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

This Melbourne Sculptor Is The Next Big Thing!

Creative People

A couple of months ago, deep in an Instagram wormhole, we came across the page of Lucas Wearne, aka Neighbourhood Studio – a sculptor working out of his leafy backyard carport in Thornbury, Melbourne, handcrafting some of the most beautiful functional and sculptural pieces we’ve seen for a long time! 

We caught up with the Melbourne maker recently, to learn more about his relatively new practice.

16th January, 2020

The backyard studio in Thornbury, Melbourne of Lucas Wearne, aka Neighbourhood Studio. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

A selection of Lucas’ sculptural vases, hand crafted from Australian limestone. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Lucas Wearne – the guy behind Neighbourhood Studio! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Lucas started experimenting with the medium around 6 months ago and has since blown up. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Each piece is hand crafted by Lucas. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

A selection of Neighbourhood Studio objects and vessels. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Lucas makes some rough sketches for some of his ideas, but mostly he just jumps right in. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Lucas sketching in his studio. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

HOW GOOD ARE THESE! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Sanding down the shell of a Picasso lamp. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

A group of Neighbourhood Studio pieces. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Lucas is constantly reinventing his style to keep himself from getting bored. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Lucas sanding down his pieces. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Lucas has almost grown out of his backyard studio…we think it’s utterly charming. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Neighbourhood Studio on show! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Sally Tabart
Thursday 16th January 2020

I love the ‘happy mistakes’ that come out of experimenting.’  – Lucas Wearne. 

Working out the back of his Thornbury home in Melbourne’s North, Lucas Wearne of Neighbourhood Studio makes functional, sculptural objects, hand-carved from Australian natural limestone. His refined designs and expert craftsmanship make it hard to believe he’s only been working with the medium for the last 6 months. 

Experimenting with new forms, shapes and designs, Lucas is constantly reinventing his style. From curvaceous Picasso-inspired vases, contemporary columns with precise hand-carved detail and mushroom-topped lamps, each new series of objects references a different period of art and architecture. ‘In a sense, I am always “launching” a new collection’, Lucas says. ‘I like the idea of each piece being unique, it gives me room to keep challenging myself and my practice’.

And if you need any more of an endorsement, the TDF team gifted me one of Neighbourhood Studio’s wavy orb lamps for my birthday last week – #obsessed! You heard it here first –  Neighbourhood Studio is the next big thing!

In the past few months I’ve been seeing your limestone work pop up all over the place – but scrolling back through your Instagram, it seems like you’ve only been working with the medium for a short amount of time. There’s a lot of timber furniture going on before that. What prompted you to experiment?

I taught myself how to make furniture because I couldn’t afford to buy the kinds of things I liked. From there I began making things for friends, and it kind of spiralled after that. I discovered that people liked what I was making and wanted to buy my things, so I set up my business at the beginning of 2019. I knew I didn’t want to work with wood forever so while I was selling the timber furniture, I was always experimenting with a whole bunch of other materials like metal, glass, and then stone.

As soon as I started playing around with limestone it just felt right. I’ve always been interested in sculpture, and I felt like I had so much creative freedom after the (somewhat) rigid nature of woodworking. I’ve only been working with limestone for about 5-6 months but so far the response has been incredible. I’m a little overwhelmed (but excited!) with how supportive and encouraging people have been! 

Is this what you do full time?

Yes this is what I do full time, and I couldn’t be happier working for myself. I still can’t believe I get to spend all day doing what I love, and creating whatever I want!

How do you create your work, and what’s your home set up like?

I do some sketching of my ideas, but mostly I just jump right in and start carving with basic hand tools. I like to design with the material, rather than designing and adding the material later – something I have learnt from landscaping.

My home set up is pretty simple really – I have a small undercover workspace in my garden. This is where I make, photograph and sell everything! It’s a beautiful space with lots of light and greenery but as my business grows, I am looking to move to a bigger studio space that I can make more mess in.

Do you have any key references or inspirations?

I’m inspired by everything and anything, and I always try to keep an open mind. The first series of lamps that I made from limestone was inspired by an old broken chandelier than I found in an op shop. I also feel really inspired by the landscape around me, both natural and manmade. I find such interesting and beautiful forms in the most unexpected places, and use these as a reference for my work.

On a daily basis I am inspired by the local creative community in Melbourne, and feel really lucky to live in a city that values the arts and local design. 

