Emma of Freedom Creative comes from a crafty background and has had many crafts as hobbies over the years (needle felting, sewing, knitting, cross stitch, painting…) but making jewellery is her passion. Originally from Dunedin, she moved to Christchurch in 2001 to study and here she has stayed, becoming a familiar face on the craft circuit and a regular at events such as The Night Market and A Craft Affair.
What do you make?
I make Japanese inspired jewellery and accessories, including necklaces, brooches, cuff links (coming very soon to my Felt shop) and magnets. I use beautiful Japanese paper as the base for them and most are coated in thick, glossy resin, which makes the designs of the papers really stand out. I’ve also been known as ‘the Scrabble lady’, as I make pendants, brooches and cuff links from wooden Scrabble tiles, also coated in resin.
How did you get into your craft?
I’ve been selling on Felt for a few years, but been crafting all my life. I grew up in a family where Mum ran a craft business, and my Dad was always in his workshop fixing/making something. I was lucky as a kid to have a dedicated ‘art’ room, where I could make as much mess as I wanted, so that made me want to craft all the time!
I started selling on Felt as a way to be a bit more creative in my adult life, as my full-time job became less and less creative. I’m not sure how I came to be making what I now sell, but I guess it was a love of Japanese paper, and finding a way to make it a part of everyday life, as well as my awesome friends and family who are ever supportive and encouraged me to make a business from it.
Describe your workspace:
I’m lucky that my craft doesn’t require much space, and I don’t need to go out to a cold shed or garage to get making. I simply have a large desk, in a sunny office, where I cut, glue, resin, design and get distracted by the internet very easily.
Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
Not specifically in my craft, but I have a diploma in Communication Arts and Design, and work as a graphic designer full-time. My design background helps with other important parts of my business, for example; packaging, branding and marketing.
Five words that describe your mind: Busy, optimistic, creative, intuitive, passionate
Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
I’d be lost without a pair of scissors, craft knife, Mod Podge and resin. My favourite part of the jewellery making process is selecting the papers to use, coming up with new ideas for products, and trying to think of new products to fit into different price brackets – so there should be an item in my shop that everyone can afford. It’s taken a while to perfect the art of resinning – it’s a two-pot mixture which, if you don’t mix exactly right, or if the room temperature isn’t spot on, will either not set, or go everywhere! It’s a good day when I don’t have to trash any items in a batch!
What inspires you?
The internet seems to be a never-ending source of inspiration for me. I spend a lot of time reading blogs, and marveling at other people’s creations. I have a big inspiration/notice board in my office where I pin up all sorts of things to keep me inspired.
What are you currently listening to? Right this very second: Fall by The Editors.
Your favourite childhood book?
Once Upon A Worm by Roger Hargreaves. It rhymes and is about a worm with a head at both ends, who eats ‘beans for breakfast and beans for tea’. It’s random and I have no idea why it’s my favourite.
What are you reading now? The latest copy of Extra Curricular magazine, Peppermint and Pulp.
What’s on your to-do list at the moment?
Making some new Japanese paper cuff links in time for Father’s Day, lots of paperwork, emailing a few new potential wholesalers and making a gift for my Grandma’s 85th birthday. I’d also love to take a silver jewellery course soon.
You can see more of Emma’s work in her Felt shop, Freedom Creative, and lucky Wellingtonians get a chance to check out the colourful wares of Freedom Creative at the next Craft2.0 in Lower Hutt on October 30th, from 10am till 3pm at TheNewDowse.