MAKER PROFILE: MORRISON POLKINGHORNE’S TASSELS AND TRIMS
There’s no English word for Morrison Polkinghorne’s chosen craft. When the Sydney-native first started making tassels, bullion fringing, and ornamental rope – a pursuit known collectively in French and Italian as passementerie – he was the only such artisan in Australia to employ purely handmade techniques.
In between commissions for heritage homes, heirloom restorations and contemporary interiors under his label Passementeries, Morrison travelled back and forth to Myanmar and other parts of Asia, drawing inspiration from the materials and techniques he encountered. In 2014 he relocated to Southeast Asia permanently, choosing Battambang in northwestern Cambodia as the site for Bric-a-Brac, his studio-cum-retailer and boutique hotel. Read on >>>
Interview with Flore Vallery-Radot
I was lucky enough to meet Morrison in Sydney before he relocated to Cambodia. He is an incredibly talented artist, a very precise and highly gifted craftsman. His passementeries are unique, extremely well executed and simply wonderful. Visiting his workshop was a wonderful one of a kind experience. I wish to share it with you. Morrison answered a few questions for us to get to know him better.
Where are you from ? I was born in Tasmanian but grew up in Alice Springs, central Australia. 24 Hours drive to the nearest tow.
Tell us a little about your background – What did you originally study, and what path led you to passementerie? I have always made and sold things. Even as a young teenager I would make and sell clothing at markets.
GET UP & GO: Relocating to Battambang
Battambang, quip Cambodians, is where tourists come when they are ‘templed out’. In my case, it’s where we came after tiring of too many long flights to and from Australia. Indeed, my partner Morrison Polkinghorne and I had hosted foodie tours to Southeast Asia for over a decade, while in between he ran a bespoke tassel and trimmings business and me, a television food styling career. With regular business trips to America and Europe on top of everything else, we needed a new middle ground.
A sea change over an ocean beckoned. But to where? We knew Thailand, Vietnam and Laos well, having previously written books on their cuisines. Or perhaps Myanmar / Burma? After all, The Burma Cookbook won us first prize for Best Asian cookbook of the year – so that was a definite consideration.
Megan Mortan’s view on Morrison
Morrison Polkinghorne is never allowed out. You see up until now he has been the private domain of the countries very elite decorators and designers brigade, on speed dial to those truly in the know.
When Sibella Court visited us:
Step back in time to this hidden gem in the backstreets of Newtown. Morrison Polkinghorne weaves his magic on his 18th century french looms.