This week we meet the makers behind Melbourne-based studio Wingnut & Co.
Established in 2013 by Asuka and Anna, they tell us about their practice, their studio and how they started working together.
Tell us about your backgrounds – what did you do before launching Wingnut & Co.?
We met at VCA (Victorian College of the Arts) in 2008. Asuka studied painting and Anna was in the sculpture department. We met in the workshop and started helping each other out with different projects. Asuka has worked in heritage restoration, picture framing and is currently a furniture maker part-time at Pierre & Charlottes. Anna has worked as a picture framer, in the design industry and exhibits her installation practice at ARI in Melbourne.
What was the motivation behind starting your own business?
Asuka became taken with clay a few years ago when he did a course at Carlton Arts Centre and that was really the catalyst for starting Wingnut & Co. We figured we had a range of different skills to bring to a business and could make with various materials. We thought we might as well give it a go.
How important is hand-made production to your creative process?
We both are drawn to detailed and slower processes of crafting. We have a lot of admiration for skilled craftspeople. The handcrafted element is just ingrained in how we make at the moment. We don’t have anything against slip casting or finding quicker ways of working. We just like to refine our skills, approach a project slowly and take care with what we are making.
What does a typical day at work look like?
A typical day starts at 4pm four days a week and 8am two days a week. Asuka will be straight on the wheel throwing or trimming and will be generally efficient and amazing. Anna flops around for a while, replies to emails, recycles clay and chats to the other artists who have studios in our warehouse. Then whatever needs to get done - Anna will prep ceramics for glazing and turn swat handles and Asuka will turn timber lids and glaze ceramics.
Do you have any tips for aspiring designers or small business owners? Anything you wish you had known at the start?
Get yourself into a routine and make sure you leave time for your friends and down time for yourself. Be prepared for a lot of extra hours and make smart decisions around the best ways you can support yourself financially and afford more time to run your business.
Who/what are you inspired by at the moment?
Too many amazing people to list! Anyone who is dedicated to what they make. Also we can’t get enough of rough, grainy clays with bright white glazes.
What are you most proud of in your careers to date?
Acquiring our own workshop and creating studios for other makers in the past few months has been an incredible experience.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In five years time we would like Wingnut & Co. to be a business that we operate full time. We would love to have other creatives on board making under our label and to collaborate with a range of different artists. It would be great to spend some of the coming decade living, making and learning new skills in Japan.
How do you like to spend your days off?
Last Sunday we went to the markets, looked for neighbourhood cats, planted radishes, shooted hoops and had coffee with friends.
What did you eat for breakfast?
Museli + Honey and Coffee.
Thanks for answering our questions Anna and Asuka!
All images courtesy of Wingnut & Co.