Collaboration: Obus x Tsuno

Collaboration: Obus x Tsuno

Today we’d like to tell you about an exciting collaboration between Obus and a business we love: Tsuno.

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Tsuno sells disposable, sustainable bamboo fibre sanitary pads and tampons. Founded and run by Thornbury-based awesome lady Roz Campbell, Tsuno is a social enterprise: 50% of their profits are donated to charities that focus on empowering women, with the main focus being education and menstrual support. In the last year, a further 10,000 boxes of pads have been donated to local organisations such as The International Women's Development Agency, Share the Dignity, The Asylum Seekers Resource Centre and Essentials for Women South Australia. Great, huh?

Tsuno founder Roz Campbell in her Thornbury studio

As if that wasn't enought, Tsuno products are also good for you. The pads are made from natural bamboo, and their tampons are made from 100% certified organic cotton. Bamboo is one of the most eco-friendly and sustainable fibres available due to its fast growth-rate, low demands on resources and natural resistance to pests and fungi. It is also super absorbent, breathable, soft and comfortable and antibacterial. There’s no chlorine or dioxin bleach used in the manufacturing process of Tsuno tampons or pads, which means these chemicals (and a whole lot of other nasties that are found in regular sanitary products) don’t end up on or in your body. Hooray!

An Obus print (from our forthcoming summer collection) features on Tsuno's boxes of Regular Pads. Buy a box in August and we'll donate a box to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.

Tsuno pride themselves on their beautiful packaging and featuring different artists work. To date they have featured the work of Erin Lightfoot, Tim Royall, Evi O, Eloise Rapp, Andrea Shaw and now, Obus! We’ve donated an exclusive print from our upcoming summer collection to Tsuno’s new range of Regular Pads, and we are so excited to support this wonderful local enterprise.
Purchase in August and we'll match it!
Buy a box of Obus x Tsuno pads online or instore at Obus during August 2017 and we will donate a box to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. Spread the love, help a sister and do something good for your body - there’s really no reason not to.

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Find out more about Tsuno's good work on Instagram @_tsuno_

Studio visit: And O Design

Studio visit: And O Design

And O Design’s Yumi Ando is happily consumed by her ceramic jewellery business during her waking hours, and her love and attention to the form is evident in every piece she creates. But jewellery design isn’t a simple leap from formal study into manufacture, or learning all you need and then jumping right in with commercially accepted ideas.

We visited Yumi in her home jewellery studio and she shared with us her path from growing up in Japan to relocating to Australia, studying interior design then finding her way to a self-taught ceramics practice, and what keeps her regularly inspired.

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Did you study ceramics or jewellery design, or are you self-taught?
There isn’t much ceramic or jewellery related formal training under my belt aside from short-courses from time to time in Melbourne, and some basic pottery classes I took in Canberra over a decade ago. Luckily, I am blessed with a good eye for things, a knack for detailed manual work, and perhaps a fair serving of patience.
When I moved to Melbourne I studied Interior Design and Decoration at RMIT and I thought my career path would travel pretty straight in that direction.. however I was wrong. [I realised] ceramics provides almost everything I appreciate in an artistic sense. Flexibility to work with organic forms, immeasurable options in design, colour and feel, the ability to grow the stories of my pieces and their development over time.

It has taken many years to learn all of the techniques and little details that go into my making process. Hours of experimentation, trying different combinations of raw materials, adjusting firing temperatures, selecting the best tools for particular effects - it has been a self-taught process. Part of the joy and excitement with ceramics is the unknown. No two pieces are ever truly identical. Sometimes things go wrong, leading to disaster or sometimes an unexpected revelation, and other times everything goes wonderfully. I think you grow as a person through all this, and your designs naturally change with you, like a constant evolution from one idea to the next, with a thread of continuity between them.

Part of the joy and excitement with ceramics is the unknown. No two pieces are ever truly identical. Sometimes things go wrong, leading to disaster or sometimes an unexpected revelation, and other times everything goes wonderfully.

