The Henry Collective: Victoria Keesing

Thank you for being a part of the Henry Collective it is a great place to showcase and promote your designs as well as being part of a collective that supports artisans from all mediums.
Tell us about what you do I design and make furniture. 

Beautiful pieces that are designed to last and to, over time, proudly wear the knocks and bruises that make them part of your home.  I believe that furniture is more than something to sit on or eat off, it is the art form on to which you imprint your family’s story.

 

What was the path that led you to be a… (designer and make furniture.  )

I dreamed of being an architect as a young girl.  Life, as it is inclined to do, got in the way and I built a very successful corporate career instead.  About 15 years ago that same need to design and make tangible objects reemerged for me and I enrolled in a CAE furniture making program.  Having been completely captured by the medium, I joined Richard Crosland’s School of Fine Furniture where I found the mentor and community to help me develop the woodworking and engineering skills that would be needed to give form to the shapes that emerged in my mind.  In 2013 I felt I wanted to explore whether I could make this passion a much larger part of my life and I wanted to test and stretch my design thinking. I attended the Florence Institute of Design furniture design program in Italy – a totally magical period that exposed me to many different ways of thinking and designing.    It created a turning point for me – I came back and decided to reduce my corporate activities and get started on my new furniture design venture.

How would you describe your personal style?

A bit quirky, Standout and interesting pieces of jewellry and clothing attract me.  In my home I like to see the elements of my life come together, so every part of the world I have been to is represented by special pieces mixed in with many objects from local artists and designers.

 

Do you have a particular material or object that you love to use?

Wood and copper are my current materials of choice and my favourite tools in the workshop are my beautiful Lie Nielson chisels and Blue Spruce Mallet.

 

Where would you like to fly to in the world next?

I am going back to Paris and then on to Buenos Airies next – two beautiful cities that fill me with inspiration.

 

What is your favourite building?

My current favourite building is the Frank Gehry paper bag building

 

What is your favourite Interior Style?

Modern but not minimalist.

 

If you could choose a piece of furniture to add to your collection what would it be? and why?

I would love the Peacock Chair by Dror Benshetrit for Capellini.  It is sensuous in shape and touch, provides the interesting counterpoint of colours from one side of the fabric to the other and just invites you to be seated.

Peacock Chair by Dror Benshetrit for Capellini
What is your essential piece of clothing?

A great pair of shoes

 

Jewellery has been worn by men and women for centuries what is your favourite piece?

I have a wide woven silver bangle my husband bought me that is quite old and just feels like it belongs on my arm.

 

What is a Movie or Book that you have enjoyed recently?

Pride – a fabulous story about Gay rights and the Miners dispute in the UK in the 80’s.

 

What is your favourite restaurant?

Billy Kwong – the mindfulness and flavour Kylie brings to her food is all her own

 

Where do you go out to in your town?

I go to the Belvoir for theatre and to the Opera House for concerts

 

People will see you regularly at?

I am at the Eveleigh Markets every Saturday morning picking up beautiful fresh organic produce for the week.

 

What is your favourite piece in the Henry Corbett & Co. boutique?

I love the big couch in the window

 

What is your favourite:
  • Furniture item: My well loved pair of chairs by James Salmond
  • Art piece: A beautiful large blue pot by Graeme Storm left to me by my mother
How would you describe your design/individual style?

Slightly eclectic.  I love pared back simple design that plays with counterpoint – colour, grain, or material. But am also drawn to the quirky and slightly experimental where I play with bringing techniques such as weaving into some of my designs.

 

What gives you inspiration? 

I find inspiration everywhere.  My Seedpod is obviously inspired by a pod containing a single seed, while my screw top collection was inspired by the look of a phillips screw driver – allowing lines and curves to form themselves around that criss cross shape 

“The screw top table” subtly brings the cross groove onto the top of the table.
Name a person who has been a creative leader to you? 

Arch. Leonardo Rossano from the Florence Institute of Design really pushed my design thinking and style.  He challenged me in new ways and to work with unfamiliar materials.  He encouraged me to think creatively to create a conversation between lines.

The DNA bench by Rossano and Mansur by kind permission of Arch. L. Rossano
Who is someone that has inspired you from your field?

James Salmond has deeply inspired me – I am in awe of his single-minded focus on being a furniture designer; he has carved his own path in the Australian market delivering beautiful, sophisticated and sometimes whimsical pieces.  His work is gorgeous and his spirit generous.

 

What has been your most exciting project?

I think building the seed pod.  It has had a number of iterations and is lovingly crafted – from creating the basic shapes, cutting them out on the bandsaw, rounding them off with the router and spoke shave and finally sanding and waxing them.  It was intellectually challenging to move it from sketch and idea to a working piece, and a highly sensuous experience to draw the organic forms from flat pieces of timber.

Object of desire:

A piece of glass by Ann Robinson

Classic item:

A hand carved and adzed rocking chair that I received for my 16th birthday

Inspiring advice you would give to new people wanting to start in your field?

Learn as much as you can to build your confidence and then find your own voice

 

Lastly what is the best thing about being a..…

furniture designer is that you get to create new three dimensional stories that you can share with others every day

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