Kerri the director and creative mind behind An.ti.quate creates quality upholstery designs with an environmentally conscious mind. She strives to be a zero waste business and upholstery art was conceptualised to actively assisting in reducing unnecessary landfill.
Hello! My name is Kerri Hollingsworth and I am an Upholstery Artist. My inspiration comes from creating unique statement furniture that work harmoniously with nature. Myself, my partner Marcus and our daughter Betty live on our farm in Country Victoria. Our goal is to one day be 100% self sustainable.
Do you have any exciting projects you are currently working on that you’d like to share?
The last project I completed was a chair named ‘Coorah’. She is a deep buttoned boudoir chair (or ladies chair) that was left for the tip but was rescued and gifted to me. During my last ‘Artist in Residence’ exhibition I reupholstered her and completed her artwork. This was the first time I had incorporated natural grasses and bark into the furniture artwork. It made for a delicate weave that matched the graceful frame.
The natural elements were used to symbolise where our belongings come from in a world full of mass production. With so much ‘stuff’ around us it’s a nice reminder that at one point or another it was our planet that gave us these gifts. Maybe if we could view all objects in our lives like we can see this chairs. With layers and layers of our delicate environment clearly visible. Maybe we would treat things with more respect and therefore making it last longer.
Can you shed some light on the incredible photo shoots you have recently?
The last photo shoot was amazing – It was for Coorah. I was after a ‘forest’ theme to go with her look. But it was a challenge to find somewhere that she wouldn’t completely blend in with her surroundings.
My incredible photographer is just as enthusiastic about nature as I am. So we set out and found these gorgeous abandoned stairs, that seem to go nowhere. Nature was taking back over with moss and greenery growing over the old concrete. The only thing close by was a small car park and toilet block for drivers heading through the black spur. We later found out that area used to be a whole town with shops, schools and many houses back in the mid 1800’s.
The town was abandoned in the 1890’s after the collapse of the gold mining and timber-cutting boom, and now the only sign of it we could see was these abandoned stairs. We (my photographer and I) are always on the look our for the perfect spot to frame the chairs, finding out the history of Fernshaw was really special as we could sense this spot had more of a story to tell.
What inspired you to start the brand?
I had started an.ti.quate as a standard furniture upholstery business long before the thought of Upholstery Art. It wasn’t until I became aware of the landfill statistics that I flipped life as I knew it, on its head. I no longer wanted to contribute to any unnecessary waste and changed up habits to create a more eco friendly lifestyle. My business naturally followed suit, and before long I was saving all the offcuts of trim and fabric to weave panels for the back of the chairs. The idea was to take all the scraps and misfits and making them sing a louder song together with other scraps and misfits. That is when I believe my ‘brand’ really started. It was when I could no longer even contemplate having another job. I wanted to put every ounce of myself into it.
What does an average day look like?
An average day would see me up anywhere from 530 – 630 before my daughter wakes to have some time to organise the day without her attached to my leg. Our daughter, Betty, usually wakes at 7, and we would have breakfast then head straight out to the workshop. This part would be different depending on what projects I have on at the time but we could be stripping chairs down, fixing frames/springs, reupholstering, designing, weaving, timber work, you name it. Each day is different.
Usually whatever I am doing Betty wants to ‘help’ so I’ll set up a small loom or chair for her to work on at the same time. We stop at different times to hangout with the chickens, visit Bart the sheep or go for a walk. We also stop for lunch and a smoothie break in the afternoon. But most of the day is in the workshop and wandering outside. Some nights after dinner and Bettys bedtime I’ll head back to the workshop to get some quiet time out there to finish off things or catch up on emails.
What did you learn the hard way about launching a brand?
Ooo I’m not sure I have an answer for this as I don’t feel I ‘launched’ my brand like most people would of. It was more an evolving business that shifted when I shifted in personal values until it felt right.
What are you listening to right now?
Audiobooks – Dr Joe Dispenza ‘Becoming Supernatural’. ‘The Code of the Extraordinary Mind’ by Vishen Lakhiani and ‘Reality Unveiled’ by Ziad Masri.
What does the next 5 years look like
More exhibitions and Artist in Residencies, some exciting collaborations, expanding the business to employ 2 Upholsterers. As well as possibly expanding to furnishing boutique hotels/receptions with my Upholstery Art.
What are some of your methods to stay motivated, focused and expressive?
A lot of self reflection. Everyday. Whether it be through meditation, journaling or just thinking positively (about myself, others and situations). It is a must for me. If I haven’t done any of the above I feel cloudy and uncertain about everything. It keeps my mind strong and focussed and my creativity just flows.
What is your dream project/collaboration?
Oh great question. I would love to collaborate with a leading eco home builder to furnish their display homes, or sustainability focussed boutique hotels. Also, I have a big list of incredible artists that I would love to collaborate with. I find collaborations so incredibly rewarding, so I’m sure there will always be ideas coming up.