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

Making Blankets That Last A Lifetime, With Curio Practice

Creative People

Georgie Brunmayr is the founder of Curio Practice, a new Victorian brand that produces incredibly high quality blankets, designed and made in Melbourne.

Coming from a technical textiles background with a real passion for keeping these skills alive, Georgie knew that she wanted her blankets to be manufactured locally. In fact, she considers it a responsibility.

We chatted about her desire to create something with meaning, and the importance of supporting the skilled makers and manufacturers in this country.

4th December, 2020

A Curio Practice blanket in the ‘Sage’ colourway. Photo – Diana Domonkos.

Georgie Brunmayr, founder of Curio Practice. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. 

A Curio Practice blanket in the Cherry colourway. Photo – courtesy of Curio Practice.

Georgie has threading up the knitting machine. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. 

The Curio Practice blankets take around 2 hours to knit on the machines. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. 

Georgie in the factory with one of Aklanda’s long-term employees. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. 

A Curio Practice blanket in the Splash colourway. Photo – courtesy of Curio Practice.

Spools of wool. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. 

Georgie with Aklanda factory owner Louis. He and his brother took over Aklanda from their father Spiro, who worked in knitting factories for over three decades, in 2015. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. 

Sally Tabart
Friday 4th December 2020

‘I think we all need to spend more time understanding what material value actually means, and how we, as consumers, can be of use to the product just as the product is of use to us.’ – Georgie Brunmayr. 

Material Designer Georgie Brunmayr had the idea for Curio Practice bubbling away for at least a year before she was ready to make it real. A loss of work at the start of 2020 has given her the time and space to finally launch a brand that aligns her technical experience with her core values – to create products with measured intent, functionality, and durability. And of course – it needed to be fun!

After graduating from tertiary study, Georgie worked in Melbourne-based knitting factories for a few years before moving to Shanghai to work with Italian knitting manufacturer Santoni. She eventually returned to Australia after a health scare, which forced her to reevaluate the kind of work she was doing. ‘I knew I didn’t want to work in the same way’, she reflects of the rat race she’d been part of during her time in China. ‘I was ready to take ownership of the impact and process of material making… and I wanted it to be with Australian fibres in an Australian factory, building face-to-face relationships with every person involved bringing Curio Practice to life’.

Although Victoria once had a thriving textiles industry (Georgie tells me that 30 years ago there were ‘about 50 knitters between Kew and Richmond alone’), there are only a handful of knitting factories left. It was only by accident that she even found the factory she now works with to manufacture her blankets at Curio Practice. ‘I was driving around Melbourne one day and got lost, and came across a sign for their factory [Aklanda]… it was definitely one of those “meant to be” moments’, she says.

Georgie called the Aklanda factory owner, Louis, that afternoon, and learned that his family factory’s primary business is manufacturing Australian-made knitted jumpers sold in airports globally. The impact of the dwindling international tourist industry had been devastating, and their usual demand disappeared almost instantly once Covid-19 hit.  ‘At this point I had a brand skeleton… but the factory’s willingness to collaborate was what prompted Curio Practice to take form’, she says. Louis and his brother took over from their father Spiro in 2015, and the family business employs eight staff – some of whom have been there for 20 years. Although Curio Practice is still in its very early days, a surprising influx of initial orders meant that she was able to help provide some business to Aklanda during a very challenging time.

The blankets are made using around 1.9kg of high-grade Australian Merino wool sourced from farms across Victoria, New South Wales, and Western Australia. Different sheep wool is used for different blankets – ‘it’s not a one-size fits all kind of thing’, she says. On average, each blanket takes two hours to knit. Then they’re linked, washed and pressed. The cotton Curio Practice labels are embroidered in Bendigo, Victoria, and Georgie hand stitches them onto the blankets with her boyfriend’s mum.

