Melbourne design store Guild of Objects

A Must-Visit Design Store in Melbourne

Guild of Objects fills an interesting gap in Melbourne — a store that isn’t quite a gallery, but is far from a gift shop. Each object — handmade by an Australian maker and often one-of-a-kind — has a story behind it. Quality materials and an emphasis on craftsmanship are central to each piece — otherwise they wouldn’t be here.
More
GemmaPatford_HeatherLighton2015-DEC_DSC3456

Inside the Rope-Painting, Basket-Making World of Gemma Patford

After attempting to learn to crochet, Patford realized it was not for her and instead turned to artists who were working with rope like Doug Johnston, who remains one of her heroes. “I muddled my way through the Internet to find a process that worked with my abilities and with what I had at home. I had a sewing machine and paint — and the baskets were born,” she says.
More
We also noticed this amazing steel sculpture in the yard of one of the artisans on the main street; we later learned it was the work of Howard Smith, an American-born artist who moved to Fiskars in 1998 with his wife, the ceramicist Erna Altonen (more on this sweet couple later!)

In Finland

If you’re a longtime reader of this site, you know that we are, above all, sunshine-seeking people who happen to be inextricably linked to New York and its fickle seasons. Normally we leap at the chance to hightail it off the East Coast anytime between November and April, in search of beaches, pools, palm trees, and vitamin D. But somehow, while Monica and the rest of the design world headed to Miami at the beginning of December, I found myself saying yes to a week in Finland, home of 30-degree temperatures and 3PM sunsets. When I arrived, no fewer than three people delighted in telling me that the previous month in Finland had seen only 15 hours of sunshine.
More
Campaign for Oyyo shot in the Manvar Desert of Rajasthan.
Photo: David Magnusson / www.davidmagnusson.se

Oyyo, Swedish Textile Designers

Lina Zedig and Marcus Åhrén, of the Stockholm-based studio Oyyo, take a best-of-both-worlds approach to their work. If Zedig is the self-described perfectionist who obsesses over color and composition, Åhrén is the “action person, always keen to get new projects going and thinking that everything is possible.” For their first collection, which launched in 2013, they employed age-old techniques to craft flat-weave dhurries, but imbued the familiar form with unexpected geometric and architectural patterns. And while their carpets — in combinations of pastel pinks, yellows, and oranges, deep blues, greens, and black — have a cozy, at-home feel, they also reflect the restless, roving spirit in which Åhrén and Zedig, avid travelers, created them. It’s design for settling in, not settling down.
More
If you don’t have the fortitude to build your own Sculpey mobile, of course, you can always purchase one of Fort Makers’ existing wooden mobile designs in the studio’s online shop.

Make a Sculpey Mobile, With Fort Makers

The team behind Fort Makers don’t refer to themselves as a design studio but rather an “artist collective,” and there’s a marked difference: They make functional objects, but instead of producing a stream of products with a unified aesthetic, they each work individually under the studio umbrella, experimenting with whatever interests them at any given time. In a way, it’s that same sense of structureless structure that first attracted Noah Spencer to the idea of making mobiles: You can hang pretty much anything from them, as long as you get the balance right. “Any kind of visual language can be carried into the mobile world,” says Spencer, a Paul Loebach and Uhuru Design alum who co-founded Fort Makers in 2008. While he primarily makes models hung with simple wooden shapes, he’s also been toying around lately with more expressive elements made from polymer clay (aka Sculpey), a method he graciously offered to teach Sight Unseen readers in this tutorial.
More
HS10-MP4540S _b_opener2

Ricky Swallow vs. Matt Paweski, for Herald St London

As much fun as it is, as journalists, to the pick the brains of the artists and designers who inspire us every day, there's something we enjoy even more: being a fly on the wall as two of our favorite creatives spar back and forth about their craft. It's something we'll never understand as intimately as those who are makers themselves, and when those makers are as thoughtful about their work as Los Angeles artists Ricky Swallow and Matt Paweski are, it makes for a most excellent Friday read. Swallow interviewed Paweski in advance of the latter's solo exhibition, opening tomorrow at Herald St gallery in London, and we were lucky enough to nab a transcription of that Q&A. Read on to find out what makes a Matt Paweski, which direction his work is going in, and what the heck a "kerf" actually is.
More
tripplehorn_opener

Doug Johnston, Basket Artist

Growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Doug Johnston was surrounded by the Native American art that his parents voraciously collected — woven rugs, Kachina dolls and coiled baskets made from materials such as pine needles, yucca, acacia and bear grass. But when the Brooklyn-based designer decided a few years ago that he’d like to learn coiling himself, to make baskets from stitched lengths of cotton rope, he didn’t travel to the Southwest to train with a master craftsperson. Instead, he went on YouTube, scouring instructional videos for a new approach. “Traditional coiling techniques are really labor-intensive,” he says. “You have to go inch by inch, one stitch at a time, and mastering that technique could take years. I was too impatient.”
More
First thing you ever made? Chelsea: “For as long as I can remember I have been making assemblages of objects. I can recall occupying a lot of time collecting rocks, flowers, and shells to make little organized groupings. I did the same with my room and toys. There has always been something self-satisfying in that process for me.” James: “My dad (mostly) and I made a plywood castle to use with my Lego people. It was pretty great.”

Grain, furniture and product designers

To hear the story of James and Chelsea Minola — the married couple behind Seattle’s Grain design studio — you begin to wonder how it’s possible their paths didn’t cross even earlier in life. Both grew up in Southern California — James in San Diego, and Chelsea in Los Angeles, where her parents were the owners of a punk rock store at the Sherman Oaks Galleria. In the early ’90s, both families relocated to the Pacific Northwest, and James and Chelsea moved east to Providence, Rhode Island, around the same time to attend RISD — James as an undergrad in engineering and Chelsea as a graduate in industrial design. But the two didn’t meet until they both enrolled in a short course called “Bridging Cultures Through Design,” where they worked first in Providence, tinkering with ideas about weaving, and then for a few weeks in Guatemala, where they learned how to work with talented local artisans. The trip would eventually lead the two friends down the path to marriage but it also introduced them to the way in which their future studio would run.
More
DSC_8455

Nicholas Nyland, artist

Nicholas Nyland studied to be a painter for years, first as an undergrad at the University of Washington and then as a graduate at the University of Pennsylvania. But it only took one night for him to figure out that his heart belonged to ceramics. “I discovered ceramics through a friend who invited people over just to play around and make things,” says the Seattle-based artist. “It was like a light bulb went off over my head. It was the best combination of my interests in painting and color and surface, with the immediacy of sculptural practice and the ability to then glaze.”
More
Piedestaux_mpgmb_2

MPGMB, Industrial Designers

We never really thought we'd be featuring someone who'd also graced the pages of Modern Cat magazine. But that's exactly where Montreal designers Marie-Pier Guilmain and Maud Beauchamp ended up a few years ago after they hit it big with their chic, flat-packed cardboard teepees and cabins for cats. Back then, the two were known as Loyal Luxe, friends and designers who'd met and hit it off studying industrial design at the Université de Montréal. But a year ago, the two decided to change course. Their Loyal Luxe designs now mostly licensed to Suck UK, Guilmain and Beauchamp embarked on a new adventure, which they called mpgmb. In some ways, their mission is the same as it was when they were known as Loyal Luxe — to imbue everyday objects with beauty and sophistication through the manipulation of materials, textures, proportions, and form. But here, they're more interested in items at a human scale: beautiful, turned wood and marble pedestals, patterned stoneware, and colorful wall decals that all have in common a major graphic impact. We recently spoke to the two designers by email to find out more about what's influenced them in the past (we love the Sottsass table they chose!) and where they're going next.
More
last geometri

Last, a New Swedish Design Trio

No pun intended, but we had to share one last find from this month’s Stockholm Design Week: Last, a new arena for selling one-of-a-kind products by Swedish design trio Åsa Jungnelius, Gustaf Nordenskiöld, and Fredrik Paulsen. They are, respectively, a glass designer working with glass, a potter with clay and a furniture designer with wood. All share a common desire for not only producing sustainable products, but also to promote a kind of design that is slower, more considered, and intended to stand the test of time (i.e. the last spoon you might ever buy).
More
Lena4

Lena Corwin’s Made By Hand

The sense that anyone can attempt these 26 DIYs — which include tie-dying with Shabd Simon-Alexander, jewelry-making with Jennifer Sarkilahti of Odette, and marbling with Ilana Kohn — comes in part from the incredibly detailed, step-by-step photographs, which were taken during the course of a weeklong shoot last fall at the Textile Arts Center in Brooklyn by Maria Alexandra Vettese and Stephanie Congdon Barnes, of the photography site 3191 Miles Apart, who also shot the film photographs documenting the day-by-day of the shoot, which we're sharing here today,
More