Featured Seller: BaldMoose

baldmoose kereru earrings

BaldMoose is the quirky moniker for jeweller and crafter Eileen Leahy’s personality-filled range of jewellery and crochet. Born in Whakatane, Eileen grew up in Kawerau and then Taumarunui – small towns in rural areas of New Zealand’s North Island. Eileen draws inspiration from her surroundings; New Zealand’s native plants and wildlife, landscapes, and simple things like a flower in her garden. The name BaldMoose was spawned from a bizarre conversation during Eileen’s time at high school – and it has just stuck. Some of her more quirky pieces of work reflect these carefree years.

What do you make?
I make jewellery, mainly in sterling silver, and I have recently added crochet items to my shop. I find crocheting addictive and love coming up with new ideas for cute little soft toys – the next project I have in mind is crochet toys for cats, laced with catnip!

Eileen working at her jewellery bench

How did you get into your craft?
I’ve always been an artist. I got into jewellery because I felt that I best suited creating small detailed work, which I still believe to be true about myself. I began to learn to crochet nearly a year ago. My Oma used to crochet a lot and I wanted to carry on the craft within our family as well as to be able to make useful items for my future family which could be passed down through the generations.

Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
I studied at Hungry Creek Art and Craft School where I gained an Advanced Diploma in Arts and Craft, majoring in jewellery. I spent four years studying full-time to achieve this.

Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
My favourite material for crochet has got to be New Zealand wool. I love to buy New Zealand products wherever possible. When making jewellery I enjoy using sterling silver and copper as well as acrylic resin, and more recently, glass beads. I bought a hanging motor about four years ago and it has been such a useful tool! You can change the heads on it for so many different jobs; drilling, burring, polishing, and so much more.

Shhh… really, I love all my tools equally!

Eileen's jewellery bench

What inspires you?
I’m inspired by fond memories of my childhood, plant life and playful things… small things that can often be overlooked in adulthood, but a child would revel in. This autumn I planted pots of daffodil and tulip bulbs, some of them have just begun sprouting through the dirt and I find that so exciting and inspiring.

Is there a philosophy behind your work?
I make because I can’t not make. I have spent my whole life doing handcrafts of one sort or another and couldn’t imagine living without it. Being able to make someone happy with a handmade gift or purchase is such a huge added bonus and it really does make it worthwhile.

Describe your workspace:
I crochet on the couch in the lounge, which is covered with half-finished projects and bags of wool. My jewellery bench is in the spare room… It’s incredibly cluttered to say the least! The materials from every project I have worked on in the last six months still sits on my bench and there are piles of papers, canvases, bags of wool and crochet, and materials for jewellery stacked up around the bench so that there is only really enough room to sit. I’m not naturally a tidy person.

The spare room

Crochet in the lounge

Five words that describe your mind:
Nostalgic, hippy, dreamer, eclectic and unordered.

Your favourite feedback from a customer:
I received this message from a customer – she’s from America and had recently visited New Zealand. She bought my Pukeko stud earrings and she and her daughter share them, which I thought was really sweet.

“Hello! I received the earrings today and they are absolutely wonderful! You did a wonderful job on them. I love these little swamp hens. We got to visit NZ in February and I was able to see some of these birds. My daughter is wearing your earrings now, we get to trade off with them. Thank you again. Heather.”

What are you currently listening to?
Whatever my lovely boyfriend, Hugh, is playing. Right now its dubstep, fast paced, but chilled out at the same time. I have quite a mixed taste in music.

Recommend an album:
The Cranberries, No Need To Argue has to be my fav for a sing along on a melancholy grey day spent inside.

Eileen's friend's baby Alek with teddy, Edmond.

What are you reading now?
I’m partway through reading The Handmade Marketplace: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, and On-Line by Kari Chapin, which Felt kindly recommended to me last year!

Do you have any pets?
I don’t have any pets of my own, but my flatmates have cats. Koda is definitely Queen Bee around here, we call her Avakoda because of her pear shaped physique. Rexy is a timid little mottled creature. She watches from the driveway but as soon as you acknowledge her she freaks out, freezes, and then runs away.

