My goodness it has been a long time between writing these. I'm very sorry if you were following along and were abruptly halted in your reading enjoyment! I have been so busy lately preparing for Christmas, and today is no exception, but I need to move away from the boxes and the pricing of stock, and the entering stock into Shopify... and instead do something somewhat creative and to remind me why we're doing Brown's, that's it's not all about boxes and computers!
So the maker story I'm sharing today is that of Studio Lemonade, which is the wood creations of Northern NSW based maker Ben Milliken. I found out about Ben because my beautiful friend Trish discovered his glorious creations at some markets on the Gold Coast and thought we would love his work, and we do.
Ben actually started carving timber when he was 9 years old, it sounds rather terrifying to me as a mother, but he said that he sharpened an old steak knife from the kitchen and would carve boats and animals out of wood. In his teens he continued to work with wood, and would carve pendants and rings.
As tends to happen to us all the hobbies of his early years were usurped by responsibilities - work and parenthood. Then a number of years ago Ben was in a car accident that left him with chronic pain, headaches and nausea, he was unable to work, and looking for things to fill his days. He took up archery bow making as a hobby, but the materials were expensive, so he would salvage timber from creek banks, old pallets, council pick ups and carpenter's bins, allowing him to continue to craft and make.
Through this salvaging process he found more wood than he could use, and much that was inappropriate for archery materials, and was amassing a stockpile to his partner's dismay... So he took up carving again, and starting researching and exploring the kinds of things he could make, and his beautiful Studio Lemonade spoons were the outcome.
He says "each piece of timber has its own character and challenges and there always seems to be more to learn, not just in techniques but in timber and botanical knowledge, part of the fun is the adventure of going bush or dumpster diving and never knowing what amazing timber you might find! Not to mention the satisfaction you get when someone chooses a spoon that seems to be made just for them or the person it's intended for, it just seems to have never ending potential that I can't get enough of".
I know I have said it before but it really is a complete joy to be able to showcase the work of passionate makers like Ben, and that through the process of selling his work at Brown's we both make a living. I also am loving learning more about a material I really know very little about through working with Ben, he is passionate about timber, and so every piece is named and described on the tag, I love reading about each gorgeous salvaged piece.