulsed Merino sheep have a better quality of life.
Ethical sourcing and production is central to this collection. Could you unpack exactly what that means for us as buyers?
It’s about giving people choice. By keeping production transparent, buyers know where their garments are coming from and how they are produced.
Has it been difficult to find people to work with who also operate from an ethical mindset, or do you think this is changing?
There are a lot of supporters for humanely produced wool and ethical manufacturing in Australia. I think education and awareness is instrumental in change.
There is such attention to detail in each piece. Could you run us through your production process?
I select the raw wool fibre, process the yarns and then further develop the garments. Each item has a unique feel, they are not mass produced and are made by artisan knitters in both Sydney and Melbourne. Each neckline is hand linked and some garments are hand dyed at the Waterloo studio.
Could you give us a quick guide to the styles that we have in store at Poepke?
The women’s crew neck sweaters are a relaxed slim-fit shape. The detail is in the neckline. The men’s fine cable knit is a classic men’s style, worn next to skin or as a secondary layer. The signature natural cream colourway showcases the yarn in its purest form, whilst the hand dyed colour palette is unique to Carded and and is developed in-house.Tags: Carded and Combed, Interviews | Comments (0)
Projects at Poepke: Everyday Needs
October 12th, 2014
Based in New Zealand, Everyday Needs is a store for people who want to make informed decisions for their way of living. Carefully sourced and personally curated by stylist and interior designer Katie Lockhart, Everyday Needs offers products that please the eye and are made for everyday use, with a thoughtfulness and quality that will last the test of time.
Over the next two months, Poepke is collaborating with Everyday Needs to present a pop-up in our Sydney shop as part of our Projects at Poepke. We spoke with Lockhart in the lead-up about the concept behind Everyday Needs, her background and what to expect from the pop-up.
How would you describe Everyday Needs?
Carefully sourced, thoughtfully designed and goods of a quality that will last the test of time.
What kinds of producers do you work with? How do you find them and what kinds of attributes are you looking for in products?
We work either directly with artisans or with companies who work directly with a stable of artisans. Often I find products whilst I am travelling for my design work but really it just happens quite naturally. We are really focused on sourcing products that are an Everyday Need, that are well crafted and that we would like to live with.
What kinds of connections do you see between your work and what we do here at Poepke?
I think that we focus on the same sort of curation for our customers, as said above a carefully sourced and thoughtfully designed selection of good goods.
Katie, before your forays into the design world, you came from a fashion background – in part, the beautiful cashmere label To Sir With Love. How did this shift come about?
I studied Textile Design at the School of Architecture & Design (in Wellington) which covered off aspects of both Fashion and Interior Design. In my final year I created a collection of head scarves which I showed to Karen Walker upon my course completion and she hired me as her design assistant. I stayed with her for just over two years before moving to Milan to shift my focus more onto interiors. After a few years of working in Milan and London as an Interior designer and Interior stylist I returned home to open my Design practise in New Zealand. At around the same time Margot and I had the idea to create a range of cashmere basics which we named ’To Sir with Love’, the concept really revolved around what we wanted for ourselves.
Are there connections between the ways you approach fashion and design, and your Everyday Needs ethos?
I am not really interested in fashions as much as making choices that will be long lasting. I like to think that the interiors that I create will last for years and that the paint colours will look even better when a little sun faded. Similarly I hope our Everyday Needs customers will get enjoyment from our pieces for years to come.
What should we expect from your collaboration with Poepke?
We hope to be able to present an edit of our Everyday Needs that will introduce the Poepke customer to what we consider essentials for the home.
Photography: Harriet Were.
The Everyday Needs Project begins on Thursday 16 October. If you’d like to attend the opening, please subscribe to our email list at email@example.com for details.Tags: Interviews, Projects | Comments (0)
October 2nd, 2014
Introducing Kowtow: a new label to Poepke, composed of deceptively simple pieces.
Effortlessly elegant, casual clothes that form dramatic silhouettes, Kowtow is minimalism perfectly executed. Bold graphics, and eco-friendly fabrics make Kowtow garments effortlessly cool. The softness of organic cotton means the clothes also feel incredible against your skin. Kowtow is 100% fairtrade and ethically sound.
We spoke to creator Gosia Piatek to get the behind-the-scenes on the label.
Rather than being born out of the fashion industry, Kowtow was initially the result of pursuing a sustainable, ethical business model. How did it all begin?
Back in 2007 I had a naive and wonderful idea with my partner at the time to start up a fair trade organic cotton clothing label. With absolutely nothing to lose and not a penny to our name, we managed to secure a $5000 government grant and a large t-shirt order. The rest is history.
