FK talks to Jessie from Daylesford based design studio Foundry
Tell us about Foundry.
I opened Foundry in 2002 as a graphic design studio, and for the first few years mainly worked on commercial projects for cultural institutions and galleries etc. On the side we did produce a few little paper products, and I always enjoyed working without a brief, and the freedom of doing your own thing. So, a few years ago I shifted the focus to designing and producing paper products, and launched with a range of products called Measure: “a range of paper instruments to help you poke, prod, and measure just about anything around the home.” Since making our own products it is a bit of a learning process to find the best way of running the business so the focus stays on design and research, and the recent shift to producing our own products (screen printing and letterpress printing) gives us more scope to do this.
What is your background and how did it lead to where you are today?
I studied Visual Communication at Monash Uni in Melbourne, and after graduating I went to Italy and Holland to learn more about their approach to design, and see what the big world out there had to offer. I had an amazing time and came back home very inspired to try and start my own thing. I have always been more interested in the artistic/experimental side of design, and always looking for opportunities to shape my practice around that.
What is your most successful product and how did it come about?
I guess the Measure range is – though it is also the most established having been out for 2 years. I developed it while I was working on commercial projects – and there was a lot of research involved – so it took me a couple of years to complete. The idea for it came about when I was doodling some ideas for a calendar – and I started playing on the format of a vintage school ruler…. Which led me to look at the concept of measuring things far too closely(!) – and expanded the range into a calendar, lunar chart, produce in season chart, everyday conversion, height chart, and wine evaluation book.
What do you love about living and working in Daylesford?
I moved my studio from Melbourne to Daylesford a couple of years ago… and I live in a tiny little place in the middle of the country about 20 mins from there. Daylesford is just over an hour from Melbourne – so its still pretty easy to go in for a shopping fix or a night out in the big smoke – and I absolutely love country living. There is a really great and interesting bunch of people living up here, and its so great to be surrounded by nature – there are loads of roos, cockatoos in all different colours, and the night sky is the best.
What tips would you give others with their own creative business?
Just the old cliches really – it’s a lot of work to have your own business – so you do need to be dedicated and willing to put in the hours, and it is really handy to have a good grasp of all aspects of the business – including accounting and sales (definitely not my fav parts of the job!)
Do you have any new products heading our way for Christmas?
Have just finished the 2011 calendar and lunar phases chart – all screen printed and handmade. And we will have a range of screen printed limited edition prints by Christmas also.