Q&A with Jon Goulder

We chat to Jon Goulder, Creative Director of Furniture Studio, Jam Factory about his practice, place and the popularity of Jam Factory.

What are the reciprocal forces shaping Jam Factory's creative community and Adelaide as a city?

It’s directly down to Brian Parkes and directly down to the people that he attracts to take up the vision of creative directors. Jam Factory is 40 years old, it’s a very old and established arts, craft and design facility. It’s had many opportunities to flourish nationally and internationally. The popularity of Jam Factory at the moment is down to a growing trend for people to be makers and also Brian Parkes attracts good people as we have seen with Object Gallery, and being from Sydney is very dynamic and an influential leader.

At Parallels your presentation was based on your philosophy "adaptable species are the most resilient". Can you tell us how this philosophy shapes the model for Jam Factory's furniture design studio and your day to day practice?

The Jam Factory furniture studio is my practice, I don’t really differentiate between this and my practice. My six associates are working in my practice and are exposed to the way I operate as a business. This model is based on my practice which is about diversity – if you’re an industrial designer such as say Adam Goodrum, you may not be able to use this model because you’re not a maker. I have quite a diverse set of skills so therefore my practice is quite diverse. I’ve identified a number of different streams and modes of practice that represent streams of income specifically because I’m a designer, I’m a maker, I do a number of different things. They add up to an economically sustainable practice which is what the guys at Jam Factory are exposed to because they are interested in similar things. I think diversity is the word, it’s not really a model, its just about being diverse in what you do and seeing yourself try lots of different things. A creative practice could be two days a week lecturing at a university, then freelance design for a firm doing industrial design, and then managing a collection that’s self manufactured. It’s just about being diverse and not seeing your practice in the traditional sense which in a sense is standing at a bench making furniture all day and expecting to be paid for it. I think its about embracing different things.

As a fourth-generation furniture maker, can you provide insight into the local factors that can influence the longevity of makers and their practice?

It comes down to an individual’s motivation, drive and commitment. If an individual is motivated enough to capitalise on the opportunities that present itself locally then they will be successful. At Jam Factory I don’t teach. I’m more of a motivator and facilitator, and I’m really interested in work ethic and how people can apply themselves. The reality of being a designer and a maker is you have to be able to work 10-12 hours a day, six days a week or you won’t succeed and within this you have to be incredibly self motivated. I provide a workspace and a working model, a set of guidelines and parameters that make people do that. If you can’t put a 10 hour day together 5 days a week then you won’t get a spot in this workshop. This ensures that when the associates leave they will know what it takes to be successful.

What’s your top picks from Jam Factory’s online shop in the lead-up to Christmas?
I would say Daniel Tucker who's just done a beautiful wooden bowl which in real life is really quite special.

You can view more from Jam Factory’s online shop here.