How do see your approach as a little different from that of other labels?
We think about ethics and sustainability first and foremost, then we work the design around the limitations. For example, we haven’t managed to source ethical/sustainable zips so we create patterns that can avoid zipper closures, which in turn means we constantly have to think outside the box and be very creative with our design and pattern making approach.
What sorts of benefits does the fairtrade model have for your producers and their communities?
Being a certified fair trade company with the Fairtrade Labelling Organisations means that our cotton farmers receive a premium for their harvest. Usually the people at the bottom of a supply chain get paid the worst, and being fair trade allows for farmers to earn a living wage plus other benefits such as bonuses, which they can choose to spend on community projects such as schools, clean water and cattle.
The cornerstone of the label is organic, fairtrade cotton. Could you tell us a little bit about where this cotton comes from?
The cotton is from India. Our producer groups are small scale and many of them only own 1-2 acres of land. They all work under the organic and fairtrade umbrella, which means that our cotton is grown pesticide free and uses natural techniques such as companion planting, crop rotation and non-GM seeds.
Is the effortless, relaxed feel that your pieces have a conscious part of your design?
Yes, everything we do is conscious. Although that said, we do only work with cotton which is a more relaxed fabric, so as a result we do end up with very wearable collections.
The minimal aesthetic neatly complements your ethics and materials. What are some of your reference points in going into the design process?
We love to approach each collection with a strong theme, whether it’s referencing architecture, artists or crafts.
Projects at Poepke: Joao Vaz
July 19th, 2014
Joao Vaz creates strong architectural jewellery with an almost microscopic attention to detail. His Dark-Matter collection is a careful balance of opposites: fragility versus strength, bold minimalism versus delicate detailing, metallic versus synthetic, past versus future. In terms of production there is again more to Vaz’s work than meets the eye, with the use of new jewellery technologies, such as 3D printing and acrylic tension setting, alongside a strong dedication to sustainable and responsible practices. Creating work that has an impact while respecting the fragility of our world and its people is Vaz’s signature; a message which, viewed through the lens of the Dark-Matter collection, has a poetically sci-fi ring to it.
We spoke to Vaz about his earliest experimentations with jewellery, the development of this collection and his practices in the lead up to his Project at Poepke.
Joao, how long have you been interested in making jewellery? How did this begin for you?
I’ve always loved jewellery and fashion, since I was a child. My first pieces were rings made with paper and buttons. It became more serious when I was planning on moving to the UK at the age of 18 to study and had to chose between the two. This was 12 years ago. I chose jewellery then and I would choose it now.
You have a very particular aesthetic – to me, there’s a lot of tension in your work. Is playing different elements off of each other something that particularly interests you in the making of a collection, or is this just something that emerges after the fact?
Dark-Matter was about trying to define what my aesthetic looks like. I guess it just takes a very long time for all designers, artists, jewellers, to finally arrive at a place in their work that somehow starts to really look like ‘their’ work. Dark-Matter is a very important collection for me because achieving this sense of truthfulness was the main objective. I never thought about it in terms of ‘tension’ between elements, but you might be perfectly right. I find it difficult to narrow down my visual language because there are so many things that I’m interested in, and so many of them are contradictory. Perhaps these conflicts managed to persist all the way to the end.
Could you give us some insight into this collection in particular, Dark-Matter? What sorts of reference points were you working from in conceiving of these pieces?
I’ll try and keep this short. The main objective was to create a collection that exposed my ‘true’ aesthetic. I had to do a lot of investigation to get to the final result. I looked at all of these things that had always inspired me: Bjork, Gaudi, Queen Elizabeth I, etc.; then I wrote down all of these words that are important to my work and that I want to achieve with it, like narrative and craftsmanship and technological developments. I then looked at my sketch books and collected different ideas and concepts that I had thought of before.
I tried to really understand what has always been a constant in my work and then exacerbate it: the fact that no surface is left untouched (all the metal pieces), developing existing jewellery techniques (acrylic tension setting) and imagining an emotional landscape for the pieces that contemplates on the extraordinary (Landscape choker and Cathedral necklace).
You are very particular about your practices: where you source from, who you work with. Could you offer us a little more insight into your processes?
All of the pieces are done in my studio in Sydney, with the exception of the 3D printing which is manufactured in the Netherlands. All the metal is cast in Marrickville by a company called Pure Casting using Australian sourced brass and silver. The laser cutting cutting is done down the road from my studio by Modelcraft. I don’t use natural gems, which are extracted from countries I believe can’t truly regulate the processes involved, which led me to use Australian sapphires (sourced in Australia), hydro rubies (manmade) and cubic zirconias (manmade).
