FK chats to creative Husband and Wife team, Hien & Chris of timber homewares label Theory of Willow. Theory of Willow just debuted at the recent Melbourne Markets!
Tell us a bit about Theory of Willow and what products we can expect to discover?
Theory of Willow is a husband and wife recycled timber homeware venture. Our story begins with 2nd Chance Tables, a custom-made recycled timber table business started by my husband, Chris Booth. Building on the concept of using recycled timber, I developed the Theory Of Willow’s homewares range. We incorporate colours, shapes and patterns into our homewares, which we feel compliment and accentuate the beautiful characteristics of recycled timbers. Blending these elements result in strikingly, eye-catching products that otherwise might have been quite ordinary.
What are your backgrounds and how did you start working together?
I design homewares that I would like to own and have in my own house and all of our products start off as a scribbled sketch. Sometimes, the sketches need a lot of interpretation because I’m terrible a drawer. Chris, a carpenter by trade, makes all of our products by hand. His love affair with fine carpentry started from an early age. Through the influence and guidance of his grandparents and dad, he developed a fondness for building things from scratch. He has over fifteen years carpentry experience in the building industry.
What do you love about working with recycled timber? and what keeps you both creatively motivated?
Timber is warm and rewarding to work with. There’s something very rewarding and satisfying about being able to bring an idea to life and this can easily be done with timber. The attraction of using recycled timbers are their unique markings and characteristics. So we work hard to preserve these features and our preference is to treat the timber minimally. We try to retain the texture and character the timber which has developed over the years.
What is your creative workspace like, and what inspires you about your surroundings?
Chris works out of a co-operative workshop in Northcote which is shared by like minded people who recognises the quality of handmade products. Working on our own can be isolating, so it’s nice to have a peers to debrief with, consult about techniques, and share ideas. I’m inspired by colours and patterns. I search for contrast and asymmetrical shapes everywhere. I’m fascinated by patterns and shapes that technically shouldn’t go together but actually work when placed together.
Where do you source materials for your range? and are their challenges in doing so?
A significant amount of time is invested in finding the right materials. Things we take into consideration when sourcing materials are, shade of the timber, markings, grain, weight and any existing character that make the material unique like bolt holes, notches or nail holes. We source our timber from all over Victoria. We’ve made several contacts with the recycled timber yards around Melbourne. Recycled timber is a very sought after material and while we make our products from what is available, making finding specific types of timber, longer and thicker pieces of recycled timber can be expensive and difficult to come by, but that’s all part of the fun. It’s treasure hunt every day!