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The Designer/Maker Touch

Express yourself – People say something about themselves, their interests, taste preferences and the things they love by how they decorate the spaces they live in and the kinds of gifts they give.

When I walk into someone’s home, I can’t help but look around at the artwork on their walls, their choice of furnishings, colour schemes and their collected pieces of memorabilia and objet d’art. I think we all do this to some degree. The impression as a whole tells us a story. Sometimes it’s a chaotic jumble unconsciously put together and other times it’s a deliberate editing to put one’s best foot forward, so to speak.

Grevillea design cushion cover.
Grevillea cushion cover, digitally printed on cotton/linen.

Every now and again I am invited into a living space that tells no story, which also says something about it’s owner. These spaces have no visual clues to the person’s life or character or to the things that matter to them. They reflect nothing of place or connection to anything. They are constructed of generic objects, sold en masse, designed to blend in and be not unappealing to the general population of the developed world.

Take this generic space and add a couple of well-designed and crafted items and BINGO, you have personality. Suddenly the room has character, a conscious mind at work, a heartbeat. It can geo-locate the room, represent an interest in something, a preference or a cause.

This is where the designer-maker comes in. Products created by designers and artisans and produced in small quantities by hand, offering all the charm that a one-off product created with passion can give. Designer-makers do what they do because they love doing it. The creative passion is as evident in these products as their makers’ signatures and connect us tangibly and authentically with them.

Bush Track placemat close-up
Placemat with Australian coastal bushland scene.

Investing in designer-maker products enriches our lives and connects us with what it is to be human. It helps us to communicate who we are and assert ourselves as individuals in a world that is becoming more generic every day.

Joanna Reid