May 17 is Idahobit – a time for standing against discrimination and celebrating queer excellence. We check in with some of our favourite Aussie LGBTQI+ homewares brands to find out how running a creative business connects with safety and inclusion.

At the Table
Melbourne maker Kathleen Campone is a queer and non-binary ceramicist winning hearts with slip-cast candelabras handpainted in bold, irregular checks. What began as a self-taught passion project during lockdown has since become a dedicated label featuring plates, cups and incense holders alongside those signature candelabras. We rate Campone’s laid-back Tim Burton aesthetic, and their dedication to process: each piece is designed and hand-built in their at-home studio.

“As a queer person, running my own business has afforded me the opportunity to create a safe working environment not only for myself, but for other queer people who I have employed,” Campone says. “As queer people, our safety is not always guaranteed – especially in the workplace. Which is why it’s not only important to have queer-friendly work spaces but queer-owned businesses that foster and create pathways for us to succeed.”

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Corey Ashford
Corey Ashford is a queer-identifying designer and Dinosaur Designs alum who established his namesake studio in 2016. Since then, he’s been producing consistently elegant and fun pieces, like practically edible canelé-shaped vessels in metal and stone, opulent marble champagne coolers and brass oyster holders perfect for cradling table salt, small trinkets or incense. All items are made by hand and designed to last.

For Ashford, Idahobit is a time to take stock of how we got where we are today, and recommit to supporting queer communities. “In a world full of uncertainty, Idahobit gives a moment to be thankful for the people who paved the way before us and to look optimistically into the future,” he says. “It’s a chance to be proud of where we are now and to continue being strong, empowered and equally present members of our communities.”

Creo Melbourne
Jewellers Victoria Mason and Ewan Tremellen, who both identify as gay, use traditional silversmithing techniques to create glamorous barware like handcrafted cocktail stirrers and picks topped with freshwater pearls, plus a garnish skewer dripping with silver lemon pips.

“Ewan and I met when we were working for the same jewellery designer, and on the first day of that job I met more gay jewellers than I’d ever met in my life!” Mason says. “Many years later we set up Creo Melbourne as a design business specialising in jewellery and celebration gifts. We operate from inner-city Melbourne, so our clientele is as diverse as you can imagine. Being wholly gay-owned and operated means that we’re an inclusive and safe space for the LGBTQIA+ community. Everyone needs a place where they can talk openly about love.”

“Idahobit is a reminder that equality and acceptance doesn’t just happen on its own,” Tremellen adds. “It takes vigilance, empathy and community to create positive social change.”

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