Tell us a bit about Wingnut & Co. and what we can expect to discover?
The Wingnut & Co. label celebrates simple design where natural materials are highlighted with simple finishes. Our designs often adapt the aesthetic of traditional Japanese carpentry and ceramics. Asuka was raised in Northern Kyushu and is influenced by ceramic studios in this area. All of our ceramic pieces are individually thrown on a wheel and all timber components are hand turned on a lathe. We aim to maintain a sustainable practice and we utilise discarded materials from Melbourne workshops in our range. We hope people will find our products to be affordable and useful!
What are your backgrounds and how did you start working together?
We met each other in the workshop when we were at VCA. We helped each other out with our separate projects and exhibitions. Wingnut & Co. was really just an extension of enjoying making work together. Asuka has always been a compulsive crafter and is the main maker of our products. Asuka’s enthusiasm for ceramics was really the catalyst for starting up the label in 2013. There are only so many pots you can have in one house!
What do you love about working with such a diverse range of products and materials? What keeps you creatively motivated?
It is great to be able to consider various materials in our designs, rather than being limited to one. Marrying timber and clay together has its challenges but we are excited to be working on new products that we hope to combine the two successfully. Often, how and what we make is influenced by materials we have sourced or collected. Our Donguri’s are small in size simply because their lids are made from small timber off-cuts. There is something really enjoyable about using a scrap of material to create a useful object.
What is your creative workspace like, and what inspires you about your surroundings?
We are currently moving studios. So right now everything is a huge a mess! We are in the process of starting Wingnut & Co. Studios in North Melbourne, which has other artist studios and our own workspace. It’s very exciting setting up a new fresh space and we feel lucky to have the opportunity to configure a work area designed for our use. Originally we started out of a very small and very wet shed – so it’s a big step from that!
Having the opportunity to work alongside other makers and creatives is always inspiring and something we look forward to doing in North Melbourne. We will have an opening for the studios in Spring.
What challenges have you faced starting your own label, and what are some things you love about it?
Our biggest challenge continues to be not having enough time! We both work other jobs, Asuka is a Furniture Maker and Anna is a Picture Framer. It is the common conundrum of trying to find the balance between expanding your own practice and supporting yourself financially. It’s also important to us to continue to learn other skills outside of Wingnut & Co.
Having the opportunity to meet other creatives both in Australia and Japan who are so eager to share what they do and how they do has been really incredible.
What aspirations do you have for your label in the future?
Our next step is setting up our website as a shop and eventually inviting other makers to the label to expand the Co. section! A lot has happened since starting up last year and we are just looking forward to being in our studio and getting started on some different products that we are excited to be adding to our range.