Featured Designer: Flamboyant Joe

FK chat to Emma-Lee, from her Wollongong based label Flamboyant Joe

Can you tell us what Flamboyant Joe produces and when did it all begin?
Flamboyant Joe produces a bunch of lovely paper based goodies for your body and your home. We use vintage books and paper goods to create our pieces and be the hero. Sometimes our product lines are a result of what is found rather than careful planning. Specifically we make a bunch of jewellery (brooches, necklaces, earrings, rings, hair clips) as well as other paper based goods such as envelopes, flowers, baubles, magnets and purse mirrors.

What is your creative background and what lead you to where you are today?
I did a double major at University in Graphic Design and Creative Arts, whilst FJ brand partner, Steve, completed a Creative Arts degree. We met in a textiles class (which we both found to be painful) and became friends. Steve was the first to make brooches using some old children’s books and soon I joined him, making my own styles also using the same material. It was logical that we created our brand together and we started doing a couple of markets and it just took off from there. That was about 4 years ago. I now also own and run the Milk Thieves Art & Design store in Wollongong, so being surrounded by other people’s awesome creations is inspiring and makes me continue to create my own work in my ‘spare’ time.

Each piece is unique! How do you source your materials, and what is your favourite places to look?
I source the paper from vintage children’s books, music manuscripts and other paper ephemera such as old paper doilies, tablecloths, wrapping paper and even board games! I find a lot of this from op shops and book fairs – though I have even had people give me their old books.

What is your creative process, and what is your workspace like?
My creative process is a very mish-mash thing. As I am busy at my shop all day, the only opportunity I get to make Flamboyant Joe stuff is at night – usually in front of the TV. I do have a ‘studio’ room in my unit with a sliding door that opens out onto my balcony that I am in the process of cleaning out in an attempt to make it more habitable. Right now I only use that for doing the stinky stuff like gluing and varnishing because it has such good ventilation.

I always need to be doing something, so making paper goodies is a nice way for me to relax. I find that I get in the mood to make something specific – so I’ll sit down and over the course of a week make a whole heap of the one product so I wont have to make them again for a while. Right now I’ve gone paper flower crazy, before that I was bauble-ing and before that I was all about the wood bead necklaces!

What other artists or labels do your draw inspiration from, and which websites/blogs do you follow?
I draw inspiration from all sorts of places – and it changes from day to day. Right now I am loving the simplicity of ceramicists Golden Ink, the quirkiness of Brainbow and the eco-consciousness of Polli. The blogs that I am constantly checking up on include Design Sponge, Design for Mankind, Frankie, Fecal Face and Regretsy.

Can you tell us about any new projects you have coming up?
Ohh – to have time for new projects! I have many new ideas that I’d love to get started on which include new jewelry designs – but I am also keen to make more ¬†one-off home ware pieces like bowls and decorative wall-hangings. I am also in the process of doing a paper-based kitchen make over in Milk Thieves for the Paper Runway blog – so watch out for that!


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