Winners of the Etsy Design Awards
The winners of the first-ever Etsy Design Awards have been announced, and I’m delighted to see that the chosen six designers represent a rather handsome pool of Australian design talent.
The winner of the Community’s Choice award is Fairina Cheng, a Sydney-based jewellery designer who combines both 3D printing technologies with traditional hand skills to produce a line of contemporary jewellery using materials such as natural gemstones, sterling silver, gold and stainless steel mesh. Best buys include her tiny sterling silver stud earrings.
Fairina wins a trip to Etsy’s Brooklyn-based headquarters, as well as a dedicated feature in Inside Out magazine, along with a host of opportunities to promote her business within the design industry.
The other five category winners are:
Fashion and Accessories: Britta Broekmann from Bold B
After studying Industrial Design in Germany, Britta discovered a passion for working with wood. She now lives in Melbourne where she designs and makes all her jewellery from her home workshop. Britta developed her signature resin & wood jewellery making technique when she was part of a community woodworking group in Wangaratta, Victoria. Best buys include the large statement ring.
Art and Illustration: Jo and Andy from Olive and the Volcano
Husband and wife duo Andy and Jo design, print and make letterpress paper-goods from their home studio in the hinterland of the Tweed Valley in Australia. Best buys include letterpress Christmas cards and bunting.
Business as Unusual: Kylie Gusset from Ton of Wool
Ton of Wool is a social enterprise founded by Kylie Gusset which involves the whole yarn-making process from sheep to skein. Passionate about locally-grown and manufactured yarn, Ton of Wool products are made from the sheep of the founding family of the Cormo (Corriedale + Merino) breed in Tasmania. Each skein is not only a skein of wool, but a piece of Australian history. Best buys include their mini sample pack of Cormo wool.
Home and Living: Mei Ong from Vice and Velvet
Melbourne-based Mei Ong creates a beautifully-designed collection of bath and body products that are handmade from scratch using natural, sustainably-sourced ingredients. She never uses pre-manufactured “bases” and ice & Velvet products are 100 per cent vegan and tested only on human beings. Best buys include the mini gift set of signature gem soaps.
New Talent: Carl Holder from Foreply
Product designer and artist Carl Holder is based on the Sunshine Coast and creates furniture pieces that are both wonderfully sculptural and immensely practical. Inspired by mid-century modern design, his pieces are made from Forest Stewardship Council-certified Australian local sustainable timbers. Best buys include his plus-minus stool/side table.
The winners were selected from a pool of 58 amazing finalists, and were judged by leading Australian design and creative industry experts including Claire Bowditch (creative business mentor, singer and actor), Jason Grant (Interior stylist, author and blogger) and Claire Bradley (Editor-in-Chief, Inside Out).
I mentioned in my blog post about the finalists that I didn’t envy the task ahead of the judges, as the standard of talent was exceptionally high, and the actual pool of design represented was extremely diverse. How do you compare the likes of intricate custom-made paper doll creations with handcrafted organic soap or skeins of rare-breed wool? And there were some seriously strong contenders for each category.
You can see (and shop) the products of all 58 finalists over on my Etsy Tastemaker’s page. It makes for a really strong snapshot of the diversity and talent of Australian design. Head on over and check them out – it’s a great opportunity to buy something special and unique for Christmas, and you’ll also be supporting these brilliant Australian small businesses.
Tell me: what do you think of the winners? Did your favourite Australian Etsy seller win?