Sweet child: cooking up Kiwi goodies that last forever

Auckland maker and mum of two Kelly Vize has always been a maker, trying her hand at many crafts. When she discovered resin casting though, she was hooked – and she has refined and perfected her delicious looking resin sweets and biscuits to the point that they are indistinguishable from the real thing.


 

 
What do you make?
Really lifelike replicas of iconic New Zealand sweets and biscuits, which I then make into keyrings and magnets (and sometimes jewellery).

How did you get into your craft?
I’m one of those people who has tried ALL the crafts. I have been a maker my whole life and when I discovered YouTube tutorials, I was hooked. Not sure how I ended up on resin but I did and, conveniently, I realised I lived across the road from a little industrial area, and a shop which sold it. I bought my first starter kit and used an ice cube tray as a mould and it snowballed from there. These days I get most of what I need from Barnes, in Henderson, Auckland. The staff really know their stuff (I worked there for a bit too) and are happy to help. I love that place, so many products I haven’t even tried yet but I’ll get there! If anyone wants to try resin, you should definitely check out their website. They also have tutorials. Beware though, once you start, you’ll be hooked.

Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
Nope. All self taught from a lot of mistakes, determination and tutorials from the internet. I do have a formal qualification in graphic design though, which has been super handy for setting up my online shop, creating posts and editing pics etc.


 

 

 
Tell us about some of the techniques involved in producing one of your pieces
I taught myself how to make my own moulds using a two part silicone, once I realised I wanted to make my own specific things. I have drawers full of them now!

I generally use about three different resins, depending on the qualities I want each piece to have. For example, if I were making a Shrewsbury, I would use a resin which is slightly tan in colour, then tint it to the ‘biscuit’ shade I want with pigment dyes. That resin has about a 4 minute working time before it starts to warm and then harden so I have to colour one part with my pigment first and then add the second part to ‘activate’ it when I’m ready to mix and then pour. That one can be de-moulded in about an hour, then I sand the back of it, brush the edges with a pigment powder to make it look ‘baked’, then fill the centre with ‘jam’ (a different resin, which takes 36 hours to fully cure). Some things are more involved than others but I do my best to really focus on detail.

I have a wee book I started using to record my ‘recipes’ for colours when I first started but so much of it is just in my head now. For example, I know that if I want my white resin to be pink, then I’ll have to use a red pigment. While a lot of it is common sense, you have to be quite accurate to get the shade you want and you can’t use too much, otherwise your resin will not cure at all. Mistakes are expensive so when I’m experimenting I try to just do a few small things at a time while I find what will work best but it’s always exciting when something works the first time.


 

 

 
What inspires you?
So many things! Pop art, real food, packaging, fabric, cartoons, new stationery/art supplies!

Describe your creative process:
I have whiteboards/journals/random sticky notes of things I want to draw or make. Because I have two young boys (6 and 2) I pretty much have to grab opportunities when I can. I can’t ‘wait for inspiration to strike’ because Mums don’t have time for that. I just start something. And I find that once I start, I’m instantly having a good time. You can’t be sad when you’re making something, I wish more people knew that!

Describe your workspace:
Every spare surface is my workspace! Haha. I used to have a dedicated art room but when my second son was born I let him have his own room and I moved into a space off our kitchen/dining room. It’s fine, I can open the doors and can still see the kids outside but I manage to take up every inch while I’m working and I have so much stuff – so I would love to have some kind of basement or She Shed that I can close the doors on one day.


 

 

 
Five words that describe your mind:
I’ll. Get. To. That. Soon. 🙂

Your favourite feedback from a customer:
The number of lovely messages I get blows me away. I also had no idea how many people buy things because they are reminded of a loved one (sometimes who has passed). I love that I can make them something which brings comfort and nostalgia.

What are you currently listening to?
I’ve gotten more into podcasts/audiobooks lately as I can still work while I ‘read’. There are a couple of creative entrepreneurial ones I listen to every week – or anything True Crime.

Recommend an album:
That’s easy. Appetite for Destruction – Guns N’ Roses . It’s been my go-to since I was about ten. Can’t fault it.

What’s your favourite childhood book and why?

Animalia by Graeme Base. Just for the pictures.

What are you reading now? Heath
A Family’s Tale. It’s a biography on Heath Ledger but it’ll take me ages. I don’t read as much as I used to.


 

 
Who is your hero/heroine? Why?
I’ve always been a fan of Andy Warhol. He was unapologetic about making the art he wanted to. Fun fact: We share the same birthday.

A favourite quote:
“Why buy it for $7 when you can make it yourself with $92 of craft supplies?” It’s more of a meme really but it makes me laugh every time I see it. Any crafter will relate.

If you were a crafty superhero, what would your name and superpower be?
I AM a crafty superhero! My name is Mum and my superpower is fixing broken toys!

