Sarita Muir’s love of animals is very apparent in her creations and in her day-to-day life, as she divides her time between design for her label Evelyn Rose Design and rescuing unwanted rabbits and guinea pigs. Sarita finds it an exciting time to be a designer-maker, saying “The digital printing age has really embraced small businesses, creating new opportunities to print small runs of fabric.”
What do you make?
“Beautiful things.” I create custom designed home wares and gifts using my own drawings, vintage images and Lisa Glanz watercolour paintings.
How did you get into your craft?
It all started with wool felt and the desire to make my own handbag instead of paying a ridiculous amount for a product made in China. I have never looked back.
Last year I retired from my music specialist job and now work on my design part time. I love garden landscape and interior design but I didn’t want to go back and study, and felt smaller projects were more flexible to accommodate family life.
Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
None what so ever! My Bachelor of Music and post graduate training were so formal and orderly. I love the freedom and creative possibilities no training provides!
Your favourite materials, tools, processes.
Fabric, felt, paper, wood and wire. My process is always the same: I work backwards from the finish to the start. I draw, create a sewing pattern/find the right sized wood and then move to my computer. All my designs are custom made for their product. Creates no waste and no left over fabric, a very environmentally efficient way to work.
What inspires you?
Animals play a huge role in my design due to my total love of them.
Is there a philosophy behind your work?
Recycle and use eco fabrics as much as possible.
Describe your workspace
I have a gorgeous space with windows looking over our beautiful rural property. I can see the Port Hills and the tops of trees all day long. It is sunny and warm and I love spending time working here. Everyday I tell myself how lucky I am. My dear ginger cat called Fleur Bean spends every moment with me. (Plus my totally devoted recused Spoodles Coco and Bella.) We rescued Fleur Bean and she had to have her tail amputated but she still feels brilliant about herself and the dogs fuss over her!
I always work on four to five projects at the same time and move from one to the other. (Please note I had a tidy up before I took this photo!)
Five words that describe your mind…
Creative, joyful, colourful, funny and enthusiastic.
What’s your favourite feedback from a customer?
“I have been meaning to log back in here to thank you since your parcel arrived. I had planned to save everything for Christmas but cracked and started with the Advent calendar pockets we have. Your shower cap has changed our lives! My almost-three-year-old had her first (happy) shower ever wearing that lovely elephant cap! Instead of being held by one of us, writhing and crying, while the other one soaps, she now lingers under the water with the ‘rain’ on her head – which now just misses her eyes because of the lovely little frill. Bingo! Seriously. Best gift ever! Thank you! X”
What are you currently listening to? Bellbirds in our garden.
What’s your favorite childhood book?
The Golden Compass – all the children have spirit animals.
What are you reading now?
Ideas – The most wonderful South African magazine, packed with creative ideas and inspiration.
Who is your hero/heroine? My husband.
A favorite quote? I have so many, very difficult to choose. “Enjoy the small things.”
Do you have any pets?
Yes, my daughters and I have a small animal sanctuary for unwanted guinea pigs and rabbits. Presently we have seventeen guinea pigs and nine rabbits. Plus we have many other larger animals – the most outstanding being Ernest, my Highland steer, who is simply magnificent!
What would your advice be for those starting out in a crafty business?
Don’t give up and continue to be tenacious!
What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
During a recent trip to Wellington we visited the market and I purchased some beeswax lunch wrap. The smell was sensational.
What’s in store for the rest of 2015?
I have just started work on a new range for 2016/17, which I am so excited about. I am working with my mum on the first pattern mock-ups, as she is the sewing magician and can whip up anything. Also getting geared up for the market/fete season, assisting Sprout Patterns with their beta launch in the States, drawing a lot of adorable rabbits (which will take centre stage in my new range) and I’m hoping to rescue a pair of breeding Flemish Giants in the very near future!
I have challenged myself to purchase only New Zealand made products for Christmas 2015! I LOVE FELT! (Awww, thanks! And what a great idea! -Ed.)
Sarita attends a regular Lincoln Market, which has moved to a gorgeous new venue and she’d love you to come and visit. She’s also exhibiting at the Ellesmere Spring Fling, the Ohoka Garden Tour and Fete and the Christmas Encraftment Market.
Sarita has kindly offered a prize of this adorable “I love Bunny Blue” 100% cotton pillowcase (pictured above) valued at $38.50, for one lucky Felt blog reader. To win this sweet prize, leave a comment telling us what you like about Sarita’s story and creations. The draw will be made on Friday 23 October and is open to New Zealand residents only.