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

Architecture

A Contemporary Beach House Designed By An Architect For Her Parents

The Bendalong Beach House by Madeleine Blanchfield provided such a serene escape for its owners, it became their full-time residence!

News

Colourful New Kids Books From A Legendary Local Illustrator

Artist Kat MacLeod teaches us our ABCs in this super cute range of books from Thames & Hudson.

Studio Visit

The Dreamy New Retail Space Of A Professional Plant Charmer

Consider us charmed by Ryan Klewer’s (aka Plant Charmer) brand new headquarters in East Brunswick!
Sasha Gattermayr
  6 hours ago

Stays

This Revitalised Motel With Old Hollywood Vibes Is Byron Bay's Newest Design Destination

A little bit Los Angeles, a little bit Ibiza, this beautiful new accommodation in the heart of the Northern Rivers is a showcase of local de...
Sasha Gattermayr

Homes

Louella Boitel Gill's Loved And Layered Bungalow By The Beach

Interior and furniture designer Louella Boîtel-Gill has turned her former Airbnb in the Northern Rivers into an idyllic family home.

Architecture

A Victorian Terrace That Plays Design Gymnastics!

Melbourne's colour masters Wowowa are back with another clever Victorian renovation!

Interiors

The 5 Rules Of Good Kitchen Design, According To Cantilever Interiors

A good kitchen starts with observing these five rules, brought to you by Australian design and manufacturing kitchen brand Cantilever Interi...

Creative People

The Best News Story Of 2021, So Far!

We check in on Think Thornbury owners Maggie May and Josh Kelly and their son Remy and get an update on their family!

News

Sit Front Row At The Country To Couture Fashion Show Tonight!

The 2020 runway show featuring an incredible lineup of contemporary First Nations designers will be broadcast via Facebook this Friday (toda...

Architecture

A Lean, Clean Renovation To A Grand Heritage Weatherboard

ioa Studio transforms a cavernous Victorian residence into a light, bright contemporary home - and adds an element of surprise!
Sasha Gattermayr

Studio Visit

Dive Into The Colourful, Creative World of Melbourne's Designer-Of-The-Moment, Danielle Brustman

Know her name but not her story? Welcome to the vibrant world of designer Danielle Brustman, at her incredible studio in Collingwood Yards!
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

This Couple's Home Is Two Houses In One!

Coy Yiontis Architects have designed this home with separate areas for a couple who have been living together for 50 years. His and hers goa...
02:40

Small Business

Our (Free!) Small Business Summer School Is Here!

Got a burning business idea but no idea where to start? Small Business Consultant Fiona Killackey is here to guide you through how to get st...

Furniture

The Tradie Brotherhood Behind Our Newest Furniture Obsession

Brothers Jack and Mark Fearon combine their experience as a plumber and boilermaker to create the most colourful, characterful furniture goi...
Sasha Gattermayr
42:51

Podcast

TDF Talks with Plant Designer, Jenna Holmes of Plant Mama

In this podcast conversation, Jenna of 'Plant Mama' and 'Pasta Mama' shares how she has built and grown two very different businesses from t...

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.