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!

View Comments

Similar Stories

Craft

Erin Malloy

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

Craft

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

Food

Lucy's Green Bean Salad With Preserved Lemon, Hazelnuts And Crème Fraîche

An easy weeknight staple, dressed up with zingy preserved lemon, creme fraiche and roasted hazelnuts for that all important crunch!
Lucy Feagins

News

Your Chance To Eat With Julia Ostro!

Enjoy Julia Busuttil-Nishimura’s personal favourite recipes from her prolific cookbook!

Art

This Exhibition Is A Tribute To New York Museum Wanderings

Sydney-born, New York-based artist Adriana Picker returns to her home city to unveil 'Vases from the MET' in Paddington this week.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

A Welcoming Renovation

Tim Spicer Architects seamlessly connects old and new, in this clever extension in Shoreham, Victoria.
Miriam McGarry
  10 hours ago

News

What To Do On Your Next Summer Roadtrip

Bush Heritage Australia remind us what to consider (and what’s at stake if we don’t) as we venture outdoors.
Elle Murrell

Creative People

From Group Projects To Global Design Awards, Get To Know Studio-Gram

Introducing the duo behind one of Adelaide’s brightest design studios.
Lucy Feagins
  2 hours ago

Architecture

An Award-Winning Home, In Three Parts

The triple pavilion house design from Trias Studio in Newcastle, NSW.
Miriam McGarry

Modernist Australia

A Home Where Summer Holidays Never End, And It's For Sale

A miracle confluence of premier Victorian beach town, and preeminent Victorian architect Guilford Bell, designed in 1973.
Patricia Callan

News

The Bag Making Workshop Combining Aesthetics With Ethics

Level up and learn how to craft your own leather pouch!

The Tools I Use

The Tools I Use · Phillip Withers

We go behind-the-scenes and inside the toolkit with legendary local landscape designer, Phillip Withers!

Art

10 Unmissable Art Exhibitions of 2019

Our pick of not-to-be-missed art exhibitions for 2019, Australia wide – clear the calendar!
Miriam McGarry

News

Huge Names Added To The 'All About Women' Festival

Including Michelle Obama’s former Chief of Staff!
Sally Tabart

Homes

A Magical Inner City Treehouse

An empty nester's brilliantly unconventional Clifton Hill home, designed by architect Murray Barker.

Work Space

An Invigorating New Base For A Homegrown Success Story

Carman’s invite us to check our their fresh HQ by Ewert Leaf architects in Huntingdale, Victoria.
Elle Murrell

News

Mercedes me Achieves carboNZero Certification

The Mercedes me Melbourne cafe and event space has been recognised for their ongoing commitment to sustainability.

Similar Stories

Craft

Erin Malloy

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

Craft

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