Maggie Churcher lives at the beach in Tutukaka with partner Neil, daughter Bella and son Jimmy. Every morning she rides along the Ngunguru waterfront to her cottage studio, where, inspired by her surroundings in beautiful Northland, she designs and handcrafts her jewellery.
What do you make? Handmade jewellery.
How did you get into your craft?
For as long as I can remember I have loved making things with my hands.
Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
Yes, I had a great time completing a Bachelor of Applied Arts at NorthTec, Whangarei. I concentrated more on sculpture while I was studying and have really just transferred those skills into jewellery making.
Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
I love the whole process of wax casting. I love carving the wax, sending it off to the foundry… and then ripping open the parcel when it comes back in metal!
What inspires you?
It is obvious in my work that my ideas are strongly nature-inspired, but interactions with wonderful customers are super inspiring too. I find Felt customers are a lovely bunch. Seeing how other artists are working inspires me; it reminds me how cool it is to be making art.
Is there a philosophy behind your work?
I guess my theme is just emphasising the intricate beauty in nature. When you imitate nature in another material you get to take a look at it from a different perspective.
Five words that describe your mind:
Free, treasure chest, mostly a jungle – occasionally a desert! Optimistic.
Describe your workspace:
My workspace is heavenly. I work in a little cottage at my friend’s place. She has a ceramics studio there too, so it is an inspiring place to be. I often sit at my jewellers’ bench just loving my space and wondering if that is how some men feel about their ‘man caves’!
Your favourite feedback from a customer:
“I love, love, love the necklace! It is my new favourite piece of jewellery and I am getting loads of compliments. You are obviously very talented! Thank you very much.”
Sometimes when working on a commission piece I do so much emailing with my lovely customers and wish I could meet them – that is the only downfall of internet sales.
Recommend an album:
My old favourite – Back to Mine: Faithless.
Your favourite childhood book?
Lion and Blue by Robert Vavra. It’s such a beautiful love story about a Lion who falls in love with a Brazilian Blue butterfly. And the pictures are amazing.
What are you reading now? Anything to do with alternative power.
Me lovely Ma, she is amazing, nearly as amazing as my daughter.
What was the last handmade item you bought?
Some beautiful coffee cups from Akke Tiemersma Ngunguru Pottery. They are so good to drink out of and warm your palms at the same time. Handy.
If you were a crafty superhero, what would your name and superpower be?
I think I would be Miss Macgyver, because I love fixing things.
A favourite quote:
“Beware of deadly donkeys, falling from the sky, as you can choose the way you live my dear, but not the way you die.” I’m not sure who wrote this… would love to know!
Do you have any pets?
Yes. I have a gorgeous little Jack Russell cross, Vani. She does suffer from small dog syndrome… and lifts her leg on power poles, but she is quite nice at home. I did have a gem of a cat, but he left me for another woman. But I understand, she is very cool.
Make sure you visit Maggie’s Felt shop to see more of her gorgeous pieces. We’re also delighted to say that Maggie has generously offered one lucky Felt blog reader a prize of a $50.00 voucher to spend in her Felt shop! Leave a comment below, telling us what inspires you about Maggie’s beautiful jewellery, and you’ll be in to win. The draw will be made on Friday 2 August and is open to New Zealand residents only.