What is the philosophy behind this?
Responsible manufacturing is really quite important to me and there’s so much more that I can do. It’s definitely a work in progress, much like everything else. Ultimately I want to create a business that as it grows it considers more and more aspects of the surrounding social and environmental landscape. I dream that one day we’ll only use pure organic beeswax for all our castings!
I believe that if the thought is there from the outset and you remind yourself everyday that there’s really no point in creating beautiful pieces of jewellery at the cost of the planet and the people in it, it sort of becomes part of the design process, another creative challenge that must be accomplished.
For those who aren’t as familiar with your work or this collection, what should they expect to discover in your Project at Poepke?
A world of beauty, elegance and decadence. The beginning of something truly incredible in a store that believes and supports Australian design.
All images are courtesy of Joao Vaz, with lookbook photography by Eleanor Ackland and behind the scenes photography by Catherine Buman.
Joao Vaz’s Project at Poepke begins this Monday 21 July and continues through the coming months.Tags: Interviews, Projects | Comments (1)
Projects at Poepke: PoyserPoyser
April 8th, 2014
This Thursday, we welcome a new Project to Poepke: intricate and unexpected jewellery from artist Helen Poyser. Here, we speak to Helen about her home, her creative process and what to expect from her PoyserPoyser Project at Poepke.
You’re a painter as well as a jewellery-maker. Could you tell us a little bit about your different modes of practice and how you’ve come to be doing the things you are now?
My practice involves drawing and painting in watercolour. Before jewellery I worked on small sculpture projects, but I never really exhibited the sculptural work, it was definitely for my own and my partner’s enjoyment. I created rough little “gods” and effigies using whatever I had at hand in my studio – which since I’m an op shop pillager included all sorts of second-hand craft materials, wool, thread, feathers, beads, etc. And clay. The sculptures were designed to inoculate or guard against various ailments like customer service fatigue, Sunday lethargy, troublesome real estate agents – whatever might be bugging our souls. The god statues morphed into something that could be carried out of the house and they became jewellery.
You’re based in the beautiful surrounds of the Blue Mountains. Has this had an effect on your painting and jewellery-making at all?
City air seems almost solid, especially in Sydney’s inner west where we lived before moving up here. Being able to breathe definitely helps me with my work, it’s easier to view things from a less rigid perspective when you have space and air. I’m also more comfortable on the outside, observing when I feel like it, rather than being frantically involved in the thick of things. So the mountains are perfect for my practice and their beauty is always motivating.
So you share this home with your partner, who is also an artist and a musician – is that right? Are you involved in or do you feel a particular connection to each other’s work?
My partner has been showing at gallery9 in Darlinghurst for the past 7 years. We both work and live on top of each other in the same house. I tell him when his paintings are finished and he does the same for me, although I’m much more stubborn and don’t always listen – to my own detriment sometimes. He plays classical guitar providing our daily soundtrack of scales and arpeggios hour after hour which I think helps maintain the rhythm of jewellery production.
All of your jewellery is handmade, but can you tell us a little more about your process?
I made all the pieces in the collection myself, they developed intuitively without any kind of preconceived design – which is how I usually approach painting as well. Often I’ll have someone close to me in mind while I’m working, forming the piece in my hands while it forms around their neck in my imagination. Production involves lots of digging around in op shops, then de-stringing, beading and lots of winding. I use a hair thin needle most of the time and I’ve got some useful callouses.
What materials do you use? Is reusing materials important to you?
Every piece in this collection is made using at least 80% reclaimed materials. I’ve focused on glass seed beads and embroidery thread mainly with the odd semi precious stone accent. Practically all of it comes from charity shops but occasionally I’ll find someone wanting to get rid of a private stash on ebay. I’ve found the best fabric to use as an underlying structure to bead over is old t-shirt cotton, which fortunately I have in abundance already. The ethics of recycling appeal to me very much, I’m a hoarder and I love to hunt and gather but the limitations and challenges of this approach are very stimulating too. Having boundaries placed on my creativity is incredibly helpful, the structure helps me focus.
What can we expect to see as part of your Project?
I aimed to imbibe all the pieces with a sort of life force of their own. I want them to feel like talismans, as if they could give you super powers. Expect to see loads of colour, intricate detail, loose patterning, sort of wearable pagan Pop Art .
The Poyser Project begins this Thursday 10 April.Tags: Interviews, Projects | Comments (0)