Trade clv | Month 21 | Autumn
It was Fred’s vintage Mercedes that I fell in love with first. Then it was his attitude on life. Then it was his family. Finally it was his project, Handkrafted. The order of that is purely the sequence in which I was truly introduced to each. He picked me up fresh and chirpy from the airport (that’s a lie, I just flew in from India and was wrecked). Before I knew it I was looking onto a forest in the middle of Sydney, of all places, and smelling the crisp damp Autumn air. It sounds simple because I’m not giving you much, it meant the world to me.
The Pixel Trade was photographing a number of craftsmen for Handkrafted, a new startup Fred has been investing every part of his life towards. This is the very basic gist of how it works: If you want something custom made Handkrafted.com will connect you with makers, designers and artisans who do exactly that, pump their creations full of love and hand it over to you.
In the early stages you can find creators in the woodwork realm within Australia but this will grow over the years to incorporate more countries more makers and essentially allow us to appreciate and have access to handmade. Not handmade like all those fucking adverts you see across the globe from multinationals in food or design, who stick some makeup on a smiling character and throw some dust in the air to show how much ‘love’ goes into what they make. Instead Handkrafted will remain the perfect definition of made with love by hand, for real.
| note: if the images don't fit on your screen, don't be frightened to click on them |
Interview with Fred
Describe your most memorable adventure as a child.
I loved making things ... I'd create these tricks and contraptions to do things like automatically open and close doors using strings and pulleys. This evolved into a fascination with making my own quasi-fireworks and things like booby trapping my sisters doors or wardrobe to create loud bangs when she opened them. Looking back I think it's the creative freedom and experimentation I enjoyed so much ... I'm now trying to do more of that kind of thing (creative experimentation that is, less so on the pyrotechnics front).
What is the purpose of Handkrafted?
Handkrafted exists to help people connect directly with craftspeople and artisans to get things custom made.
It's about providing people with an alternative to the poor quality mass-produced goods that have become so commonly available ... an alternative that's better quality, made-to-last, sustainable and authentic.
Why don't we more often connect with the makers behind the products we buy - in doing so we can appreciate not only where something was made, but who made it, how it was made and maybe even have a part in shaping it's design.
We kicked off earlier this year with a focus on Australian woodworkers and furniture makers but will soon expand to incorporate a broader range of crafts and geographies.
As it grows what changes do you think it will create in the artisan community?
I'd like to think that Handkrafted helps empower artisans and craftspeople by providing them with the platform and tools they need to not only help them connect with buyers, but also connect with and seek inspiration from other makers in a global community. We're already receiving encouraging feedback from makers who have become so inspired after finding and connecting with other makers through our platform.
What has been the most interesting part of starting Handkrafted?
Without a doubt it's been meeting and visiting makers in their workshops. I love that their backstories are often far from what you might expect, for example I hadn't expected to come across so many corporate escapees; ex-lawyers or ex-bankers turned woodworkers ... the only common defining theme amongst the makers I meet is simply that the art and act of making is what drives them. There's nothing better than being around talented people who are doing what they love.
What has been the two biggest headaches trying to get it going?
Not having enough time in the day or money in the bank ;-) ... surely these are the two biggest sources of most of my startup related headaches and heartaches. Yet in both cases I'm learning to overcome them with a remedy of equal parts patience and inventiveness.
If you could do anything tomorrow what would you do?
Without wanting to seem corny (but I suspect I will anyway), and without challenging either of the two constraints noted in the prior question, I kind of feel that I'm in the fortunate position that I can exactly what I want tomorrow.
While probably not exciting enough to be printed in this interview, the honest answer is that I could think of nothing better to do tomorrow (which is a Sunday) than starting the day with a little sleep in (no easy feat when you have an 8 month old and 3 year old) ... going for a walk together with my wife and children out somewhere in the sun and overlooking the water ... picking up some fresh bread and ingredients to go home and together cook a hearty soup for lunch ... set aside a little time to work on my business ... read and listen to music in the evening. Delightfully uneventful :-).
What was one of the most dangerous times of your life?
Hmm, well this is a tough one. It may have been the time I found myself a little short changed and light headed while in Morocco travelling many years ago. Here's the scene: I'm somehow convinced by the 'friendly' guide I met to go and share some tea with his family ... he leads me through a maze of laneways in the old town to a little house ... a friend of his appears and conveniently offers me a sample of the potent local herbs ... I'm then blackmailed into giving up all the cash I had on me. Probably not the most dangerous, but very possibly one of the most foolish.
Although perhaps the most dangerous period in my life may have actually been the years I spent unfulfilled in a profession and work environment that I wasn't truly happy in ... a dangerous predicament in that I may never have escaped!
What was one of the most rewarding times of your life?
Right now. Having a young family and initiating a project that I feel so passionately about (...or perhaps I'm just delirious from sleep deprivation).
If you could teach your kids one thing, what would it be?
Describe your most memorable adventure as an adult.
Same answer as the question regarding the most rewarding time of my life ... I'm still very much in the thick of this current adventure.
If you had to recommend a favourite music album, what would it be?
Too many favourites - this is a hard one. If there's one album that somehow has managed to remain in my playlists when everything else seems to get shuffled around it, it would have to be 'El Carretero' by Guillermo Portables (a wonderful Cuban singer songwriter popular in the 1960s, an album my dad gave me many many years ago).