What would your advice be for those starting out in a crafty business?
I have so much advice! But I’ll try and keep it short.
1) Take good pictures for your online shop. Seriously. Nobody can see how beautiful your item is in a sh!tty photo. You don’t need any fancy equipment, just good lighting! Natural light works the best for me. It’s worth watching a few tutorials about lighting, flat lays etc, ways to improve your shots. You want your customer to know exactly what they’re buying.
2) Don’t give up. You may not get a sale right away. Not everyone will want/need your handmade item. Some may not even like what you make. That’s fine, they’re not YOUR customers. But it’s your job to find your people. Post regularly to get your work out there.
3) Keep making, always.


 

 

 
Why do you think it’s important to buy handmade and/or locally made goods?
Every time you support local/handmade, you are putting groceries in another Kiwi’s fridge and gas in their car. I think that’s pretty cool.

What does it mean to you when someone buys your creations?
The novelty of someone spending their hard-earned cash on something I made with my own two hands, from an idea in my head, has never worn off after all these years. I feel so extremely lucky to be able to help support my family – while still being at home for them when they need me – doing the things that make me the happiest.

What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
The first that comes to mind is the small glass dish I bought on Felt (from Clarity Glass) at Christmas for my mum. It’s a tiny flower bowl in greens/aqua and it’s just beautiful. The colours got me as soon as I saw it.

What’s in store for 2021?
So many things! I have a few (too many) ideas but some larger scale works would be what I get most requests for so keen for that, some wall art. Just need to clone myself or teach these kids to fend for themselves. 😉

Prize draw for Felt readers!

Kelly has very kindly offered a sweet prize for a lucky Felt reader: a box of her fabulous biscuit magnets! (See below.) You get to choose your six favourites. 🙂 To be in to win this great prize, leave us a comment telling us what you love about Kelly’s story and her creations. The draw closes at 5pm Monday 15 March and is open to New Zealand residents only.

 

See more from Kelly Vize here »

 

66 thoughts on “Sweet child: cooking up Kiwi goodies that last forever

  1. I love how down to earth Kelly is, she is so much fun to deal with when buying from her. My favourite pieces I have bought are the chocolate fish.

  2. Kelly’s creations remind me of my childhood growing up in NZ, especially special occasions like birthdays when we had these treats. I love that they are handmade locally and the attention to detail. They look good enough to eat!

  3. Kelly is incredibly inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing some background on your amazing product. I’ve been lurking watching since L4 and love what you do! All the best!

  4. I totally relate to Kelly’s story, I’m a crafter and I’m always teaching myself something new so I can make awesome things for my kids.
    I love the biscuits the most because it’s crazy how many memories are tied up in food. I showed my mum these magnets and she told me that her Grandmother always had cameo creams when her grandchildren came to visit. My mum would eat them as slowly as possible to make them last because they were such a treat! The squiggles and wafers remind me of childhood birthday parties 🥳

  5. I really appreciate Kelly’s advice for newbies. As an individual who is starting to play with resin it’s really reassuring to hear from someone who’s work I admire.

  6. I love How Kelly says you cant be sad when your creating something! That is sooo true and I wish more people knew that too! I love the Shrewsbury biscuit key ring, everyday I go to kindy or school a kid comments on it asking if its real!

  7. I love her work. It brings such great child hood memories of 50c mixtures, my dad always wanted the jetplanes and my mum liked the milk bottles and we saved the banana for my little brother, oh and at Christmas time mum always bought the biscuit selection. Pretty sure we had a crate of fiction fix at Christmas as well. You might have to make a resin of that lol
    I will be buying these for next Christmas for my family.

  8. Kelly has built this awesome kiwiana business unlike any other!She is so great to deal with
    I have made quite a few purchases of the wine charms and key rings
    Just love the quote’why buy for $7 when you can make yourself for way more🤣🤣…great read Kelly,well done👏👏🇳🇿

  9. I love how creative and dedicated she is! I have purchased several times, and she is always so passionate about making sure everyone who wants to purchase is able to, even when she can’t keep up with demand. Such beautiful work!!

  10. I love that kelly is a kiwi making kiwi icons even greater by using her own ingenuity. I have a few pieces and love them. So very clever, realistic & such treasures. You can even tell by the packaging they are made with aroha 🙂

  11. I love the kiwiness of her products, I bought an eskimo keyring to gift to my daughter. Whenever she would come home for a visit, she’d always raid my pantry and my stash of them. The keyring is for her to remind her of home. The only problem will be the realness of how it looks and stopping the grandbabies from having a nibble 😉

  12. Kelly’s work is amazing! I have purchased a few items off her and I am still boggled about how much they resemble the real thing! My favourite has to be the Cameo Creme and Animal Biscuits. Keep up the awesome mahi Kelly!

  13. We have a few of Kelly’s wonderful creations proudly displayed on our fridge at the moment! My kids absolutely love them because of how real they look 😊

  14. Kelly is so down to earth & hilarious! Every time I talk to her she makes me laugh. I love her creativity & the fact that she can do all this amazing creating while still managing to be an awesome mum! Her bikkies look just like the real thing, bring back so many memories.

