The more time I spend exploring the Australian design scene, the more excited I get about ceramics. Australia boasts a large cast of fantastic ceramic artists producing beautiful, practical, paired back things, and I'm on a mission to follow all of them on Instagram.
That's how I met Mel. Mel is a true aficionado who's assembled a truly unique collection of Australian ceramics, hand printed textiles and timber products, kindred in their natural textures and tones for her online shop Antler and Moss. Taking the role of curator to the next level, many of the pieces Mel offers are the result of creative collaborations with her favourite artisans meaning a good deal of the designs she carries are exclusive to Antler and Moss.
I noticed Mel's Instagram feed a few months before we discovered that we work in the same neighbourhood. As soon as got talking shop (literally) we began plotting our vision to bring Mel's amazing collection into the real world, nestled among the other Australian design wares at Showroom. Antler and Moss' pop up runs for two weeks from today and if you're in the Brisbane area, I hope you'll have a chance to come take a look.
And now, some thoughts from Mel on running an online businesses & her passion for Australian ceramics.
Give us your elevator pitch:
ANTLER and MOSS is a collection of Australian ceramics, hand printed textiles, timber products and artisan gift packs that have been created in timeless neutrals and quality materials to stand the test of time.
What did you do before starting Antler and Moss?
I have always worked in the hospitality industry in fine dining and absolutely love it, but with two little girls of four and seven years, the hours are not really plausible. So after purchasing a dilapidated workers cottage, I studied interior decorating so that I had the confidence to make sound decisions while renovating it into a home with the right feel for us. It has taken many years of hard work but my home is now my muse for Antler and Moss.
What made you start this business here and now?
I have been collecting ceramics for many years and love the local ceramic works being created. I had so many ideas for slight adaptions to artists’ works that Antler and Moss really came from my ceramic obsession and the frustration of not being able to find what I was looking for. Now that my girls are a little older I am in a positon to be able to put in the energy that building a brand needs.
What are the key elements that go into Antler and Moss's unique vibe?
Our vibe is edgy black pieces contrasting with warm timber tones and earthy ceramics. We have pieces that you won’t find anywhere else too.
What do you love about ceramics?
I love that ceramic tableware is functional art. I grew up in New Zealand surrounded by incredible ceramicist and have always loved ceramics since I was little making pinch bowls next to my mother while she created wheel thrown pieces. I source only Australian ceramics for Antler and Moss because I believe in keeping it local and the quality is exceptional.
What ceramic design trends are you excited about?
Everything goes around in cycles. I liken our current era to the Arts & Crafts movement in the late 1800s to the early 1900s when people were rebelling against the growing globalisation of Victorian Britain and moved back to creating unique handcrafted works in more simple forms. I feel we are all moving toward buying less and buying better.
There is a dark ceramic movement that I suspect will be here to stay for some time. Normally as Spring comes in the States and the UK people gravitate to lighter shades, but not this year. Food looks sensational plated up on dark tableware. Restaurants are choosing artists to create their tableware for them, rather than the usual standard mass produced wares.
There is also a rough earthy textured ceramic trend surfacing too, and ceramics mixed with timber products.
Which other design / creative brands inspire you?
The artists that I have the privilege of collaborating with inspire me. We have so many incredible people in the Australian design industry and are known globally for our innovative design and beautiful crafts.
Do you feel optimistic about the handmade / #shopsmall scene in Brisbane? Why or why not?
Small boutique businesses are what make Brisbane shopping interesting. It is so important we support local business and buy local goods as often as possible and it makes shopping more fun.