These are dynamically changing times giving rise to the artisan and the cultural imperative of creativity. In this world of busy the time of the maker is now…..the restoration, recognition and an appreciation for the handmade and individually crafted is being reckoned with in our time. This is simply a continuum of why we do what we do at StudioMade.
Back track to the mid 80's - a 5 am rise for the markets - cruising down the near empty Eastern freeway on a Sunday morning towards King Lake , with our sunnies on as the sun rose over the eastern burbs - the Valiant laden with trestle table on the roof racks and gorgeous ceramic ware 'pinging' on the back seat - freshly baked from the kiln. Ever hopeful. Bunches of herbs fresh picked from our front garden in Nth. Fitzroy. Barely a sale of a beautiful handthrown ceramic bowl to be had back then. How could us and others possibly compete with the shiney 'perfect' cheap mass produced ceramics suddenly flooding the greedy markets of the 1980's. But this is when it began for us.
Cheap mass production by manufacturers arrived by stealth- mostly from overseas markets. The markets were bombarded - the rise of the $2 shops and mega- marts was seeing the demise of the Makers and it appeared we were heading for 'the lost arts'.
The tide is finally turning - "The culture of 'disposable decorating' feeds landfill and 'built to last' is finally being questioned - as is the notion of 'if it's broken chuck it out, get another one!' It is finally resonating with mainstream that this is not a sustainable notion. We are finally getting it. If we can all buy one less mass produced, unethical, cheap item this year, walk around our 'hoods ' instead of 'scrolling through online' - support the little businesses - the makers, the crafters - the workers....we will each have a piece of heart and soul - valuable expressions of spirit.
And so how did we get to here?...way too many gaps to fill am afraid, other than to say we hung onto that dream. Fast forward:
...In 2017, after an exhaustive search, we found an old washing machine repair factory in need of bringing into the 21st century. Situated a stone's throw from the beautiful Barwon River, in a truly yet to be discovered spot of the west end of Newtown. It was a fixer upper but had the perfect amount of character. Over the next twelve months, assisted by family and friends, we painstakingly refurbished one of the two buildings on the site. We knocked down all internal rooms, removed old flooring and polished the concrete, installed a grunty 3 phase power board and started again. We designed each space with the same care and attention to detail that we apply to our products, our pottery classes, and to our locally sourced coffee, organic milk and unique cakes.
2018 saw StudioMade finally break out of the backyard studio. We have traversed the ‘great divide’ across La Trobe Terrace and settled in to the newly emerging old meets new area of the western riverside end of Newtown. Our dedicated pottery studio, retail space and cafe are a unique blend.
2020 sees Darren embarking on his own 'parallel' creative journey - reclaiming his home studio - to think, design, make and create....watch this space.