Home' Scoop Homes and Art : Insite 27 Summer 2010 Contents 108 INSITE SUMMER 2010
MENTOR midland atelier
DAVID TRUBRIDGE | THE MENTOR
Adam’s a designer with a lot of potential. He’s materials-based, which
is great. He doesn’t always draw with a computer. He spends a lot of
time bending paper and other materials. He uses a lot of wood, which
is also my material, a nd has great sensitivity with the way he handles
it. He’s been doing some beautiful things with folded wood panels.
What bothers me about a lot of young designers is that they’re
being groomed to be celebrities. They do three years of study, then
they think they’re going to make it big. Adam’s not like that. He’s not
a pushy guy, and the integrity of the work is what matters for him.
I’ve got this really strong conviction that the creative process is
made up of art and craft and design processes. They’re all essential
parts of creating and if you don’t go through all three, you’re not
going to get a suitable result. As designers we have to work as artists
to find our point of inspiration, the thing that fires us up. There’s
a Maori word for it – turangawaewae. It’s your heart and soul, it’s
where you speak from, your place to stand. That’s where you start.
In my case, it’s the landscape. I take photographs. I observe. I think.
by using the materials in different ways, adapting them to new
techniques. I feel that’s my point of difference. For my Chrysalis
light, I had to develop a new material to create the form; there was
no material out there that could do it. I’m now working on a new
theme, turning flat panels into three-dimensional surfaces. The
inspiration for that came about from desert landscapes, which got
transferred onto paper models, then real materials. The results were
pretty interesting. I’ve been playing around with the idea for a few
years. It’s exciting to have an idea turn into something practical,
functional, interesting and unique.
“We have to work as artists... There’s
a Maori word for it – turangawaewae.
It’s your heart and soul...”
Then, I develop a vocabulary from what I see and feel around me.
If I haven’t done that, then all I’ve got to design with is what other
people have done. Too much design these days involves taking pieces
of existing designs, shuffling them around and reconstructing them
in a witty and ironic way. That’s because the designers aren’t going
through the art process to develop their own ideas.
Also, you can’t design what you don’t know how to make. A lot
of students are brilliant on computers, but they’ve got no idea how
materials work. They conceive these amazing things, but there’s no
way you can make them. You have to understand the capabilities of
your materials. Another thing young designers find hard to grasp
is the way you have to work at different speeds. At design school,
you don’t really get to know the commercial reality. There are times
when you need to slow down, ponder, scratch your head and work it
out, but sometimes you need to go into overdrive and work fast.
While I was at the Midland Atelier, I worked on a concept idea for
a hanging light. I made it in a short space of time because I wanted to
show them that you can and should work this way. Sometimes you
just have to make it. And, if you don’t like it, you do it again.
During the mentorship I spent a lot of time talking with Adam
and the other designers, formally and informally. Sometimes it’s not
the direct ideas, but the peripheral ones that can give you insights
and trigger your response and understanding. Design is not just
about aesthetics anymore. It’s integrated into all levels of our society
and the way we interact. Trying to reduce the impact we have on the
planet is really important to me.
Everything I know about design, I’ve taught myself. It’s been a
long, slow process. I only started to really get it in about 2000, when
I was coming up to 50. Adam won’t take that long, but it doesn’t
come overnight. He’s not impatient, he knows it’s going to take time
and I think he’ll go a long way because of it. I
The Designer-in-Residence program currently features jewellers Helen
Britton, who trained in WA, and David Bielander, who have transplanted
their Munich workshop to Midland Atelier until mid-January. They will
mentor jeweller and resident designer Bethamy Linton and help plan for
the development of the Midland jewellery and metal studios.
108 INSITE SUMMER 2010
David Trubridge: “As designers we
have to work as artists to find our
point of inspiration.”
Student and mentor get
creative with paper models.
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