People often ask us where we source our materials from and what companies we work with to run our art business. While we purchase some of the wood we use in our mosaics brand new, we try to reuse and recycle or salvage as much as we can, and we love collaborations with local Australian businesses to support each other.
When I first started creating wood mosaics I had no idea where to get timber that was going to look good in a design but didn’t cost the world. The amount of timber pieces that go into our artworks is quite substantial and we had to figure out ways to acquire wood that would not blow out our material costs. Our first stop were hardware stores and we picked the prettiest materials which, of course, were also the ones with the biggest price tag. Dressed pine, for example, is wood that has been machine finished. It can be used without any additional preparation and is the go-to for DIY projects such as shelves, tables and desktops, and other small woodworking projects. Dressed pine looks great as it comes with clean sharp edges and a premium smooth finish. We always have a small amount of it on hand but only use it sparely in our designs.
Once we realised that this was not the ideal product for our work we started browsing the trades sections and found building materials that came at a much lower price point. Construction timber is usually only treated against decay fungi and insects, such as termites, but does not come with the quality finish like dressed timber. With the right tools, however, we were able to turn construction timber into the shapes and sizes we needed for our artworks. Most construction timber in Australia is usually also pine, it has load-bearing capacities and is most commonly used for building houses (and now also for our artworks 😉).
Incorporating New Materials
But we felt like there had to be more than a few different types of pine and we soon found plywood, a sheet material which is made by combining layers of wood veneer, attached to each other with glue. The beauty of plywood is those layers that become visible when the material is cut along the grain, the patterns and lines can then be incorporated into our wood art.
But things got really exciting when we started using recycled materials; old furniture, salvaged floorboards, and offcuts from joineries and carpentries. We are now incorporating different types of timber that really speak for themselves; jarrah, sheoak, merbau and marri, all types of wood that are very popular in Australia. Every now and then we are lucky and come across rare finds, such as violin pine, coconut or African blackwood. We often find these materials on online marketplaces and sometimes even buy an old piece of furniture second hand, just to cut it into pieces and turn it into wall art.
Working With Other Businesses
When it comes to running a business you always have to think about reducing costs so you can offer your products at a reasonable price to your customers. At the same time, you want to support other small businesses and play a part in your local community. While we spend a lot of time sourcing our materials we also do a lot of research picking companies we are comfortable working with. We have teamed up with a lot of awesome businesses in the past years, and connected to a few wonderful product and service providers, some of which we even made friends with. If you are based in Australia (Perth in particular), here are our favourite businesses that we love working with:
Timbecon – Our favourite Tool Shop! Bunnings is great for your everyday DIY tools but when you need a bit more quality and power Timbecon has it all, and most machines still come with a price tag that doesn’t blow out your budget.
AESTHETE CREATIVE – Lauren is a design magician based in the wider Perth region, she created the most beautiful logo and brand identity for our business. She worked closely with us during the whole design process and came up with several branding ideas that truly captured the spirit of Studio Sarai and our vision as artists.
Peter Kin Premium Paper and Printery – Ever since we started ordering our business cards from Peter Kin we don’t want to hand them out anymore, we just want to keep them all! The quality of these cards is just next level and nothing compared to the big printeries who offer competitive prices but are often lacking quality. If you want to leave a really good impression, get Peter Kin business cards.
OZStickerPrinting – We love adding the extra little touch to our shipments, and are obsessed with our logo on Kraft Paper Stickers which aligns with our idea of sustainability and using materials that can be recycled. Apart from the many different shapes these guys offer, you can choose from many cool finishes, such as vinyl, hologram, foil and even an embossed option.
Pack and Send – Apart from great pricing for both domestic and international shipping, these guys have one of the best customer services we have worked with. Logistics and Freight can be an extremely painful and frustrating part of the business but the team at Pack and Send is always super helpful and responsive, with offices all around Australia.
The Box Man – Our artworks are quite large and we ship them all around the world, The Box Man has us covered with boxes that are custom-made for each of our artwork sizes. Great quality and service based in Perth.
Would you like to commission a piece with us? Get in touch via the CONTACT ME page!