Limestone like you have never seen it before with Lucas Wearne
Posted: 12 October 2023
In this interview, we speak with Lucas Wearne from Neighbourhood Studio about his unique limestone creations. We dive into Lucas's love of working with the unpredictable material limestone and discuss where he seeks inspiration and finally how his home style has evolved despite his partner's different tastes.
Lucas is a self-taught artist creating limestone pieces that he describes as balancing form, materiality and process. Neighbourhood Studio's Instagram following is a testimony to how many people enjoy following along for the ride and watching his creations come to life.
Lucas's limestone creations effortlessly combine structure and delicacy, bringing his customers a truly unique design for their homes. So if you are looking for a new art piece for your home and the story behind the artist, read along with us as we chat with Lucas from Neighbourhood Studio.
Q: Tell us why you have gravitated to limestone as your material of choice?
A: The type of limestone I use is such an interesting and unique medium to work with. It's a natural material that's formed from lace coral deposits in ancient, shallow inland oceans that once existed west of Mount Gambier in South Australia. It's estimated to have formed between 15 and 40 million years ago!
The result of which is a vibrant, chalky stone that is both dense and heavy yet delicate and
malleable. I think the unpredictability of working with a natural material like limestone is really rewarding. It can have dramatic variation in tone, texture and hardness, and while at times that can be a challenge, it's also what makes it so special. It ensures no two pieces are the same, and it's often where the most interesting moments of a piece are found.
Q: When you are designing, where do you look for inspiration?
A: I have a diverse range of influences which at times present themselves in a bit of a mashup of styles. Forms and textures are often modelled on nature, the human form, or the built environment. They are then sort of broken down, fragmented and melded back together.
There are elements of cubist and expressionist paintings (Picasso, Matisse) - with fragmented, geometric and abstracted figures. The ornamental motifs of the baroque and rococo periods
(furniture and architecture) with sweeping curves, asymmetry and intricate details and textures.
Brutalist and modernist architecture (Le Corbusier, Oscar Niemeyer), even some Bauhaus squeezed in there for good measure.
I feel like I appreciate quite a broad and sometimes contrasting range of styles and aesthetics across different eras and mediums. All of these different influences definitely act as inspiration for my work; however, they don't necessarily manifest physically or literally in terms of form or texture. Instead, they become more of a starting point from which I can add my own personal language and style.
Q: Slowing down, being mindful and wasting time in the pursuit of pleasure are so important. What do you do to take time out?
A: Having my art practice as a business full-time for the past few years, I’ve found it can quickly become all-consuming, particularly when it comes to keeping an audience engaged or trying to stay relevant in an ever-changing consumer landscape. I’ve definitely learnt how important it is to have other things going on outside of my practice to keep things interesting and enjoyable for me.
Recently, I got a part-time job in a completely unrelated field as a way to ease some of the pressures, both mentally and financially, that come with being a full-time artist. So far, I’ve found it really helpful to be able to take a step back; it forces me to think about something else for a while which is a welcome relief. It’s added a bit more structure to my week and has allowed me to slow down and take a bit more time to focus on how and what I’d like to do creatively.
Q: What colours do you gravitate towards in your home?
A: My partner and I have quite different tastes when it comes to styling/art choices, so I guess, at times, it's a bit eclectic! But that definitely keeps things interesting. We gravitate towards warm colours as a default; we have lots of natural timber, exposed brick and my favourite, a big burnt orange sofa.
Overall we enjoy tones that feel inviting, cosy and comfortable. As we've settled into our space, I think we're starting to get a bit more adventurous with exploring some bolder and brighter tones. We both love art, and we're lucky to have a lot of friends that are artists, so we've gathered a great collection of colourful paintings and sculptures from them over the years.
Q: What does the perfect day trip out of Melbourne look like?
A: If it's just for the day, I love to get out to the surf coast. Point Addis in Anglesea is probably my favourite spot. In the cooler months, going for a hike somewhere like Cathedral ranges or
Bushrangers Bay is always a great way to spend the day and get some respite from the city.
Q: What is your favourite restaurant, wine bar, museum, or spot to watch the sunset?
A: DenDeke, a great little Japanese restaurant in Preston.
Joanie’s Baretto in Thornbury for a wine bar.
The best spot to watch the sunset would be sitting on the rocks overlooking Squeaky Beach at Wilsons Promontory national park.
And I can’t go past the NGV for a museum; I’m always impressed by the quality of exhibitions they put on every year.
Q: We believe that if you sleep well, you live well. What does your sleep wind-down routine?
A: I'm fortunate to live with a very special and affectionate cat. Our nightly routine is pretty in tune at this stage; he knows when it's bedtime and always comes in, curls up and purrs in my ear as we both drift off. I couldn't imagine a more comforting and soothing way to fall asleep!