Creative Space: Brooke Johnston

FK talks to one of our own this time! Brooke Johnston is co-founder of Finders Keepers & Follow, and has her own jewellery label – an all round creative lady! We chat to Brooke about her Sydney based creative space. All images by one of our lovely creative spaces project photographer Renee Anne.

Tell us a little about your art practice and what kind of things you create in your studio?
I am a jewellery designer by trade and primarily work with sterling silver. I love to incorporate little trinkets from the past, make moulds of vintage buttons and lace and then cast them to create jewellery ranges.

My main focus when making jewellery is to create pieces with a bit of nostalgia. I like my work to remind people of the classic timelessness of the 50’s and 60’s. I try to do this through recreating and reinventing bits and bobs that I come across in op shops and on Ebay.

What things surround you when you work and what do you love about your space?
I always surround myself with copious amounts of inspirational material. Whether it be books, corkboards filled with postcards and clippings from mags or just little trinkets. I have to have it all there otherwise I would feel uncomfortable. Even all my metal scraps and drill bits are placed neatly in a vintage tin!

Are you a messy worker or a neat freak?
I tend to be very messy when I am working, but am very good at cleaning up and putting everything back in its place. My studio is a room in my house so I have to keep it relatively clean!

What keeps you motivated when you’re working from your studio at home?
I keep motivated by just looking in! When I walk past the studio I have to jump in there and make something! I see all my tools and equipment just sitting there and I have to take action. I’m also in there a lot working on the computer, so sometimes I take a break from that and sit at my bench and put all those ideas into action.

How do you balance your work with your job and work for Finders Keepers?
It can be tricky to balance all the things on my plate but I manage. It helps that most of the things I’m juggling are things I love and things I would probably be doing anyway even if I didn’t have to. I think allocating days for certain projects is the best and sanest way to manage work load and also make sure there is time to curl up on the couch with a cup of tea and a TV series!

What things do you hope to add to your space and what new skills/ techniques would you like to learn and why?
I am always wanting to add more equipment, in jewellery making there a thousand and one great tools to own. I am also always keen to improve my hand skills and learn new techniques as there are so many advances in this industry. I am in the middle of completing an additional course to refine my practice.

Where do you go for inspiration for your home & studio?
Blogs are definitely something that I refer to on a regular basis for inspiration and ideas. Design*Sponge, decor8, Studio Home, The Carrotbox and Wee Birdy are just a few from the long list of blogs I subscribe to. 
However nothing beats a beautiful hard cover book to flick through when you’re having a creative block! I also like to collect postcards, artworks, clippings from magazines and the like to put up around my studio for extra inspiration.

What advice would you give to others about managing and organising their at home studio spaces?
All I could say is make your studio a place you want to be in, as it’s probably the room you will spend most of your time in and you don’t want it to be a resentful place. Keep it bright and light filled and decorate it with the most inspiring things you can find!

All the wonderful photos featured in this post are by Renee Anne and are exclusively for the Finders Keepers!


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