New to Incu this season is a collection of household items, dedicated to life in the slow lane.
Provider Store by Sydney local Tara Bennett brings with each item that emotional surge of a warm home, a smouldering fire and relaxing Sunday mornings. Each piece explores the concept of slow living, with an emphasis on creating ethical and sustainable products.
After travelling to Japan for the first time over four years ago, Tara was overwhelmed by their culture. Aiming to replicate their respect for belongings, Provider store emerged with an identity seeking to be well thought out – simple, timeless and practical.
All pieces hold their own story, with strong Japanese influence and the production to match. Each item is handmade by Tara or by local and international creatives whom she has met along her travels.
Originally constructed as candles, Tara's designs are to be burnt all the way down and recycled as ceramic vessels.
We recently had a chat to Tara at her Surry Hills studio, about everything from the future of Provider Store and her puppy Pocari.
Provider Store prides itself on the community of people who help create your beautiful products. Where do your ceramic vessels come from? And how have you sourced the artists who you create with?
I work with a few workshops in Gifu, Japan. I also work with a lovely girl called Mint who has a cool shop and cafe in bangkok and her workshop is in Chiang mai. I actually found her on instagram and flew over and met her at her shop. She’s the best!
You credit Japan for being an amazing source of inspiration – what is it that you loved so much about their culture?
I really love how the Japanese make and design things to last. Everything is practical and well-thought out. I love filtering those values through Provider! In Australia, I find we can be very trend driven and make things quite disposable. I try to source and create items that have a nice story that you want to re-tell and keep.
If you could recommend three must see places in Japan, where would they be?
I really loved riding a bike along the Philosopher's Path in Kyoto. T-site Bookshop in Daikanyama, Tokyo, is the greatest place in the world. Buy a design book and then get a wine upstairs. I would also go and eat at Blind Donkey in Tokyo – one of the guys that owns it used to run Beard. He closed it and travelled around Japan meeting farms and things. It’s all paddock to plate, paired with natural wine.
Where is next on your travel list?
Japan in October (haha). After that work trip though I aiming to get to Lisbon and Italy for my birthday early next year.
Upgrading to the Riley St store has been a big move, what prompted you to open a shop front? And how has your work practice changed with this new opportunity?
It was always the dream to have a shopfront! It was when our last workshop on Kippax Street was getting renovated and the whole building had to move out on really short notice that I walked past the Riley Street shop. I loved it so much that stood out the front of it 5 times. I decided to take the risk and sign the lease... It paid off. It feels like home here.
Troy O'Shea Handmade is a good friend of ours also – how did your friendship begin? What is it like to work so closely with another creative?
Troy rented a space in my old workshop and that’s how we became super close. Working together is amazing because we have the same values and similar interests. It works well because we muck around a bit but also work really hard. It’s also nice to be able to bounce ideas around with another creative that’s actually not directly involved with your brand.
Introduce us to your little lady Pocari! She has a following of her own and we imagine she is a great marketing tool for customers walking by.
Pocari is my little Shiba Inu who is about to turn one. She’s super cute but really cheeky. It’s funny when you’re standing in the shop and can hear people at the crossing going crazy over her. She definitely helps bring people into the store.
What has been the highlight of your work at Provider store thus far?
Definitely getting to work with other creative people all over the world. I love hearing people’s creative stories and being able to share them. I have met some very lovely and talented people through Provider. I think one of the funnest was driving a car through little towns in Japan to meet ceramic workshops.
What’s next? Are there any new or interesting products you’re adding to your collection?
I am always designing and making new things, and I am meeting some new people and creatives when I am in Japan in October. Oh and you’ll soon be able to get a batch coffee from Provider, courtesy of Artificer. They dropped off the machine last week.
Provider Store is available now at our Galeries, Flinders Lane and Pacific Fair stores.