Words by Nicole DeMarco | Photographs by Marnie Hawson
When considering the creative process it is also important to highlight and to cherish a certain beauty that can only occur through the natural aging process.
For this husband and wife duo, it was easy to find meaningful work. Slaven and Jean share a passion: “We are both long time collectors of antiques and had a vision that one day we would open a shop and just fill it with the type of things we love,” Slaven says. And that’s what they did. Slaven and Jean opened The Wooden Duck in the historic village of Trentham, Australia, in 2009, and they have put in many hours of hard, dusty work ever since. They specialize in vintage and industrial pieces, namely rustic farmhouse type furniture, that is sourced from all over the Australian countryside.
Slaven and Jean spend their days going out on buying trips and loading up their van to maximum capacity in order to bring home as many treasures as possible. “It is an adrenaline buzz when you find cool stuff. It doesn’t matter that we’re going to sell it, it’s a buzz to uncover it and it’s a buzz to make somebody else happy when they purchase the item,” Slaven explains. All of the found items are brought back to Trentham, where they are cleaned, restored, and eventually put up for sale. Perusing through their handpicked stock one might find a wide array of industrial drawers among other furniture, quirky décor and even taxidermy pieces.
The process lies in preparing the old, aged items for sale, and it varies: “Sometimes the treasure we find just requires a dust off and it’s ready to display in the shop, but other times the process is a lot more time consuming.
Wooden furniture that has been painted needs to be stripped, sanded and re-waxed…it’s tedious, finger-numbing work, but with every scrub you can see the process as the muck fades and the timber is exposed,” Slaven says. In this way, gently aged items can retain their charm and character while others are refurbished. Slaven and Jean’s unmatched appreciation for the natural aging process gives these pieces new life so that they can be loved once more.