Can you tell us if/how the history of ceramics in your native Japan influences your work?
My cultural background incorporates a country and upbringing which highly respects craftsmanship and functional design. But the Japanese influence on my work is probably mostly subconscious. As I’m creating things, it never really crosses my mind and the pieces are formed instinctually. That is to say, I don’t purposefully set out to stamp a Japanese influence or traditions upon my work, but when they are there and prevalent, I accept them. One can’t simply ignore one’s upbringing or home, as I consider my work a very personal endeavour, so naturally some of my heritage is going to show.
Every once in a while, I like to return to Japan and visit my family, letting my eyes feast on the whole experience. The craftsmanship of old homes and temples, beautiful gardens, dynamic little art galleries, traditional paper and fabric shops all excite me and add to the brush of fresh air. It is also an opportunity to collect some unique tools and materials for my work, which brings a little piece of home into everything they touch.
From the beginning of my journey with ceramics, I never set out to attempt to conform with tradition or work through firm stages of mastery with the medium. This is the creative side of my personality perhaps, and also the influence of Australia’s pride in freedom, nature and individualism at play. I work within my own personal world where each piece is a direct reflection of who I am, as a person, and the stories I’d like to tell.

You have a beautiful studio workspace! How have you set it up to help with inspiration and production of your work?
The great benefit of incorporating your workspace into your home, is that it need not be a dry, simplistic or depersonalised zone. My studio, although rather cluttered at times, is a place for me to escape into things I love to do, surrounded by things that I adore. This isn’t to say that sometimes I don’t escape to the soft comforts of the lounge, and keep our rabbit company while whittling away at some work.
My studio, although rather cluttered at times, is a place for me to escape into things I love to do, surrounded by things that I adore.
A large window has become a leaning-post for an all-too-large mass of plant life, between which I have a view of the neighbour's garden and the odd foraging blackbird. The walls and most of the unused areas have become homes for artworks and other objects of inspiration. Being an older house, storage is severely limited. As a home for slabs of clay, tools, brushes, glazes, and not to mention thousands of small pieces in varying states of completion, I’ll be honest and use the word “cluttered”. It's not a chaotic space by any means, everything has its place, there just aren’t many empty places available. It's organised, workable, and intimate.

What does a typical day involve for you?
One might expect that by working in a home studio, that each day might blend into anonymity, but it's not the case. There are always personal challenges to climb, be they forming the initial pieces, firing, glazing or assembly, and no two days have the same schedule.
The process is organic. There aren’t eight hours in a day when you operate like this, sometimes there are only a few, sometimes there are twenty-four. Either way, the most important thing is to enjoy the process, relish the freedom and make ample time for experimentation. This is probably the most important and enjoyable part of the process, making time to play and bring some new ideas to life.For a portion of most days I’ll also quietly tap away on a laptop.

What is your favourite corner of the world and how does this inspire your creativity?
The adventurous side of me loves to travel, and trips away always lead to returning home with a head brimming full of fresh ideas. A little space and time away is a wise investment, and a break from studio life can really help put everything back into perspective.
There is something about the allure of South East Asia which always calls, and I’ve been lucky enough to spend time in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia over the years. It is eye opening to visit craft-villages and see some of the historic and commercial pottery districts in these countries, and appreciate the hard-working way they create such ornate and beautiful work. Obviously quite a few pieces from these countries have become part of a personal collection.

Anything can be inspiring really, it's just a case of opening up to what's around you, and taking the feelings home and transferring them into your art.

The natural world, be it through scenic views, mischievous animals or sunlight upon rice-fields has always felt very healing in these countries, especially if you endeavour to leave a majority of tourists and commercial facilities in your wake.
My husband and I are avid explorers, and can often spend hours poking around on an unexpected detour if something catches our eye. We’ve ridden an old scooter around the Golden Triangle, stopping to watch elderly ladies weaving on an old loom. We got terribly lost once on a walk in some of Thailand’s highlands, which eventuated in a swim in the Mekong (not a smart decision), an endless uphill hike, and eventually a ride home in the back of a local’s old truck. These kinds of trips always bring funny stories and fond memories home.

We don’t always really need to travel too far however. There are some favourite places in Victoria where we like to dig out the old kayak, rattle our bones on corrugated dirt roads, dip our feet in a river, investigate where gold was once mined or dig around for a few spears of worthy quartz.
Anything can be inspiring really, it's just a case of opening up to what's around you, and taking the feelings home and transferring them into your art.

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Say hi to Yumi on Instagram @and_o_design

Where are Obus TRAVELLERS made?

Where are Obus TRAVELLERS made?

At Obus, we’re pretty proud that over 80% of our products are manufactured in Australia.

Our TRAVELLER collection - lightweight basics that you can layer, style up or pair with our other pieces for across the seasons - are made right here in Melbourne. But sewing the garment is only one part of the equation when it comes to clothing.
In the cooler months, many of our TRAVELLERS are made from Extrafine Merino wool which is the warming material we all need at this time of year! After being sourced from New Zealand and Australian farms where possible, the wool is produced for production in Vietnam by a Bluesign® system partner. This means the company producing the wool complies with strict ethical and environmental standards right from the beginning of the manufacturing process.