What motivates you to keep creating, and what do you love about what you do?

I just find it so much fun. I love having the freedom to make whatever I like, and think there is endless potential in sculpture. I love the ‘happy mistakes’ that come out of experimenting. As I’m not formally trained, I don’t feel restricted in any way – from the tools that I use, to the shapes and objects that I’m creating. I have never felt like there’s a right or wrong way to do what I’m doing. 

Positive feedback from customers and the creative community is also a huge motivator to keep making and testing new ideas. Most of all I love the thought that the things that I’ve made are being treasured by others – I am always so excited to see photos that people send me of my pieces in their homes!

There has been such a positive and exciting response to your work so far! What are you looking forward to in the next year, and what do you hope to achieve?

It’s been a bit of a whirlwind and to be honest I’m not really sure where everything is heading! I’m definitely aiming to develop my practice further by introducing new materials and expanding on my skills. I am really looking forward to working with and collaborating with some other local makers and designers as well, and saying yes to lots of different opportunities.

I’d love to have an exhibition by the end of the year, as this has been a goal of mine for a while now. Mostly I’m just really excited to keep rolling with it, and see where it all goes.

Visit the Neighbourhood Studio website, and keep up with Lucas’ ever-evolving styles on Instagram

This Week

News

Vincent Namatjira Wins The 2020 Archibald Prize!

In a historic day for the Australian art world, the Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands artist and Western Arrernte man take...
Sally Tabart

Architecture

An Open-Plan Home Partially Inspired By A Hitchcock Film!

Modo Architecture challenge the standard open floor plan in this Melbourne family home – taking partial inspiration from the house featur...
Amelia Barnes

Shopping

Create Your Own Salon Wall With These Affordable, Vintage-Inspired Artworks

Interior designer and stylist Jono Fleming pioneers a new affordable art alternative, with the launch of his limited-edition, stretched-canv...
Sasha Gattermayr

Art

Intricate Bark Artwork From The 'Top End', On Show At Koskela

'Top End Bugi' at Koskela showcases 36 incredible bark artworks from three art centres in Arnhem Land.

News

This Enormous Collaborative Beach Artwork Is Actually A Protest

A group of Sunshine Coast-based creatives create an ephemeral work to protest government investment in gas and advocate for an Indigenous kn...
Sasha Aarons

Design Eye

Mardi Doherty on The 80’s Revival Interior

From bold colour, to chunky, curvy furniture forms, the 1980s is back, baby! Interior Designer Mardi Doherty gives us her take, in partnersh...

Architecture

A Dramatic Riverfront Home In Tasmania

Views of the river, mountains and surrounding vegetation are all cleverly captured in this house at Otago Bay, by Topology Studio.

News

Achieve The Ultimate Heritage Aesthetic With These Affordable Window Shutters

Elevate  your interiors with these fully customisable, heritage style louvres from The Shutters Department!

Textiles

The Mindboggling Artistry Of The Opera House's Nearly-Forgotten Tapestries

In a brand new podcast series, Australian design aficionado Tim Ross takes a closer look at the four enormous textiles by Le Corbusier, John...
Sasha Gattermayr

Gardens

A Dreamy, Generous Coastal Garden

This Mollymook property's incredible front garden by Dangar Barin Smith has inadvertently become a local tourist destination.

Homes

A Creative Couple's Lovingly Renovated 1950's Home

Lucy Spartalis and Alastair Innes of She Takes Pictures He Makes Films share their renovated 1950s home in Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges.

News

Jardan's Stunning New Perth Showroom Is A Terrazzo Palace!

The champions of modern Australian furniture design open the doors on their first West Coast flagship.

Stays

A Quaint Miner's Cottage In Dubbo Made For Slowing Down

A sympathetic renovation to a dilapidated 19th century cottage makes it the perfect regional getaway.
Sasha Gattermayr

Interiors

Two Inspiring Kitchen Transformations - From Affordable Update To Complete Overhaul!

Lauren Li shows us what can be done in two very different kitchen renovations on two different budgets – one tiny, and one rather large!
Lauren Li

Sustainable Homes

A Sustainable Inner-Suburban Home, Designed To Be Deconstructed + Reused

Rammed earth and recycled timber come together in this creekside Melbourne home by Breathe Architecture.

