Fresh vision for glasses

'A bit of a closet artist'

CHE BAKER IN WANAKA
Last updated 13:40 29/01/2014
Southland Times photo
CHE BAKER/Fairfax NZ
Knot Eyewear creator Steve Lane in his workshop in Glendhu Bay.

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A Glendhu Bay man has created his own take on traditional eyewear, carving wooden frames he has dubbed ''furniture for your face''.

Knot Eyewear creator Steve Lane said he had been pottering around with the concept for a few years after creating a pair for himself.

He had broken his glasses and decided to fix them, opting to make a pair from wood.

''People noticed that. Friends wanted me to make more,'' he said.

So far he has designed and custom built about 20 pairs, but with the arrival of a laser cutter this week he is hoping to evolve the process and ''step up'' the business this year.

The laser cutter would mean more design options and customised frames could be made faster and the work would be a lot more precise.

The glasses are made up of several layers of wood with eco-products, such as basalt rock fibre tissue and eco resin made from bio feed stocks, applied between the wooden layers to strengthen the frames and make them more durable. 

''I want the work as close to being ecologically neutral as possible,'' he said.

A stonemason by trade, Mr Lane said he had always been a into creating things.

''A bit of a closet artist.''

It takes between eight and 12 hours to ''build'' a pair of the glasses by hand, depending on how elaborate the design is.

''There is no real restriction in style. It's really up to your imagination and what the materials can handle,'' he said.

Different wood species can be tricky as it depends on how well it can bend.

For him it marks a shift away from the use of petro-chemicals in everyday objects.

''I see this as my way of invoking some sort of change,'' Mr Lane said.

He hopes in the future to be able to use the waste materials to produce energy, to offset the power consumption of the process, and create soil simultaneously through composting.

The starting price of the glasses was about $400 and customised art work could be added as an inlay, using bone, greenstone, shell or other timber at an additional cost.

Mr Lane said he wanted the frames to be as New Zealand made and made of New Zealand as possible, using materials grown and found here.

He was also planning to begin applying 3D printing technology to his process.

3D printers would allow more local creation as a substitute to off-shore manufacturing, which in turn would help keep local economies stronger, Mr Lane said.

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- The Mirror

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