Art with (re)purpose – the Christchurch maker giving used timber new meaning

Glen and Linda Turner are the creative minds behind Studio Three Two Four, a Christchurch-based small business specialising in striking wooden mosaic wall art and home decor pieces – all created from locally sourced materials. Glen has been making one off items for many years using the resources available to him. Whether it’s a piece of furniture, custom wood art or a home decor item, he has always enjoyed what he does and the sense of satisfaction that comes with it.


 

 
What do you make?
At Studio Three Two Four we design and create mosaic/geometric wall art from repurposed wood.

How did you get into your craft?
Working as a paramedic for many years I felt that I was limiting myself in the creative sense as I have always been very interested in design and aesthetics. I started making my own items, such as simple furniture, from repurposed wood and enjoyed the process and figuring out how it could be made. I really liked the satisfaction of saying “I made that” when asked where I bought it from. By using repurposed wood I feel it gives new meaning to my pieces. It saves it from becoming waste and allows it to live on with its own character and unique qualities still intact, which is what I love the most! By creating art from repurposed wood I felt it was an even better way to showcase the organic progression of the wood and my own creativity.

Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
Of course repurposed wood is my favourite medium but I also like experimenting with copper and other materials and working out how they may “fit” into the overall design.

I would be lost without my miter saw, each cut is so fine and precise it really does most of the work for me.


 

 
Tell us about some of the techniques involved in producing one of your pieces
For large commissioned pieces I always do a lot of planning and design to ensure the client and I are on the same page. I then hand draw the design onto plywood and select the wood to be used based on the character of the repurposed wood, natural colour, shape and grain features. Following this I cut many strips of varying thickness and length prior to securing it to the plywood with strong glue and nails. For smaller pieces I generally just start creating it from ideas and watch it all unfold. I like that there are no instructions or set rules to what I create. If I want to make changes as I go, I just do it.

“… buying handmade repurposed items doesn’t mean that it is poor quality or that it is lesser value than something bought new from a big box store. In fact it is the opposite.”

What inspires you?
Inspiration comes from architecture and patterns that I see in everything around us. I especially like elements from the Art Deco era of the 1930s to 1950s. The strong lines, depth and shape of many buildings designed during this time really catch my eye. In contrast, I’m also inspired by the Aztec design or any art that tells a story or creates a connection. I feel this is why each piece we create is personal to us and has a name to match its own unique story and personality.

Is there a philosophy behind your work?
To show people that buying handmade repurposed items doesn’t mean that it is poor quality or that it is lesser value than something bought new from a big box store. In fact it is the opposite. It is completely unique and made with so much care and attention to detail. In our case, each piece is “one of a kind” which makes them even more unique and special.


 

 

 
Describe your creative process:
Like most creative people, my best ideas probably happen in the early hours of the morning often with just a fleeting thought about what type of wood to use or a design. I may scribble it down on paper the next day or just think about how it may evolve into a future piece.

Describe your workspace:
It’s a small cosy single car garage space with no windows and poor lighting but I love it! It’s just the right amount of space… well most of the time. Although, the whole house tends to become a work space especially when I create a large design or need to prepare for an upcoming market. I do feel I’m quickly outgrowing my cosy little workshop and really hope to have a larger space to keep up with demand in the near future.

Five words that describe your mind:
Analytical, thoughtful, driven, evolving, happy!

Your favourite feedback from a customer:
One of the nicest comments a customer made was “I felt really moved by your work” when describing a large piece I had recently created. This type of response is
always incredible to hear.


 

 

 
What are you currently listening to?
Anything and everything from a small business podcast like “Side Hustle School” or “How I built this” to a radio station. I listen to it all depending on how I feel on the day.

What are you reading now?
At the moment I am reading the international best selling book called The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*Ck written by Mark Manson. It’s an entertaining read about the delusional expectations of society and the confronting reality that not everyone can be extraordinary – sometimes things go well for us and sometimes they don’t. It really is a funny and refreshing read!

Who is your hero/heroine? Why?
Right now my absolute heroine is Jacinda Ardern! She has had to be the spokeswoman for all of New Zealand in the wake of the tragic mosque shootings that occurred in Christchurch. She has been the calm, strong, confident voice letting the world know all of New Zealand stands together to condemn any attack on freedom and intolerance of others. All politics aside, she has done the country proud in such a dark moment in time.

A favourite quote:
“Inspiration is good, but inspiration with action is better” – from a Side Hustle School podcast. Just a small reminder that thinking about an idea is not enough, you actually have to try and make it happen any way you can.


 

 
What would your advice be for those starting out in a crafty business?
Do something different, something new or, create a unique spin on an old idea. Talk to your customers, get feedback (good or bad), do your homework and find all the ways to push forward. Everyone we have met has been fantastic help and genuinely wants to see us succeed. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – everybody starts somewhere!

Why do you think it’s important to buy handmade and/or locally made goods?
It is so important to buy local or handmade goods as you are directly supporting those who are putting their heart and soul, not to mention their own time and money into every aspect of what they do and in return you purchase something so unique and special that directly supports those who made it. Plus, you always get the warm fuzzy feeling of buying “real” things made by “real” people not just another mass produced throw away item. That’s always nice!

What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
A hand drawn birthday card from a local market seller. It was just perfectly designed for the person it was bought for. So much elegant detail!

What’s in store for 2019?
2019 is going to be a huge year! I can feel it! We plan to attend larger markets such as the Encraftment Winter Market (fingers crossed we are accepted). We would also like to create a simple but effective website and continue to create special commission pieces for our fantastic customers. Ideally, a space/shop to view or stock our pieces is always on our mind. It’s all so exciting to see how the year will unfold.

 

Now is the time to order your very own piece from Studio Three Two Four! Glen has a special offer just for Felt readers. Use the voucher code MEETTHEMAKER at checkout before 16 April, and receive a 10% discount off your order – sweet!

What do you love about the Studio Three Two Four story? Post a comment for Glen and Linda below.

 

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5 thoughts on “Art with (re)purpose – the Christchurch maker giving used timber new meaning

  1. Wow your work is gorgeous 😍 I love the symmetry and colour. I really liked the idea of having a creative outlet outside of work – I feel the same!

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