Friday, December 21, 2012

Q&A With Furniture Designer/Maker Lex Stobie

Lex has an exhibition currently showing in GalleryTwo at JamFactory, and was kind enough to answer a few questions and invite us to his Thebarton Studio. 

Tell us about your background, and what brought you to furniture design?
Before I left New Zealand I had been studying Mechanical Engineering with aspirations of transferring into Aeronautical Engineering. I was travelling around Northern Europe in my early twenties enjoying the aesthetics of a new way of living. My travels took me to The Netherlands and Scandinavia where I fell into the realm of Furniture Design.

Have you always been a maker/builder of things?
So long as I can remember. I was forever building things with my Lego or Cuisenaire Rods. I spent plenty of time in the shed at home trying new things while no one was looking.

Can you tell us about your studio?  Where is it? Do you work alone or with a team?
My studio is situated in George Street Studios, Thebarton. We are a group of six independent makers encompassing all things metal and wood. We make furniture, sculpture, surfboards, components and anything you can imagine. We work in a shared space with the intellectual property and technical skills that aid one another with our individual endeavors. It’s one of a kind and has been in existence for 13 years now.

Flera Ansikten at JamFactory GalleryTwo
 Tell us about Flera Ansikten.
Flera Ansikten is a collection of production, commission and one off pieces that I have been making over the last few years. It represents the diversity of style and work as well as the level of detail involved with these pieces.
Where does the name come from?
Flera Ansikten is Swedish for Multiple Faces. My wife is Swedish and our daily life is a mix of Swedish and Australian activities. I enjoy the diversity of lifestyle and the influences this translates into my work. The references to everyday luxuries are reflected in the pieces that I make.
The sign says it all- Outside Lex's Thebarton studio

Is there a magazine or website you regularly access for inspiration and ideas? (Feel free to list a few)
You know what, I’d love to say that there is one particular website or magazine that I draw upon for ideas and inspiration, but the truth is that if I did that I don’t think I’d get much done. They can be a bit of a distraction at times. I am a bit partial to Collect Magazine as I have been quite involved with the creators of tis fine publication. 

Do you do a lot of commission work? And what would a typical commission be?
Bucket loads! It could be anything from a dining table to a café fit out, an installation to a church. I do all types of work bar white boxes.

What is a typical day like for Lex Stobie?
How much time have you got? It’s pretty full on. I start early in the morning with a couple of coffees to get the brain firing then off to George Street. I might have to cut up some material, glue something to something else, cut another piece. I’ll answer some emails, write a few more, and shoot off on my bike to a meeting somewhere. Then back to the studio to do it all over again where I might have to order something from interstate or overseas to get ready for the days to come. After that I race home to put in time with my family before ‘bedtime’ and then tidy up the onslaught of children and their antics before collapsing into bed. I do this again and again. I love what I do and the people I meet. This year has been extreme as I’ve been working three days a week at the JamFactory in the furniture studio mentoring the Associates and running the program while continuing to run my own practice.

 Tell us about your role at JamFactory.
I’m a gun for hire! During 2012 I have been the program Manager in the Furniture Studio. I mentor the Associates as they traverse their futures as designers and makers. I assist in the running of the program and enterprise with all other departments and avenues that is the JamFactory. I have thoroughly enjoyed my role at the Jam and I hope to remain connected to the Jam as well as the high caliber of practitioners that graduate from the Associate Program.
You can follow Lex and his work online via his website and facebook: