studio

throwing shadows from the sun

emma byrnes, spacecraft studio, garland magazine, screen printing melbourne
emma byrnes, spacecraft studio, garland magazine, screen printing melbourne
emma byrnes, spacecraft studio, garland magazine, screen printing melbourne
emma byrnes, spacecraft studio, garland magazine, screen printing melbourne
emma byrnes, spacecraft studio, garland magazine, screen printing melbourne
emma byrnes, spacecraft studio, garland magazine, screen printing melbourne
emma byrnes, spacecraft studio, garland magazine, screen printing melbourne
emma byrnes, spacecraft studio, garland magazine, screen printing melbourne
emma byrnes, spacecraft studio, garland magazine, screen printing melbourne
emma byrnes, spacecraft studio, garland magazine, screen printing melbourne
emma byrnes, spacecraft studio, garland magazine, screen printing melbourne
emma byrnes, spacecraft studio, garland magazine, screen printing melbourne
Photographs by  Emma Byrnes

Photographs by Emma Byrnes

In November I captured Spacecraft at work in their Rokeby studio on a botanical prints series that had been commissioned for KFive + KinnarpsBoyd Collection. The images accompanied an article on the project by Eugenia Lim in Garland Magazine and needed to reflect the interplay between Spacecraft’s research, handcraft, materiality and digital production - the conversation that Lim explores in depth throughout the article.

As Lim writes:

“In Spacecraft’s series of commissioned prints for KFive + Kinnarps’ Boyd Collection furniture, site, history, language, art and architecture intermingle under the guise of soft-furnishings. On face value, these textile designs are simple botanical prints that take the specificity of trees as a motif. The silhouettes of leaves, vines and flowers are assembled, repeated and mirrored onto linen.

But deeper, beyond the “upholstery” of surface, these designs speak of a skilled, curious studio who bring craft, research and experimentation to their work across commercial, artistic and architectural projects.”

The article is well worth the read and highlights the “the quiet and conscientious work of Spacecraft, engaged as it is with the elemental, the material, the botanical, the artistic, the political and the social.” 

Wonderful!

a full life

david07.jpg

Spending the afternoon at textile teacher/designer/maker David Pearce’s home is therapy for the soul.
I visit on an early spring afternoon and the light is soft and muted just like the beautiful blanket he is hand-knitting.
I’ve known David for 6 years now and I have always admired his gentle and considered manner - he never seems to rush anywhere or for anything. And this is the approach he takes with his textile work. In fact it can take him up to 15 hours to spin one 50 g ball of wool. 
David is wearing an exquisite coat that he made from scratch - it took him 4 years to make but as far as he is concerned that is time well spent:

“Spinning and creating the yarn itself is a slow meditative process that I really enjoy. I like creating something with the intention of it having a full life rather than something that is disposable. Most of the work I do is fashion oriented - I create wearable garments. But I wouldn’t say I am a fashion designer because I often think that the detriment of the fashion industry is its disposability whereas I make clothing - something that I will potentially have for a lifetime. I also like repairing garments rather than just throwing them away. The slow processes are the ones that I really love like hand weaving and producing a length of fabric on the loom. This is a coat that I started off where I spun the yarn, wove the fabric and then cut and sewed it into a garment. Tailoring was another skill that I learnt along the way - which again is a slow process and one that I haven’t fully mastered yet but I am working on it.”

