Flock Curiosity Assembly is Stacey Rutigliano and Sarah Byrne. With backgrounds in fine art, jewellery, 3D design and photography, the friends bring a variety of creative skills to their jewellery-making tables. As retail colleagues years ago, they quickly realised their aesthetics aligned and their love of resin could be more than an after-work creative pursuit. Flash forward ten years and with 3 young kids between them, they’ve found themselves working in their ‘dream job’ and couldn’t be happier.

We caught up with the Flock ladies at Stacey’s Reservoir studio to learn a little bit about working with resin, their studio setup, and how they have each incorporated motherhood into their small business day-to-day.

. . . . . . . 
How did you meet?
We both met while working at an inner city jewellery shop about ten years ago. We use to sell a lot of amazing contemporary jewellery from all around the world and some of the most exciting pieces we saw (and often bought!) were bold statement pieces.
How did you decide upon resin as a primary material and what do you like about it?
Sarah had experimented with resin and contemporary jewellery design concepts while studying, mostly as a means of dabbling a little bit in casting, mold making and colour play. Resin wasn’t a widely used material in those days compared to its popularity and availability today, so skills were either self taught through experimentation and from awesome kitschy jewellery making books from the 70’s found in local op shops.
We were inspired to have a play with resin one day after work as a means for a creative outlet as well as to make our own jewels that we could wear to work. It was the perfect material that could translate the ideas we had for our own pieces plus it was accessible and not too expensive to work with.

We started simple with small vintage inspired pieces, but as we are both from quite creative backgrounds, we didn’t stay there for long. We started to sculpt our own unique pieces and use resin not just because it was the perfect medium for creating form and shapes, but also as a medium for exploring colour, pattern and texture. We more we played, the more we learnt how to manipulate the material and stretch its boundaries. We apply equal importance, if not more to the design of our pieces too, making sure that everything we create is unique and considered, and of course, something that is fun and enjoyable to wear!

It is a material that can be applied in so many different ways that will always produce unique results in every pour.

Like most materials, the extent of what you can make with resin is limitless, but the beauty of this material is that you can apply it with an equally limitless array of colours, textures and shapes. It is a material that can be applied in so many different ways that will always produce unique results in every pour. We love to challenge our colour palette at every studio session too, and even between the two of us, we rarely produce anything remotely similar. There is nothing more exciting in the studio than popping out a batch of set castings to see what we have made. Half the challenge is not keeping the pieces we have made!

Tell us about your workspace/studio. How have you set it up to help with inspiration and production of your work?
We both have our own home-based studios, which is a necessity with small people in our lives. But we get together once or twice a week to make together at each other’s studios. One of the perks of working in a partnership is getting to hang out together as well as bouncing ideas around so that we always have something new and challenging on the go.
Our studio setups are both pretty similar. There is messy space (where the resin magic happens!), a cleanup space (where the evil sanding happens), a polishing space (where everything is drilled or buffed, ready for findings), and a finishing space (where a lot of the jewels are finished off with their final magic touches). It’s hard to keep everything in the studio so it’s not uncommon for both of us to extend our studios into the kitchen, office and lounge room where we can do our finishing and packaging whilst watching Netflix into the late hours of the night!
Sarah: My studio is mostly practical rather than inspirational at the moment. I’ve just started using my space properly after moving house and taking time off to have a baby. It becomes such a dirty space so quickly with dust and resin everywhere (despite all the exhaust fans) that it seems a shame to put nice things in there! Having said that, a lot of inspiration comes from the mess, ironically, especially in the resin pouring area, where all the drips and resin mess can produce some pretty interesting colour combos that often end up in a pair of earrings!
Stacey: I share my workshop/studio with my husband’s man den… though he has been pushed to the back half of the shed! The front part has got a few big tables and is a nice big space that we both work in a few times a week. We also have an employee who comes and helps us finish all our gems and work with us at a few of our markets. She has also been known to wrangle a baby or two!

A selection of Flock studs for Obus' Autumn 2017 range

What does a typical day involve for you (especially now that you're both mums?)
Sarah: I’m still finding my feet a little as my little one is only a few months old and isn’t aware of this thing called day sleeps. I’m currently learning a new skill called time management (ha!) so that I can get as much done as I can whilst still doing mum duties! Early on, the best words of advice came from Stace: learn to work at night! But theoretically, on a typical day, after breakfasts and feeds in the morning, if I’m not heading over to Stacey’s place to work, I ‘might’ get a few hours of work done in the morning, usually casting or studio work, checking the previous nights pours or running a few errands. I would usually work inside in the afternoon either photographing new stock for our Etsy shop, or office work or orders (aka clean work!). Bath time and meals and bed time around 6:30 and then if I’m not too knackered, back into the studio again in the evening! Of course, this rarely happens this way!

Early on, the best words of advice came from Stace: learn to work at night!

Stacey: 4.30/5am: 1st child enters bed 6.30/7am: 2nd child quickly (not so quietly) enters room/bed, which is when my husband leaves for work! Then it’s breakfast time: coffee for mumma; Porridge, toast + milk for Frankie + Piera! After this it’s day care drop off for Frankie, and perhaps a stop at the post office to post some online orders from the day before. Back at home Piera has morning sleep usually for a few hours (if I'm lucky... Fingers and toes are always crossed for this time). Then I'm like a well oiled machine answering emails, packing orders, editing photos for online.... if I'm really organised I can even prep dinner. In the early afternoon my husband gets home from work so he takes Piera so I can get a few hours of studio time until 4pm, until work usually stops for a few hours so we can hang with the kids and do dinner and bath time!! After the kids are in bed, sometimes I sneak back out to studio for a few more hours or do some computer work if I'm not too knackered.

What is your favourite corner of the world and how does this inspire your creativity?
Stacey: Creativity is all around us! Social media has a lot to do with my inspiration I think… the Internet is a bubbling pot of goodness. This year I have been lucky enough to travel overseas twice, once to New Zealand and a month later, to India with my sister, starting in Dehli and then to Rajasthan. That place oozes inspiration. It's a visual feast for one’s eyes, overwhelming the senses with its colours, architecture, smells (often offensive), beautiful textures, fabrics etc.

People that we meet at the markets, and in our travels, they inspire us to make for them. Especially those who enjoy playing with fashion and aren’t afraid to try something new.

Sarah: My corner is a big one and encompasses so many places, people, and objects. Recently a lot of my inspiration comes from my environment, my everyday travels through the 'burbs, the city and nature, even my own backyard. I also love all things vintage and have plenty of borderline hoarder collections of completely useless but beautiful objects throughout my home that I have found over the years. These alone trigger the old creativity button in the brain! And of course there are people! People that we meet at the markets, and in our travels, they inspire us to make for them. Especially those who enjoy playing with fashion and aren’t afraid to try something new. Nothing is more exciting and rewarding than seeing people wear and enjoy the things you have made with your own two hands (or four, as it is in our case!).

. . . . . . . 

Say hi to Sarah on Instagram @sahofflock and Stacey @staceyflocker.

June 15, 2017