FK chats to Abby formally one half of Golden Ink Collaborative now with her own beautiful label, Abby Seymour.
Tell us about your new label Abby Seymour and what the concept is behind it?
My label is a bit of a fusion between my love of traditional arts, trade craftsmanship all merged together. It sometimes seems like it is a little leap between the materials I use in my practice, but I feel like it is a seamless progression using my illustration and detailed aesthetic to link these processes together. This path of discovery with new mediums and textures has produced truly unique products – If I had used mass production / third parties for any step of the process, these pieces would not have yielded such tactility. I feel it also forms a stronger cohesion due to this process. I focus on producing products to the highest quality level possible, using only local materials.
What is your background and how did you get started working with jewellery, home-wares, prints and stationary? and how has your creative style developed over time?
I studied Fine Arts at RMIT and did a bachelors degree in Printmaking and then a Masters in Fine Arts. Alongside my studies I worked as a full time bookbinder at Irwin & McLaren for several years. So I suppose that my fine art training and process driven trade in bookbinding and printmaking led my practice into a very detail oriented working style. I love the process behind some of the traditional trades I have worked in but felt it could also restrict my practice, as I obsess over everything! At the same time as working at the book bindery I started a collaborative with a friend of mine; Katherine Wheeler, the label; Golden Ink Collaborative. We combined our skill sets to make initially artwork for exhibits and then more wearable and practical pieces, focused in jewellery and home-wares. All of our work was completely bespoke, hand-painted porcelain, we focused on high quality and locally sourced materials. It was through working with Katherine that my working methodologies changed from being really refined and planned to a more spontaneous manner. As the business was a collaboration we both had to let go of certain practices and become comfortable relying on each others skill sets and visions. I quite enjoyed this process and feel that it has carried over to the work that I am currently doing. I also picked up some jewellers skills and tips working with Katherine. From there, I basically researched and self taught everything else on a need to know basis.
What is your creative workspace like, and what inspires you about your surroundings?
At the moment I am sharing a studio space in the Young Husband building with Ink & Spindle. Lara and Tegan run an amazing creative small business, so it’s fantastic to also be immersed in their environment, there is always brilliant creative people walking through the door. Which makes it a great working environment, there is always someone to share ideas with and sit chat and have cups of tea. My work station can sometimes be a little chaotic! I somehow manage to spread everything out over my desk and just get lost working away with little collections of stuff around me. There is obviously something about trying to take in as much information as I can, perhaps so I have the best chance of ending up at a more refined cohesive body of work.
You work in such a diverse range of mediums, what do you love creating most? And how do you balance your time between each?
Ah… yes balance is tricky, I generally try to work from my deadlines and figure out which of the processes will take the longest and work my way backwards. Do I have it under control?… No! I do find it a little hard when there is so many different processes to factor into the one piece, also knowing that most things take twice as long as you’d expect is something I am constantly being reminded of! I’m not sure I have a favorite medium now, I am finally comfortable with the idea that adapting is all part of an arts based practice as we, ourselves evolve. So in answer; initial illustrations or painting on porcelain, but I feel that I have been able to infiltrate what I love doing into every process and medium, so no complaints here. I quite enjoy nutting out the process and figuring out to combine the elements I have thought up in my crazy ambitious sketches. Plus I also love the unexpected outcomes you can stumble onto but trying new things.
What can we expect to see from Abby Seymour in the future?
Finders Keepers Melbourne is going to serve as the launch of my label, essentially – none of the products for sale have been made available to anyone. I showcased a lot of new work at Finders in October. Jewellery, letterpress prints and some home-wares. I have defined two different aesthetics that will be presented; A hand crafted porcelain range – beautifully soft and tactile, bespoke porcelain with my signature hand-painted illustrations and some highlights of bright colour. Signature metals range – hand carved, printed and formed details in silver, brass, and anodised aluminum with a more refined colour palette of black gold and silver.