After being commissioned to design a public art installation for his local village on the Sunshine Coast (which was so well-received it won one of the 2013 Intergrain Timber Vision Awards), Carl Holder was left with a pile of plywood off-cuts in his garage.
Letting it sit there for over a year, one day he decided to turn it into a piece for his own home; something everyday but not, useful yet playful and beyond the generic. Beginning with a dozen or so ideas, Carl developed three into pieces, all of which you can now see in his online Etsy shop: Foreply.
Creating pieces that are sculptural and functional, Carl makes all his furniture himself from local FSC certified plywood. “I’ve always loved classic plywood furniture,” explains Carl. “I love its sleek good looks, its functionality and the fact that it is portable and flexible and can fit into very small spaces. So plywood furniture is kind of the perfect furniture for the way we live now.”
Designing the Thingamabob, both a table and seat ideal for holding things like books and an iPad; the Plus and Minus stool/side tables, which can easily be pulled apart and hung on the wall or door to save space; and the Capsule shelf, a modern mantelpiece for neatly holding daily belongings away from the kids, the products have been so sought-after Carl even won the Esty Design Award for New Talent last year. “It’s still early days for Foreply but it has come along way since winning the New Talent Award. The resulting confidence and exposure the award has given me is invaluable. I went from having a few dozen shop visits a day to literally tens of thousands, with interest coming from all over the globe.”
With entries now open for this year’s Etsy Design Awards (Jen’s a judge!), Carl has some helpful tips for any potential applicants. “Preparing your submission is a great opportunity to refresh your shop; ensure photos of your work are of a high standard and your shop information is up-to-date and engaging. Tell your story and share your passion in a concise way.”
Having always loved making things, Carl got into the furniture business after his day job at an architecture and design firm saw him miss getting his “hands dirty.” With his 9-5 life seeing him rely heavily on 3D CAD modelling and prototyping to design, Carl’s loving being able to follow his passion for ethical furniture design and working with local sustainable materials.
Currently using all his spare time to come up with exciting new products and ideas, the Foreply Etsy shop is as a result taking a short break. “I hope to reopen the virtual doors again very soon, there are lots of ideas on the drawing board that I want to resolve and bring to market to extend the Foreply range. These (like the current items) consist of designs that are entirely made from plywood and others introduce new materials and a different design aesthetic.” Watch this space!