  15. Kelly is amazing. Ive purchase a couple of cool gifts in the past and the quality and true likeness cant be faulted. Everything sells out so fast because the products are just so cool 🙂

  16. Kelly is one of the most creative people I know, her works of art are quite literally, works of art. Everyone I’ve shown is in awe of them, and the nostalgia that they bring up, takes you back to a time that seemed simpler, easier and in many ways cooler. This is super unique, Kiwi as bro and evokes more than just memories, it makes me hungry!!!!!

  17. When my son was 10, he saw me scrolling through Facebook and Kelly’s creations caught his eye. He saved up his pocket money to buy a purple jet plane and green eskimo key ring that he proudly wears on his school bag.

  18. What an incredible crafter! Thanks for sharing your story Kelly, it’s so awesome to hear about your process and the delight you obviously have for your craft. I have your ‘50c mixture’ lollies on my fridge and my niece and nephew head straight for them every time they come to visit. They rearrange all the magnets and spend ages pretend nibbling them! When I was little my grandmother had replica fruit slice magnets, and I just loved them- hence I have started my own food magnet collection! I would love some biscuits to add to the mix. Keep up the beautiful work!

  19. I love how shes a mum of 2 and still manages to work her ass off to produce these amazing things! I have the magnets and I get so many compliments saying how realistic they look! I love your quote…. such a craft person thing to say… I do the same. Spend too much money making it when you can buy it for cheaper!

  20. I love Kelly’s lollies and biscuits, and the kiwiana’ness of it all.
    One year I gave each family member a jar of their favourite lollies…. and a Kelly Vise key ring of the same type hidden in the jar!

  21. I love the realism in Kelly’s work. I can only imagine the trial and error it has taken to get the shapes, colours, textures etc. just right and she has really perfected her craft. It’s always exciting to see what new ideas Kelly has had up her sleeve once they hit the store.

  22. I love Kelly’s artwork because it reminds me of a classic sampler (when it still came in the tin!) and whipping to the dairy for a massive $1 mixture. It feels very much like home. Plus, from a creative perspective, I can totally appreciate how much effort goes into every piece and I love that seeing this process and meeting the maker feels far more authentic than any ‘store bought’ option!

  23. Just love Kelly’s delicious work!
    I love how she just kept on trying different things until she came upon this medium, and that she taught herself with youtube.
    Cant wait to see more creations ❤

  24. Kelly is a textbook example of what you get when talented people work hard to 1) attain and 2) maintain and grow their talent. But I reckon her secret weapon is the pure unadulterated joy and love that obviously leaks into her creations straight outta her heart.

    One day I’m gonna buy an item and ACTUALLY gift it as intended instead of keeping it for myself cause it’s so darned perfect my greedy-so-and-so dial gets turned all the way up. Well .. maybe not ‘next time’ per say. But I’m def. gonna think hard about it the time after that. (No my fingers aren’t crossed. Well, maybe just a little bit.)

  25. I bought choccy fish and eskimo magnets years ago and still have them – such great quality
    I live in Australia so theyre a rgeat reminder of home in NZ where I grew up

  26. These biscuits are incredible! I love your persistence in try and trying to get the look, colours and consistency perfect. I can’t wait to take a look at all the other things you make – you nailed all the kiwi favourites and I can see this will be a go-to for client gifts!

  27. Kelly epitomises a craft-Mum – grabbing ‘making’ moments when you can; never having enough hours in the day to keep up with the creative ideas; and benefitting from sales that still brighten your day and make you do a happy dance! Keep it up craft-Mums … we wouldn’t have it any other way!

  28. I can’t believe I haven’t seen these before. Kelly’s magnets and keyrings are so realistic, she has obviously put so much aroha and time into them to get such incredible results. I love that she is self-taught, even makes her own moulds and how she says you can’t be sad when making something. Most of all I love that these are classic kiwi treats and there is nothing like supporting another kiwi family business.

  29. I love that Kelly saw something she wanted to do and just went for it! These biscuits give me all the nostalgia feels – they remind me of our family holidays camping, where we’d always have at least one box of those biscuit selection boxes you get at Christmas, and it was always such a treat to have all your favourite biscuits to choose from! And the jet planes and pineapple lumps remind me of Dad and Mum – each of their favourites! These are amazing Kelly!

  30. I absolutely love Kelly’s work! I bought a shrewsbury biscuit keyring for my wife and she adores it, she gets so many comments about it and points people to FELT. I’m eyeing up a jet plane keyring for myself but I’m going to have to get a set of chocolate biscuit magnets, all my faves are there!!

  31. So creative and totally scrummy! The very best bit is that they dont attract flies like real sugar does, they satisfy your sweet tooth visually, and they dont go straight to your hips! (Unless you clip the key ring on your belt that is!) Perfect!

  32. I particularly liked Kelly’s comment that you can’t be sad when you’re creating something. So true! Isn’t it wonderful that the treats she creates are evoking such strong feelings/memories in the many people that see them ☺️

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