FK chats to Jason Waterhouse & Magali Gentric about their new venture, Stockroom
Tell us a bit about Stockroom and the concept behind it.
Stockroom is a 1000sqm space showcasing makers and artists in Piper St, Kyneton. Stockroom has 3 art spaces, a café that changes its name every week, (this week its Latrobe Speedway, last week it was Her Majesties) and a huge retail space full of fantastic stuff by makers, designers and artists with some vintage thrown into the mix. Our concept for stockroom is the creation of a vibrant arts complex to showcase the best contemporary art and craft practitioners in Australia. At this point we work with more than 140 artists and makers and are constantly amazed by the wealth of talent in this country.
What is your background and what lead you to where you are?
I am a sculptor and exhibit regularly. I have a studio at Stockroom, which I try to escape to as often as possible (which of course is never often enough). I curated a number of shows in Melbourne and was involved in a number of Artist Run Initiatives. I also taught Sculpture, drawing and Design subjects at Swinburne University for a number of years. Magali is a graphic and web designer.
Magali and I opened our first makers space, Wolf at the Door (now next door to Stockroom) in Hepburn in 2009, as we felt there was a need for an outlet for contemporary makers and art in rural Victoria. We had no intention of expanding but had a love at first sight experience when we found the Stockroom premises. It was literally a 3 day business plan from spotting the property to applying for it.
What labels & product do you stock and what are you always searching for?
We stock works by more than 140 artists, designers and makers. At stockroom you can find clothing and accessories, jewelry, ceramics, homewares, furniture, art, vintage and more. With the re-opening of the Wolf at the Door next to Stockroom we now are also introducing international designers, which is new and exciting territory for us. As for types of product, we are open to any type of function of lack there-of, our main aim is to represent the most innovative and exciting designers and artists we can find.
What is your favourite part of the gallery/shop?
The Galleries keep me constantly engaged as we have an exciting and challenging program of exhibitions. We are very passionate about working with artists who will bring to the public exhibitions that push boundaries and expected norms within rural commercial art spaces. I also have a soft spot for our change rooms. They are a cubby house on wheels, complete with chandelier, lush French wallpaper, and red woollen carpet.
What is the design & art scene like in Kyneton (VIC)?
Piper St, Kyneton, is rapidly becoming known as Rural Victorias style capital (is that a good or bad thing?). Kyneton is part of a burgeoning arts scene in central Victoria, a geographic triangle including Daylesford and Castlemaine, with a large number of Melbourne’s creative’s making the tree change from Melbourne for various reasons, mostly financial and more space. With them come big ideas and exciting ventures as rent is more affordable and spaces are available. In Piper St there is a strong sense of community and a genuine interest and support for each other’s ventures and creative endeavors. It’s a really exiting place to be. Come visit, you’ll see…
Can you tell us a little about the history of your space and how you discovered it?
Stockroom is housed in the old Kyneton Butter Factory. Were the 4th tenant in 140 years which is pretty cool. We were always Daylesford/Hepburn-centric and only visited Kyneton mid week (the time when Piper St is closed) and had no idea about the amazing businesses that were opening up in the strip. I happened to go down there one weekend on a whim and did a double take. The street was packed and all the shops and eateries were really good. I saw the for lease sign on 98 Piper St, rushed back to Hepburn to tell Magali, and the rest is history.
What do you love about running Stockroom, and what are some challenges you have faced?
There are so many challenges that I shall not bore thee. But there are also plenty of rewards. We both passionately believe in what we are doing, and I love and am proud of that. We have created an inspiring space that we have filled with inspiring works, and I love and am proud of that too. Daily we have people thank us for providing a beautiful space as a forum for artists to show off their wares outside of the cities and that feels quite special.
What aspirations do you have for Stockroom?
The vision is not complete and there are a number of unfinished Stockroom projects in the wings so watch this space… We would like to see Stockroom become an artist hub for central Victoria, and of course, world art/craft domination.
All the specific details
98 Piper Street
Kyneton VIC 3444
03 5422 3215
Thursday – Monday, 10:30 – 5:30