Vassallo says the real turning point for the start up was when Jewell made a miniature version of what would later become a signature Lump piece; light boxes with hand cut trees carved into large rectangular panels.
Having their work displayed on the world stage is big leap from Lump's first exhibit; Vassallo's first sculpture still has pride of place in his parents' garden. They were his first client, and the money he made from that job helped fund the start up.
One of their biggest challenges has been policing cheaper reproductions of Lump designs made overseas. Research and development of ideas is time consuming and costly; an expense the copyists don't have.
"The interactive design was the perfect showcase for our work, and to have it recognised at the world's most prestigious horticultural show is beyond words it's simply the best," Jewell says.
"We're always trying to find new materials to work with and also just trying to push the boundaries," he says.
"It's been happening a lot and it's getting even more prevalent with the internet. We're constantly fighting battles in China, where we're trying to stop reproductions of our work," Vassallo says.
Despite Vassallo and Jewell's reputation as industry trendsetters, they are unassuming and simply grateful for their involvement at Chelsea.
"It was lots of fun and I met a lot of amazing people, Nike Football Boots Australia but it was a little stifling. So I bought a welder and started making stuff in my garage."
"There have even been quite a few small start ups here in Melbourne, believe it or not, and we do have to engage lawyers in the end.
such a personal investment."
Vassallo adds: "We never thought that we were going to have staff it was always going to be just Tim and I mucking around. Nike Football Boots Blue And Green
Lump has a diverse client base, with jobs of varying scales. Homeowners fly in from around country looking for the "wow factor", Vassallo says.
Instead, Chris Vassallo and Timothea Jewell were at home working at their Lump Sculpture Studio in Fairfield, Victoria, and caring for their young children truly epitomising the small business way of life.
Jewell described Lump's contribution to the winning Trailfinders Australian Garden presented by Fleming's Nurseries as a "dream come true". The $2 million exhibit featured a Phillip Johnson designed naturally occurring Australian eco system. Custom designed sculptures by Lump are an integral element of the design, including ten intricate wood stack patterned screens and a sculptural staircase, all made from laser cut rusted corten steel.
for the big banks, and I just got lost," Vassallo says.
"It's amazing how many commissions we get for sculptures priced from $3000 to $15,000 to go into a private home."
Lump now has 10 employees from industrial engineering/design, metal fabrication and fine art backgrounds.
"We're now moving into three dimensional screens, where you can pull them out and push them in, and people can actually interact with their sculpture."
"I was looking at [Jewell's work] and said, 'That's a great idea, let's do that but on steroids, and make them two metres tall," he says.
"It does make us think we must be going in the right direction if everyone keeps copying us."
Back then Vassallo had worked as a graphic designer for more than a decade and Jewell was restoring antiques. (The couple went to school together, but didn't meet up again until years later by chance.)
For the first time in 100 years, an Australian entry won Best in Show at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show, described by some as the "Oscars of horticulture" and "Ashes of gardening". But the Melbourne husband and wife whose custom designed sculptures formed an integral part of the winning garden design weren't there to toast victory or witness the Queen's praise.
They promote Lump via their website and social media, enter exhibitions and tender for public projects. But a lot of ideas are initiated in house to satisfy their creative curiosities and demand by industry peers who are "usually gagging for something new", Vassallo says.
Even locals have been ripping off their work.
Oscars of gardening
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