Tim of Hunchmark

Meet Tim. The local behind Hunchmark. Tim's ceramic works have been on the shelves of Kind Curations since day one. We stumbled upon Hunchmark via his architect brother who assisted in the design of our fit-out. What a creative and talented bunch! Tim is insightful, talented and kind, and we are so proud to have his pieces in store.

What's a typical day like for you?

My daily routine consists of either sleeping in or going for a surf. Then I make a large pot of plunger coffee and some breakfast and head down to the little studio set up in my garage. Then I’ll check my emails and write a to-do list and that’s about it for normality.

Some days I’ll spend building orders of ceramic cups, bowls and plant pots for stores. Sometimes I’ll spend the whole day building a sculpture. Other days I have to deliver stock around the Gold Coast and Brisbane, post online orders, drop off pieces for firing, plan some social media posts or photo shoots. I also regularly look over my business model and update anything that needs changing. Some days I’ll spend researching manufacturing techniques like chainsaw carving for a recent chair design or researching local clay. Some days I spend organising Makers Take events and installations or building them along with the rest of the Makers Take team. Like the recently completed Christmas installation at HOTA, which consists of tiered seating modules and catamaran nets. Then sometimes I’ll be making furniture like the collaboration with Daniel Wilson Studio down in Byron Bay. Then on Friday nights, I tutor ceramic hand-building at The Ceramic House in Brisbane, which is quite fun as it’s a BYO class.

Tell us about your creative process? Where do you draw inspiration from?

My creative process for my design work usually starts with some abstract idea about a product I would like or a product that I see a problem with. Then I will start sketching and just draw as many iterations as possible, thinking about how the piece will be used and trying to overcome any potential problems. Then I will make a prototype in clay or I will model it on the computer. Usually, after about the second or third model, I’ll have a piece that I’m happy with. With the sculptures however, I basically just have an idea of what I want to express and then I just go ahead and make the piece which can take up to 12 hours.

A large portion of inspiration comes from questioning our current way of life in a technology-crazed world and looking back to ancient ways of life where everything was made by hand using natural materials. I find myself continually drawn to this model because of its simplicity which humans seem to have forgotten about. I find it easier to design a product which is sustainable and of high quality by keeping the production method really simple. This goes for material use as well. Where I can, I try to show off the natural materials rather than cover it up, whether its unglazed clay or oiled timber.

The two sculptures we currently have in store are so intricate, smooth and like nothing we've ever seen before. Tell us more about these pieces and how they're formed?
So I started making sculptures in clay about 4 months ago and was really trying to push myself and the clay to the extremes. None of the pieces have any internal support which means the clay wants to sag wherever the weight is and this can cause a lot of issues with the structural integrity during the drying and firing process. So to combat this I start each piece with a solid block of clay which I stretch out and poke holes through to create the rough shape. As I do this I will be working quite fast and trying to find any week spots where the clay wants to sag or tip over and I will give them more support. This method is quite a difficult way of making and not very common, but once you get used to it, it means you can create pieces in any shape which will also be stronger because they don’t have joins. After the rough shape is finished, usually in about 2 hours, I then spend about 6-10 hours smoothing out the faces and refining the curves and edges. Then depending on the pieces, some will be fired with glaze and some without.

How did you get into ceramics and are there any other mediums you enjoy?

I actually started doing ceramics when I was in primary school, my parents would take me and my brother to art classes on the weekend with this lady who did private classes for kids. I remember really loving clay then and seemed to have the right amount of patience for it. Then through high school, I did a little bit but stopped doing the art subject in about grade 9 because I kept challenging the teachers and would just end up arguing with them. 

Then I got really into timber furniture, I did a carpentry apprenticeship and then decided to go to uni and study product design where I think I tailored every assignment around a piece of furniture. Then when I finished uni 2 years ago I was a bit sick of timber so I did a 1-day class in ceramics and just got super obsessed with it. It was actually really liberating because if you want to make any extravagantly curved object in timber, it’s really really hard, but with clay, you can just push and pull whichever way you want it to go. At the same time, since about second-year uni, I was trying to build my homewares and furniture brand: Hunchmark, and so I just kept designing and making coffee cups and plant pots with the intention to make a business out of it.

What's the best advice you've ever been given?

My first ever job I worked in this dessert restaurant in Brisbane and the chef was teaching me how to cook so he could sit out the back and smoke. But he was a really good chef and he told me don’t be afraid of using your hands, your hands are your best tools. I think that definitely stuck with me because I make all of my ceramic pieces in the pinch-pot technique (using only your hands) and very rarely use any equipment.