Bluesign are committed to reducing the air and water emissions caused by the textile industry, as well as regulating labor standards, chemical use and occupational health and safety of its workers. Rigorous tests are performed to ensure a manufacturer’s compliance and maintain their accreditation.
In this day and age, we feel that acting responsibly when it comes to fabric and garment production is the only way to go - and we’re thrilled that our friends at Bluesign can help us achieve this goal. And better yet, when you throw on a merino TRAVELLER layer, you’re reducing the need to turn on the heater and lowering your emissions output too!
Learn more about where Obus clothing and accessories are made here.

Scrapbook: Nostalgic New York and the Harlem heroines who inspired our Jump At The Sun collection

Scrapbook: Nostalgic New York and the Harlem heroines who inspired our Jump At The Sun collection

Our most recent collection, JUMP AT THE SUN, invites you to become acquainted with twelve women who made a lasting impact on the creative arts in the United States almost a century ago.

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While each Obus collection is typically influenced by a geographic destination, JUMP AT THE SUN celebrates a group of trailblazing American women whose contribution to the arts and culture in New York in the 1920s and 30s left an indelible mark on the world. From charismatic writer Zora Neale Hurston to brazen performer and musician Gladys Bentley, these heroines of the arts were luminaries in the Harlem Renaissance movement, a period between World War One and the great depression where a new wave of diversity and inclusiveness in the arts took hold.
If you follow us on Instagram, you might have already seen us post about our #obusheroes  - women who in the past and the present inspire us with their creativity, dynamism and influence. JUMP AT THE SUN is a natural extension of that.
The exclusive Obus prints and styles within this collection pay homage to key figures from the movement. Here’s a little background about each of these remarkable women:

L-R: Writer Zora Neale Hurston; performer Gladys Bentley; performer Florence Mills

Zora Neale Hurston was a charismatic and energetic novelist and playwright. Heavily influenced by her mother - who encouraged Zora and her siblings to ‘jump at the sun’ and pursue all that they desired from life - her confidence as a black woman at that time infected all those who met her.
Gladys Bentley was a talented singer, piano player and had early success with the Broadway set of NYC. Openly gay, she became hugely popular at various clubs in the city with her risque performances which often involved cross-dressing, drag queens, flirtatious and inuendo-filled song lyrics and performances that challenged and delighted the audiences of the day. Similarly, musical performer and star of the vaudeville scene Florence Mills broke many racial barriers in her short career before passing away from illness at just 31 years of age.

L-R: Singer Marian Anderson; actress Blanche Dunn; actress Fredi Washington

Marian Anderson was an acclaimed singer who travelled the world playing venues such as Carnegie Hall and the White House. Her popularity influenced the evolution of many attitudes about segregation in performance venues across the United States. Actresses Blanche Dunn and Fredi Washington both dabbled in broadway and cabaret - each with stints as chorus girls. Washington continued on to have a successful film career (with a side of activism) while Dunn is best remembered as the ‘it’ girl of the day.

L-R: Artist/textile designer Lois Mailou Jones; writer Nella Larsen; editor Jessie Redmon Fauset

Lois Mailou Jones was a multidisciplinary textile designer and artist whose decades-long internationally-acclaimed career is still recognised today. She was heavily influenced by her travels throughout Europe and the Caribbean, which is evident in her brightly coloured palettes.
Nella Larsen was a friend of many in the Harlem Renaissance movement and published two critically successful novels. But it was Jessie Redmon Fauset, working behind the scenes as an editor, who helped to bring a new generation of African American voices to the American literary scene in the early-mid 1900s. Jessie also wrote and produced several works about contemporary middle-class African Americans, including poetry.

L-R: Sculptor Augusta Savage; playwright Regina Anderson; post Helene Johnson

Sculptor Augusta Savage and playwright Regina Anderson regularly opened their homes and studio spaces to fellow creatives, with the Anderson’s apartment becoming an unofficial literary salon and Savage’s studio a place where she nurtured up and coming stars of NYCs creative community.
Poet Helene Johnson was an unsung hero of the movement, paving the way for many. Upon her death in 1995, the New York Times wrote: ‘Helene Johnson's works are models for aspiring poets -- especially for African-American women poets who have long been led to believe that no tradition of achievement exists among black American women in this genre.’
Ladies, we salute you! Check out the JUMP AT THE SUN lookbook, where each piece in the collection is named for one of these Obus heroes.

Meet the women behind Flock Curiosity Assembly

Meet the women behind Flock Curiosity Assembly

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.

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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!).

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