Courtney Petley

This week we spoke with Courtney Petley the New Zealand-based woodworker and designer behind the newest addition to our 'Selects' section: a super-functional, sculptural Citrus Juicer.

Permanent Collection: Courtney, do you have a so-called 'permanent collection' possession—something with emotional value that outweighs any price tag?

Courtney Petley: My blue resin prism.

P.C.: Tell us the story of this prism...

C.P.: I bought it from a friend at a local market we were both taking part in. I got the last one, and I am forever grateful I did. I really enjoy the simplicity of its form, and how interactive it is as an object. Watching it spin in the sun and reflect the morning light off its flat geometric surfaces is quite mesmerizing, and the rainbow that shines through the house is a delight to follow. It brings me a lot of joy. 
P.C.: Joy is an important 'commodity' in these strange times! Tell us about a project you're currently working on or about a current obsession.

C.P.: The lockdown has me appreciating now more than ever the importance of being resourceful, especially in the kitchen. I’m enjoying being more creative for the sake of longevity, one of the things I've been doing is pickling. Red onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots—basically anything in the fridge that doesn’t look like it’s going to survive the week. Its also is a nice way to make a quick and basic meal feel more exciting.

P.C.: Can you share a source of creative inspiration?

C.P.: I find a lot of inspiration in the making of an object, learning by doing. I am self taught, I find there is a lot of room for exploration and creativity in that absence of formal training. I spend a lot of time in my head too. Before making any starts, I'll map the whole process out, considering every detail, look for potential problems, this thought process helps to further influence the design. I’ll go back and forth adapting design and process until they work seamlessly together. When the making actually starts, I have already done it a million times in my head so I am able to work quite quickly.

P.C.: We're so impressed by your process of sourcing wood and working ecologically, since sustainable production is one of the tenets of our brand. Call you tell us more?

C.P.: I try to run my business as sustainably as possible, so I work with reclaimed native NZ timber. It is such a rich resource, filled with an incredible amount of history, I am so glad to be able to give it another life after all these years. It seems a huge shame for it to go to the rubbish dump or be used as firewood. Most of the timber I use comes out of old villas undergoing renovations, a lot of these homes are up to, or over, 100 years old. I can’t even begin to imagine how many hundreds or thousands of years old the trees must have been before they were felled. I am very fortunate in that my father is a builder—I get a lot of my timber from him, as well as from friends working on their houses, and I get many donations from kind strangers who are cleaning out their houses and want their timber collection to go to someone who is going to respect it as much as they do.