Designer and furniture-maker Rachel Vosila’s Marrickville studio brims with sunlight; filled with unique objects and purposefully haphazard ornaments. She explains the projects that she’s been working on with a self-assured enthusiasm, detailing the process behind each innovative creation. From the handcrafted wooden rattle she’s just put together for her friend’s baby shower, to the individually named pot-plants fastened with clay faces—everything seems to have a personality of its own.
This idiosyncrasy is something that has informed Rachel’s experimental practice, and its clear that well-made, considered, sustainable design is at the forefront of her work. We caught up with Rachel to discuss the ins and outs of being an object designer.
Firstly, How did your career in object design and creation come about?
I didn’t really have a clue about direction when I left school, and I think my results reflected that. Thankfully, I was accepted into COFA doing Arts, majoring in Sculpture. I immediately fell in love with the tactile nature of the practice and how quickly I could generate an idea into reality. After transferring into the Bachelor of Design, I naturally took object classes and my passion has continued to grow from there.
Your studio is full of lights, plants and other creative people working around you. Does your working environment affect your productivity?
The environment I work in definitely has a major impact on my practice. Having a place full of light and fresh air while I am thinking or making keeps me focused, however being surrounded by other makers - learning their practice and sharing skills and ideas is what helps us to grow and further ourselves as designers. So yes!
Do you have an ethos or maxim that you live or work by?
This is something I have been making an effort to define/redefine this past year and a half for myself. I love hearing and telling stories, as a tool for learning and sharing and recording - both important and insignificant histories. I am beginning to build new narrative back into my practice and haven’t been this excited about my work since I was studying.
I know you've been experimenting with different materials lately (the foam pool noodle chair in your studio, for example!) what's the most interesting or fun material you've worked with?
Well lately, definitely the pool noodle! Though across my practice the most interesting for me was working with and coming to understand Australian Sandstone.
What are you reading/doing/listening to that's inspiring you at the moment?
Wrap yours ears around the Beautiful/Anonymous Podcast by Chris Gethard. I can’t recommend this enough.
In 2015, you made a chair a week for the whole year, resulting in 52 unique pieces of furniture. Do you have any other large-scale projects on the horizon?
Nothing quite to the scale of One-A-Week, however circling back to re-defining my ethos - I have been writing silly stories rooted in Australian history and culture (though completely fictional of-course) which have informed the furniture and objects I am currently working on. These are new and exciting for me!
And finally, do you have a favourite piece that you've made? Or one that's of particular significance to you?
I don’t know if I have a favourite piece, though I still look often wonder how I made 52 chairs and 52 weeks. The entire process of growth and persistent practice is pretty significant to me, looking back. I don’t know how I did that.
Photography: Ben Murphy
Rachel wears the Dallas frames in gold, the Harper frames in Spearmint and the Ward frames in Rosé