View Comments

Similar Stories

Textiles

The Mindboggling Artistry Of The Opera House's Nearly-Forgotten Tapestries

In a brand new podcast series, Tim Ross takes a closer look at the iconic tapestries of the Sydney Opera House.
Sasha Gattermayr

Interiors

The Cosy New Australian-Made Sofa Range, Inspired By Togetherness

Jean-Pierre Biasol talks us through his lush new collection of locally manufactured sofas.
Sasha Gattermayr

Studio Visit

The Northern Rivers Ceramicist Crafting Vessels With A Soft Edge

Ceramic designer Layla Cluer shows us around her farmyard workshop in the Byron hinterlands.
Sasha Gattermayr

This Week

Art

Intricate Bark Artwork From The 'Top End', On Show At Koskela

'Top End Bugi' at Koskela showcases 36 incredible bark artworks from three art centres in Arnhem Land.

Stays

A Quaint Miner's Cottage In Dubbo Made For Slowing Down

A sympathetic renovation to a dilapidated 19th century cottage makes it the perfect regional getaway.
Sasha Gattermayr

Sustainable Homes

A Sustainable Inner-Suburban Home, Designed To Be Deconstructed + Reused

Rammed earth and recycled timber come together in this creekside Melbourne home by Breathe Architecture.

Architecture

An Open-Plan Home Partially Inspired By A Hitchcock Film!

Modo Architecture challenge the standard open floor plan in this Melbourne family home – taking partial inspiration from the house featur...
Amelia Barnes

News

Vincent Namatjira Wins The 2020 Archibald Prize!

In a historic day for the Australian art world, the Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands artist and Western Arrernte man take...
Sally Tabart

Gardens

A Dreamy, Generous Coastal Garden

This Mollymook property's incredible front garden by Dangar Barin Smith has inadvertently become a local tourist destination.

News

Jardan's Stunning New Perth Showroom Is A Terrazzo Palace!

The champions of modern Australian furniture design open the doors on their first West Coast flagship.

Architecture

A Dramatic Riverfront Home In Tasmania

Views of the river, mountains and surrounding vegetation are all cleverly captured in this house at Otago Bay, by Topology Studio.

Homes

A Creative Couple's Lovingly Renovated 1950's Home

Lucy Spartalis and Alastair Innes of She Takes Pictures He Makes Films share their renovated 1950s home in Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges.

Interiors

Two Inspiring Kitchen Transformations - From Affordable Update To Complete Overhaul!

Lauren Li shows us what can be done in two very different kitchen renovations on two different budgets – one tiny, and one rather large!
Lauren Li

Design Eye

Mardi Doherty on The 80’s Revival Interior

From bold colour, to chunky, curvy furniture forms, the 1980s is back, baby! Interior Designer Mardi Doherty gives us her take, in partnersh...

News

Achieve The Ultimate Heritage Aesthetic With These Affordable Window Shutters

Elevate  your interiors with these fully customisable, heritage style louvres from The Shutters Department!

News

This Enormous Collaborative Beach Artwork Is Actually A Protest

A group of Sunshine Coast-based creatives create an ephemeral work to protest government investment in gas and advocate for an Indigenous kn...
Sasha Aarons

Shopping

Create Your Own Salon Wall With These Affordable, Vintage-Inspired Artworks

Interior designer and stylist Jono Fleming pioneers a new affordable art alternative, with the launch of his limited-edition, stretched-canv...
Sasha Gattermayr

Textiles

The Mindboggling Artistry Of The Opera House's Nearly-Forgotten Tapestries

In a brand new podcast series, Australian design aficionado Tim Ross takes a closer look at the four enormous textiles by Le Corbusier, John...
Sasha Gattermayr

Similar Stories

Textiles

The Mindboggling Artistry Of The Opera House's Nearly-Forgotten Tapestries

In a brand new podcast series, Tim Ross takes a closer look at the iconic tapestries of the Sydney Opera House.
Sasha Gattermayr

Interiors

The Cosy New Australian-Made Sofa Range, Inspired By Togetherness

Jean-Pierre Biasol talks us through his lush new collection of locally manufactured sofas.
Sasha Gattermayr

Studio Visit

The Northern Rivers Ceramicist Crafting Vessels With A Soft Edge

Ceramic designer Layla Cluer shows us around her farmyard workshop in the Byron hinterlands.
Sasha Gattermayr

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 – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.