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.

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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 here

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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.

 

What drew you into designing clothes and how long have  you  been designing for?
I’ve been designing clothes since the mid 1980’s but wanted to be a designer since I was four years old. I worked locally and then in London for Jasper Conran. After that I started my own business in 1989. I built up a label that was known for being minimal (very 1990’s) using the highest quality fabrics from Europe and a team of skilled makers in Australia. I have always loved my job but as my business grew I started to hate the fact that I could only operate in the established channels of the industry. So I closed it in 1998 after taking over as the designer for Jets Swimwear.
What is the inspiration behind the collection for you?
The inspiration came directly from the fabric. I love the fact that you can see the individuality of the fabrics and how the ikat style weaving has so much life. The colours are so rich a way that prints aren’t. I  looked at them over and over and wondered how I could make them wearable while honouring each fabric ( the fabric is only 14 inches wide) to make something precious, fashionable but not trend driven or throw away. I also liked the idea of reinventing fabric that exists and not using more resources.
Your collection has a beautiful array of fabrics in different vintage silks. Where do you source your fabrics from?
I used to travel to Japan each year for my business and over more than a dozen visits I started collecting kimono fabrics from markets and dealers just because I liked them. The more graphic designs are Miesen Silk which were produced to meet the demands of a new trend drive “ready to wear” market in Japan between 1912 – 50. It was not popular or manufactured after 1950. The others are Tsumuji, which are plainer and more like suiting made around 1950. The Acetate is Japanese and the Cotton Poplin is French.

 

 

Do you have a particular person in mind you want to dress when you design?
The person I have in mind is someone who knows their own style and is intelligent about the way they dress. Someone who has an understanding of the cycles of fashion and buys well, who holds onto their favourite things forever. Someone who loves quality and good design but wants something different. Someone who is starting to become interested in where and how their clothes are made.
Tell us about your favourite piece or aspect of the collection.
My favourite aspect of the collection is that the garments are very wearable. I like the fact that they are are unrepeatable so you won’t see yourself at an event or walking down the street. Also, the fabrics feel great. My favourite piece is one I have a called “Scribble”. I love that the design is nuanced like a drawing.
You can view Jodie’s collection here.

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Jordan Askill

December 20th, 2016

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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.

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Projects at Poepke: halfnoon

May 18th, 2016

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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.

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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?

Yeah…

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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Projects at Poepke: Everyday Needs

October 12th, 2014

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 mail@poepke.com for details.

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Kowtow

October 2nd, 2014

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Projects at Poepke: Joao Vaz

July 19th, 2014

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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Projects at Poepke: PoyserPoyser

April 8th, 2014

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 .

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The Poyser Project begins this Thursday 10 April.

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Projects at Poepke: Bird & Knoll

February 11th, 2014

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Beginning this week, our next Project at Poepke is trans-Tasman duo Bird & Knoll. A juxtaposition of fashion, travel and photography, Bird & Knoll’s luxurious cashmere-blend scarves, printed with photographs of iconic and exotic destinations, are a narrative of the modern woman’s contemporary lifestyle and travel aspirations.

Natalie Knoll – the creative eye in the duo – is a well-regarded photographer who has worked in both London and Sydney specialising in portraits and events. Her love of travel (with camera in hand) produced an amazing archive of images that she had been looking to do something with for sometime. The idea of her images of iconic and exotic destinations printed onto cashmere–blend scarves was the perfect way to blend with her two loves, travel and photography. We spoke to Natalie about the collection, her passions and her favourite spots in Sydney.

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How long have you two known each other and how did your collaboration begin?

We met each other about two and a half years ago now, at our kids swimming classes, and bonded over a mutual admiration of each others fashion sense (and the boredom of watching laps in 30 degree plus heat). We just clicked and even though Macayla moved back to NZ shortly after, we stayed in regular contact. So when I had the scarf epiphany on a sun lounger in Hawaii I knew that Macayla would be the perfect partner on the new project, especially given her previous experience in the fashion and editorial industries in NZ.

