Thursday, June 30, 2011

makeUp artist profile #2 nikki gabriel

We are pleased to announce the icing on the cake for our makeUp workshops.......Nikki Gabriel will be heading over from New Zealand to present a week of Construction knitting workshops as well as launch her new recycled yarn range called WOOLI ! Nikki will host workshops from the 26-28th of July at Harvest Workroom whilst simultaneously hosting a pop up shop selling WOOLI yarn and Construction patterns, the shop will run from the 26-29th of July stay posted for more details. To find more out about Nikki we asked her a few questions about the WOOLI yarn and her practice as a textile designer.....

Hi Nikki, can you tell us about the Nikki Gabriel brand?
After graduating from RMIT Diploma of Textiles in 2001 I experimented with some lace techniques on the knitting machine and made a few garments. I plucked up enough courage to show Husk and they bought the collection. I made progress as a business after that first season, as sales grew and all of a sudden I had to employ knitters for production.
My focus from early development of the business was always to maintain an artisan hand-made and sustainable approach where possible, avoiding the traps of a manufactured look in a product that’s usually unavoidable with business growth. This is because I want to keep a balance of personal creativity and satisfaction within a sustainable business growth pattern. Essentially this means I still hand-make part of every garment that goes into store, as a lot of the finish and technique is too difficult or specialized to outsource. Part of this creative process too is in the development of new work from raw material stage by experimenting with new ways of approaching old and traditional handcrafts, such as dyeing, spinning, felting and knitting.

What is your background and what was the path that led you to where you are today?
I’ve always knitted and made things from really young; this creativity was only a pass-time in scrapbooks & notebooks while travelling, waitressing and doing fuck -all really.
I began a little business designing bed-linen while I lived in Sydney and it was reasonably successful as I sold to places like Holy Sheet, but it was really when a friend gave me her old knitting machine that got me hooked; as I started making blankets and cushions like crazy. I wanted to learn how to do more than striped patterns, so when I moved to Melbourne I enrolled at RMIT.
Your kits are based on the concept of construction and modular garments…can you go into a little more detail about this?
The construction knitting system started as a way of simplifying instructions to my knitters for my own collections by using diagrams to illustrate a construction. Because the format of conventional knitting patterns are unnecessarily complex to read, it gave me an idea to create a clearer and more minimal approach to knitting patterns. I collaborated with my husband and graphic designer Anthony Chiappin to produce a design for a DIY market. The patterns show how to transform simple geometric shapes into garments, and how to further build on those garments, reconstructing them into something new, by adding extra knitted shapes. I wanted to have a broader audience with this project by using graphic design as the communication tool. And I had a desperation of wanting to shift the perception of knitting from that of nostalgic craft that’s time-consuming, to one that’s a design concept more relevant to our everyday culture, that’s quick, gratifying and good value.
You have just launched a new range of “Recycled Yarn”. How did you go about developing this product and what raw materials go into the yarn?
The bespoke yarn project really began before the patterns; as I wanted to design the construction using my own materials. By necessity, but by entire default the process led to me sourcing fleece directly from growers, choosing it at bale stage and taking it to a backyard mill for spinning. Being so close to the production at all stages was a massive learning curve. Now that I’m living in New Zealand I have access to one of the last small spinning mill operations in the Southern Hemisphere, where I can get my wool processed according to my specifications. It was at this mill that I spied all their waste fibre that normally goes to landfill. Bales of rainbow coloured fibre just sitting there; Cashmere, Silk, Wool, Alpaca & Possum. I convinced them to sell it to me and spin it into a roving style bulky yarn, which I’ve called WOOLI. It’s a really lovely yarn as its full of good stuff / its got a lovely luster & luxurious softness from the silk and cashmere, and it’s both warm and lofty from the alpaca, wool and possum.

What colours are available in this range and what was the dyeing process used for any colours featured?
The yarn has a heathered effect with a specs of multicolours spotted throughout a base of Greige (all the colours mixed together). I have hand-dyed them in batches of black and grey / and red which makes a warm burgundy. The multicolour specs still show through the colours, which gives it a tweed effect.
Can you tell us about your studio/workspace and your relationship with it?
My studio is in my house / I live in a remote sea-side town on the North Island of New Zealand surrounded by sheep farms and the sea. It’s an rambling old terrace house and I have two rooms that I work from upstairs, and a messy backyard with a large dye vat and undercover area for yarn skeins to dry. I have an assistant that comes in once or twice a week to help wind skeins into balls and package yarn. Knitters drop in everyday to pick up and drop off knitting. I try to keep my space in a good sense of order as being naturally scatter-brained it helps my days run smoother.

Thanks Nikki for your time. We are all really looking forward to having you in the Workroom this month. For more photos of Nikki's studio check out our flickr.

x Lara

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

paper folk mobiles with beci orpin - day two

Paper Folk - Making Mobiles with Beci Orpin
Paper Folk - Making Mobiles with Beci Orpin

Paper Folk - Making Mobiles with Beci Orpin

On day two, Beci's students created paper mobiles based on the images they had collected on day one. How amazing do these finished mobiles look?

Paper Folk - Making Mobiles with Beci Orpin

Paper Folk - Making Mobiles with Beci Orpin

Paper Folk - Making Mobiles with Beci Orpin

Paper Folk - Making Mobiles with Beci Orpin

Paper Folk - Making Mobiles with Beci Orpin

A big THANK YOU to Beci for putting on such a great class - it has been so lovely having her here and getting to watch her create all of her colourful goodies!
Also, I just wanted to mention again that Beci's exhibition opening has been changed from tonight to this Sunday. Sorry for any confusion!

See you there! xxx Jess

Monday, June 27, 2011

paper folk mobiles with beci orpin - day one

Paper Folk - Making Mobiles with Beci Orpin
Paper Folk - Making Mobiles with Beci Orpin

Check out the beautiful colours in all of the images from day one of Beci's workshop last weekend!
Beci asked everyone to bring along a folk tale which they then used to form basis of an inspiration board. It was great to hear Beci explain and then demonstrate her process for creating her beautiful work. Every time I peeked into the classroom there were crazy colours and papers everywhere - looks like a fun day don't you think? I'll post some pics of the gorgeous finished mobiles tomorrow...

Paper Folk - Making Mobiles with Beci Orpin

Paper Folk - Making Mobiles with Beci Orpin

Paper Folk - Making Mobiles with Beci Orpin

Paper Folk - Making Mobiles with Beci Orpin

Paper Folk - Making Mobiles with Beci Orpin

If you haven't had a chance to check out Beci's Pop Up Shop, make sure to come and check it out this week. Also, the closing party has now been moved to Sunday the 3rd of July from 1pm-4pm. Beci will be exhibiting the new works she has been creating during her time here at Harvest - I can't wait to check them out!

Snacking on Tacos and stocking up on Beci's goodies?? Sounds like the perfect Sunday to me.

xxx Jess

you are invited...

Beci's invitation

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

the green machine

Emily Green Workshop - Student Brooches
Whenever I pass by Emily Green’s work area in our studio it is difficult not to stop and oooh and aaah over the colourful goings on…whether it be tempting little colour bomb clusters of polymer clay or wild clashing brooches or even her fantastic inspiration wall...there is always something to tantalise (see Dawn's post on Emily's cosy corner.)
Today she had all of these colourful brooches lined up on her desk ready to pop in the post.
The thing was that they weren’t to send to a stockist or an online customer...they were in fact the work of students who attended Emily’s Abstract Geometrics class at Harvest Workroom in May.
Aren’t they fabulous?
Emily took her students on a colour palette caravan during the workshop…printing, pasting, painting and cutting up their very own colour signatures!
How cool would it be to receive one of those brooches in the mail?
Emily Green Workshop - Student Brooch
Emily Green Workshop - Student Brooch
Emily Green Workshop - Student Brooch
Emily Green Workshop - Student Brooch
Emily Green Workshop - Student Brooch
On the subject of Emily…she has been very industrious in the studio of late and her geometric pieces seems to have taken steroids!
Emily Green preparing for her Craft Victoria Exhibition
Emily Green preparing for her Craft Victoria Exhibition
Emily Green preparing for her Craft Victoria Exhibition
She has been preparing for Polygramatic – an installation of large-scale versions of her collaged geometric forms at Craft Victoria. They look awesome…you must go take a peek when she installs them – the show will be on from July 4 - 30
Our lovely Jess – Emily’s Number 1 fan is eagerly eyeing off the pieces as Emily is bringing them to life. I am just imagining Jess hunched right over attempting to wear one as a brooch.
Where there is a will…

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

beci beckons

The last few days we have felt a happy hum at Harvest Workroom as Beci Orpin slowly but gracefully moves herself in to set up her popup shop and open studio – which runs from tomorrow June 22 until July 3 (open 12 - 4pm every day except June 25 & 26 when the studio is open to workshop participants only).
Beci Orpin's Popup Shop
Her gorgeous family are introducing themselves one by one as they accompany her on different drop offs and pick ups…it is something we really relate to here at Harvest having our families so intrinsically involved in what we do…nice to see it playing out with another mum maker. It will be fun having some more munchkins at the studio...more madness! (That is my son rearranging Beci's cushion display but am sure her little one's will also contribute to the visual display over the popup period.)
Obviously we are looking forward to seeing the results of Beci’s open studio where she will move freely within the studio environment for ten days to create new work – she admits to being slightly terrified of the public aspect of the open studio but also excited at what kind of work will eventuate from this fresh approach to her work.
Beci Orpin's Popup Shop
During Beci’s time at the studio she will host a workshop based on her current obsession for hanging mobiles and folk tales. If you would like to immerse yourself in the land of Beci Orpin and the intriguing and colourful world of folktales for a couple of days there are still a few places available.

