The team of elephant+bird is made up of Matt and Jo: Matt is Irish and Jo is Australian and together they now live in Auckland. They started elephant+bird as a creative outlet almost two years ago, only to watch it spiral forwards and take on a whole life of its own. When they’re not screenprinting they are hopping around the world or dreaming up their next project.
What do you make?
We screenprint t-shirts and homewares for men, women and children as well as handmade leather notebooks and other small bach creations. My dad makes the awesome wooden toys!
How did you get into your craft?
I’ve loved to draw and create for as long as I can remember but screenprinting was an entirely new process to me. Matt and I started dabbling in screenprinting a couple of years ago, making t-shirts as Christmas presents for my nieces.
Do you have formal qualifications in your craft?
We are both completely self taught when it comes to screenprinting and book binding! Matt studied graphic design and also brings a lot of web skills to the table. But most of what we do now, we’ve learnt along the way, through the internet, talking to people and a lot of trial and error!
Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
I love the whole process of coming up with an idea for a print and taking that all the way to a screen. Actually laying each print can be really systematical, but I love the contrast it brings to the process. For our leather work we use tools that have been in my family for decades, it adds an extra special element to the process. And, I never leave home without a notebook!
What inspires you?
Getting out into the wild or sitting by the ocean, even if it’s close to home, always gives me fresh ideas. I love to travel, too. There is nothing more inspiring than seeing a new city for the first time! And meeting people who are doing what they love for a living, that is super inspiring!
Describe your workspace?
I love my studio! It’s the sunniest room in the house with big windows on two of the walls. We’ve just installed awesome new shelving and have artwork and our favourite photos from our travels hanging on the walls. We have a dark room at the back of the house for exposing and washing out screens, screenprinting can get messy.
Your favourite feedback from a customer:
We received this feedback from a customer just after we changed up our packaging for the first time: “I was delighted to find that the shirt came in a cute satchel. I kept the satchel for myself and gave the shirt to my brother, who loves it. We’re both fans of elephant+bird now!”
Recommend an album: Camera Obscura, Let’s get out of this country.
Your favourite childhood book?
The Chronicles of Narnia series. Hands down.
A fav quote:
“The question is not what you look at but what you see,” Henry David Thoreau.
Do you have any pets?
Yes, we have a super cute and mischevious ginger kitten named Wilson.
What was the last handmade item you bought?
A pair of earrings from the markets in Buenos Aires on our recent South America trip. Before that, it was a necklace from Cheek Pinchy, that I love!
Check out the impressive variety of clothing (for adults and kids), toys, stationery and homewares created by this talented duo over at their Felt shop.
Jo and Matt have one of their striking Moon Phases tees to give away to one lucky reader (with the choice of either a mens’ tee or womens’ tank top). To be in to win, leave a comment below telling us what inspires you about the elephant+bird story. The draw will be made on Friday 25 October and is open to New Zealand residents only.
Stop press! Elephant+Bird’s giveaway has been extended until Friday 1 November. That means you have an extra week to enter, so make sure you say your piece to be in to win!
But that’s not all! [I've always wanted to say that. -Ed.] Jo and Matt would also like to offer Felt readers 10% off their entire collection while this feature runs! Just enter the voucher code “10FREE” at the checkout. Thanks guys!