Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bison at Collect

Hey there,
Penny here. As you can see, the girls at Collect love their stock, and I'm no exception! We currently have some fabulous Bison pieces available. Bison is an ACT based ceramics business. All their pieces are hand thrown and hand glazed. This means each piece is quite unique, in shape and colour. Despite this, they are super durable, both dishwasher and microwave safe.

There is a great range of objects to choose from, including mugs, egg cups, bowls and vases. Not to forget the quintessential milk jug!

I had a friend from Canada visit the store who commented; "Hey! Why are there Buffalo stamped on the pieces?" Of course she was referring to the Bison logo, however this did get me thinking, why are they called Bison?

After some investigation, I had my question answered. Inspired by the ancient tradition of painting onto stone, Bison's creator Brian Tunks became fascinated by ceramics whilst on historical excavations. Clear connections can be seen between Tunks' original training, in archaeology and the aesthetics of his work. Simple, functional and beautiful, the pieces have smooth semi-gloss glazes, leaving the user with a fantastic textural quality when holding the piece. The pieces are designed to survive a lifetime with you, and embody an ageless quality much like their ancient inspiration.

One of the nicest things about Bison wares is their simplicity. Produced in a small factory just outside Canberra, there is no excessive adornment. The pieces are soft colours, have beautiful textures and (I think) most importantly, are great forms to hold and use on a daily basis. You can feel that they have been hand thrown.

Most makers will agree, an object that is hand made has an extra quality about it. It’s something that manufacturers have difficulty replicating. It's the softness of surface, the bumps and lumps, subtle differences in texture, colour, and form. It’s why makers MAKE. Most have an inherent obsession with material investigation. Bison have experimented and explored clay for many years, and their success is evident in their collection of wares.

Bison have stockists and stores in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. Visit for more info about Bison or pop into Collect to purchase from our current selection!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

New Tjanpi baskets in store

Hi readers!

It’s Pen here - I haven’t been in to work for a few days, and when I came back we had a whole range of new stock! It’s always lovely coming to the store and finding new treasures, but I was particularly taken by our new range of Tjanpi Baskets!

Tjanpi (pronounced: J-um-Py) is a collective managed by the Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council. It is an organisation completely governed and owned by Aboriginal people, and all profits from the baskets are used to sustain Tjanpi Desert Weavers. Based in the heart of Australia (Central Western desert region) Tjanpi is an employment opportunity for local women passionate about weaving. This employment program is special because it provides income whilst embracing local cultural activities.

“While out collecting grass women take time to hunt, gather food, visit sacred sites and teach their children about country. At its core Tjanpi is about family and community. It is work that more than accommodates social and cultural obligations, it encourages them.”

I love Tjanpi baskets because each one is so unique. Textures, colours, form and weave all vary greatly depending on the making and aesthetic style of the artist. Some are quite subdued in earthy tones often ornamented with emu or bush turkey feathers. Others are quite outstanding in the use of pinks, yellows, greens and blue dyed grasses! Each work has a life and personality/vitality of its own and visitors will often find themselves drawn to a particular basket.

At home, they look beautiful on a shelf with other treasures - My favourite basket sits next to a very special glass piece in my living room. The warm yellow hues in the glass glow next to the natural tones of the grasses and raffia used in the basket.

But they can also be very practical. Some of the flatter dish-like pieces make great places to keep jewellery on your bed side table. (...and won’t scratch because they are made of lovely soft grasses!) If you are looking for a wall feature, these baskets look great hung in groups by small hooks.

These baskets never stick around long at Collect, and most are under $35 each, so as soon as word gets out they go flying off the shelves! I recommend popping in and checking out the new collection. You won’t be disappointed!