Meet Maggie Warrell, the clever designer and maker behind Postpress Design. Maggie has been present in the Orange design community for years, regularly participating in local markets and exhibitions as well as the Sydney and Melbourne Finders Keepers Markets. She has honed her unique style of cleverly designed jewellery over the past few years and continues to develop new work consistent with her unique aesthetic. Maggie uses silver, ply wood and magazine print to create her statement neck pieces as well as the more delicate and fine, every day necklaces and earrings. We caught up with Maggie at her beautiful mid-century home to find out more about her practice.
You've been making your Postpress jewellery for quite a few years now...Tell us about your background and how your brand got started.
I grew up in the Central West (Parkes), and following school I moved to Sydney to study Interior Architecture at UNSW. A requirement of my degree was to study a range of subjects outside of the core courses, so I was able to try jewellery design, graphic design and a number of courses centered around painting and life drawing. These opened me up creatively, and have probably influenced my creative path.
Before postpress became what it is today, it began as a way to use up a stockpile of rolled paper beads that I had made during spare moments, without initially having any direction for them other than keeping my hands busy. I started out making earrings, necklaces and bracelets with these beads and basic craft wire and findings, and gifting them to friends and family. I then began refining the designs, still utilising the rolled paper beads, but experimenting with more unique forms and combining these with recycled sterling silver. All of this was amongst working full time in the Architecture and Interior Design field, so there wasn't a huge amount of time to devote to this little hobby.
Fast forward to 2010, my partner Dan and I made the move to Orange, I made the shift to part time Interior Design work, and then to part time retail, and I had a whole lot more brain space and time to develop Postpress. I've had access to a great range of tools and technical assistance kindly (and mostly very patiently) provided by Dan, who has also helped with market displays (often on a very short turnaround!) I've experimented with a range of different materials, the designs have shifted from delicate to bold and back again, and I'm really just enjoying seeing how my work evolves.
You have a very unique style. How would you describe your aesthetic?
Postpress is all about clean lines, simplicity of form and the beautiful patterns and colours that are found in print media. I am, and always have been, strongly drawn to geometry, pattern, texture and colour. I love bright colour, however I like to use it with restraint, to allow it to 'breathe' against neutral, monochrome or more muted tones. I use a lot of strongly defined shapes, formed either in timber or recycled sterling silver, and accent these with very carefully selected coloured paper. I don't follow trends or create 'collections' as such, however if you look at the Postpress range as a whole, there are shapes that repeat and relate throughout.
Talk us through your design process. Why do you work with magazine paper, silver and wood?
I'd describe myself as a highly tactile person, so I'm naturally drawn to materials that not only look beautiful, but are lovely to touch. There's a really nice contrast in the look and feel of paper, silver and timber when combined. Oddly enough, I don't wear a lot of jewellery, so I guess the materials and forms I work with have also naturally tended to be simple, lightweight and delicate.
I don't tend to sit down and work out a design on paper, they generally develop in the hand, and often when I'm making a batch of existing designs. When I'm making the sterling silver wire pieces, I'll typically make the form, and see how it works when being worn, how it will move with the wearer, and from there decide which part of the form to highlight with paper. I can (and often do!) spend hours poring over magazine pages, trying to visualise how a certain picture or pattern on the page will translate onto a jewellery piece once it's cut, layered or wrapped. I love that every piece will be unique based on the different images they've come from.
Which Australian brands and designers inspire you?
I find inspiration all over the place, and often from non-jewellery-design sources, so this is a bit of an odd one to answer. I'm definitely drawn to the work of any artists or designers with a strong geometric or pattern aesthetic, or who are doing fun and interesting things with texture, materials, form and colour. Visual artists such as Michael Bond, Pete Cromer, Antoinette Ferwerda; ceramicists like Leah Jackson, Erin Lightfoot, Public Holiday; object and jewellery designers like Anna Varendorff, Peaches and Keen, Alison Jackson; product designers like Retro Print Revival, Coco Flip, Volker Haug...however most of all, I'm absolutely blown away by the range and depth of talent that is being uncovered in our own region by The Journey Person!
Tell us what you love about living in Orange.
Country living just feels like a natural fit for me, and having done the long commutes, apartment living and general frenetic pace that comes with city life, it's such a luxury to be able to walk into town within 20 minutes, and own a home with a lovely little garden to play in. I also love the colder weather, so the beautiful colours of Autumn and the crisp, cold days after heavy frosts are something I look forward to every year. It also feels like the town has really come alive in terms of the variety of great food, drink and emerging creativity. This is the place I've truly found my creative community. It's a great time to live here!