Natalie, it seems like you’re quite the intrepid traveller. Can you tell us a little bit about your time spent travelling and your photography?

I have had quite a nomadic life – I grew up in South Africa then lived in London, New York and Sydney and was completely bitten by the travel bug at an early stage. I have always made the most of using the cities that I have lived in as a launch pad for quick trips, extensive intrepid travels (not always glamourous) and weekend getaways. I used to work in investment banking but photography was always my passion and travel photography in particular. Capturing the details and every day rituals of new and old favourite destinations is what I love the most.  My passion soon evolved into my career after moving to Sydney – it seemed like such a natural progression.

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Each scarf and each image has a very particular story behind it. What is one of your favourites?

How do you pick a favourite? They are all my favourite at some stage or another, depending on what mood I am in, where I am going and what outfit I am co-ordinating it with. A scarf is such a versatile piece and really is the final edit to an outfit. I have been wearing a lot of the Medina Motorcycles  scarf lately – I love how the colours and “textures” change depending on how it is wrapped. The story is also special – Lost in the alleyways of Marrakech on a romantic weekend from London with my husband and stumbling across the workmen tapping away at their copper, their motorbikes parked next to them. A vignette of a craftsman in Morocco…

You offer much more with each scarf than simply the scarf itself. Could you tell us a bit about this?

Right from the beginning we were aware that our scarves were much more than merely a fashion accessory … they are a juxtaposition of fashion, photography and travel and we wanted to ensure that the Bird and Knoll experience was about all of this. To inspire and aspire with our product, packaging and the story behind it was always key.

What are some of your favourite places in Sydney?

Bondi Beach – goes without saying really but the rugged beauty of the ocean, the colour palette and the light are three things that make us adore this city. But more so are the places off the tourist track –  those little gems that you stumble upon even after having lived here for so long. E.g Chowder Bay – the coolest little coffee spot built into the rock cliff is there with striped deck chairs outside looking onto the bay; Haberfield – Sydney’s own Little Italy for the best Italian deli cheeses and meats; Nielsen Park’s fish and chip kiosk is heaving with beachgoers enjoying the balmy summer evenings. (You can tell we like our food too!)

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Bird & Knoll’s Project launches this Thursday evening and continues through the next two months. To keep up to date with our Projects at Poepke, join our email list at mail@poepke.com

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Projects at Poepke: Henson

November 5th, 2013

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In our next Project, Poepke introduce Henson’s distinct jewellery. Described as having ‘a highly conceptual and detailed approach to design’, Henson’s creators Andy Henson and Brent Gold will often leave ‘traces’ of themselves on each piece. They play with notions of beauty and the idea that something untraditional, unconstrained and maybe even a little bit ugly can be coveted and therefore become beautiful. Their creations are organic, raw and aggressive and often speak of different times, places and cultures.

Here, Andy Henson speaks about the label’s origins, processes and their Project at Poepke.

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How did you two first begin collaborating together?

We had been friends for a while and were living together at the time. We were both really interested in making all the things that we imagined but couldn’t find, and the house slowly transformed into a working studio.

With one of you living in Sydney and the other in Melbourne, do you find the distance challenging?

I think at first it was a challenge, but now I’d say we both thrive on it. Over the years we have both tuned in to each other really well. So while the distance has given us space to really develop our own specific styles and ideas, we often find that we are thinking the exact same thing. It also means that the energy we have when we meet up feels fresh, kind of like a long distance relationship. [laughs]

Your design aesthetic seems to be composed of concurrent opposites – minimalist and raw, masculine and delicate, strong and luxe. How would you describe what you do?

We are really focused on hand made, and we really like our work to feel hand made. Often we leave little marks on the jewellery to highlight that. I think that’s where the organic and raw feel comes from.  A challenge for us is to retain that raw feel but also create objects that are both unisex and really wearable, and I guess that’s where the minimalist and refined side of our aesthetic comes into play.

