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Keep Your Eyes On These 8 Emerging Makers!

Creative People

Despite all the challenges of the past twelve months, there were so many impressive makers we discovered who really refined their crafts in 2020, and came out the other side with something special. It just goes to show the incredible resilience of the creatives industries!

We were particularly inspired to see many of the makers on this list turn to their crafts after years in other industries! From a magazine editor-turned ceramicist to a fashion and homewares brand using fabrics direct from Africa, these were some of our favourite creative newcomers last year!

8th January, 2021

A collection of vessels, inspired by architectural forms. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Artichoke magazine editor and passionate ceramicist Cassie Hansen in her Kyneton studio. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Sally Tabart
Friday 8th January 2021

Cassie Hansen

Cassie Hansen took her first beginner’s pottery course just three years ago. For the last seven years Cassie has been the editor of Artichoke, an interior design and architecture magazine, where she still works a few days a week. The rest of her time she spends in her studio in Kyneton, working on refining the style of her elegant, functional vessels.

It’s easy to see the influences she’s absorbed from all those years of covering excellent architecture, elements of which she translates brilliantly to her pieces.

Revisit the original story here.

Vessels by Lucy Tolan. Photo – Shelley Horan. Art Direction + Styling by Mildred & Duck. Tiled plinths by Occasional Pieces.

Vessels by Lucy Tolan. Photo – Shelley Horan. Art Direction + Styling by Mildred & Duck. Tiled plinths by Occasional Pieces.

Vessels by Lucy Tolan. Photo – Shelley Horan. Art Direction + Styling by Mildred & Duck. Tiled plinths by Occasional Pieces.

Lucy Tolan

Newcomer Lucy Tolan went straight from high school to art school, graduating from a Bachelor of Fine Arts specialising in ceramics in 2018. Last year, Lucy launchd her professional ceramics practice (mid lockdown!).

Primarily using the techniques of slab-building and hand coiling, Lucy’s first collection Seams has since been exhibited at Craft Victoria, and is now stocked at Modern Times. We love her wonderfully wobbly designs, and can’t wait to see what she does next!

Revisit the original story here.

Dinzi Amobi left behind her law career to pursue design, and started Ulo from her kitchen table! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Dinzi uses wax fabrics to create her designs, the staple fabric of the African continent. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Ulo Australia

Although Dinzi Amobi isn’t technically a ‘new’ maker, her textiles brand Ulo Australia caught our eye for the first time in late 2020. Three years ago Dinzi quit her job as a lawyer and took a chance on Ulo Australia, the fashion and homewares business she’d been spending her nights working on from her kitchen table. Dinzi has developed a network of market stall-holders in Africa, where she sources fabrics to create her brilliant wares.

‘All of our collections are inspired by what I was surrounded by growing up in Nigeria and then London,’ Dinzi explains. ‘Whether it be home textiles or fashion, everything is motivated by the styles and shapes that filled my family home.’

Revisit the original story here.

Inside the Preston studio of ceramicist Ella Reweti. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Ella unstacking the kiln in her studio. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Ella’s soft, ridged vases and planters are her signature form! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Ella Reweti

Melbourne-based ceramicist Ella Reweti first started exploring pottery during her postgraduate studies in anthropology, making ‘wonky little pinch pots’ for her friends. When the PhD didn’t work out, Ella scored a job as a pottery assistant, and discovered her love for handcrafting pieces. Slowly but surely, she built up her skills working for other makers, but it wasn’t until she had her baby (now 15-month old, Hemi!) that she had the opportunity to really invest in her own practice.

Fast-forward to now and Ella is making some of the most coveted ceramics pieces around. She’s developed a distinct style for her planters, vases and tableware with their soft, corrugated edges. ‘This is the first time (maybe ever!) that I’ve not had to supplement my income with a job in hospitality, and that feels really good.’ Go Ella!

Revisit the original story here.

Lucas Wearne, the maker behind Neighbourhood Studio. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Lighting and sculptures made from Australian limestone, by Lucas Wearne of Neighbourhood Studio. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

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

Neighbourhood Studio

Early last year we proclaimed that Lucas Wearne of Neighbourhood Studio would be the next big thing…and we weren’t wrong! Working out the back of his Thornbury home in Melbourne’s North, Lucas makes functional, sculptural objects, hand-carved from Australian natural limestone.

Working across lighting, sculpture and artwork, Lucas has developed a bit of a cult following, and his pieces are in hot demand!

Revisit the original story here.

Left: The J7 Daybed by James Howe. Photo – James Howe. Right: The J5 Cabinet by James Howe. Photo – Peter Ryle.

James Howe

Before he was an award-winning furniture maker, James Howe used to be a journalist. When he couldn’t find the kind of furniture he wanted, he went home to research online. It was then that he stumbled across the work of Danish modernist designer Børge Mogensen, whose work triggered a deep, emotional experience James couldn’t ignore. The former journalist decided to make the furniture he couldn’t find for himself, and completely change his career path!

As one of the finalists in the TDF Design Awards Emerging Designer category this year, James has clearly made his mark in this relatively new career!

Revisit the original story here.

A range of crinkly vessels from Softedge. Photo – Layla Cluer.

The ‘Ewer’ vase by Softedge. Photo – Layla Cluer.

Soft Edge Studio

Northern Rivers-based artist and ceramicist Layla Cluer initially studied architecture at university, and spent a few years working for firms in Melbourne before applying to art school. In 2019 she quit her full-time job working, spent a month crewing on a yacht from New Zealand to Tonga (as you do!), and enrolled in ceramics classes at Lismore TAFE. This windy route to handcrafted clay was the beginnings of Softedge, her fledgling practice which she now runs from a studio on her friend’s farm outside Byron Bay.

We could not be more in love with her distinctive Ewer jug, a vessel with a pot-bellied silhouette that comes in a range of different colours. Softedge is certainly one to watch!

Revisit the original story here.

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.

Curio Practice

Textile Designer Georgie Brunmayr had been dreaming of creating her own brand for years before she finally did it. After some time working in China, Georgie returned home in mid-2019, which is when the idea for her blanket brand Curio Practice first started bubbling away. When Melbourne went into lockdown earlier this year Georgie was finally able to invest the time and energy to Curio Practice a real thing.

Georgie is passionate about making special pieces that last a lifetime, and keeping the skills of the textiles industry in Australia alive. She works with a local knitting factory in Reservoir to produce her luxurious knitted blankets, which each uses around 1.9kg of high-grade Australian Merino wool sourced from farms across Victoria, New South Wales, and Western Australia.

Revisit the original story here.

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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. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net