“If you want something unusual, you have to think outside the box.”
From bathroom decor to outdoor living, upper highway couple Dave Briggs and Avy Jo have combined a love of nature with a passion for making things, and as a result, created both useful and artful accents for their home and garden.
Great believers in finding ways to enjoy every day to its absolute fullest, the two have become the talk of their suburb by choosing to dedicate their spare time, using natural materials, to create attractive and affordable home and garden features that blend in naturally with the rest of the environment.
“Most artists will tell you that they have to paint or draw because they can’t help it. That’s exactly it. Art is my passion, obsession and daily fix! When I’m not painting, sketching, making a noise with my banjo and guitar or busy writing, I’m on a mission with Dave looking for organic offerings we can use to make beautiful things.”
Although both are experts in the property industry and have their fingers in a whole lot of other pies such as outdoor adventuring, community and charity work as well as motivational coaching, Avy and Dave’s love affair with homemade decor started when Avy decided to build a house.
“We agreed to landscape the garden ourselves and create our own indoor and outdoor decorations and tables because Avy wanted bespoke decorative items that couldn’t be bought. She didn’t even want conventional pavers, so we went off into the valley with my trailer and started looking for interesting rocks we could stack and sponge together or cut into slices and embed into concrete.”
Avy and Dave extended the concept of polished quartz and granite into indoor coffee tables and then introduced resin into which they dropped some crystals and translucent quartz in the same way one makes a paperweight. Dave normally does the cutting and Avy the polishing, with both trying their hand at a bit of welding when necessary.
“I think we must have collected at least 20 tons of rock from rivers and quarries for Avy’s terraced walls, as well as extras we used to turn into other pieces of value. We visited kitchen suppliers and asked them for all their discarded off cuts, brought them home and got to work.”
They became so engrossed in making their own décor that the duo went a step further and made their own outdoor benches from granite and galvanised/ powder-coated steel. Chunks of solid granite were hollowed out and polished by hand and turned into bathroom basins where cutting the plug hole was the biggest challenge! During the production of some coffee tables, they hollowed out sections of granite and poured either cement or resin into the holes and finished them off with pieces of quartz giving the final piece a great 3D look.
“From side tables and coffee tables, hanging stone drops to decorative pyramids and pavers and polished stone bird baths, it’s amazing what you can produce from nature’s supplies, some granite offcuts and an angle grinder.”
Avy and Dave have used the sculptural beauty of rocks to create eye-catching designs and transform what once was a plain and boring backyard into gorgeous and relaxing oasis. They have also grown all their own bonsais, some of which they started 12 years ago and are now well established over some large natural rock bonsai pots they are busy incorporating into new designs.
“The way we see it, every garden needs a birdbath or bench chair, whether you have a sprawling lawn or your space is compact, and every home needs a basin or a coffee table, whether it’s for one or for four.”
“All one really has to do is innovate and think out the box, and the list of what one can easily piece together is limitless. Nothing is easy, but it is achievable!”
At the moment most of the products Avy and Dave have made end up in their own homes, although they have been commissioned to create a few. They have also been documenting the process of each product as they thought it might be valuable for others to see that it’s within everyone’s reach to make something different.
“Ideally we were thinking of bringing out a coffee table book or DIY publication, showing how easily these can be made at home just with elementary tools from a local hardware store, but it may also end up as multimedia product which will include video clips. At the end of the day, it’s up to us to be the best we can be and at the same time enjoy whatever it is we have chosen to do. Life is filled with awesome wonders and we all have within us a fountain of gifts and talents. Discovering what they are brings more enjoyment and fulfilment than we are able to appreciate. Our hope is that by sharing the very things that make us content, others too will be motivated to unravel their own passions or hobbies and enjoy and share them too.”
Dave on 0825501462 or visit Avy’s website www.avyjo.co.za