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For your Project at Poepke, you’ve chosen a particular focus point. Can you tell us about that?

Well, our new collection is called Regenesis and the idea behind it was to build a collection out of all the fragments of old work in the studio. We re-smelted silver, pulled apart chains and really focused on beating and carving the silver back into shape. To juxtapose the heavy feel to the collection we added black diamonds and pearls – and that is the focus for the Project at Poepke. There is an American poet called Aberjhani that wrote ‘at the edge of madness you howl diamonds and pearls’, and that’s where the name for the installation has come from.

What pieces can we expect to find from you at Poepke over the coming months?

Lots of rings, necklaces and cuffs. We have made quite a few one off pieces as well. Black diamonds and japanese black pearls and lots of hand carved pieces.

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Henson’s Project for Poepke begins this Thursday 7 November. To stay in the loop with Projects at Poepke and other happenings, join our email list at mail@poepke.com

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Projects at Poepke: shuh.

July 4th, 2013

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shuh. is a Melbourne-based illustrator and jewellery designer. Shuh Lee’s work has always evolved with colours and reusing unwanted or recycled objects. She likes to create bright, colourful and fun objects that people can wear, use and love. shuh.’s Project at Poepke will include handmade bracelets and necklaces, printed tea towels and homewares, and framed illustrations.

We chatted to Lee about her past, her bright, beautiful pieces and her upcoming Project with us.

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Hi Shuh! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

Hello Poepke! My name is Shuh Lee. I grew up in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. My father works as a commercial silk-screen printer. Being exposed to paints and printing at an early age has influenced me to pursue work in the creative field. I left home to finish my degree in Melbourne before deciding to extend my stay.

I think my work is a combination of my experience growing up in Malaysia and living in Melbourne. I am very grateful to able to work in the creative field. Being in the environment I grew up in, I find I don’t have a lot of role models in the creative arts. Most people I grew up with were encouraging me to pursue a more conservative career. Staying true to myself was definitely one of the challenges that I have faced. Currently, I am juggling between a full time job and my own creative work.

What is your background and how did you come to be making these beautiful pieces?

I took up an arts stream in high school and did a Fashion Design Diploma in college before completing a Fashion Degree at RMIT. Throughout my studies, I tended to experiment with colours, hand stitching and drawing. Although every assignment is different, these aesthetics always seem to appear in my work unintentionally. I think that is probably the starting point of my work.

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Your work has many different dimensions: you work in many forms (jewellery and illustration among them), and have collaborated with different people. How do these new ideas/forms/collaborations come about?

During my studies, I would find myself wandering into the fine art/silversmith faculties. From then, I knew I wanted to work with and explore other mediums and forms, but while maintaining the use of hand stitching or a raw touch in my work. I am always in search for new materials or products to work with.

Collaboration with other people is probably an extension of this exploration. The collaboration normally starts with conversation over a cup of coffee or a couple of emails, getting to know the other artist before working together. I love working with other people. Sharing ideas and learning something new is bliss!

What inspires you? Tell us about a few of your favourite things.

Inspiration comes to me in everyday life. It could be anything, anywhere, anytime and anybody.

However, having/doing my favourite things helps with the process. I love going to new places, listening to beautiful sounds, watching foreign films, trying new workshops, being surrounded by other creative people, checking out works/exhibitions, foggy/rainy days, long evening walks, swimming in a quiet pool, reminiscing over old memories… to name a few things.

What will you be bringing to Poepke for your Project with us? What should we expect?

Colours! I will be bringing a combination of my current accessories, framed illustrations and homewares to Poepke.

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The shuh. Project begins this Saturday 6 July. To stay in the loop with Projects at Poepke and other happenings, join our email list at mail@poepke.com

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Five Questions with Making Good

December 3rd, 2012

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Just in time for the new year comes Making Good, a collection of perfectly minimal calendars and organisers. We spoke to those behind Making Good, Mary and Samuel, about design philosophy, paper stock and the beauty in banality.

