Wednesday, 3 September, 2014

Fresh on Felt

 
Gorgeous jewellery highlights our line-up of fresh new seller this week, including jewellery making classes in the Auckland region. Make sure you take a browse through all of newest makers’ creations though, as there are plenty of handmade treats to choose from.

live handmade

bushjeweller – auckland-based jewellery workshops and tuition

designer decor and original art

sandlz – colourful and uplifting glass art for your home
heartnote – lovely hand-poured candles made from the highest quality soy wax

children’s clothing, accessories and toys

hooray4sparr – cute and colourful wheatie bag bears, sales supporting TEAR Fund

 

clothing, jewellery and accessories

lemonpepper – fabulous flower brooches in a variety of gorgeous styles
twnz – unique gemstone and silver artisan jewellery
multiversenz – cute and original laser-cut wooden earrings
peranoscarf – versatile snap scarves with endless styles in one scarf

gifts and goodies

whimsy – ecclectic handcrafted accessories and treasures
kookykrafts – sweet gifts, treat boxes and decorative items
lil1dogwear – stylish designer dogwear for smaller dogs

 
peranoscarf

Tuesday, 2 September, 2014

Extra Curricular Issue 15: Many Hands…

extra curricular 15

Heads up! The Spring issue of Extra Curricular is at the press right now, and can be in your hot little hands soon. Order your copy now!

The spring issue, Many Hands, takes its name from that classic proverb. It celebrates collaboration in all its forms, proving that many hands do indeed make light work.

Featuring a gang of artists who roam Auckland’s streets, a small Matakana bush cabin built by architectural graduates, and the latest must-have of any creative city – shared workshop spaces – the spring issue is fronted by dynamic cover duo Pete Cromer and Laura Blythman, working together as Enemies Yay.

Maryann Talia Pau, weaver extraordinaire, talks about the power of her craft to bring communities together. Luzette Godinez shows how to make a stunning geometric piñata, the Martha Goes Green crew dish up their usual delectable fare, and four creative couples share their experiences living and working together.

And, if all these projects have you inspired to get your own project off the ground, just wait till you see the creative funding cheat-sheet the Extra Curricular crew have put together!

Extra Curricular is printed in full colour with vegetable based inks on 100% FSC Certified stock. With 76 limited edition pages of homegrown goodness (that’s right, 76 – they got a bit carried away this issue and had to add extra pages!), it’s a treasure trove of inspiration packed into the perfect carry-anywhere size. Get your copy now!

Hello spring!

The daffodils are out, the sunshine is warming up (when it’s not raining!) and the mumma bumblebees are out hunting for homes. Hooray for springtime!

neekienoo

meowdesigns

lustrejewels

inmybackyard

Our clever makers have some blooming good spring-inspired goodies – take a look and enjoy the soft spring colours.

ellaquaint

Featured Seller: Bellwheel

Joanna of Bellwheel is a strong advocate of work/life balance, choosing to work part-time so she can pursue a range of creative endeavours, including making laser-cut jewellery and other products featuring her signature clean aesthetic. She lives in Wellington.

The name Bellwheel was inspired by the kind of timeless and elegant design she most admires; things that are classic, unfussy and functional, like bells and wheels.

bellwheel workspace

What do you make?
I make wooden laser cut jewellery – mostly brooches – as well as making other products including bags, necklaces, clocks and retro wallpaper magnets.

How did you get into your craft?
I’ve always been a maker and creator of various things but I also enjoy the challenges and camaraderie of a workplace. I’ve learned that I’m at my happiest and healthiest when I have a balance between my own creative projects and more traditional employment. A couple of years ago I took the step of reducing my hours at my job in international aid and development so that I could focus more seriously on creative projects, and began the process of working out what that would look like.

A turning point was discovering Ponoko, a Wellington-based company who make it simple for anyone to get their designs laser cut. They have a catalogue of great materials and are very maker-friendly so it was easy for me to try out lots of my ideas. I started with bamboo bags before deciding that jewellery would be my main focus.

I knew that the market for laser cut jewellery was quite crowded though, so I worked to make distinctive designs and material combinations that I wasn’t seeing anywhere else.

Bellwheel workspace2

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Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
Sort of. I originally focused my interest in design on urban design, and got a degree in town planning. In the end I could see that it wasn’t the career for me so I went on to do a graduate diploma in publishing and graphic design. I now use the software skills I learned for graphic design to design my jewellery and to set up the files that enable the designs to be laser cut. The design training also helped me to refine the clean, simple style that ties my various design projects together.

Other than that I mostly learned practical skills from growing up in a family where creativity was encouraged. In addition to their day jobs, Mum is an accomplished textile artist and Dad is a talented photographer. My siblings are also creatively inclined in work and in life, which I think reflects that we spent a lot of time as kids making things and building things out of Lego!

Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
My tools are mostly my Mac and my sketchbook. The ideas tend to arrive early in the morning when I’m just waking up so I make sure to always have pencil and paper close by.

My favourite materials are the various woods that I use in my jewellery, particularly for the way the grain can be incorporated into the design. Right now I’m also exploring the possibilities of other materials, including wool and concrete.

