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Ex-Ksubi designer Toby Jones is now making blankets

The Property Addict / Architecture & Design

Feb 12 2016

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By Annemarie Kiely Toby Jones lifts the covers on his re-imagining of "Ë?Nana' textiles into abstract art. In this age of the specialist, Toby Jones is an anomaly: a creative who switches job titles as frequently as his underwear. Which is not to imply poor personal hygiene; rather, a studio practice that swings daily between broad-ranging disciplines. "Yes, it can be pretty fast-paced and diverse," says the thirtysomething Sydneysider, who first came to notoriety as one of the Ksubi crew "â? the "Ë?bros' who radicalised denim jeans and delivered a fashion show famously littered with live rats. "Ksubi was more about expressing an attitude than pursuing any particular trends in fashion." Ironically, his iconoclasm commands a following that ultimately influences fashion, but such is the mantle of this "Ë?connector' who can remake Nana's blanket as a collectable. "Suddenly I noticed that these 100 per cent woollen textiles made by Australian mills were being abandoned everywhere, just tossed out to become dogs' blankets," says Jones of the hem-stitched beauties that were tossed into near extinction after the introduction of the duvet."What first drew me in was the beautiful labelling. Soon I was picking up samples all over the place." See Vogue Living's complete design coverage Blanketing his small house in piles of said wools, Jones resolved to expunge them of their dagginess with the ancient Japanese art of shibori "â? the resist-dyeing technique that compresses cloth to create patterns. The resultant woollen chrysalids emerged butterfly-like as abstract art; christened RE-UP, the collection was exhibited with Gravity, his debut furniture range, at Paramount House, Sydney, in August last year. Rachael Fry, owner of Melbourne's art-end furniture gallery, Criteria, recalls seeing the show and signing Jones up. "I was immediately drawn to his thinking," she says, enthusing about sculptural Gravity seats that made macro reference to Jones's fine jewellery forms. "The materials were transformed, reinvigorated; their hidden histories telling in a new art and design context." Now creating work for Criteria Collection, Jones stops to consider his key influences. "Definitely Anish Kapoor and Andy Goldsworthy," he says. "They ask so many questions in such simple ways." Call it coincidence, but Kapoor recently walked the streets of London with artist Ai Weiwei, carrying old blankets to convey the plight of refugees. Jones may aspire to Kapoor's artful inquiry, but already he's framing complex questions with simple comforts. vogueliving



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