Kyneton, VIC, Australia
Rowsaan is a metal smithing practice working out of Rowan McLachlan and Saan Davidson’s home in Kyneton. The pair hand-make objects for the home including hooks, furniture handles, chef knives and spoons. Rowsaan aims to make objects that are simple in form but have a high level of detail and are used everyday in many homes.
I spent the sunniest of winter days at Rowan and Saan’s workshop. The first thing I saw was their beautiful wares laid out on the workbench illuminated in soft sun. As the day went on I became mesmerised by the way they used raw elements to craft such refined and delicate pieces.
What inspires you and sustains your work? We admire thoughtfully crafted work designed for longevity and makers that have a body of work that comes out of exploration. Our work pairs quite specific functional requirements with an exploration of materials and the making process.
How do you find a work/life balance with running your own business? Finding a balance is definitely something we struggle with. Our Rowsaan work doesn’t sustain us financially yet so we both work part-time. When working from home, it’s hard to separate ourselves from our work but we try to have a day where Rowsaan isn’t discussed and we don’t enter the workshop. Our favourite way to unwind is to go for a walk in the nearby bush with our dog and enjoy a good TV series.
How does your environment nurture your process and work? What elements do you enjoy most? We like working in a tidy and organised workshop with music or a podcast playing and a cuppa in hand. The workshop is zoned into blacksmithing at one end and our silversmithing bench at the other with machinery and workstations in the middle. This separates the cleaner processes from the dirtier ones and creates a good workflow. Our work is very process driven and most of our design development and testing is done on the tools rather than on paper so it makes for a more enjoyable time if everything is easy to locate and the workshop is clean.
Where did you first learn metalsmithing? We decided to set up a small workshop in a shared studio in Melbourne after we completed our studies in landscape architecture and textile design. Using the silversmithing skills Rowan developed in his family’s jewelry studio, we began designing and making metal objects.
For anyone starting a small business of his or her own, would you have any advice to share? We think Rowsaan has benefited from a slow development. Financially, we had to take our time setting up the workshop which gave us space to develop our designs. We also made the decision to hold off on selling our work until we felt our objects had been developed. This allowed us to focus on the multiple aspects of a small business without needing to meet a high flow of orders.