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Who and what is Making Good, and what do you do?

Making Good is friends Mary Libro and Samuel Szwarcbord. Making Good began just this year but we are long-time collaborators and co-conspirators. We design and make printed and paper products, mostly for the home or studio. Our first two products are the 2013 Wall Calendar and Planner which you have in store. We have also just taken delivery of our Suitcase Tags which is very exciting, and there are lots more products in the works. Our focus is really on the objects that you use all the time and maybe overlook. Just because they are utilitarian and commonplace doesn’t mean they can’t also be beautiful.

Where are your calendars designed and made?

We work from a studio in Sydney. Our calendars are made here as well. This is something we hope to be able to continue to do into the future. People do great work here, we want to try to support that where we can. The Australian sensibility is respected around the world, we can be international and individual at the same time.

Let’s get technical, because there is such beautiful attention to detail in these calendars. Can you tell us a bit about the paper that they are printed on?

The Wall Calendar is printed on a 100% recycled, uncoated paper. This paper is manufactured in Austria without elemental chlorine (EC) in the bleaching process. It is a beautiful stock enhanced by its variations in colour. The Wall Planner is printed on an Australian made paper with a bit more texture and a nice brightness. It is also EC free. Our packaging is made from glassine paper which is beautiful translucent stock used for archival purposes, it is air and water resistant. Stamp enthusiasts, insect collectors and book binders use it for their projects – very nerdy!

In three words, how would you describe your design aesthetic?

Considered, simple, playful.

What is the philosophy behind your approach to design?

How well can it be used? Can it be simpler? There is beauty in banality. Sometimes ugly is ok, just the right kind of ugly. Is something standard because it is the best way to do it, or because we get lazy about finding alternatives? Can we use basic materials and make them a treasured possession? Will decoration help? Are we making something to be relegated to the bottom drawer or something truly useful?

We hope our objects will make tasks easier, spaces more restful and life just a little less complicated.

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Projects at Poepke: Desert Designs

November 12th, 2012

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Welcome back iconic Australian fashion label Desert Designs with the release of their leading collection You Like Desert Country.

Desert Designs represents a unique collaboration between indigenous and non-indigenous artistic Australians. Jimmy Pike is one of Australia’s most celebrated Aboriginal artists. Pike’s artistic practice focuses on the intricacies of the desert landscape and the particularities of its Aboriginal spirituality. In the contemporary revival of Desert Designs, creative directors Jedda Daisy and Caroline strive to bring this otherwise obscure ancient philosophy into a tangible experience, a rare encounter with its beauty and sacredness.

Desert Designs was initially established to promote Aboriginal art worldwide and this ambition is still at the forefront of the label’s intention today. Desert Designs contribute 10% of all sales to the Jimmy Pike trust for scholarships awarded to Aboriginal artists from the Kimberly region with the aim of better developing their skills.

We spoke to Jedda Daisy along with her partner Caroline about the reincarnation of the label and their Project at Poepke.

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Desert Designs has quite an incredible history. Can you tell us a little bit about the relationship between Jimmy Pike and Steve Culley that generated this label?

Jimmy and Steve were great friends, they were both artists and shared that kind of kindred spirit. Steve recognised the genius of what Jimmy was saying as an artist and that it was something completely new, a new way of describing the environment that Steve had already started to explore pictorially.

They came from totally different worlds. Steve hand spent years painting in the outback and was captivated by Jimmy’s stories of life as a nomad in the desert. Both had been in Fitzroy Crossing, a town in the eastern Kimberleys in the early 70s: a town of riots, a meeting place and at times a collision of cultures and attitudes. Fremantle prison threw them together as allies in an extremely hostile environment. Jimmy revealed an artistic sensibility and a way if seeing and being in Australia that was to change Steve’s life forever.

