For over a decade, Studio Elke has been an industry leader in the design and craft worlds, heralded for boundary-pushing originality.
Originally known for it's highly coveted jewellery and accessories collections, Studio Elke has recently expanded to encompass object design that spans a range of scales - from ceramic interior objects, through to carpeting, and spatial design.
Rather than following trends in the market, Creative Director Elke Kramer’s design approach is always an exploration of adventurous materials, experimental finishes and new silhouettes.
Elke Kramer grew up in a bohemian, Jewish home enveloped by art and encouraged in the delight of self-expression.
She took a Bachelor of Fine Arts at UNSW, then a Bachelor of Design, where she uncovered her true passion, the joy of crafting objects that were both beautiful and laden with meaning. She learned that process can imbue any item or project with significance: be it graphics, jewellery, textiles, or ceramics.
Out in the real world, Elke worked for cult Australian design-magazine Oyster, immersed in fashion and print culture. Then for Australian fashion-house Sass + Bide, where she took these loves and translated them into sell-out products.
Taking a leap of faith, she launched her eponymous brand in 2005: with a range of handmade, detailed, laser-cut pendants. Fine thread was woven into spirograph-like patterns, and layered with cut-shapes drawn from slices of bones.
Striving to create jewellery pieces that are both unconventional and completely unique, wearable and intrinsically beautiful, Elke defined a vision that became her signature.
"My design philosophy is to fabricate objects that resonate profoundly with people; items that are both functional and evocative, timeless and imaginative. I am driven to combine shape, form and tactility, in a way that reveals new emotions, yet are meaningful and authentic”
As Elke's brand grew, so did the possibilities. After establishing a suite of local and international stockists, Elke collaborated with companies worldwide, lending her aesthetic sensibility to eyewear and fabrics, footwear to carpeting.
Her fantastic team grew, and the company scaled to take on demand. With this expansion Elke found that her time was spent more and more on managing the growth, rather than the creative process she cherished.
In early 2020 Elke took another leap of faith and decided to pause her business and take a sabbatical. To go back to her roots and indulge in her love of making. This time allowed her to reignite her original passion, reminded of what she loves about her work.
Packing up their Sydney life, Elke, her partner, two young sons and dog relocated to a fully off-grid property on an 11-acre bush block in rural NSW.
The property came with a major benefit, a working ceramics studio, inherited from the previous owner. It gave Elke the space, time and capacity to immerse herself in her love of making.
“Getting back to my roots as a designer-maker has been such a blessing,” Kramer says. “I feel reinvigorated as an artist, and am more in love with the process of making than ever... I wake up and hear the birds and the sounds of the forest and feel so grateful that I’ve been able to find some balance.”
Objects can have significant value beyond their utilitarian function. We believe the objects we surround ourselves with can richen our lives through their elemental narratives, triggering deeper emotions and meaningful connections.
Studio Elke products are designed to buck trends and side-step fast fashion. Loveingly crafted from high quality materials, they are designed to last a lifetime.
Studio Elke jewellery is made by working closely with a group of artisans with whom she has collaborated with for decades, since living in Indonesia.
All Studio Elke vessels are crafted by Elke Kramer, by hand, using gas and wood-firing techniques, safe chemical and waste disposal, and environmentally-friendly materials.
Elke's working studio is part of her fully off-grid rural property, with solar power drawn from the sun, and water collected from rain.
Elke is a founding member of the Not-For-Profit organisation Sustainable Braidwood, which seeks to foster sustainable initiatives through community, creativity and care.