By Andrea McArthur
For as long as I can remember I have been in love with statement jewellery pieces, pieces that 'speak' to you. Fran Mether of the Melbourne based accessories label Mooku designs and crafts such pieces. All Mooku pieces are handmade from quality materials including: resin, bamboo and sterling silver. Each piece a statement in itself.
It’s Fran's love of simple clean lines, modern design and colour that guides the flow of inspiration for each piece. In working closely with local and international craftspeople, Fran’s unique jewellery range stays both contemporary and original.
What led you down your current path?
I studied Industrial Design at University of Canberra and then went on to work in packaging and homewares design. Trend and colour forecasting became a major part of each role I had, and now I utilise these skills and my love of colour to build collections and stories through Mooku’s jewellery.
Working for some of Australia’s major retailers was an excellent training ground for me as a designer and helped me develop a specific set of skills. Through Mooku I now love the fact that I can design my own ideas and use sources of inspiration that aren’t necessarily part of any commercial trend.
Where do you feel most inspired?
My mind is ticking all day long with new ideas - admiring a shade of colour, a typeface on the side of the bus, or a cool silhouette of a 1970’s lamp shade. But at the end of each day I need a calm corner or a cosy bed to sit back and reflect on the things I’ve seen during the day. One inspired form can ignite many pages of drawing in my sketch book.
Who do you admire?
What has been your most favourite project in recent years?
Designing my latest range. Whilst not due out until August, ‘Cabin Retreat’ will bring to life some new exciting pieces I have been working on for the last six months.
During the first two years of my business I worked with a number of suppliers and crafts people. Today I have now established great relationships with many of them and am able to explore new techniques and materials with them and my new range highlights this important evolution.
What does a typical day at work involve for you?
First thing in the morning my husband and I take turns at getting up with the kids whilst the other sleeps in – both of us are night owls so our mornings are typically very slow.
A few days a week I get to concentrate solely on Mooku. My day usually consists of coffee (an absolute necessity in the morning), emails, printing out new orders, then I knuckle down to work on big projects for the week – this may be updating my website, developing new packaging artwork, preparing for a market or designing my next range… the list goes on!
My working hours often continue well into the evenings after the kids are in bed and I’m usually emailing suppliers, packing orders or working on the accounts (or I ask my husband to!).
What future plans do you have for your creative business?
The next big plan is to launch my new range at this years Melbourne Life In Style. At Life In Style I am aiming to meet some amazing independent retailers that I can introduce my label to. The event will be a huge learning curve for me but I am really excited.
5 Questions in 5 minutes
Studio Sounds, what's playing?
For me - The Audrey’s
For the kids - Justine Clarke
What are you currently reading?
‘The Whole-Brain Child’, by Daniel J Siegel & Tina Payne Bryson. I’m trying to make sense of my three-and-a-half year old!
I am also reading a series of recently discovered letters my Finnish Grandfather wrote to his own father. The letters date from 1919 when he was not yet 16 as a Finnish soldier and they continue on through his life when he moved to Australia. There are over one hundred letters in total.
Can you share a few of your go to inspiration resources?
- And a whole bookcase of historical design and interior books I have collected over the years.
What is your local areas best kept secret?
Nearly three years ago we moved the family out to the leafy suburb of Montmorency (in the north-east of Melbourne, west of Eltham). It seems like a country town at times and we absolutely love the local shopping village on Were Street. Some of the best coffee in Melbourne can be found at The Were Street Food Store or Espresso 3094.
Andrea McArthur has a passion for all things visual. Type is her true love and goes weak at the knees over beautiful design. Andrea works as a freelance graphic designer in Brisbane by day and lectures in graphic design by night. You will find her sharing design related goodness via @andyjane_mc
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