Guest Blogger | City of Makers Director: Scott Abraham
The program idea came about after first visiting Mjolk, the design store and gallery owned and run by John Baker and Julie Daoust Baker. When I visited the store my first impression was that it smelled really good! It smelt of fresh wood, John’s brother Frank who works in the shop informed me that it’s not just all the wood used in the display cabinets that produces the great aroma, but they also burn incense (sandalwood I think) to keep the scent just right. I think it’s this type of detail that really propels Mjolk to the levels of a real quality store.
The way the products are displayed in the store somehow enables you to appreciate them in a unique way. I’m not quite sure how they do it but it kind of elevates the objects to works of art whilst still making them accessible enough to able to pick them up and really enjoy them. Viewing things in this way has really had an effect on my appreciation of handmade work, in another store I might pass these products by, but somehow Mjolk makes you appreciate a beautiful object!
Where am I going with this?
I thought it might be a good idea to attempt to highlight people who make high quality hand crafted work in the way Mjolk highlights individual objects. John was able to suggest people in the city who were making high quality interesting work and so the idea came to life.
It was a really great experience meeting everyone who took part in the series, I felt lucky to get to see where these people produce their work, from Lubo’s workshop to Brian Richer’s stone carving studio. In the past I had often overlooked handmade items as just ‘craft’ but when you spend a little time looking at what these people do to produce what they do, you appreciate the skill and effort that goes into quality work.
City of Makers and Mjolk has made me re-evaluate my ideas on buying things. Previously money was often a main factor in buying anything from clothing to furniture, but now I see the value in quality items. Although you may have to pay more, the real value comes from the time and effort put into work by talented people and these items will probably be with you long after the cheap stuff has gone.
Watch all episodes of City of Makers on TV1!