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

48:47

Podcast

TDF Talks with Architect, IADV Co-founder, and Academic Jefa Greenaway

The trailblazing architect, advocate and academic reflects on his pivotal role as the first indigenous architect to be registered in Victori...

News

Australian Ceramics Open Studios Is On Again This Weekend!

Clay artists around Australia are opening their doors this weekend for Australian Ceramics Open Studios 2019.
Amelia Barnes

Art

The Must-See Artists At Melbourne’s Affordable Art Fair

Our pick of standout artists participating in the Affordable Art Fair in Melbourne next month!

Bringing Light and Space Into A Fitzroy Terrace House

Taylor Knights Architecture and Interior Design transform this inner city terrace house with a sunken living room, shifting ceiling volumes
Miriam McGarry

News

Buxton Contemporary Reflects On 100 Years Of Bauhaus Design

See archival footage and contemporary works inspired by the Bauhaus movement in this Melbourne exhibition.
Amelia Barnes

Gardens

A Plant Collector's Wild And Wonderful Paradise

Lyle Filippe shares his lifelong love of rare plants and quest to make 'something iconic' via his never-ending passion project, Roraima Nurs...
Georgina Reid

Homes

Fine And Dandy In Dandenong!

PR Guru Jade Roberts shares her 1960s mid-century renovated family home.

News

What Does Travelling Solo Really Look Like?

A solitary holiday to Italy inspired Bri Hammond to capture the images in her first solo exhibition, Nuoto da sola.
Amelia Barnes

Shopping

Country Road Make Sustainability The Height Of Luxury

The new 5 Star Green Star Design Review rated Chadstone store is the pinnacle of eco-friendly design.

Shopping

Hand Painted Pieces And 70s-Inspired Prints In Bonnie And Neil's New Collection

Australian-made textiles label Bonnie and Neil launch their latest collection, 'Coast' - incorporating soft furnishings, and now, wallpaper!...
Amelia Barnes

Art

The Tree Change That Inspired A New Career For Artist Edwina Edwards

Landscape painter Edwina Edwards has been quietly developing her art practice since relocating to Albury, NSW. Her first-ever solo exhibitio...
Amelia Barnes

News

Nine Of Australia's Leading Photographers On Show At CCP

View and purchase works from nine leading photographers at a new annual CCP event.
Amelia Barnes

Architecture

Surf's Up In This Manly Apartment!

A home re-configured for beachside living, by McNally Architects & I+D Studio.
3:04

Shopping

Sheridan + Grandiflora, Australian Botanicals And Bedding!

Our latest video, celebrating a very special collaboration between Sheridan and Grandiflora.
Lucy Feagins
  1 hour ago

Modernist Australia

1970s Excellence On The Market In Eaglemont

Nestled within the Glenard Estate designed by Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Griffin, this four-bedroom stunner brings the WOW-factor!
Patricia Callan

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