DEN-HOLM BY STEVEN JOHN CLARK
Meet Steven Clark, the creative behind Melbourne-based brand Den-Holm.
A Scott, with a charming wit and pervasive passion for creation and football (soccer in this case), Clark recently welcomed us into his Reservoir Workshop, to discuss design and all things Den-Holm.
Organically born from a love of creation and boredom of “same-same” furniture, Clark aims to fill the void of beautifully imperfect, personal objects in the home. Den-Holm stands as a hybrid between furniture and art, function and fun. One of a kind art works, easily identifiable by Clark’s preferred medium of Australian Limestone. Scale and intention draws a clear distinction between Den-Holm and Clark’s adjacent sculptural, smaller brand, namesake - Steven John Clark.
Through both avenues Clark creates products distinctively different from one to the next, with the intention to minimalize resource waste and generate intrigue.
“I’m attempting to add sentimental value into an object. Like when you buy your first car, and name it. That’s what I’m seeking”
The Den-Holm name, simply, and quite romantically, is derived from Clark’s home village in Scotland. Denholm, ironically pronounced (Denim), is home to a mere 600 people in the rolling countryside near the English boarder.
Clark’s passion of stone was born here in Scotland, where he carried out a 3-year apprenticeship in stonemasonry. Following his late teens, he began experimenting with a sewing machine, creating outfits for him and his friends to wear at dance festivals. Much to his father’s dismay, Clark steered away from a future in professional soccer playing to pursue a career in fashion. He went on to study Fashion and Design majoring in textiles, before graduating with a degree in Embroidery from Manchester Metropolitan University.
Relocating to Australia with brilliantly creative wife, Bobby Clark, in 2012, Clark found himself working in the building industry once again. Working on feature walls in affluent Melbourne suburbs, introduced him to White, Australian Limestone. An obsession into the material quickly followed, Clark’s experimentation with the medium standing as the catalyst and birth of Den-Holm.
When prompted by his biggest artistic inspirations, Clark prefers to reference day-to-day things and not design itself. For him, inspiration is drawn from past experiences rather than glossy art magazines or exhibitioner work. While studying in Manchester a lecturer of his said “The only thing that will make you different from anyone else is your experience”. An influential piece of advice that Clark references to this day, evident in how he so beautifully marries his knowledge of construction, fashion and stone carvery.
In one or two sentences…
A project you’re particularly proud of?
Working with Tamsin Johnson creating pieces for Rae’s in Byron Bay, and Lucy Folk’s store in Bondi. While these aren’t necessarily my greatest works, both projects presented me an epiphany moment, where I thought ‘wow this could be a job, this is really happening’.
One of your greatest challenges on your trajectory so far?
I’m finding growth difficult. The more people I have on board the less I am hands-on, working on the creations. I find myself having to be a manager rather than an artist.
(While in the studio, we met full-time team member George, and 4 year old Staffordshire pup, Scout.)
Wildest aspiration for Den-Holm/Steven John Clark?
While it’s not even that wild, I want to be in a situation where Den-Holm has a team of designers, industrial designers and the like. We would sit around a table and discuss ideas for our next product line.
For Steven John Clark, my dream is to sell out a big gallery space in Europe or New York. A posh exhibition space filled with people who have travelled far and wide to see my work.
Apart from work, what brings you joy?
Football- Manchester United. Playing, watching, all of it.
Your dream Denim piece?
A classic indigo salvage denim jacket with tobacco stitching. Oh and maybe a denim kilt, with a limestone buckle.