Featured Shop: Collect at Object Gallery

FK chats to Kylie Johnson, from Sydney’s Object Gallery + Collect

Introduce Collect to our readers and the concept behind it.
We are the store for Object: Australian Centre for Craft & Design. We specialise in showcasing the best of craft & design in Australia, and we believe that you should buy once & buy well rather than buying mass produced. All our objects, homewares, jewellery & fibre pieces are designed and hand made in Australia, by Australian artists, many of whom have significant exhibition practices and are internationally recognised. It is a great place to find collectable one-off gifts for friends & family, or that special keepsake for yourself. By shopping at Collect you support Australia’s craft & design community and directly assist artists to make a livelihood from their craft.

What does Object + Collect aim to achieve?
We aim to showcase the best examples of material based practice from around Australia whether it be glass, ceramics, product design, metal smithing or textiles. Object gallery has world class exhibitions that recognise the incredible talents of Australian artists, while our organisation creates fantastic public programs, symposiums and workshops that are freely accessible by our design savvy audience. Our retail outlet Collect provides a great chance to see (and perhaps own!) Australian hand crafted & design wares.

What labels & product do you stock and which ones work best in Collect?
We are constantly updating our selection of work by over 140 artists. We are always looking for new and emerging artists across an array of materials that represent the best in Australia. We have a great online store www.collect.bigcartel.com however it only just covers a small amount of what great work we have, as we are constantly getting new one-off pieces that sell faster than we can upload it! To really keep up-to-date the best option is checking out our blog www.collectatobjectgallery.blogspot.com which features new in-store pieces, gift ideas and even recipes. Our fabulous staff, who are all makers themselves, update it regularly with all these great features. We even pop in images of the most recent exhibition in the gallery, so out-of-towners can check it out if they can’t make it to the gallery in Sydney.

How do you select which products you would like to stock?
We certainly think long and hard about every piece that we have as they must fit our criteria of being innovative, well executed & the best of its kind. We are always on the lookout for new artists, but with a small store, we have to be very thoughtful about how everything fits together. Many of our artists create special ranges for just for us, so you’ll always see something new.

You recently introduced the Icons Series – can you tell us more?
The Icons range identifies the leading pieces in Australian design, from a retailing view but also from a curatorial aspect. As the centre for craft & design we wanted to make it easier for our clients to pin point those designs that have stood the test of time, that are internationally renowned, that look good, work well and also feel great to use. Using our knowledge of design, we came up with a list of must-have design pieces, from ceramic vases by Marc Pascal, macadamia nut husk bowls by Husque to the graphic stainless steel brooches by Insync.

Which designers are you most excited about in 2011?
2011 sees another strong exhibition year at the gallery with fantastic exhibitions that take us across a range of disciplines. From acoustic instruments made from found objects, to the Australian component of the Venice Architecture Biennale, we will cover so many angles of craft & design this year. We hope that our audience has a rich and diverse experience here at Object where they can engage with artists work across retail, exhibition, studio visits and online. 2011 also sees our first Digital Object Magazine iPad app set to be launched in March, can’t wait!

What do you love the Sydney design community?
Sydney has a very hungry audience for interaction with design in all its facets. Last year we created the Spring Series, 10 weeks of fun, workshops, exhibitions, making days, bicycle tours….it was great meeting all the makers, artists & designers across a spectrum of disciplines. A really nice community of like-minded people who are all grappling with wanting to create things that make a difference, that enhance people’s lives and demonstrate the value of good design and what it can bring to different communities.

What new things do you have instore for Collect this year?
We are just restocking after a busy Christmas and will be unwrapping lots of exciting new pieces in the next few weeks. My two favourite pieces (and recent purchases!) are a pair of fantastic Kath Inglis earrings which are made from hand dyed PVC, which is then cut to create the look of faceted stones that catch the light and make me feel a little bit glam! I also just bought a ‘Princess C, Lady J and the upper crust’ brooch, a crazy ensemble of bright coloured animal heads and a palm tree montage…guaranteed to be a talking point.

Object + Collect’s details
417 Bourke Street Surry Hills Sydney NSW 2010
02 9361 4511
Tues–Friday 11am – 5pm
Sat & Sun 10am – 5pm

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