It’s not hard to fall in love with Helen Osgerby’s Simple Shape. After all, who doesn’t like a well-curated shop of modern handmade goods? Helen’s shop currently features 25 makers and artists that cover everything from stationery to ceramics. There are so many great items to feast your eyes upon! I wanted to get to know more about Simple Shape and the creative mind behind this fresh and fun project, so I arranged a little interview. Read it below and then hop over to Simple State and start shopping. I’ve picked some of my favorite pieces but I’m sure you’ll be able to find your own.
What a great shop you have, Helen! What moved you to start it?
Truthfully….? I was motivated by getting old! I was approaching 40 and realised that it was absolutely time to start doing the thing I love. I have always been interested in design. From quite an early age I would ask for pieces of furniture for birthday presents (a little wicker table once and a giant wicker chair another time!) and my interest has grown and been shaped since then. I get huge pleasure from the stories that go along with a piece – where it’s come from, who might have held it, why it was made, how it was used.
I’m also constantly impressed by the design skill in the UK and so starting Simple Shape was a great opportunity to marry these things, the collection of things that we stock is gathered from makers across the UK, who are making things for all sorts of different reasons. I hope that many of the Simple Shape pieces will go on to have their own stories attached over time.
How do you find the artists you feature?
I have found the Makers that I stock in all sorts of ways, Instagram has been brilliant, I also go to local open studios in places like Cockpit Arts in Deptford and Holborn, Tradeshows are useful and I’m lucky to have talented neighbours too! Finding new work and great people is one of the most fun aspects of running Simple Shape. One day I’d love to do a ‘round the UK road trip’ and search out some new and interesting Makers. It’s on the long-term to-do list!
Can you describe the overall aesthetic?
It is really a very simple aesthetic. I like designs that work, that function well and that are made with careful consideration, they don’t need lots of set dressing and props to make them look good. The photography in the online shop hopefully reflects this. The images are clean, crisp and satisfyingly basic!
How do you use social media to promote Simple Shape?
Social media is critical for an online business like Simple Shape…everyone knows this, it’s inescapable. Instagram is an incredible tool for documenting, recording, researching, connecting and for selling, of course.
About Simple State: Simple Shape was founded in 2015 by Helen Osgerby, based on the simple premise that working with good people, making good things, made good sense.
We have worked hard to source, collect and edit the best of British and Irish design – carefully crafted things for the home that are designed and made on these shores. Simple Shape offers a collection of things that are hand made and hand crafted. Things that are woven, knitted, plaited, sewn, thrown and shaped by established craftspeople and emerging makers.
Our products are designed with thought to their purpose and are made carefully. They require skill and knowledge from the designer and the maker, they might have a history, they might preserve a tradition, maintain a heritage or support an industry. Almost all have a story to tell.
This first collection is conceived to live alongside the things you already own, they are things with integrity that stand the test of time, heirloom pieces that will age gracefully, wear in, not wear out, and that will be passed to children and grandchildren.
It is important to us that our things are made here in the UK and Ireland. The skills exist here and so does the talent. Good people. Making good things. Makes good sense.
What’s on the horizon?
A number of fun things – making better use of the studio that we have for pop-up and exhibition is certainly one of them. And, I’m working again on the South East Makers Club for London Design Festival in September and Simple Shape will be doing something wonderful for this…watch this space!