By John Brodie
As soon as Karl stepped out of the car, a serious decision had to be made. The Cornish sun played her hand and kindly required that we solve this before nightfall. Well, if we wanted to get in the water.
Smoke signals rise off the shores of a small black couch – red, in its fine Cornish day. A ripe tomato then, now dried and kept hidden from the southern sun of England. From what I’m told, it rests up the stairs in The Old Bakery Workshop. I asked the Postman where it was, walking by his side for two or three deliveries, I can’t remember. It was just after the morning rain when he instructed with hand signals to head through the alley on the left and to keep an eye out for the dogs.
Karl heard the scuffle outside and opened the door before the dogs could carve their initials in my right calf. Up the stairs and inside, I find the Mackie Studio crew. Ian Farrell, the developer, and Holly Donnelly, the designer, quietly at work. On the table, leftover “Behind The Tide” posters – a film featuring Karl created by Romain Juchereau, celebrating the creative and the independent surf culture he loves. I pick up the posters and the smell of linseed oil steams off a newly shaped handplane. I set the posters close to a fresh cup of coffee crafted from a 1950’s wooden grinder. I take a seat on the couch, sip and pretend to write, but I’m curious how three people in the heart of Cornwall can have such an impact on the surfing community. Six hours later, I sneak past the dogs, walk a quarter-mile, and push through the door of the pub and up the stairs to my bunk. My back feels sore from my time on the couch so I kick my feet up and think about it.
Mackie Studio’s craft is in the development and design of websites. They were behind the Noosa Longboards site, which launched in November of last year, as well as logo design and branding for Otter Surfboards – makers of hollow wooden boards in Cornwall. Karl, Ian and Holly are armed with the knowledge and skillset to harness and dish out positive energy for any business but they can break it down into simplicity that shines across continents.
On the way to the print shop in St. Austell, Karl and Holly could not stop brewing ideas about the book and I sat in the back scouting for sheep in the road. The plan was to create a book based on a year of Instagram photos using nothing but snaps from their iPhones. Karl, known for his photography, has spent the last six years shooting with 800 grain lomography film but put aside (for now) his Canon for a book aptly named #openspaces.
No single stone is left unturned on his home coast. When out with his dog and two boys, Karl Mackie thrives in open space. His studio is sharing the space in a book started by chance conversation in The Old Bakery Workshop. The Kickstarter project for the book is now live: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1361062795/openspaces
As soon as Karl stepped out of the car a serious decision had to be made. He held up two wetsuits, one in each hand – a 5/4 and a 3/2. We looked at each other for a long minute. I shook my head once I knew and Karl asked, “Well, who’s going for it?” I put my hand out and took the Spring suit and we went laughing down the stairs to Tolcarne Beach. Three well-overhead, Cornish walls made a Pasty out of me, landing on my head and pushing water through the thin rubber. I found my way to the surface grateful for some open space.
*Photos by Karl Mackie