This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Border Co. Hand Carved Spoons

Studio Visit

Today we visit the Adelaide workshop of Justine Bolzon, where we discover the woodworker’s striking modernist-inspired hand carved spoons, created under her brand, Border Co.

Justine shares her insights on a GFC-hampered design career, overcoming creativity slumps, and experimenting with form over function.

3rd October, 2017

Woodworker Justine Bolzon in her home studio. Photo – Mike Smith.

The part-time teacher, part-time woodworker creates under her Border Co, brand. Photo – Mike Smith.

The ‘spoon-carving enthusiast’ is born, raised and based in Adelaide.I think that we Adelaide makers are aware that there are only a few of us around, so we need to stick together and help one another out,’ she tells. Photo – Mike Smith.

Justine strives to create unique pieces, drawing inspiration from geometric forms and modernist design sensibilities. Photo – Mike Smith.

Justine’s workshop is her converted carport, which she has decked out bit-by-bit with the tools of her trade – though she does admit that the siren call of Netflix often  has her carving in the living room, at an amazing bench gifted by her Grandfather. Photo – Mike Smith.

The woodworker describes her early designs as very utilitarian, though she has become a lot more experimental with her forms. Photo – Mike Smith.

Justine’s sources her raw materials from salvage yards, and local timber merchants, as well as receives donations via Instagram! Photo – Mike Smith.

Elle Murrell
Tuesday 3rd October 2017

‘Having quite a discerning eye, but very empty pockets’, woodworker Justine Bolzon created her first furniture pieces out of necessity, when she moved into her first rental home. Though they were small in scale, working on these pieces presented a challenge, as they required the large-scale machinery of the university workshop, where Justine was studying Interior Architecture at the time.

Discovering a box of old, chipped carving gouges one day provided the impetus for the curious creative to try her hand at wood working on a smaller scale. Justine soon taught herself a range of hand carving techniques, and created her very first cooking spoon (still in use today!). She has since developed a growing collection of striking, modernist-inspired hand carved spoon designs, under the name Border Co.

Justine graduated from her design-focussed degree the same year as the Global Financial Crisis, when work was scarce, encouraging the promising young creative to be pragmatic about her prospects. ‘I knew I wanted to be involved with designing and making, and decided to go back to uni to get my Masters in Education,’ she explains. ‘I focused on Design and Technology, and immediately felt at home in the workshop, finally bringing my ideas to life with tangible results.’

The now part-time teacher/part-time woodworker describes her early spoons as very utilitarian. However, after finding herself in creative slump last year, the maker pushed herself with a self-directed 30-spoons-in-30-days challenge. This more experimental approach completely revived Justine’s passion and creativity.  ‘I’m focusing more on what pushes my skills in a new direction, and I think that’s been the best decision I’ve made with my work,’ she tells. ‘People have responded really well to this, and I’ve been able to have more integrity with my work.’

Over the past year, Justine has also been running workshops, and many of her participants have been women eager to try woodwork for the first time. ‘A few have gone on to pursue carving as a passion or small business… so that’s pretty cool to see!’ Justine beams. She’s also got plans to expand her workshops interstate, to interact with a wider community of carving enthusiasts – we’ll keep you posted!

Similar Stories

Craft

Erin Malloy

Graphic designer turned woodworker Erin Malloy makes handcrafted homewares in Macedon in rural Victoria.

Creative People

Doveton Fletcher

Meticulously handcrafted blades, made in Castlemaine.

Studio Visit

Carol Russell

Hand carved spoons and bowls by Brisbane-based woodworker, Carol Russell.
Jo Hoban

This Week

Homes

A Melbourne Family’s Ever Changing ‘Light House’

An innovative, sculptural screen invites dynamic shadows into the family home of Andrew Jaques, and Christina Chiodo, renovated by Layan.

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life With Kate Reid, Founder Of Lune Croissanterie

A peek into the inner workings of Lune's ‘croissant Formula One team’ - and what this impressive entrepreneur gets up to in a day!
Christina Karras

News

Don't Miss Major Discounts On Designer Furniture At DOMO's Black Friday Sale!

Here’s everything you need to know about DOMO’s Black Friday Sale, with 20% off iconic designer brands, for one day only!
Sponsored

Shopping

11 Of The Best Places To Score Vintage Furniture + Homewares

Hunting down everything from 70s modular sofas, to retro gems from Europe, see the 11 vintage sellers and stores we love!
Christina Karras

Shopping

These Deliciously Colourful Picnic Rugs Are Made From Recycled Plastic!

The season of picnicking has arrived, and we've found the best rugs to see you through pizzas in the park and fish and chips on the beach.

Design Eye

Architect Luke Fry, On Modernising A Heritage Home

Architect Luke Fry shares his advice on sensitively balancing old and new, when modernising a heritage home!

News

An Exhibition Of Abstract, Thought-Provoking Pieces Is On Now At Heide

See a line-up of abstract works exploring negative space and time, featuring leading Australians and world-famous artists like Anish Kapoor!...
Sponsored

Studio Visit

The Melbourne Designer Creating Clever Furniture, For Small Spaces

Meet designer Katrina Ramm of Ka Ra Studio, who's playful pieces that that make the most of the ‘precious space’ inside our homes!
Christina Karras

Gardens

A Sensitively Built Coastal Garden, Designed To Look ‘Untouched’

The Garden Social carefully designed a garden, built into waterfront sand dunes on NSW's South Coast, where the serene seascape beyond takes...
Christina Karras

Interiors

A 1915 Horse Stables Turned Family Home In The Adelaide Hills

SpaceCraft transformed a circa 1915 horse stable into a family’s elevated version of a traditional farmhouse in the Adelaide Hills.
Amelia Barnes
  3 hours ago

Stays

An Architect’s Handcrafted Home + Bathhouse Turned Unique Accommodation

Take a look inside Liptrap Loft—a one-of-a-kind cabin with a Japanese-inspired bathhouse in Walkerville, Victoria.

Shopping

Say Hello To Your New Favourite Summer Shoes With This FRANKiE4 Giveaway!

Everything you need to know for your chance to win one of five pairs of shoes (of your choice!) from Australian label FRANKiE4!
Bea Taylor
  11 hours ago

News

See Ethiopian-Norwegian Artist Olana Janfa's Colourful, Debut Solo Show!

The Melbourne-based painter’s first solo show is opening tonight, exploring themes of language, race and status in his playful works.
Christina Karras

Architecture

A Floating House Entangled In Brush Box Trees On North Stradbroke Island

The tree canopy takes precedence over ocean views in this holiday home for three families, designed by Conrad Gargett architects.

Interiors

A New Kitchen Designed To Look Old, With No White Joinery In Sight!

A Reservoir, Melbourne kitchen with the look of the past and functionality of the present.

Similar Stories

Craft

Erin Malloy

Graphic designer turned woodworker Erin Malloy makes handcrafted homewares in Macedon in rural Victoria.

Creative People

Doveton Fletcher

Meticulously handcrafted blades, made in Castlemaine.

Studio Visit

Carol Russell

Hand carved spoons and bowls by Brisbane-based woodworker, Carol Russell.
Jo Hoban

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net