This post is a bit of a mashup of our Friends & Neighbours and Making Friday features, because it’s a story about a South African designer who credits his start as a furniture designer to my Making Fridays idea.
I met Gareth Henderson of GIH Studio on a glaringly hot rooftop in Cape Town earlier this year, as we both posed for a photo to promote the Darlings of Design group, who are showing together at the Design Joburg show on 11 May. On that rooftop he told me that after hearing about my Making Fridays, where I intentionally do work in my studio outside of normal business-related design work, he was inspired to do the same, and it had some positive results for him! This is how he tells it:
“The story begins with me following Heather on instagram. I saw that she’d started a hashtag #makingfriday, sharing projects like macrame hangers and papercutting, and I was surprised that a much-admired designer was taking on small, seemingly insignificant projects that weren’t quite in line with her brand.
I read a bit more about what Making Friday is all about (see here), and what resonated with me was that Heather was dedicating precious time to exploring and just doing stuff, and not just concentrating on the things that she was selling. It was one of those if-this-is-what-a-well-
“It took some time – maybe 2 or 3 years – before I could afford to prototype and rack up some designs, but #makingfriday was what got me started. That, and many, many lists, as well as professional friends keeping me accountable to my dreams, means that now I’m on the same stand as Skinny laMinx at Design Joburg.
Of course, I have to add that there were many flops and failures in that furniture along the way, but you have to start somewhere, right? And now I know that dedicating time to a pursuit makes it into a goal rather than just a dream.”
It was so great to meet Gareth and to hear his story, and to know that the time I take away from ‘proper’ work is beneficial not only to me, but to other designers too!