What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
The last handmade item I bought was from the Coatsville Market. It’s a wooden board made from recycled furniture with an awesome painting of a kakariki on it by Doug Ford. I love New Zealand birds and the painting is just so cool, I wish I could have bought the whole lot!

Eileen will be showing new BaldMoose jewellery, along with six other jewellers, in “RE: A Contemporary Jewellery Exhibition” at the Allpress Gallery. The opening is 5.30pm on July 15th. She also regularly has work at Off the Bench in Waihi Beach.

Eileen has also very kindly offered one lucky reader one of her gorgeous Kiwi Love rings, a reversible silver ring with a heart on one side and a kiwi on the other. If you want to be in the draw, Eileen would like you to leave a comment suggesting a new animal for her to crochet – so get your thinking cap on! The draw will be made on Monday 9 June and is open to New Zealand residents only.

baldmoose kiwi love ring

35 thoughts on “Featured Seller: BaldMoose

  1. Wonderful work by Eileen, I like the crochet and Jewellery, just lovely.

    To suggest the new animals – as new Zealand is surrounded by the sea, I think the collection of sea creatures and animals can be neat – dolphin, octopus, kina, starfish, cuttlefish, colourful reef fish and such.
    Keep up the good work,

  2. Well done Eileen! I’m a huge fan of all your work. Your Crochet animals are sooo cute! I think a big fat wood pigeon would be cool for your next creation 🙂

  3. I love wearing Eileen’s jewellery. But then being Mother I guess I am a bit biased. I remember the tiny plastercine cats Eileen used to make as a child. Dad suggests you crochet a milking cow! Now that would be something.
    Love Mum

  4. Eileen’s work really glows with character! She could consider designing a deer and other farm animals which are such an integral part of Aotearoa’s global identity

  5. I would love to see you crochet a weta!
    It would be detailed & tricky cos you’d probably have to make up your own pattern but I know you could do it! & I love weta’s, they’re so archaic. On that note a crocheted Tuatara would be pretty special too.

    Keep up the beautiful work xo

  6. Wow, I love the range of items you produce, very cool!

    in terms of crochet projects, I’m all for native NZ birds myself, particularly waxeyes or fantails. How about crocheting a flock of them in small size, since you often see them in big groups, or a single larger fantail?

  7. I want to say dinosaurs as thats what my 4 year old is obsessed with, or Lemurs, the obsession of my 2 yr old, however to add a NZ flavor, maybe a moa? or a morepork?

  8. How is this the first time I’ve ever heard of reversible rings? Such a good idea!
    How about a goat? They are so cute 🙂 And I love the already suggested idea, native NZ birds.

  9. What wonderful work & beautiful philosphy! *=”) my first thought was a fluffy alpaca (from alpaca wool), and then thought a cute, fat possum from possum/merino mix, but not sure if that’s somewhat wrong. i guess in a way you would give the wee creature a second lease of life?!?!?! *:-)

  10. Wow, such intricate and detailed work…you must have the patience of a saint!
    I am in love with Owls at the moment…so that would be my animal suggestion 🙂

  11. Your work is fantastic!!
    I shall definitely be looking into purchasing some from you =)
    I was thinking something along the lines of a tui for a NZ native bird or a giraffe for something a bit different. Either of those would look great!
    Keep up the good work =)

  12. Your work is very inspiring, it is nice to meet the artist, it’s makes the artwork more real. I like the way owls are trending at the moment, so if you’re after a Kiwi theme how about a Morepork? All the best with your endevours. 🙂

  13. Beautiful work, I’m in awe. An animal for you to crochet maybe a mermaid, peaguses or a car with wings. .. my black and white cat seems to have wings 😉

  14. hi Eileen

    lovely stuff you are making..
    what about a giraffe if you haven’t done so?
    I was just watching a movie and thought giraffes are lovely animals..

    good luck


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