Nauti Studios has a long, rich history.
The warehouse floor we are in, as far back as we know, was previously a workplace for a bead maker, a lamp shade maker (where all our hanging lampshades come from), a lighting company, mechanic (who would pick up cars from the ground floor using the hoist out the back, slide them along the steel beam and line them up against the wall to work on them), a shoe maker, wood craftspeople, and a business which made the leather parts for shoes (and at one point were the largest makers of leather parts for R.M. Williams in Australia).
The building itself has many charming quirks which have formed over the many years. One of which is an old elevator which has been built into the building after it broke and was never repaired.
The signs above are all signs (most hand painted) found in the piles of rubble in the warehouse.
When Nat came across the space, it hadn't been used for eight years and had been trashed by tenants over the years previous.
The warehouse was covered in layers of dust, leather and woodworking debris. We are talking dust on the beams, the walls, the floor; everywhere. In some places, the dust and debris were an inch and a half thick. The space was so dusty that many of the tables had a centimetre of dust *underneath* them. Whoever was in the space had had an extractor fan malfunction and had not fixed it. This broken extractor fan, many other old machines, tools, parts, wood and piles of junk filled the warehouse. It was such a huge mess that no one wanted to touch it.
But Nat loved it instantly.
A few pictures showing how much of a bad shape the warehouse was in.
Nat, originally from Sydney, went to Melbourne to study painting, illustration and photography. While in Melbourne, she was a part of an unusual and inspiring studio in Northcote called The Hayes. The Hayes was run by Damian Vick, a metal worker and sculptor. The Hayes was working home to half a dozen craftspeople of many different mediums; metal working, fine art painting, illustration, electronic music, photography, acoustic music, electronic engineering, fashion design, stencil and graffiti art.
It was the first place Nat felt at home and truly inspired. The studio space was filled with people's work, crafts, and things that had been made over the past five years.
Sadly, in 2012, the council took issue with a small complication with the dimensions of a staircase.
This scared the owner, and the studio had to be demolished.
A photographic series Nat made to document The Hayes.
Soon after this Nat finished her studies and came back to Sydney for a break. She never intended to stay, but discovered that she had never enjoyed the Sydney sun more.
She decided to stay in Sydney and set out on a search for a studio space. However, she couldn't find quite what she was looking for.
Nat went back to University for a little while, thinking more conceptual work might be good, but it wasn't for her. Her creative joojoo and inspiration were waning. She got a job working as a finisher (post-production printing) and started doing improvisational theatre for fun and something new.
While doing improv Nat found that she wasn't the only in need of a creative space. One day, having post-improv beers, Nat realised that she could make the space that was needed.
After some amazing help from friends Shona and Tim, Nat went on the hunt for commercial spaces and after many months of searching she found the space where Nauti is today. She fell in love with it instantly.
Initially, there was a massive clean up, done by Nat and with help from friends Loki, Vince, Luke, Adam and Steve. Then Nat, a self taught builder, built the majority of studio spaces bit by bit over a year and a half using recycled/reject materials and timber found in the warehouse rubble.
Some in progress shots of Nauti as it was being built.
It has now been almost three years since Nauti first began in 2014.
Today Nauti is a vibrant working home for 20+ creatives in a huge variety of mediums. It is an affordable, professional, unusual and inspiring creative work space.
A glimpse of sailors in the studio, what Nauti looks like, and things that are being made in the studio today. You can see more here.
Many creatives have been a part of Nauti since it's beginning in early 2014. Nat would like to give a big-ass thanks to everyone who has been a part of the studio, everyone who has helped out or given her advice, and everyone who is a part of Nauti today.
May we all enjoy sailing on creative seas.
Whether that be finding our next port, our final port, or just enjoying the waves.