“It all started with my grandmother. When I was 18 my sister wanted to learn how to knit. So we went to my grandmothers and she tried to teach my sister how to knit but she didn’t get it. However I picked up the needles and just started knitting. My grandmother had taught me how to knit when I was eight years old and at the time I didn’t get very far but it was in my subconscious when I returned to it ten years later.
Because my sister didn’t really get the hang of it I became her personal knitter. So I made her a scarf or two and then moved onto gloves and beanies - things with really simple shaping and then went from there. Soon I was making entire garments.
I moved to Melbourne and applied for a textile design diploma at RMIT. There were particular things in the course that I had never tried before like weaving and tapestry that I loved. I was more drawn to the structural textiles rather than print, preferring to construct the fabric itself rather than decorating it. One of the main objectives of the course was to learn how to be more efficient and to use technology but I kind of went in the opposite direction particularly when it came to knitting. Machine knitting is completely different from hand-knitting. It is a much more industrial way of producing the fabric. You get a similar result from both approaches but hand knitting is relaxing whereas machine knitting can be very stressful - if you do something wrong it can take hours to fix and it just doesn’t have the same meditative quality. When I used the knitting machines I started straining my neck and did a lot of physical damage…so I suppose in my creative practice I have gone for a quality of life and process over production.”

David will be one of my studio mates at Popcraft Studio which we move into before the year is out. I ask him what he is looking forward to in the new space.

“The studio is exciting as it will allow me to explore my creative practice on a much deeper level. My bedroom space is quite limited as a making space and looms can be quite sad objects when they are sitting around unloved gathering dust! Once I have everything set up I’ll get so much inspiration and go off on tangents, discover new techniques and then who knows where that will lead me. I have many years of experience teaching and will definitely be passing on my extensive knowledge in the form of knitting and crotchet master classes. When teaching I love it when I capture someone’s imagination. There are a number of people who I have taught to knit or crochet and then I see them months or years later and find out that they kept going and have continued their learning. It is really great when you can inspire someone and set them off on a trajectory.”

Spending my studio days with David is something I look forward to...not only to be in his quiet company more often but also to glean a whole host of new skills for my textiles arsenal. And did I mention the part about getting to eat more of his homemade toasted banana bread? 
Watch this space! 

Extra note: Our studio collective is running a Pozible campaign to kickstart our textiles master classes, artist’s residencies and emerging textile artist programs. Go find out more and make a pledge if any of this tickles your fancy!

Em x 

ticking boxes with a new studio

David piecing together patchwork panels for the vintage denim upholstery fabric we are making to cover our studio lounge. It is a humongous project and will be a super comfy piece to rest on once we are done.

David piecing together patchwork panels for the vintage denim upholstery fabric we are making to cover our studio lounge. It is a humongous project and will be a super comfy piece to rest on once we are done.

My new studio has been in the pipeline for many months now and is slowly but very surely coming together. So many ideas that have been percolating away are now seeing the light of day and it is at this point that collaboration really begins to be exciting.

It is a beautiful work space and housed in a newly-built, light-filled, architecturally and purposefully designed complex - tick, tick, tick and tick! 
Plus it is a stone's throw from my front door (just a matter of riding along the bike path for a mere 5 minutes) with views over Merri Creek bushland to Ceres. With a new year's resolution to find a greater sense of self in my work this serene environment feels like it will mark an evolution in my personal creative practice. 

My studio buddies are Pauline Tran and David Pearce whom I admire very much as makers and innovators and so it is with great anticipation that we come together to see what bursts forth.
We have named it Pop Craft Studio (in honour of Pauline's amazing luxurious yarn business - Pop Craft that has been running for four years.)
Above and beyond our own personal creative work the intention with Pop Craft Studio is to serve as a point of exchange for Melbourne's creative textile community hosting textile master classes, with instruction from local and international experts; host an artist-in-residence program; establish an individual mentorship/business development scheme for emerging textile designers, and introduce Big Pop! - an irregular gallery space showcasing monumental fibre art works.  
And as a way to inspire creative dialogue, a monthly Friday Night Feast will also be held in the studio (or on the outdoor deck, when the seasons allow).

As a way to get all of this activity underway we have launched a Pozible campaign - I would love you to make a pledge if any or all of these ideas tick your boxes.

We are making a studio couch from vintage denim (work-in-progress pic above) so if you have any spare denim lying around that you would like to donate to the project let me know. You could even come and test the couch out once it is done. It is being designed especially with midday siestas in mind.

Em x