FK chat with Sophie, from her Tassie based label That Vintage.
Tell us a bit about That Vintage and what we can expect to discover?
That Vintage began almost four years ago, spawned from the build up of creative juices that morphed original illustrations into wearable pieces of art – the end result being laser cut Tasmanian Myrtle jewellery, warm in colour and reminiscent of campfire scents!
Future lovers of That Vintage can expect to see pieces engraved with intricate lace detail, perched feathered friends upon wrought iron licks and a collection of other creatures, which symbolise the diversity of friendship. The wooden jewellery range encompasses earrings, pendants, necklaces, brooches and rings – with the latest addition being one for the fellas – cufflinks; in the Tea Party range you will find the most sweetest floral and vintage printed Tea Sets turned into dainty pieces of jewellery – earrings, necklaces and pendants. A special release piece from That Vintage for the Finders Keepers Sydney event is the new “Woodland World Pendant” – a miniature capsule containing the sweetest little inquisitive wooden rabbit perched on a bed of moss – kept safe within the walls of the capsule for all to admire.
What is your background in and how did it lead you to starting your label?
I am a creative soul and have always been in the company of a pencil and sketchbook. I did a short stint at the TAFE institute, focusing on drawing and printmaking, but found myself restless with the learning process and felt the urge to take a risk and flap my creative wings alone.
After spending countless hours researching jewellery techniques specific to illustration design, I came across the method of laser cutting and engraving. The first batch of That Vintage birds were in fact cut by a fellow creative friend based in Oregon in America. I am proud to be a Tasmanian and felt that it would be fitting to give that loving nod to our beautiful surroundings, so I tracked down a local laser engraver who was able to help source the beautiful Tasmanian Myrtle, which is That Vintage’s signature wood.
What is your creative process, and how do your surroundings (Tasmania) influence your work?
Being quite the observer of all things natural, I have a tendency to get caught up in the detail of what might be simply viewed as a native plant or tree. I am constantly photographing the beauty that is growing within our garden and the surrounding bush land. The images are then used as reference points for ink and pencil illustrations; some end up being more detailed than others. Once the illustration is at a point in which I am happy with, it is then transferred into the computer editing software to be refined, ready for the laser engraving and cutting. The fact that all That Vintage wooden pieces are made from the same type of wood – Tasmanian Myrtle – it is always a rather nice surprise to see which batch of freshly cut pieces are going to have a darker undertone or stronger grain contrast than previous piece – the beautiful unpredictable aspect of using a natural material!
What materials do you like working with? and what are some ‘tools of your trade’?
I gain inspiration from my collection of lace and fabric swatches, photographs and cuttings of plants and tree branches, so in my mind they are my reference materials – all of my illustrations are done with a combination of fine liner pen, ink and pencil, followed on by the use of editing software in order to morph the illustrations into files ready for laser cutting.
How do you feel blogging helps your connect with your audience?
I have found blogging to be a great way to express another side of That Vintage, inviting people to see a behind the scenes approach to the label; I also use it as a “news release” base: promoting features on websites and magazines, upcoming events that I am attending and sweet happy customer stories and photographs. I guess in a sense, it is a bit of an open diary of That Vintage – and people who are buying handmade really love knowing that other intimate dimension of where the label has stemmed from.
Where do you hope to see That Vintage in the future?
In the future, I would love to see That Vintage progress to having a stronger presence at mainland Australian market events – being located in Tasmania, it does make it tricky to take stock and market props over to the mainland for events. I love doing markets; I love the one-on-one interaction you can have with your customers; from what I can gather (and my experience with meeting other designers) is that the customer gets a buzz off meeting the person behind it all as well! I also hope that my life plan slots into place – to be able to do That Vintage full time. It is good to have a plan in place, but it is even better to know that things can happen spontaneously and every step is the right step on your path ahead; so if my plan doesn’t go according to plan, then I’ll be happy as long as I am still doing what I love!