Inspired by the landscape of Victoria’s splendid Dandenong Ranges, Jaccob McKay’s artistic practice draws on the natural beauty and intricate patterns found in the wonders of Australian native flora. With a passion for supporting the handmade industry, a strong focus on sustainability, and as a tertiary trained artisan with visions of growth, this is one creator to keep an eye on.
Catch Jaccob and his own handmade creations in Sydney from 12pm Friday 4th May, where almost 200 stalls are taking over The Cutaway, Barangaroo Reserve. The festival fun continues all weekend!
How did you come to be a seller at Finders Keepers?
Starting up this brand was unintentional. I was at uni studying fine arts and experimenting with sculpture when I started playing around with scraps of brass and wood, making some pendants and little boxes to put them in.
The first piece I made was an oak leaf pendant with a box made from a piece of tea-tree my parents had had cut down at their house. Since then I’ve gone on to experiment with new materials and techniques to create a range of homewares and jewellery, all inspired by nature.
Talk us through a typical day in the life of Jaccob McKay
Since moving this to full time, I’ve lost all sense of the word ‘typical’. My days vary from going out and chopping down trees for supplies (only when the tree was destined to be removed); running stalls at markets around Melbourne, and now interstate; working in my home workshop; or doing the 101 jobs which make up running a small business.
For the most part it’s just me tackling it all – although in rush periods I do get some help from my brother, and visits from friends and family at markets are always welcome. Especially when they bring coffee.
What would be one piece of advice you would give a first time seller at The Finders Keepers?
Bring snacks and a helper. It’s a huge event, with tens of thousands of people coming through the doors, so be prepared for a lot of talking and a lot of work! It’s so much easier with someone there to help, even if their help is just grabbing coffees or giving you a five minute break.
Tell us about your inspiration for creativity?
I’m constantly inspired by the natural world around us. Growing up in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges in Melbourne’s east, it’s hard to not fall in love with the landscape – the tall gum trees, the sea of ferns, and seasonal wonders such as the mushrooms and wattle. When you look closer at these things you find even more wonder in the intricate patterns created by plants and animals. Living here, the one thing I never lack is inspiration.
I really admire the work of Upswitch, who I’ve seen at Finders Keepers in Melbourne. Michael makes fascinating lamps from up-cycled items such as old cameras, microscopes and even a tennis racquet! His work has a beautiful old-time charm and I love the way he reimagines and recycles what might end up as junk into quirky works of functional art.
What goals do you have for your business for the future?
In the next five years I’d love to have my own shop filled with handmade products from Australian makers, all with something natural or wild about them and all with a strong focus on sustainability and waste reduction. This is mostly because I want to be surrounded constantly by the beautiful work Australians are making, but I also want to share this and promote it to the world.
I also have plans for expanding into fashion and expanding my homeware range whilst still retaining the core values and inspirations of the current range. If I can slow down for a minute then I can start looking into my lists of hundreds of ideas I want to try.