Sniffle Co. – Jewellery designed by John Patterson

One of my long time passions is good design. I have a degree in Industrial Design and even though I don’t work in that field these days I enjoy seeing local businesses designing and creating beautiful products, in any medium, in Brisbane.

John Patterson is one of these designers – you might know him as the guitarist from the band The Grates, backing up Patience Hodgson’s wailing vocals. When he’s not touring, writing and recording, he designs jewellery for his company Sniffle Co. I caught up with him and asked him an unlucky-for-some 13 questions. Here’s our little chat. 🙂

MMB – Who is Sniffleco?

JP – Sniffle Co is made up of me & Melissa Perry, one of my best pals. I design and prototype all of the pieces, and Melissa assembles, paints and posts them.

When we’re not making jewellery, I’m playing in The Grates, and Melissa taking care of little kids while their parents are at work.

MMB – Where do you find inspiration for your designs? Do you find inspiration from your band, the people you meet, the places you go?

JP – I keep a sketchbook/diary that I take with me everywhere, and just collect little sketches and ideas.

MMB – If you could wear just one of your designs every day which one would it be and why?

JP – I like the ‘hunting season’ animals targets, they’re a little more ‘dude friendly’.

MMB – What is the most popular/ least popular design with the masses?

JP – Woody and the HBFF are the most popular designs for sure, the least popular the the buttons that look like floppy disks. I think people have forgotten what floppy disks look like, or they’re just way too nerdy.

MMB – Do you have a business plan or are you doing this for fun?

JP – The only real plan is to not lose money.

MMB – What did you want to be when you grew up?

JP – When I was a kid I really wanted to be an animator, though as the years went on I realised how much hard work it is, and it’s much easier to design characters without making them move and talk.

MMB – Take me through the steps for one of your designs – from an inkling of an idea to end product

JP – I’ll start by flipping through my sketchbooks to see if there’s any ideas I’ve had that will translate well to a piece of jewellery. Then I’ll flesh out the idea on paper, scan the results, and clean it up on the computer in Illustrator. When I have a couple of ideas, I’ll send them off to get prototyped, and with them I’ll try out different paints and finishes, and make any final changes to the design.

MMB – Sniffleco is known mainly for its laser cut wood jewellery – do you see yourself using other manufacturing techniques or materials in the future? Or perhaps other products?

JP – I would love to try something different, but the awesome thing about laser cutting is that it’s so easy to take a design from idea to product. And that makes it really low pressure for me!

MMB – Have there been any jewellery designs that you thought of that are just physically impossible to create?

JP – I tried to do a really complicated lobster necklace, but it was just too fine.

MMB – Just how excited were you when you saw Amanda Keller wearing your Woody badge on TV?

JP – It was the best! I was in New York, and talking to my friend on skype at the time. He pointed the computer camera at the TV so I could take a screen shot.

MMB – What is your favourite breakfast cereal?

JP – Fruity Pebbles. Hands down. It’s an American cereal that tastes amazing with or without milk.

MMB – Did you have a cold or flu when you thought up the business name? 😉

JP – I have hayfever, so I’m constantly sniffling. So it’s kinda gross.

MMB – After Patience spelled your name incorrectly as Jhon many years ago – it seems to have caught on – do you think you might change it by deed poll one day?

JP – Haha! No way, but I do like to mix it up.

Check out these, and other, fantastic pieces at