Remember planking? Urban Dictionary describes it:
The art of planking is to lay horizontally across any object or the ground with their arms by their sides, aiming to occur in daring situations or a brotherly display of core-strength..
A viral internet craze that left us all wondering that some people have way too much time on their hands, luckily this has absolutely nothing to do with that.
So what is Houtenplank then? A fantastic new range of preparation and serving boards beautifully crafted by local designer Melanie Muddle. As they hit stores this weekend we thought we would take 5 with Mel and ask her a bit about her new wares and all things plunky.
Willows: Tell us a bit about your story – what path led you to what you are doing now?
Mel: It’s funny how during the toughest times, some of the greatest ideas are birthed. This is true for me. A few years ago I left behind my corporate job (which I loved) to focus on raising a family. I used to work in Sydney managing a business that delivered corporate health and wellbeing programs. Surprisingly, the new mother gig was much harder than I could have ever anticipated. It was in the thick fog of fatigue following the arrival of my second baby (the worst sleeper EVER) that I thought I might have a worthy idea and started working on a business plan. I wanted to find that elusive balance between work and everything that life with a young family can throw at you. Most importantly, I wanted to do something that I absolutely love.
W: So what's behind the name HoutenPlank?
M: HoutenPlank is Dutch for ‘wooden board’. I'm a third generation 'Dutchy', my Oma and Opa came to Australia in 1952 and have had such a significant influence on my life. It was important for me to tie my family heritage into my new business idea.
W: Where did you learn to work with wood?
M: Oh... there's still so much to learn. I grew up in a family where we were encouraged to try anything we were interested in and my dad is particularly clever when it comes to working with wood. Otherwise, I'm mostly self-taught, with some help (especially with new machinery) from my super-handy husband Brad.
W: Whats next? Do you have a dream project?
M: In the short-term, I'm working on a range of beautiful Tasmanian Blackwood boards. The 'chocolately' brown hues of this timber are irresistible. This particular range will feature boards with a lovely organic shape and some with handles. You've not lived if you haven't tried using a chopping or serving board with a handle. I hope to have this range ready for the Christmas rush. Beyond this...who knows...maybe some collaborations with other local designs to expand my homewares range.
W: What's the best part about living in Newcastle?
For me it's all about beaches and the many beautiful, natural destinations to explore. I love to take my girls to stunning outdoor spaces where they can run free. I live in Redhead and the north side of the bluff is my absolute favourite. Sheer cliffs, beautiful rock platforms and no one else around.
We love a good story behind a great product. Thanks Mel!