What do you make?
I generally make lamps. I dabble in other areas but always come back to lighting and lamp design, because I love the way that light can transform materials. I’m also involved in an industrial design project to make a lumbar support for use in a car.
Where do your ideas come from?
With Luminant, I knew I wanted to shine light through the hooked wool and was trying to find a way to make it work as a conventional tapered cylinder lampshade. I had someone make up a couple of lamp shades for me, but they were expensive to make and didn’t look perfect, especially where the fabric edges joined. So I decided to design a light shade from a single piece of fabric with no joins. While I was playing around with different shapes, one of the models looked a bit like an animal. This was such a good match with the material that I decided to go with a stylised sheep form.
Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
A Bachelor of Design, majoring in industrial design, from Victoria University.
What motivates you?
I get pleasure from the making process, and find it a real challenge to design objects that are both functional and beautiful. Another motivating factor is the satisfaction I get when I feel I’ve designed something that adds to the story of New Zealand object design.
Describe your workspace: A corner of a room overlooking a busy Wellington street.
What is your design philosophy?
I try to create objects that deliver pleasure at every stage of their life. This involves caring about every aspect of the product, not just how it looks. My early lamp designs were basically illuminated sculptures, but now I try to design lamps that are functional as well as beautiful. Care for the total product involves caring about: my own enjoyment as the designer/maker (satisfaction gained from designing; well crafted); the environment (material selection; manufacturing processes; waste material; disposal); and the user’s enjoyment of the product (beauty; functionality; ability to be maintained or repaired).
Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
My favourite material at the moment is wool. I love wool because it’s fantastically versatile and is linked in with New Zealand culture.
Your favourite childhood book? The Narnia books.
Recommend an album: Elvis Perkins – Elvis Perkins in Dearland
The Luminant is available on Felt and makes a great Kiwi-flavoured Christmas gift if you’re looking for something different!