What inspires you?
Architecture is my main inspiration. There’s a bit of a ‘house’ theme that pops up in a lot of things I design. Style-wise I’m a big fan of art deco and mid-century modern; anything with clean, simple lines.

bellwheel deco brooches

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bellwheel magnets

Is there a philosophy behind your work?
I make it a rule to only design things that I would buy – either for myself or as a gift. Even if I think something would sell a lot, if it is not really my style or isn’t something that I would admire then I won’t make it. I hear this over and over from other designers too – to be successful (and happy) you’ve got to stick with what you like yourself.

When I was studying graphic design we were taught to keep taking things away from a design until it looked right, and I still follow that approach. Less is definitely more.

A favourite quote:
“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or Life in the Woods

Thoreau is my reliable source of inspiration about the importance of making deliberate choices and the value of solitude. This quote reminded me to turn my ideas into action and also inspired my popular “castle in the sky” brooch design.

bellwheel castle

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Describe your workspace:
I’m either sitting at the computer or taking over the dining table with sandpaper, paint, glue and beeswax polish. I have a lovely sunny view out over the city with the sounds of the city coming in through the window.

Your favourite feedback from a customer:
“Growing up we had a tree with a swing exactly like the one in your beautiful brooch. [My sister] is going to love it and it is such a special memory for us”.

What are you currently listening to?
Right now the playlist is a mix of First Aid Kit, The Pierces, Ray La Montagne, and Patrick Park.

Your favourite childhood book?
I mostly remember reading Lego catalogues – I was making a plan to work at Legoland when I grew up.

What are you reading now?
I’ve just finished One Summer: America 1927 by Bill Bryson.

Who is your hero/heroine?
I have to choose two: my grandmothers Cathie and Mary. They were very different in a lot of ways but they were both independent, adventurous and resourceful, and had the courage to make unconventional choices.

What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
It might not quite qualify as handmade (hand powered at least!) but I recently bought a 1963 Olivetti typewriter. It is beautiful, elegant and functional, in the perfect shade of green.

bellwheel villa brooch2

You can see more of Joanna’s stunning jewellery, accessory and homeware designs in her Felt shop here.

Joanna has generously offered one of her lovely Villa brooches (above) to one lucky Felt blog prizewinner. This brooch pictures a typical New Zealand villa beside a cabbage tree, and is made from oak and laser cut white acrylic. It measures 4.5cm wide x 3.2cm high x 1cm thick and is finished with a 100% natural beeswax and manuka oil polish. If you’d like to be in the prize draw, just leave a comment below telling us what inspires you about Bellwheel and Joanna’s story and products. The draw will be made on Friday 12 September and is open to New Zealand residents only.

Monday, 1 September, 2014

The General Collective Market Day

Check this out Auckland! The General Collective Market Day is a one-day showcase of a group of independent crafters, coming together for the first time to present their unique products.

This market promises something for everyone – garden boxes, jewellery, macramé hangers, cushions, chopping boards, baby accessories, herb boxes, kids’ craft activities, flowers and lots more.

Located in the foyer of The General Trading Co, 199a Main Highway, Ellerslie, there’ll also be coffee and sweet treats to sustain you while you peruse all the craft stalls. Be sure not to miss this lovely market day, 9am – 3pm on Saturday 20 September.

tootsnoots

mrsnannestad

Saturday, 30 August, 2014

Something for every Dad

Dads can be divided into more than a few species and, as anyone who has ever gone gift buying for one knows, there’s no “one size fits all” gift for a dad.

Ambassador Autumn 2012

So the intrepid team at Felt HQ decided that a little David Attenborough-like investigation was in order. Donning our best nature documentary blue shirts and beige trousers, we went on a mission to identify some of the major species of dads roaming New Zealand. Here are the species we spotted and what we used to lure them…

1. The designer dad

Hip and coffee-fuelled, this dad appreciates style.

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2. The action dad

On the sports field, the beach or traversing the wilds, this father’s natural habitat is the great outdoors.

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3. The head chef

He can cook up a storm – and the kitchen will probably look like it’s been hit by one afterwards!

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4. The king of the castle

His home is his castle – house-proud and (hopefully) DIY-savvy, this dad appreciates manly home comforts.

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5. The geek dad

He can keep up with his kids on the latest gaming app (well, almost) and can quote his sci-fi cult classics like a pro.

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6. The social dad

This dad’s the master of the barbeque and can out-social-network Facebook.

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7. The academic dad

This erudite species of dad enjoys a good book or two – or possibly a whole library.

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Phew! It was a tough field assignment but we made it back to Felt HQ with enough time to still order for Father’s Day. We hope this helps with the identification, care and feeding of your Dad on Sunday 7 September. So go on, spoil him a little with something handmade and home grown – he’ll love you for it.

fortyfive

Thursday, 28 August, 2014

Get yourself sorted for Father’s Day

Dads are notoriously difficult to buy for, and many of us are often left scrambling at the last minute for something to make Dad’s day on Father’s Day.

