Melanie Abrantes believes that in order to create something beautiful, you have to get your hands dirty. The Bay Area-based designer makes captivating, highly functional objects including bowls, plates, and spoons from a diverse set of unique materials, such as cork and native california woods. We asked the designer to give us a tour of her Oakland, CA studio, where she has a showroom in the works as well as a line of lighting and furniture.
Melanie Abrantes: My workspace is a charming space located between the industrial port of Oakland and the warehouses of Jack London Square. Once a part of an old tomato factory, it’s characterized by large brick walls and a grand bay window, which provides great natural lighting and keeps me connected to the outside world. One quarter is dedicated to my shop, which houses my precious lathe, band saw, and various other tools. The remainder is dedicated to my office and the packaging and shipping of my products. I’m particularly excited about a small showroom I have in the works to display past editions as well as current inventory to visitors and passersby. I only have one window in my space, so I positioned my desk right in front so I can get the best light when I work.
Beginning of carving a walnut spoon, making the bowl of the spoon
I try to make sketches of everything before I make it, documenting all of the dimensions. This is me going back to a sketch before producing a piece.
I mostly lathe when I am in my shop. This is me turning a cork vase.
My wood turning tools that I use to carve my products.
Want to learn to carve wood on your own? Melanie is coming to LA to teach a Spoon Carving Workshop at the Poketo Flagship on March 29th. There are still a few spots left; reserve yours at poketo.com/workshops!