MEET THE MAKER | Kristin Myhill of Spade Wood
I came across Kris’ stunning work on a mutual Facebook group for incredible, creative businesswomen, and holey moley am I glad I did! Kris’ work is the perfect way to complete any room, but most importantly, she pours her heart, creativity and craftsmanship into each piece so you really feel a connection between the artworks and their maker.
Tell me a bit about your business.
Spadewood is a small workshop and studio I run out of my garage in Northcote. I create one of a kind timber wall hangings, which I sell out of my own webstore, a few shops and design markets. A lot of people interested in my work are building a new home or have a specific space in mind; and so I love to do commissions and work with people to design and create that perfect piece made to any size and timber that works best in their home.
What drew you to this form of creativity?
I studied Interior Design and spent 10 years working in the residential and commercial furniture design industries. When you’re surrounded by beautiful design and inspirational people all the time, it’s extremely motivational and gets your own creative juices flowing. So being in that environment definitely sparked something in me. At the time I didn’t quite know what I was looking for, but I found myself constantly sketching. I was drawn to simple forms, repetitive patterns, and knew I wanted to make something with my own two hands from start to finish. If it wasn’t going to be furniture, I knew it had to be something with dimension, something somewhat sculptural and made with natural materials.
How did you get started?
It’s been a very slow process! I had two children, left my job and spent some time in the country for a couple of years. It was a period of time when I was able to live a slow life and really figure out what I was passionate about.
I was extremely drawn to working with timber. Maybe because of my background in furniture, or maybe from the woodworking course I took years ago. The smell of saw dust is so nostalgic for me; it’s almost intoxicating.
So it was really just a matter of just getting one idea onto paper, buying the materials, and just going for it!
What does a usual day look like to you?
Coffee. It always starts with coffee and breakfast. I’m a huge fan of a big breakfast to get me through the day, because some days can be quite physical. When that’s the case, I’m in the workshop and usually working on more than one piece at a time. So this might mean an entire day spent measuring and cutting.
Other days might be spent looking for inspiration or sourcing new materials and suppliers. I also might devote a bit of time seeking like-minded people to connect with or researching different avenues to sell my pieces in local or online markets and shops.
What do you enjoy most about making?
I think what I enjoy most is having a vision, executing it, and seeing come to fruition. There is almost nothing more satisfying to me; holding something you dreamed up in your hands.
What projects are you working on right now?
Currently I’m designing a piece that spans floor to ceiling. It will be made of cedar and part of my horizon range. It has a real mid century vibe and I’m excited to see what kind of impact it will have in a space. I’m also playing with some Japanese carving tools and experimenting a bit more with paint on larger pieces of timber.
How do you start a piece? What is your process?
Starting a piece usually involves coming across something that inspires me while looking through books, magazines or scrolling instagram. I’ll save images that resonate with me; whether it be derived from architecture, textiles, art, or even nature. Then I’ll usually take to my sketchbook and come up with an overall shape for a piece. I’ll work out the proportions and colour scheme, then usually chuck it into AutoCAD to further refine the size and scale of the piece.
Once I’m happy, I’ll head out to my workshop to choose my timber and start measuring, cutting and drilling. Hopefully it’s a warm, sunny day so I can sit in the garden and sand. Sanding is probably the least fun part of the process because it’s quite tedious, but also when I really start to see the piece taking shape. Next, a couple of coats of oil then it’s ready to be assembled.
Because there is nothing better. Handmade means real thought was put into the design. Then love, care and attention in the making process usually follows. What you then get is something that will last a lifetime. I don’t know why anyone would bother making anything by hand otherwise, because it’s bloody hard work!
What are your goals for the future?
My goals for the future would be to work with designers on large commission pieces for beautiful hospitality or retail spaces. I would love to design a piece or multiple pieces that fit together to make a big impact in a café, shop or even a boutique hotel.
What is something that you couldn't live without?
Music. I always have music playing, especially when I’m in the workshop. It drives me and lifts my mood, so it’s essential.
If you would like to learn more about the beautiful products that Kris makes or purchase some for yourself, go check out her online store or social media accounts: