Tuesday, 30 September, 2014

Featured Seller: The Woodbotherer

The Woodbotherer is a collaboration between creative couple Phil Stokes and Sam Dickenson. Phil is a scenic carpenter for film and television and Sam is a craft whizz. Whilst juggling a busy family life with two kids, they make toys and games from their home workshop in a quiet suburb in Auckland.

woodbotherer natural wooden play castle

woodbotherer wooden squirrel

What do you make?
We make natural wooden toys, dolls and children’s furniture. We describe our toys as traditional heirloom toys for modern families that are fun, long lasting, safe and made from sustainable and natural materials.

How did you get into your craft?
We have both always loved making things and learnt our craft from our parents and grandparents. Phil’s grandfather was a great influence on his love for wood and they spent many happy hours in the workshop together when he was a child. In fact, Phil spends so much time bothering wood that we jokingly call him the Woodbotherer – and that is where our shop name comes from.

I (Sam) grew up in a creative family. My Mum had a craft business and I would go to craft fairs with her and look at all the stalls and ask the people how they made things! I have a degree in Ceramic Design and worked as potter for five years until I had my daughter. After she was born I began exploring crafts I could do at home in between nap times – sewing, felting, knitting and crochet. I made my first doll for my daughter when she was three and have been making them ever since.

What inspires you?
Of course we were initially inspired to make toys because of our kids. Phil made the first tree stump fairy house for our daughter’s 4th birthday and has gone on to make many more. The swords and shields were made initially for our son’s ‘knights and dragons party’ and were such a hit that we made more and they have gone on to become one of our best selling toys.

Now we are inspired by the wonderful feedback that we get from our customers. Sometimes I meet or hear about some of the dolls I have made, and hear about their names and the adventures they have been on.

woodbotherer crossbow game

Is there a philosophy behind your work?
We endeavour to make toys that are unique, affordable and long-lasting. Designed to endure the rigours of play that we know from our own children that kids put them through.

Our toys are non-gender-specific, open-ended and do not come with their own brand, name or story. It is all left open for the kids to create. Whether they are playing role play games with our swords and shields, practising their aim with the bow and arrow set or crossbow, play cooking dinner on one of our wooden ovens, or creating magical miniature worlds in our fairy houses or castles. We want to encourage kids to play and create their own stories as it is now well accepted that imaginative play is an essential part of a child’s development.

We believe people should be able to buy toys for children that are affordable, ethically made by people who love making them and that are gentle on the environment.

Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
We aim to limited our impact on the environment with the material choices we make. We use mostly New Zealand pine which is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) ensuring that it comes from a sustainable source and small amounts of reclaimed hardwoods.

We use natural products to finish our work, Tung nut oil is food grade and is very safe for toys. It also gives a wonderful warmth to the finished piece.

Phil has a passion for tools as you may expect. A few favourites would be the wooden bandsaw he found on Trademe home-made by an engineer – great for cutting the curvy lines his work is known for. A bobbin sander and good old jig-saw are a must. Finally, he is never without his Leatherman.

My favourite would have to be my sewing machine. Apart from that I have recently started using a pyrography machine to add finishing details to woodwork and am looking forward to exploring this craft further.

woodbotherer 10

woodbotherer 15

Describe your workspace:
We work from home. Phil has the double garage at the bottom of the driveway which is pretty full of tools, projects and wood! The kids scrape the sawdust off the floor to use in mudpie making and the like!

I use what is supposed to be a guest room for sewing and finishing. Although I think any guests we have would have to squeeze between the piles of fabric and dolls.

Although we work in separate spaces we have regular meetings over cups of tea and coffee and are never without our sketch books – mine for endless lists and Phil’s with his product sketches and designs.

Your favourite feedback from a customer:
‘The items we purchased were for our son’s birthday, he just loves them. You are very talented, the wee bow and arrow set is quite ingenious, I love how safe it is for him to play with, I don’t have to worry, and he can fully get into role play games!’

What’s your favourite childhood book and why?
We have been loving revisiting our childhood favourites with the kids. For me (Sam) it has to be Winnie-the-Pooh for the sheer joy it brings, evoking that magical carefree dreamy world of early childhood. For Phil Dr. Seuss’ Sleep Book. He has fond memories of reading it whilst on holiday as a child.

A favourite quote:
‘Play is the highest form of research.’ – Albert Einstein.

Do you have any pets?
Yes we have two sweet and slightly neurotic cats – Kitty Kate and Tabby.

What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
The last handmade item I bought was a thrown earthenware mug for Phil for Father’s Day. I loved the green glaze and the generous size – plenty of coffee to keep him going in the workshop.

woodbotherer 3

Sam and Phil have have a great giveaway offer for buyers from their Felt shop this fortnight: while their feature is running, anyone who buys from The Woodbotherer will receive one of these adorable red Christmas gnomes with their purchase.

They’d also really like to know what your favourite product is from The Woodbotherer range, who you’d give it to and why – so please have a wander through their shop and then comment away below!

red christmas gnomes

woodbotherer 12

Monday, 29 September, 2014

Uh oh… is that sleighbells?

Please don’t throw things at us – we know it’s only September – but here at Felt HQ we’ve noticed that a little Christmas sparkle is starting to light up our listings. We couldn’t resist sharing these cuties with you…

littlewhitebox

We love these nifty personalised Santa sacks from Washhouse – make sure you order early to get your kids’ names!

washhouse

So if you like to get your Christmas planning underway early, it’s clear our sellers are ready to help! Stay tuned for more Christmas goodies on Felt.

natale

Wednesday, 24 September, 2014

Fresh on Felt

 
Look at these gorgeous goodies for the home, plucked from our fabulous fresh new sellers! As usual we have all sort of other lovely treats though, so have a cuppa and settle in for a good browse.

designer decor and original art

bluedoor – restored, recovered and revitalised furniture
henrhydpots – handmade ceramics in a variety of styles
varvar2076 – striking art powered by nature, spirit and emotions

children’s clothing, accessories and toys

modbabes – high quality printed clothing for you and your children
spruce – sweet and whimsical bird mobiles
wendymagz – beautiful traditional baby knitwear
crystalaroma – rattles and gifts incorporating crystals and aromatherapy
ummibeanie – practical baby beanies with a dummy holder attachment
gilliekay – bright and fun dolls’ clothes and fairy houses for children’s play
nomar – sweet hand knits for babies and children
tiggerpiglet – hand knitted kids’ coat-tail cardigans in gorgeous colours
 

clothing, jewellery and accessories

blue9white10 – gorgeous origami and Japanese-inspired earrings
kayree – elegant necklaces, pendants, earrings, modesty pins and bracelets
jacart – jewellery, art and clothing in vibrant colours

gifts and goodies

bostie – lovely paintings and cute textile creations
whichcraft – not just painting on canvas, but painting on anything and everything!
kniferoll – a safe and convenient way to carry and store your knives
plumtreecottage – stylish aprons and homewares for laundry and kitchen
craftybliss – lovely vinyl self-adhesive stencils in a variety of designs
stevengapo – leather pirate eye patches, arrrr!

 
varvar2076

Monday, 22 September, 2014

Craft Central in the capital

You’re in for a treat Wellington – this year’s Craft Central Artisan Market is being held in the beautiful St James Theatre Gallery, on Saturday 4 October.

Craft Central aims to champion New Zealand’s entrepreneurial spirit and with over seventy local stallholders, including a whole host of Felt favourites, this will be a memorable day. Here are just a few of the Felt makers you can meet there…

gallery

And it pays to be there bright and early! The first fifty people through the door will receive a free Craft Central Artisan Market goodie bag full of items donated from the stallholders.

Discover Wellington’s talented artisans, meet the makers and partake in a range of fantastic workshops at Craft Central: 10am–3pm, Saturday 4 October at the St James Theatre, 77-87 Courtenay Pl, Te Aro.

paperbirdsoc

Friday, 19 September, 2014

Scrub up for sunny weather

It’s nearly that time… that time when we start exposing pale winter skin to the world again. We reckon the best way to feel gorgeous is to start with a good scrub to slough off winter.

scenthut

With gorgeous handmade skincare products like these, your skin will love you and you’ll be a bathing beauty in no time. Check out all of our bath and beauty products for more ways to pamper yourself.

swanwear

Wednesday, 17 September, 2014

Fresh on Felt

 
Modern looks take the spotlight this week in our line-up of fresh new Felt sellers. There are all sorts of goodies coming on board though, so make sure you have a leisurely browse.

designer decor and original art

peoplelikeus – cool modern urban art prints
dyenumber2 – gorgeous handmade crochet bowls
littletables – hand crafted furniture using native timbers and select imported timbers

children’s clothing, accessories and toys

ericasmith – bright and modern crafting kits
mwcreative – sweet personalised name illustrations for children
absoloodlenz – engaging kid-friendly clock designs

 

clothing, jewellery and accessories

barkerwild – stylish bohemian and animal inspired creations
worddesign – vintage and nature inspired jewellery with quotes, words and art
littletinker – colourful and creative chainmail inspired earrings
aniram78 – beautifully fine hand knitted shawls

gifts and goodies

sophieoiseau – amusing cards with bad puns, strange facts and odd creatures
papercuts – gorgeous gift tags
pippoandmonkey – colourful cotton christmas stockings
beautyfields – vegan natural skin lightening soaps
miri1984 – bright handmade greeting card sets
nuttykins – delightful handmade cards with a button theme

 
sophieoiseau

Tuesday, 16 September, 2014

Papa was a rolling stone…

elliescorner

fat-spatula

Featured seller: BillDan

Tina of BillDan describes her products as tools for kitchen survival and productivity. Located in north west Auckland BillDan‘s focus is on offering unique, substantial and lasting kitchen products, with lashings of Kiwi ingenuity.

BillDan beer crate magnetic knife holder

What do you make?
I design and build magnetic knife racks, knife blocks and chopping boards.

What inspires you?
My surroundings – I’m lucky to live in the countryside, inspired by the natural beauty of where we live. It is such a peaceful and relaxing place to live and work from. I love recycling timber such as the old ABC beer crates, railway sleepers and old fencing battens – giving them another life and purpose is cool. And I love to invent stuff.

How did you get into your craft?
Well, I’ve always loved making things and one Christmas a few years ago my sister asked for a piece of timber so she could make a knife holder to get her sharp knives out of the draw. I decided at that point to design and build this for her as a Christmas pressie. I can’t say it was the most spectacular piece of work I’ve done but it went down a treat!

I thought about the idea of this and pottered away in the shed refining the design. I made one for my kitchen and people loved it. So here I am today – my range has grown quite a bit since then. Here’s a picture of the first BillDan knife block, and some examples of what I’m producing now…

Tina's first knife block

gallery

Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
No. I’ve just learnt as I’ve gone along. But I’ve always been very handy. I love to fix and build things and timber is such an amazing and rewarding material to work with.

Is there a philosophy behind your work?
Hmmm! Have fun, create and use your imagination because everything is possible!

Describe your workspace
I work from home and I have a beautiful shed that is lined and insulated. Natural light comes through the skylights and the windows that look out over the surrounding farmland. Little birds come in and visit and poop on some of the work-benches (bit annoying) but oh well!

Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
My favourite tool is my sanding machine. This can turn a motley piece of timber into a work of art in a few minutes. Clamps – you can never have too many of these as the process of building a chopping board involves precise clamping and gluing. It’s very satisfying when you get everything lined up perfectly.

billdan tina at work

Five words that describe your mind:
Purposeful, determined, motivated, tidy, organised.

Your favourite feedback from a customer:
“I just wanted to tell you how much Mum and Dad love their new knife block! They both think it’s perfect and are very stoked! I can tell it’s going to get lots of use, haha. We found a great spot for it, and it looks really good on the wooden walls. I’ve attached a couple of pictures so you can see how awesome it is! Thanks again so, so much.”

Your favourite childhood book.
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss.

What are you reading now?
How to make home brew beer…

Who is you hero/heroine?
Currently its Scott Donaldson – the crazy dude who rowed his kayak from Australia to NZ this year! What a amazingly brave man!

A favourite quote?
If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well…

Do you have any pets?
Yip! Three dogs, one cat, six chickens and one hundred cows!

What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
Some beautiful wooden butter knives – I loved their shape, smoothness and natural timber grain.

You can see more of Tina’s stylish BillDan knife holders and kitchenwares in her Felt shop here.

BillDan white oak longboard prize draw

Tina has very kindly offered this gorgeous white oak chopping board (above) to one lucky Felt blog prizewinner, an absolutely beautiful piece. If you’d like to be in the prize draw, just leave a comment below telling us what inspires you about BillDan and Tina’s story and products. The draw will be made on Friday 26 September and is open to New Zealand residents only.

Thursday, 11 September, 2014

Spring looks

Spring has come to fashion on Felt, with a fresh range of gorgeous handmade New Zealand womenswear.

meek

Treat yourself to a gorgeous new spring outfit (or several!) from our stand-out range of women’s clothing. There’s something to suit everyone’s style.

jaclynm

Wednesday, 10 September, 2014

Fresh on Felt

 
Colour and design make a statement this week in every section of our roll-call of fresh new sellers. Go on, have a leisurely browse over a cuppa!

designer decor and original art

nutmeg72 – colourful decoupage and papier mache art
lacampbell – classic abstract and landscape paintings
ladushka57 – lovely hand painted homewares and decor items
redhotart – stylish vintage style label paintings
mythreesons – whimsical printed pillowcases

children’s clothing, accessories and toys

stickytiki – vibrant hand painted mural kits, printed on fabric adhesive
edward_eska – wonderfully characterful kitty mobiles
littlelove – lovely hand crocheted accessories for children
babybunting – sweet hand embroidered felt baby shoes
silverfox – cute crocheted booties for newborns
peterpiper – imaginative made to order toy castles and dolls’ houses

 

clothing, jewellery and accessories

lovewinternz – striking boutique jewellery
madewithlove-nz – gorgeous vintage inspired, rockabilly and pinup headwear
twilight1129  – fashionable crocheted summer hats
magpiecollec – bright and practical beanies
tidal – beautiful bracelets featuring semi-precious stones

gifts and goodies

sheepychill – stunning designs and artistic works on paper and textile items
diverted – repurposed timber given new life as beautiful products

 
stickytiki