FK chats to Daryl from the wonderfully industrious label Light Reading, who will be debuting at our upcoming Melbourne markets!
Tell us a bit about Light Reading and what we can expect to discover?
Light Reading started as a bit of a strange idea on my way to work. A tiny house had a sad looking stack of pavers in the front garden that drew my eye every time I passed, so I made it my mission to help bring them back to life. After asking the nervous looking neighbours if they had any spare, Light Reading snuck onto the scene. I made an embarrassingly basic prototype and went about asking people for their opinion: new brick shapes were introduced, more colours, more titles, and more stencilly-love. I’m hoping that when someone picks one up, they are drawn to the title, shape, colours and textures it has absorbed over time. It’s really quite a romantic idea to have a thing that holds up the world we live in – the brick; combined with a story that transcends us from one world to another – the book.
What is your creative background and how did it lead you to where you are today?
I studied at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London before heading back to Australia for some much needed experience. I worked for a couple of years in a small but interesting architecture company in Melbourne with some really great people. Having a stall at the Rose St Market also really helped refine my ideas and try new ones. Since a kid though I have always been making models, designing contraptions, ‘improving things’, and scribbling down ideas in my little sketchbooks. At school I lived out of the art studios, at uni I lived out of the architecture studios, so it was only natural trying to make a little studio at home and get stuck in.
What do you love about working with books and bricks? and what keeps you creatively motivated?
Ever since I can remember, the world of reading and books has baffled me. I was always intimidated by books – especially those thick ones that seem to take an absolute age to read. I’m still amazed how books can be so creative and powerful. Juxtaposing them with the seemingly insignificant brick plays on the values we hold for each of them. I’m also very interested in people’s reactions to their everyday environments. It’s quite easy to see past the potential we are constantly surrounded by – and it’s that notion that allows plenty of opportunity for new ways of looking at things, even the humble brick!
What is your creative workspace like, and what inspires you about your surroundings?
Living in tiny apartment in Melbourne, I didn’t get much of a chance to ‘have a work space’ as I had first hoped. Now however, Light Reading has moved from just outside my apartment front door to the comfortable and welcoming haven of Salvage & Selvedge an awesome new shop at 78 Johnston St, Fitzroy. We get to share the rear garden with potted veggies and flowers, as well as a great workshop and timber shed. In Melbourne, you don’t have to look far for inspiration – creatively minded people are absolutely everywhere!
Where do you source the bricks for your range? and are their challenges in doing so?
After nearly depleting the brick supply from that tiny house I mentioned earlier, I embarked on a search to find a trusty second-hand brickyard that sported a wide range of bricks – so I found an old family owned business with an amazing range of bricks in the North West corner of Melbourne.
Challenges have come in all shapes and sizes: I got a complaint from my body corporate because a neighbour thought I was baking bricks in the apartment! In my 1960’s oven? I couldn’t bake a single cupcake in there. I had to stencil the bricks in the middle of the night to escape prying eyes. Also you can only carry about half a dozen bricks at a time without having to see a chiropractor every week.
What new projects are you working on and where would you like to see Light Reading in the future?
I’m still refining Light Reading’s execution, but am experimenting with applying the thought process to other ‘forgotten objects’. I would really love to do public art – a bench here, a wall there, or even a display somewhere. Last year we auctioned 2 sets of books of Hokusai paintings to go towards the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami appeal which was really well received. I would love Light Reading to inspire people to use everyday industrial objects for something completely different. I’m still at awe that the idea has taken off, and that there are people out there that are happy to help and support you!