Tomas and Natasza, are the duo behind Ther. They are bringing a blend of their individual; creative backgrounds to pioneer a new convergence of carpentry & ceramics. Tomas has a background in ID x Carpentry. And, Natasza, ID, and Ceramics. The two have refined a delicate balance of the approaches that yield unexpected executions in a form that remains grounded in the reality of production, yet imaginatively expands the limitations of the material. They are currently practicing in Lisbon Portugal, having recently returned from Norway to be closer to their workshops & producers. As a well-traveled couple, you can not only find notes Inspired by raw aspects of their origin cultures (Portuguese, Polish) but also a unique aesthetic that’s steeped in Japanese and Scandinavian minimalism.
Their paths crossed at Domaine de Boisbuchet founded by the Vitra design museum workshop and decided to start Furtherther in (2019). We are Hugely excited and in anticipation of what this Duo will cook up next!
THE OBJECTS: Common Household objects & Japanese manual carpentry tools
In general, households objects are for me, inspirational…But, the ugly ones. The broken and no longer functioning ones, not to say bad designs. These objects make me aware. I sometimes have to redefine the purpose, how I used them, creating a new ritual or experience. So, for me the object would have to be our broken coffee drip.
When I think about it, and when it comes to being inspired, It’s too easy to be only surrounded by well-designed things or ultra-functional objects. They sort of make you go on auto-pilot, you fail to be present. It’s mindless, the objects start to go unnoticed. If I had to choose a particular one, it would be our Broken coffee drip. At this point, it’s basically a cone, no longer having a foot or a handle. It all of the sudden became a way to make me very mindful in the experience of preparing my morning coffee. When the function is gone, you start to look at the object as just a form, as if it was sculpture-like.
My pick is something quite different. It’s almost the opposite. I’m really inspired by tools, manual tools. More specifically, Japanese carpentry tools because of their essential functionality. They have been simplified down to the bone, it seems like the tool can’t be improved anymore. And, the process & craftsmanship that yields the tools is so delicate, yet so developed that in the end, you get this timeless BOLD yet beautiful object that remains a useful & effective tool.
I’m inspired even by just the presence of them and more so during the usage. They help me manipulate, change and work my way around problems. Primitive, but at the same time amazingly developed. Unlike mechanical or tech-assisted tools, which are constantly improved through technology. It’s remarkable how the classic tools, stay honest and work just as effectively.
A favorite among mine is my Kanna Wood Block Plane.
It’s a Rectangular simple object. Used to take off wood shavings. It’s silent, the design, the proportion, the simplicity it’s just perfect. I use it to control & finish the edges when woodworking. It can apply perfectly chamfered edges in one pass, it’s so sharp & precise. I recently used it to finish our outdoor table. The process was calming, a super silent almost Zen-like experience.
In speaking with Tomas & Natasza it becomes clear how the difference in their preferred objects correlates with how their contrasted skills complement one another’s I design practice. Nastasza, being more abstracted from function and keen on the sculpted form, and Tomas is a bit more scientific, thinking through execution and evaluating the process/tool that would create the desired result.
As a duo, the combined approach yields objects that are no doubt remarkable.
Tell us about a time it was hard to be yourself, or when being yourself led to a breakthrough?
TOMAS & NATASZA
As partners, and both of us being creative individuals, being yourself is already a challenge. We're on an internal quest for self-discovery and each of us is always changing. We are inspired, motivated, demotivated, focused, or distracted in completely different ways and at different moments, so finding a path to a common flow has been our biggest breakthrough. As partners professionally in business and personally as a couple there’s always a lot of emotion in the mix as well.
Two individuals coming to one decision is a constant challenge. Your question is effectively our continual process.
It’s always happening and we can get frustrated by the constant changes, and in time we both start to accept that things will constantly be re-defined. In fact, disagreement is key for a breakthrough. When it’s only one individual, things are up to their own self-judgment and self-criticism. The more two people disagree argue, the more each grows. One person wants A, the other wants B, and you figure out a way to arrive at C together.
This manifested in the process of making their first chair. Tomas had a functional vision conscious of the tools and the process that would need to be used while Natasza was, obsessed about how it would need to look. Her mock-up that captured the character was made with cardboard, and this presented a challenge for how Tomas would fabricate it in Chestnut wood complete with all of the joinery challenges.
For the two of them, this is the process, it’s an evolving cyclical flow. Things change, and you realize that what you lack your partner has.
"We keep trying and experimenting and we arrive at somewhere good, a place where we would not have arrived separately."
WHAT’S SOMETHING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT THER, THAT YOU’D WANT EVERYONE TO HEAR?
Furtherther, actually started as a travel journal, documenting crafts from cultures from all over the world from a design POV. Featuring objects from local people and the process behind their creation.
TOMAS & NATASZA
The name Furtherther is a result of Natasza navigating Tomas on a trip abroad. Tomas was trying to determine where to turn. “Do I turn here,” he asked. And Natasza said, no “Further there.”
There is a reason why they dropped the “e,” on there. Ther is the combination of Their, There, and They.