Here in the Moutere Hills, nestled in the heart of the Abel Tasman, there’s a rhythm to life that’s so inspiring.
The MacMillan’s Country Homeware range was born out of this inspiration and the need to find simple, stylish and functional things for their home Neudorf Hall. Jackie adds “We couldn’t find anything we really liked… so we set about making it ourselves!”. Most of the raw materials they use for the Homeware range come from local businesses. Worn-out French oak barrels from Neudorf Vineyards, freshly cut vine prunings, well-worn metal from musty and damp camp stretchers found at the local recycling yard. Michael admits “there is such a deep sense of satisfaction about upcycling used materials.It is the sense of the simplicity/materials/making using simple tools and techniques that has inspired the entire Country Homeware range.
Michael and Jackie work well together. Jackie chips in “it’s taken me twelve years out of my corporate suit to feel a sense of satisfaction and achievement working from home. I can recall the laughter when Mike said I would need steel capped boots… now I wear them everyday”. For Michael, making his living with his hands is all he knows. He’s well used to it after 40 years. “He has infinite patience and varied skills to make the things I suggest” says Jackie. From French oak rolling pins, to lovely hand sculpted French oak bowls, to vine wrapped festive trees.
Michael adds his sculptural flare and fastidious eye to each piece he creates no matter how large or small. You’ll see such a diverse range of art in the Gallery it’s hard to imagine how the family makes everything. You really get a sense it’s very much a team effort here. Michael say’s “the Country Homeware takes a lot of his time now – time that he would love to spend sculpting”. The idea is to build up stock of french oak products then he can spend the winter sculpting, who knows he may even bring out his paint brush! The family maintain it is from the homeware range that they are able to enjoy the lifestyle they have created for themselves and daughter Poppy Lucia.
Poppy says “it sure has been fun sitting around our dining table with friends and family enjoying informal brain storming sessions about some new french oak products. Dad says he’ll make a chessboard, mum wants to make Jewellery and I might make some oak pets”. The MacMillans are certain in the knowledge that each piece they create is unique, handmade and exudes a personality of its own. Be sure to visit and discover where they are.
They have a great sense of community in the Moutere Artisans, a newly formed co-op of country folk who make really really nice stuff! See the two amazing new gallery spaces, sit in the courtyard and soak in the smell of freshly-brewed coffee and get bathed in the country sunshine. Let it nourish your soul. Visit their shop online soon.