Melanie Porter Design is a studio focused on using traditional crafts to create handmade furniture and furnishings for customers looking for truly individual, handcrafted items. Working with clients to create bespoke colour and pattern designs, founder Melanie Porter is dedicated to ensuring every customer has a beautifully crafted item which fits perfectly in their home.
Melanie’s work was on show at the Design Nation group stand and Decorex. Design Nation asked Melanie some questions about her practice and the experience at Decorex.
Design Nation asked: Who has been your most influential teacher or mentor?
MP:My mother has had a greater influence on my work than anyone. She has in her time been a teacher of spinning and weaving and been a practising artist with a phenomenal use of colour. Countless times she has suggested new techniques for me to try to get the effect I wanted to achieve, including teaching me how to spin my giant knit yarn when I was unable to find any commercial source.
DN: What inspires you?
MP: Craft techniques and materials. I hoard fabrics and fibres I want to work with and I have a library of books on traditional crafts. I often have a visual idea of what I want to create, and then work with different materials or techniques to achieve the result I am looking for.
DN: If you weren’t a designer what would you be?
MP: I always tell my husband I would have been a mathematician He thinks its best I stick with design.
DN: Do you work hard on your PR or do you work with others on marketing?
MP: I really believe in PR and spent nearly 1/2 my time for the first few years actively marketing my work. I now work with an agency to field enquiries and create a more focused marketing plan.
DN: Can you tell us a bit about the collaborative aspect of your new work for Decorex?
MP: The collaboration with Wychwood has enabled me to launch a ‘Made to Order’ collection. They are able to create a wide range of highest quality frames for me to work with so I am now able to produce a series of chairs, without having to compromise because I am unable to find what I want with available vintage ones.
DN: Can you tell us about the experience of this year’s Decorex?
MP: The experience of Decorex was amazing. Just being there supported by Design Nation in itself was a massive deal for me, but the feedback and interest at the show was really exciting, and orders started coming through even before the end of day 1. I couldn’t have hoped for more.
DN: What are the main challenges in your practice?
MP: Time and value. Many of the techniques I use are slow, handcrafted finishes which I have to balance with a commercial sensibility.
DN: Where would you like your practice to be in 10 years?
MP: In 10 years I will happy if in I am still working to develop challenging bespoke commissions, be that knitted furniture or an exciting new medium.
DN: If you could collaborate with someone who would you like that to be?
MP: I have been having a few really exciting conversations with several ceramicists discussing the possibility of playing with knit and ceramics, and even taking that into 3d printing.