Today Lisa introduces us to 23-year-old Brodie Vera Wood – an industrious Melbourne artist / designer / furniture maker who maintains her fine art practice alongside furniture commissions. From a studio in her parents’ garage, she designs and makes all her creations single handedly. We love a girl with skills! – Lucy
Brodie at work in her studio. Photography – Sean Fennessy.
Ceramic works by Brodie. Photography – Sean Fennessy.
Brodie Vera Wood and Brigit Ryan’s group show ‘The Qualms’ at West Space – sculptural works featured by Brigit Ryan. Photography – Sean Fennessy.
Brodie Vera Wood in her Melbourne studio. Photography – Sean Fennessy.
If there’s one thing Lucy and I are always impressed by, it’s a girl with skills, and today’s NKOTB candidate has too many to count. Brodie Vera Wood is an industrious 23-year-old, whose multi-disciplinary design pursuits extend from illustration, sculpture and now furniture making. Personally, as someone who quivers at the thought of using a staple gun, I am so in awe of Brodie’s ability to get the tools out and work with timber, metal, ceramics and other mediums to construct her unique sculptures and functional pieces.
Brodie originally studied Fine Art at the VCA, shifting her focus from drawing to sculpture in her final year of study. When she was unleashed into the ‘real world’ as a graduate in 2012, she developed a new interest in furniture making, initially because she simply lacked the funds to buy the types of pieces she admired. She started experimenting with various materials and tools in her parents’ garage, and the next thing you know, she was making her own furniture.
‘The drift into making furniture happened really naturally’ says Brodie. ‘I was already making sculptures in my parents garage, and living above it at the time, and needed furniture but had no money. So I just started by making bits and pieces that I needed, and became more interested in the furniture and less so in the sculptures. I think the fact that furniture was immediately interactive and functional made it more satisfying for me,’ she recalls.
Late last year Brodie decided to polish some of her self taught woodworking skills, completing a pre-apprenticeship in furniture making at Box Hill Institute. She credits the rest of her knowhow to her Dad, who she shares her workspace with, ‘he’s got a great design eye, and has been a big influence on my designs and how I make them’ she says.
Most recently Brodie has been kept busy preparing for her current exhibition Qualms at West Space (with fellow VCA graduate Brigit Ryan), as well as creating a series of modular storage units for Third Drawer Down‘s new store and studio in Prahran. Third Drawer Down proprietor Abi Crompton has become a bit of a mentor for Brodie, after the two were ‘match made’ by Brodie’s BFF. ‘My wonderful best mate was working the till at Abi’s local super market, and sent her an email that went something along the lines of – You are a strong and powerful woman therefore you need to meet my best friend Brodie because she is also a strong and powerful woman and needs your guidance – which is insane but Abi was totally into it!’
What’s cool about Brodie is the effortless way she’s been able to marry her fine art practice with her functional design work. Working in the realm of furniture design has pushed her to hone her skills, and has allowed her to create with a sense of purpose and consideration of an end user. As Brodie wisely puts it – ‘Furniture is a direct solution to a problem, so I have to be certain that it will serve its purpose’.
The Qualms by Brodie Vera Wood and Brigit Ryan
Open now until 11 May
West Space Gallery
Level 1/225 Bourke St