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Inside That Paper Joint's Playful World Of Collage + Creativity

Studio Visit

Maximillian Malone and Zoe Crook started That Paper Joint in 2021 with ‘creativity, sustainability, and community’ in mind – leading them to find their niche as a purpose-built studio, ‘dedicated to all things paper and scissors’.

The creative couple offer collage workshops from That Paper Joint’s Brunswick HQ (which also doubles as their home!), host exhibitions and artworks in their mini gallery space, and have their own online shop, selling prints and collage packs!

Step inside their space of colour and creativity.

24th May, 2022

That Paper Joint HQ! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

It’s dedicated to all things paper and scissors! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

That Paper Joint hosts and co-founders Maximillian Malone and Zoe Crook and their dog, Franky! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

The pair run workshops and sell prints from their Sydney Road space.Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Prints galore! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

A comically large pair of scissors amid bright collages. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

‘The variety of materials we’ve collected is immense, and in addition to this, we’re now also receiving donations from the community,’ Max explains. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

‘After people have chosen what they want to take home and have helped themselves to the other unused paper and scraps left on the table, we sweep the whole lot into a bread crate for sorting out at a later date. So far, we haven’t thrown out any of left-overs,’ Zoe says. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Zoe aptly describes the space as ‘the ‘I spy’ book but come to life!’ Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Happy op-shop, vintage, hard rubbish and Facebook marketplace finds. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

‘We want people to feel like this is their studio when they’re here, so we always have tea, coffee and cold drinks and snacks on hand, great music to set the pace and relaxing essential oils in the diffuser. The vibe has been described as a cosy cocoon or like ‘going to a friends really cool house’,’ Zoe says. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

One of the duo’s favourite aspects of collage is its accessibility. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

And they live upstairs from their dream studio! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

‘Every collage session we’re continually amazed by peoples collage work, some folks claim to not have a creative bone in their body, and they’re often the ones making the most remarkable pieces,’ Max says. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

‘We’ve become very good at making a mess (and we always encourage it!) but we’re equally swift at magically returning the studio back to its presentable best. The space has all kinds of clever modular tricks to help us transform it from a private studio space, to a functional shared environment,’ Max says. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Christina Karras
Tuesday 24th May 2022

That Paper Joint was born out of what co-founders Zoe Crook and Max Malone describe as a ‘difficult but beautiful’ period. During the pandemic, Max’s work in hospitality and commercial design work disappeared, while Zoe’s late father was sadly diagnosed with cancer. The pair flew over to Western Australia to be with her family, and ended up staying for a year due to Melbourne’s lockdowns – but it was also during this time that they stumbled across the inspiration for their new creative endeavour.

‘One day we were sat having a coffee in Geraldton (where I’m from) and across the road was a pink building called the ‘Scrapbook House’, dedicated to scrapbooking supplies and workshops and Max said to me ‘I want to do that but for collage when we go back to Melbourne,’ Zoe explains.

‘And I thought to myself, well if a scrap book house can survive in regional WA, then surely a collage place could survive in Melbourne!’

As experienced artists and designers, Max and Zoe summoned the courage to start their own space that celebrates the magic and fun of collage, eventually moving into their new space in May 2021.

‘Looking back, I’ve always dreamed of having a home-studio; a place to merge work and play, in a custom-built environment, where my passion for collage can also be shared socially with others,’ Max explains.

This dream comes to life in The Paper Studio HQ in so many ways. Walls are lined with old magazines, collage materials, framed artworks, supplies, and vintage or op-shop toys and treasures. ‘It’s like the ‘I spy’ book but come to life! We often have to give people a few minutes to take the space in as there’s so much to look at!’ Zoe adds.

So far, the duo have focused on their in-person workshops, guiding groups through the process of using found and second-hand materials, which the pair have sourced over the years, to create new works of art. They run regular regular weekly public sessions and private events, but also have plans to run more events, group shows and other craft activities in the near future. And this is all on top of their work as a creative studio offering art and graphic design services!

‘As much as we can, we want to use secondhand wherever possible,’ Max says.

‘It’s a great challenge to take ordinary [or] unremarkable things and transform them into something interesting and new. We feel collage extends beyond the simple act of gluing paper together, for us, it’s also a mentality to think about how discarded items can be reused, repurposed and reimagined.’

Learn more at That Paper Joint’s website, and visit their space at 544 Sydney Road, Brunswick.

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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