MAKERS: Hands Head Heart

PHOTO | Kate Disher-Quill

PHOTO | Kate Disher-Quill

He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is an engineer. He who works with his hands, head and heart... is an artist.”


Zaya and Geordie of Hands Head Heart, two of Rising Sun Workshop’s dearest supporters have been in our corner from day one. They’ll be well known to many of you that spend time in and around our workshop: the pair are avid moto enthusiasts, never far from community or events.

What you may not know is, the pair have spent the past five years building and shaping Hands, Head Heart, a design and manufacturing business cultivated from the couple’s love of learning and desire to create. In their words “ Our designs respect the past while embracing contemporary purpose. Our approach to design is a balance of long-lasting form, function & quality”. If you’ve ever pulled up a pew in our cafe or restaurant, you’ve almost certainly touched their work - the guys were good enough to design and make our leather menu covers, three years old now and looking like they’ll last a lifetime.

In the RSW kitchen, “handmade and local” are kind of our mantra, it’s really the best way we know to have control of the destination. So when the chance arose to work with the guys on a brand new, custom made ramen bowl, with specifications particular to our needs, bespoke design elements and the tagline “made in Sydney, Australia”, we jumped at the opportunity.

The first step was to establish the basic shape, I wanted to take the bowl we’d been using and push up the sides, make it just a little straighter and taller, this would hold the garnishes tighter, keep the broth warmer and reduce sloppage (is that a word) when transporting the ramen upstairs.  Reducing the top diameter also meant that we could fit an extra bowl on our service trays meaning more efficient restaurant flow, and we needed to exaggerate the lip on the bottom of the bowl to make the it less hot for the floor staff's hands during service. These details, while trivial on their own, are what makes the difference between an object made for mass production and one made with conscience and thoughtful consultation. I’d done my best to explain the desired dimension, waving my hands about in the air. I left it to the experts to figure it out for the real world.


HHH: After a few mathematical equations and geometric designs, Geordie and Zaya came up with the overall shape. I’ll hand over to them now to explain the process step by step.

This shape now needed to be made out of plaster for the prototype. This would be 'positive mould'. During this time we also spent many nights mixing different colours into clay to present a suitable colour swatch to Nick's taste (pun intended)


HHH: Once happy with the design and colour, we progressed to a final prototype for testing. We requested that they beat up this example like they would the real thing. It passed the test with flying colours.


HHH: Made in our Sydney studio using locally sourced porcelain clay powder, we make the slip [liquid clay]. This is then tinted to the outside colour. We then pour this into a plaster mould in order to reveal the bowl shape. The second step is to pour in a second tinted slip which becomes the inside lighter colour.


NICK: I really wanted our guests to know that they were eating from a custom made object, unique to this space at this time. I’d had a few ideas, maybe a secret message if you reached the bottom of the bowl or a swoosh of coloured glaze emanating from a headlamp under the broth. The idea for the fuel gauge came last but felt right on so many levels (geddit). Gemma drew it up and Z and G nailed the execution. Again.


HHH: Every bowl was hand stamped with custom detail and added hand painted features. Each piece requires a 10hr bisque kiln firing. Clear glaze is then applied to the interior of each piece leaving the exterior with a vitrified stone-like surface once fired at 1,300 degrees C.


HHH: Our porcelain designs incorporate industrial shapes and handmade lines that intersect to provide a timeless functional piece. All our designs are crafted by Zaya Badrakh.


Needless to say we’re bowled over with the result. One of the many wonderful things that have developed as a result of establishing Rising Sun Workshop as a neighbourhood hub, is the ever growing cast of talented, like-minded people that have gravitated to it. Follow the link to learn more about Hands, Head, Heart and their ever-growing range of beautiful, thoughtful and practical objects.