Sitting down to write about the making process for our Stuart Smythe Concrete Pots Edition, I am trying to remember the first time we met Stuart and how. And I do not know? Maybe we reached out to him or the other way around? Sometimes connections are meant to be formed and we believe this to be true with Stuart.
Stuart Smythe moved to Bali like us to escape the hectic busy city lifestyle, which as he says was draining. For Stuart and for us, Bali feels very easy - the waves, the food, the people, the culture - It is a very unique part of the world, a cultural melting pot of everything thing he enjoys.
Stuart spends his days making art, taking photos, surfing and hanging out with his wife and new baby boy Kona. Their little family radiates positivity and love. Stuart and his family live a slower paced lifestyle and try to appreciate the smaller and simple details of living, and after spending time with them you leave any conversation wanting to be a better person. We knew working with Stuart was something we wanted to do and would be a process that we would enjoy each step of the way.
Meeting with Stuart we discussed ideas around what the Edition could look like and initially we were set on the idea of creating some ceramic pieces. But as fate would have it, around the same time we became good friends with a couple living in Bali who make beautiful concrete pots. Stuart also had met them out in the surf, so worlds collided (to be fair our little area of Canggu is pretty small) and so we went to work on making an Edition of concrete pots with Stuart and Slab Interiors.
Slab Interiors are a husband and wife team and have two beautiful little girls. They are extremely hand on’s with their business, everything is hand crafted and they use natural locally sourced products wherever possible. They literally are putting their everything into their business and it’s a reason why we wanted to work with them, they are going to and are already building a great brand and business together for their family.
We first visited and met with Slab Interiors and worked out what shapes, sizes and colours we wanted the concrete pots to be. Stuart then did a few sample paint tests on the different options of concrete finishes, and then Slab Interiors set to working on actually making the pots.
Slab Interiors process starts with making the perfect fibreglass mould. They then mix their special formula cement brew at the perfect consistency, making sure to get the right cement ratio. They then wait 24-48 hours to crack open the moulds, then let the the pots cure for at least 1 to 2 weeks. A few surfs later, they then finish off the process with sanding, taping and more sanding and then a high polish.
The pots were then ready for Stuart to start painting. Stuart said that he felt very free when he started painting the pots. He had no plan just black and white paint and circular concrete pots and brushes.
Stuart treated the pots like 3 dimensional mandalas. And found an individual rhythm with each pot and size and let the previous brush marks influence the new ones.
Stuart painted the pots over a few weeks, but took around 3 full days to do them in total. The finished product is rhythmic, spontaneous, earthy, primal and raw. These pots are uniquely Stuart, and they reflect his love of Bali and the ocean.
We want to say a massive thank you to both Stuart Smythe and Slab Interiors for working with us on this Edition. Making connections and collaborating with people to make beautiful products is why we do East Editions, and we believe this Edition has reinforced this for us.