The original concept grew out of a coming together of one of the oldest cultures in the world and Steve as a kind of artistic innovator. The launch of Desert Designs wasn’t really planned or structured, the wave of cultural and commercial success just happened.

In what ways is the reincarnation of Desert Designs something new, and how does it stay true to the original concept?

I think that Aboriginal people see art and life as one. You manifest your ideas and your culture and you use it, you decorate your tools and your body, it’s applied. In this sense, the age-old concept is fundamental in building a brand of commodities.

The digital age would have to signify the most obvious difference between the original and contemporary Desert Designs. Digital printing has been fantastic for reproducing Jimmy’s work. It has allowed Desert Designs to work with Jimmy’s texta pen drawings, designs that could never have been reproduced correctly before.

The Desert Designs prints are very deeply based in Aboriginal spirituality. How is Desert Designs about more than just aesthetics?

This is so true. Desert Designs is about learning from the past, celebrating Jimmy Pike the artist and exploring our indigenous peoples’ way of seeing and living in Australia.

Jimmy’s stories have reverence in contemporary society for their ancient wisdom. Today worry for our natural world dominates popular consciousness. In Australia, one source of inspiration to adapt our ways of living might be the cosmology of our indigenous peoples. I believe the philosophy behind indigenous story telling is what can save our human relationship with nature.

Jimmy’s designs focus on the intricacies of the desert landscape, and the particularities of its Aboriginal spirituality transforms this extremely isolated area of remote Western Australia (and its otherwise obscure ancient philosophy) into a tangible experience.

Desert Designs was out there in popularising a cultural coming together of indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. At the time, it was perhaps the most important brand that Australia had produced. It enabled Jimmy to become one of the first financially successful indigenous artists. It opened up Australian indigenous artists to new economical opportunities and provided Australians of every ethnic background with the opportunity to embrace and wear indigenous design.

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What prints can we expect to see as part of the Project at Poepke?

Most of Jimmy’s designs have a story, some don’t.

‘Moonlight Sandhills’ and ‘Jilji and Jumu’ are patterns that are a both a map, and a meditation of the wind and ever present change that occurs in the desert.

Then there’s the Sun, ‘Purangu’. I can tell you Jimmy’s story for this one, I have it written down from when he was alive. ‘Sun is bright when it gets hot.  Sun got its Law and its name from the Dreamtime, when it was underground.  People can bring it closer and make it hotter, so that when the kangaroo runs, it gets blisters on its feet from the hot ground (and people can spear it).  Moonbeams can change a man’s feelings; if he is leaving, he will turn around and go back. Sun is dangerous, moon is alright.’

‘Rainbow Mountain’ or ‘Mirtiny’ is a rocky outcrop that exists on the fringe of Jimmy’s country, and seem to shimmer in light and colour like a mirage in the distance.

‘Mangkaja’ is the owl.  He travelled in the desert and landed in one place.  He flew round and round and made a deep hole in the ground.  Water came up and people still go there for water.

Unique to Projects at Poepke, Desert Designs has introduced a new artistic collaboration. We’re working with Maningrida Arts & Culture (MAC) to promote the indigenous artists of the Maningrida region. The art of Maningrida is heterogeneous, dynamic and innovative, reflecting the diversity of languages and cultures present in Maningrida Arnhem Land. As part of our Project, Desert Designs will be exhibiting fiber sculptures by artists’ from this region.

A slice of all sales goes to the Jimmy Pike trust. What is the purpose of the trust and what kinds of projects is it involved in?

The Jimmy Pike Trust was established by his wife Pat Lowe. The Trust awards the Jimmy Pike Scholarship to a chosen Aboriginal artist twice yearly from the Kimberly region with the aim of better developing their artistic gifts. Printmaker Roseleen Park currently holds the scholarship.

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The Desert Designs Project begins on Wednesday 14 November. If you’d like to stay in the loop with Projects at Poepke and our other events, please email us at mail@poepke.com

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