On Wednesday June 29 Beci will host an open studio night at Harvest Workroom from 6pm-9pm that is open to the general public. This will be more of a work-in-progress rather than a formal exhibition, but there will be new work and some new products on display (and possibly for sale as well). Beci’s husband Raff’s super yummy taco truck will be there too!
Beci Orpin's Popup Shop
Keep an eye on our blog for updates on Beci’s open studio and be sure to pass by Harvest Workroom at some stage in the next week or so.

Popup shop opening times:
June 22 - 24: 12 - 4pm
June 25 - 26: closed (workshop participants only)
June 27 - July 3: 12 - 4pm

Open studio opening (to the general public):
June 29: 6 - 9pm

Em x

Friday, June 17, 2011

makeUp artist profile #1: maryann talia pau

Maryann Talia Pau - studio visit Maryann Talia Pau - studio visit Maryann Talia Pau - studio visit Maryann Talia Pau - studio visit
Looking ahead to the month of July we will be hosting an exciting suite of workshops called makeUp based around the concept of upcycling and reusing. This event is presented in conjunction with The State of Design Festival 2011.
We have invited some of Melbourne's most resourceful designers who use upcycling to enrich the story of their products to host workshops at Harvest Workroom during this time.
Workshops include Harvest Textile's Upcycling Vintage Wallpaper, Greg Hatton’s Make Your Own Willow Chair, Leila Sanderson’s Make A Mini Teepee, Maryann Talia Pau’s Weaving With Fabric, Betty Jo’s Make "Glaminex" Brooches.
Maryann Talia Pau - studio visit Maryann Talia Pau - studio visit Over the coming weeks we will feature interviews with all of these marvellous makers and to kick the whole thing off is an insight into the work of Maryann Talia Pau. 
Maryann's work focuses on body adornment using materials and craft techniques from Samoa and across the Pacific. Her other passions include weaving, siapo (Samoan bark cloth) and textiles. You may have seen some of her spectacular body adornment pieces at the Social Studio website.
For her workshop at makeUp Maryann will use handprinted fabric offcuts from Harvest Textiles products to teach people basic weaving techniques that can be found across the Pacific Islands and Indigenous Australia.
Here you will find some beautiful pictures of some sample pieces that Maryann has made using our fabric and a short but sweet interview with the lovely Maryann.
Tell us about what you make and how you got started. I am an artist and a weaver. My work in body adornment/dress references Pacific Island craft and culture. I wanted to wear jewellery that connected me with my ancestors and my community so I made my own, beginning with materials passed down from my mother and aunties. I now make and design pieces that incorporate new materials and craft techniques with ones from the Pacific.
What/who inspired your designs? I find inspiration in the materials that our mobs use from the land and sea. I am also fascinated and passionate about the making processes which reveal really simple yet complex dynamics that are vital for a strong and thriving community. This is why I love weaving and bark cloth. To produce a fine mat (highly prestigious in Samoa) or a quality bark cloth takes months, years and requires the participation of many women. Can you imagine the mischief they get up to over their time together!! Never mess with a woman who's got her weave on or is beating the bark of a mulberry tree into a cloth!! Love it!! Things like love and grace inspire me too.
What is coming up for you in 2011? I'm releasing and launching my new enterprise, Haus of Savvy Savage, as my studio through Craft Victoria for the State of Design Festival in July. The Haus is where my current label and work Mana Couture will sit under. It's also where our (hubby and I) tshirt label, Tee-Shout!™ will be designed which also launches in early July. Very excited about The Haus!! We're also going to do a few weaving workshops for Craft Cubed in August. So stay tuned for a Haus Party popping up soon! 
Thanks is so great to see our fabric offcuts being repurposed into something so colourful and vibrant. They certainly look one thousand times more beautiful as woven pieces than sitting in a cardboard box under our desk! 
We are looking forward to the workshop on July 24 and for those who can't make it to makeUp Maryann will be hosting a two day weaving workshop in October at Harvest Workroom.
Emma xo

Monday, June 13, 2011


Harvest Textiles Products - June 2011
Harvest Textiles Products - June 2011
Harvest Textiles Products - June 2011
Harvest Textiles Products - June 2011
We have a few goodies left over from our recent market stall at Federation Square and so we have popped them up on our online store for general purchase.
All items are limited edition as we prepared the collection solely for MarkIT so if anything interest you be sure to jump on board asap.
We have a great collection of handprinted totes - each available with two colour schemes - turn them around to suit your mood or what you are wearing!
Harvest Textiles Products - June 2011
As well as the totes we also have these great children's leggings on our shop.
We love these leggings - our kids live in them. They are great as they are, popped under a skirt or dress and can be worn for a number of years as they slowly creep up their little legs. They are also super comfy and very, very cute.
We also have these designs available in adult sizes - the same prints just bigger versions of course. I will let you know when they become available on our shop. I just haven't taken any photos of them on big people's legs yet.
Em xo