So it’s a good thing Felt is here to save your bacon! With our Father’s Day Gift Guide, we’ve averted disaster and done the legwork for you, sorting out some great handmade goodies to spoil your dad with. We’re pretty proud of the selection we’ve put together and we think even the most difficult dads will be delighted with something (or several things!) from this collection of paternal pleasers.

We’ve organised the guide into our patented, scientific and extremely useful Felt categories (species?) of dads, to make things extra easy: designer dads, the head chef, the king of the castle and action man. We’ve also got an under $25 category for small but perfectly formed prezzies. You’re welcome.

Here are some top picks from our categories…

1. Designer Dad

plycandy

This upcycled blanket iPad Mini cover from Plycandy is the perfect present for the trendy dad on the go (or perhaps the dad who’s a bit hard on his gadgets).

2. Head Chef

billdan

These gorgeous knife and utensil holders from BillDan will keep even the most demanding chef happy with their convenience and good looks.

3. King of the Castle

cmc_design

Ah, perfect relaxation. This lounger from CMC Design is the last word in comfort and style.

4. Action Man

woodenkiwi

Surf’s up! Whether your father can hang ten or simply owns a pair of jandals, these cool surfboard clocks from Wooden Kiwi, branded with Dad’s favourite beach, are just the thing for the surfer dad, past or present.

5. Gifts Under $25

Finally, we have a bunch of wee paternal treats and cards squirrelled away in this handy category, to suit any budget. The only hard part is choosing!

Make sure you check out the rest of our Father’s Day Gift Guide and get the good stuff for the dad(s) of your whanau in plenty of time – after all, 7 September really isn’t that far away!

nectar

Wednesday, 27 August, 2014

Fresh on Felt

 
Feels like spring is nearly here! We’re highlighting some lovely light and bright creations from our fresh new sellers this week, as well as treats for the youngsters – and young at heart.

designer decor and original art

missbear – bloomin’ gorgeous light shades and night lights
homestead – quality custom-embroidered cushions
tcp_designs – sassy hoop-art and design projects
adaydream – unique cross-stitched art on vintage paper

children’s clothing, accessories and toys

sewloulou – vintage inspired hair accessories, garlands and embroidered wall art
mindfulmama – sweet screen printed shirts for your little one
miribritain – children’s books made for small hands to enjoy
nzrock30 – bright and practical kids’ clothing

 

clothing, jewellery and accessories

silversci – science themed jewellery for extra cool people
sosparkly – lovely hand fused glass jewellery
blueblossom – handcrafted jewellery for all occasions with a floral theme
paperlilies – lovely lace dresses
loveithaveit – eye-catching, one-off jewellery pieces using upcycled materials
fran-germany – warm and comfortable stirrup legwarmers
fwg – beautiful bags for everyday and special occasions

gifts and goodies

mamoo-designs – cute paper-dress bunting garlands
haamiscraft – soy candles in a variety of upcycled containers

 
fwg

adaydream

Monday, 25 August, 2014

Five ways to a great handmade Father’s Day

What would the dad(s) in your life do on their perfect day? We’ve come up with a crib-sheet of ideas to get you started planning your own handmade Father’s Day treats.

1. Breakfast in bed

It’s a great way to start the day and Dad’s going to love you for it.

littlewhitebox

2. Man shed time

Hanging out with his favourite assistant.

kruizeykidz

3. Maybe a brain teaser or two

…to pass the long afternoon.

puzzlebeetle

4. And then, have a cold one!

The perfect thing after all that brain exercise.

winterstudio

5. …and some feet-up time

Gotta make sure there’s some time to relax after such a busy day, right? :-)

SONY DSC

Wednesday, 20 August, 2014

We’ve had speed dating. Now? Speed crafting…

The Canterbury town of Woodend will be the place to be on 31 August for all makers who’d like to learn new skills, so mark it in your calendar, locals.

The Woodend Art and Craft Expo, supported by Creative Communities Waimakariri and Enterprise North Canterbury, offers a unique way to taste new crafts. For just $4 per class, or three classes for $10, you can experience a wide variety of crafts via “speedcraft”. In this quick-draw medley of classes, participants get to try out a craft for 30 minutes before moving on swiftly to try another. Who knows, you might just meet your perfect new pastime!

Classes include:

Jewellery Making – Make your own wire wrapped jewellery
Gingerbread Men Icing – Decorate a gingerbread man
Natural Cosmetics – Make chemical-free bath salts
Fabulous Felt and Fabric Flowers – Create beautiful flowers
Woollen Guardian Angels – Make lovely guardian angels
Woodcraft – See wood turning and have a go
Sugarcraft – Create your own decorative icing cupcake
Inkart – Learn how to paint unique ink designs
Peg Dolls – Make your own wooden peg doll
Needle Felting – Try your hand at needle felting
Card Making – Create your own handmade cards
Pottery – Create items with clay and view a pottery wheel
…and much more, including a children’s activity corner.

The Woodend Art and Craft Expo will be at the Woodend Community Centre on School Road, from 10.30am to 4pm on Sunday 31 August. Tickets are on sale now
from The Grub Hub Cafe, Main North Road, Woodend. More information here.

felt