Shaky Isles is a treasure trove of beautiful things made by Deidre Robb. Based in Christchurch, Deidre is refreshingly opinionated and passionate about the arts, and well-known in the local craft community as a regular stallholder at Craft2.0, supporter of Crafty Business, Slip collaborator and most recently the creator of Stash reHash, a fabric, haberdashery and crafty supplies market.
What do you make?
For sale I make screen-printed pure linen tea towels with designs inspired by native New Zealand plants. I make lots of things out of recycled textiles including felt brooches, handbags, hottie covers, notebook covers and keyrings.
I make many other things for myself, my family and friends. These include yukata dressing gowns, clothing, embroidered pictures and furniture.
Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
I love fabric. I own so much fabric that I’m running a fabric market called Stash reHash in November to sell some of it.
Is there a philosophy behind your work?
My favourite things are useful and beautiful and of such good quality that they last forever. I really dislike waste and cheap disposable goods.
Describe your workspace:
Recently I was given a beautiful old workdesk. It originally lived in the handwork room at Ballantynes. It is solid kauri, has a large work-surface covered in baize and down both sides it has six huge shallow drawers. I work at it beneath a floor to ceiling bookshelf full of textile, design and art books and look out through the floor to ceiling window to my garden full of native plants. Heaven.
Assuming time, materials and cost are no object and you were given the opportunity to make anything you wanted, what would you make?
I would make a huge, public garden full of all the host plants for native New Zealand butterflies. It would house a large building such as a hall, church or barn on a “no mow” lawn. I would host pop-up shops and handmade markets there and my partner would use it as a venue for edgy New Zealand theatre, dance and music. In addition to our house, there would be extra accommodation on the property where artists writers and makers could come and work. Oh and our children want a maze (I’m thinking Muehlenbeckia astoniii), and features like those in the amazing Children’s garden at the Melbourne Botanic Gardens.
Well you asked! My family is at a turning point and lately we’ve been doing a lot of plotting, planning and dreaming!
What are you currently listening to?
Joan as Policewoman, Martha Wainwright, Lindon Puffin, The Tiger Lillies and when the children choose, Malcolm McLaren, Talking Heads and Blondie.
Your favourite childhood book?
I collect cool children’s picture books. Some favourites are the This is… series by Miroslav Sasek and Maira Kalman’s books such as Oh-la-la (Max in love). I remember the Sasek books from my childhood and acquired my first ones when the library I was working at weeded them all.
What are you reading now?
I’ve just finished Handmade Nation and am now reading Cloudstreet by Tim Winton. I constantly reread my issues of Selvedge magazine.
A favourite quote:
“At least he died doing something that he loved, tracking wild animals out in the open sea. When it is my time to go, hopefully I will be online shopping.” Comedian Margaret Cho on Steve Irwin
Deidre’s upcycled textile creations and linen tea towels are available in her Felt shop, Shaky Isles. Stash reHash is from 11am till 2pm on Saturday 8 November at the Scottish Society Hall in St. Albans, Christchurch.