In a year where we’ve all been forced to slow down and take stock of our core values, Georgie has imbued this longer period of reflection into Curio Practice. And she’s trying to make something that means something, both to her customers and to the people she works with.

‘I think we all need to spend more time understanding what material value actually means, and how we, as consumers, can be of use to the product just as the product is of use to us’, Georgie shares.

It’s this philosophy and genuine care for every person and process involved that makes brands like Curio Practice worth investing in.

You can shop Curio Practice blankets here!

View Comments

Similar Stories

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

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

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life Of Australian Fashion Icon, Lee Mathews

The legend of local fashion takes us through a day in the life of running her international design business - during a pandemic!
Sasha Gattermayr

This Week

On The Market

This John Lautner-Inspired Sydney Home Is MAJOR House Goals (+ It’s For Sale)!

This dream house in Sydney's Castle Cove designed by Terroir architects and Pascale Gomes-McNabb is for sale!

News

Extend The Lifecycle Of Designer Furniture And Lighting With Cultivated

Cult relaunches Cultivated during Melbourne Design Week – a buy-back, refurbishment and recycling service that aims to create a sustainabl...
Sponsored

News

The Magic And Art Of Beekeeping With Honey Fingers

Mud Australia is hosting an exhibition and in conversation event with legendary urban beekeepers Honey Fingers, moderated by artist Stanisla...
Sally Tabart

News

Shop The Megan Park Archive Of More Than 10,000 Pieces!

Legendary fashion designer Megan Park has kept one of every piece she has designed over the last 22 years – and now, she’s opening h...

Architecture

A Surprise Garden Brings This 'Pop-Up' Home To Life

Figr creates a unique language between architectural and landscaped spaces to truly maximise this small footprint home for a family of three...

Interiors

An Inspired Cosmetic Makeover Of A Perth Rental Property

This Cottesloe rental property has been majorly improved (with the landlord's agreement) by Ohlo Studio!

Gardens

A Slice Of Primeval Paradise In Bronte

Situated on a steep site in a sometimes blustery coastal location, the planting palette for this stunning garden in Sydney is both soft, and...

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life Of Chrissy Lafian, Founder And Creative Director Of Suku

With teams in both Melbourne and Bali, Chrissy lets us in on how she runs the lifestyle brand she's built from scratch!

Architecture

A Timeless New Home In Ballarat, With Lake Views + Mid-Century Vibes

With American ‘Brady Bunch’ house vibes (!) this new home in Ballarat by Kennedy Nolan channels mid century design, with a sleek, contem...

Homes

A Magical Alistair Knox-Designed Rental In Eltham!

The seriously dreamy 1970s rental home of Pop and Scott trade manager Lucienne Van Sebille, and her partner Sebastian.

Interiors

A Crash Course In Renovating Your Own Home From Top To Bottom, With BuildHer Collective

Rebeka Morgan and Kribashini Hannon of BuildHer Collective bring us a new book containing all the info you need to embark on building or ren...
Rebeka Morgan and Kribashini Hannon

Architecture

This Clever + Compact Bondi Home Feels Like A Never-Ending Holiday!

Fox Johnston architects managed to expand the footprint of this small and narrow Sydney site to create a generous, private haven!

Gardens

A Cultivated Wilderness In Inner Suburban Melbourne

Legendary landscape designer Phillip Withers completes a layered, three-tiered garden around a Toorak home designed by Cera Stribley.

Stays

The Fabulous New Store And Apartment From Colour Queen Chela Edmunds!

The Takeawei Ceramics founder shows us around her sunny new store in Fitzroy, and the cutest-ever apartment upstairs (yep, you can stay ther...

On The Market

A Corner Store Turned Architectural Home Hits The Market In Brunswick

An 1883 shopfront turned architectural home with a pool and sauna is for sale in Brunswick!

Similar Stories

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

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

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life Of Australian Fashion Icon, Lee Mathews

The legend of local fashion takes us through a day in the life of running her international design business - during a pandemic!
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.