FK chats to Phoebe who’s making jewellery with a new twist, with her beautiful label Coalesced. Textile Jewellery, based in Melbourne.
Tell us about your label Coalesced. textile jewellery and what the concept is behind it?
Coalesced is a growing collection of innovative and sustainable textile jewellery. Each piece is lovingly hand made using cut and stretched jersey fabric from recycled t-shirts.
I have always felt an urge to weave, plait, knit or crochet things together into one; lonely ribbons or yarns are never safe when I’m around! So Coalesced. textile jewellery formed over time through these experimentations and explorations, finally coming together when I discovered the amazing potential of jersey.
The concept revolves around finding creative solutions for utilising textile waste and creating something that is new, different and original.
What is your creative background and how did it lead you to where you are today?
I’ve been a creative person ever since I can remember, however I am currently in my second year of studying the Bachelor of Design in Fashion with RMIT, which has really helped me to get Coalesced up and running. Coming up with an idea and making it is one thing, but getting it out there and selling it is another!
Weaving and creating has been a large part of my family as well. My late great grandmother would hand spin and naturally dye her own yarns, which she would then weave into beautiful blankets. Many of my other relations sew, design and create too, so I suppose you could say it’s in my genes!
What inspires your work? and what keeps you motivated creatively?
I’m inspired by the notion of problem solving, finding creative ways to deal with waste and getting the most out of the least. So much so that recently I’ve acquired the nickname ‘Thrifty Phoebe’!
Successfully solving these problems and seeing them through is what motivates me, and seeing people wear and love their coalesced pieces is the ultimate motivation!
Visually, I’m inspired by bright, inventive colour combinations, traditional weaving methods and textile artists like Sheila Hicks.
What is your creative workspace like, and what inspires you about your surroundings?
In Melbourne my workspace is a very multi-disciplinary and a generally messy place! One of my housemates and myself use the front section of the house for patternmaking, sewing and creating. Although most of the time it would look like a t-shirt explosion had occurred! When I’m creating I’ll usually take my materials to wherever the conversation is happening, as I tend to work better around other people.
I also have a workspace in Hobart in the family shed, where many of my op-shop finds and half finished projects live. This space is surrounded by the bush and beautiful views of the Derwent River, which will never fail to inspire me. Although at the same time I find living in Melbourne surround by other creative people to be inspiring too, it gives me that ’get-up-and-go’ in the mornings.
What challenges have you faced starting your own label, and what are some things you love about it?
The main challenge I face is probably trying to maintain a balance between study and business, as I’m studying full time. However I also find that the two can feed into each other, experience bettering study and study bettering experience. Often creating for Coalesced is also the perfect way to procrastinate!
Some of the things I love about having my own label are the independence and empowerment it gives. Recently it has gathered a lot of momentum and it’s the best adrenaline high; that I can do something I love and that others love what I produce just as much.
What aspirations do you have for your label in the future?
For the short term, I’m hoping to partake in Hobart’s Salamanca Market over the summer and find some new boutiques and stockists both in Hobart and Melbourne. I also have lots of new exciting ideas for products.
Long term I would like to stay local and low impact and gather a good loyal customer base. I see Coalesced. textile jewellery being around for a long time, however I can see other big things for myself in the future too, so I’m going to make the most of it right now while I can!