Posts Tagged ‘canterbury’

Inspired by nature, crafted with skill: turning for spinners from Whimsy Wood and Wool

Monday, July 17th, 2017

Tedge of Whimsy Wood & Wool has a passion for creating with natural materials. When she’s not working with pieces of wood, wielding a paintbrush or spinning up glorious fibres, you’ll find her in the garden where she and her husband, Arnold, enjoy growing fruit, vegetables and herbs for their kitchen (and their friends).

whimsywood blog

What do you make?
I design and turn wooden shawl pins, spindles, nostepinnes, tapestry bobbins, threading hooks and other tools for spinners and fibre crafters. I also dye silk fibre for spinners and felters, blend fibres into spin-able rolags, and sew knitting project bags. In my spare time, I spin yarn, knit shawls, felt bags, sew clothes, embroider pictures, paint and draw, amongst other things.

How did you get into your craft?
I have enjoyed art and crafts since I was a child, studied art at high school and took up spinning in my late teens. I first started woodturning as part of my Visual Art and Design Diploma at EIT Hawkes Bay, back in 2001. My major was in 3D, particularly working with wood and metal, and making quirky furniture. I got involved in the local woodturners club and for two years I learned to turn bowls, boxes and rolling pins. My main aim was to turn items I could decorate. I hit pause on the woodturning for a few years while in France, and concentrated on sewing, painting and embroidery. It was after our return to New Zealand, that we both immersed ourselves in a woodturning club, in Christchurch this time.


Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
Yes, I completed the three year Certificate of Woodturning in 2014 with the Christchurch Woodturners Association. Our amazing teachers Noel, Rex and Bruce taught us a wide range of skills, techniques, and decorative effects. They encouraged us to think creatively, work safely and pay attention to detail and finish.

My graduation piece was a set of spindles with a carved and decorated stand. My aim being to include as many learned techniques as I could: spindle and face-plate work, resin, coloured wax finishes, Dremel carving, pyrography, painting and more.

As well as a diploma in art, I have a BSc in Zoology, which has helped me in the way I look at the natural world and how it works, from the humungous to the microscopic, inspiring me in my creative processes.

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Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
My favourite turning tool is my small skew chisel, and for carving and detailing I love my Dremel Micro rotary. I prefer making smaller items, though it is still very satisfying to turn a large bowl.

I enjoy the turning itself, as well as the decorative effects such as pyrography and colouring. I can lose myself for hours in these processes. My favourite timbers are Kauri, Ash, Oak and sometimes Rimu.

Tell us about the techniques involved in producing a turned wood piece.
Firstly I plan out the item and draw it to scale. I think about the purpose of the item, and the aesthetics. If it is a functional item, for example a spindle for spinning yarn, it must be balanced in order to work well.

With an entirely new product, I will make some prototypes, experimenting with shapes and measurements, making more drawings as needed. I consider which timbers are best to use for grain pattern, strength, aesthetics, and suitability for decorating. As most of the wood I use is either recycled from buildings or old weaving frames, or wood from tree pruning, my decisions are often dictated in part by the size of the timber available. It is not my aim to produce “factory” products, but to maintain a handcrafted flavour.

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What inspires you?
Lots of things inspire me, from architectural shapes to textures and details in clothing and textiles, but especially patterns and colours in nature.

I am also inspired by the materials I work with, whether it is the feel of wood and the grain pattern, the warmth of wool, the smoothness and sheen of silk fibre. Sometimes it is not a visual stimulus, but a smell, a sound, a texture or a conversation that takes my thoughts off towards something more tangible. I am often inspired and driven too by the need for a new product, a new tool, a new way of making or doing something.

Is there a philosophy behind your work?
Yes, I like to work with natural materials as much as possible, whether it is wood, wool, silk, cotton, linen, hemp. I use polishes, dyes, and paints which may not be natural, but I steer clear of anything toxic which may be dangerous in its application or in the end use.

I aim to create pieces which reflect my passion for nature, and hopefully pass that on to the user of the product. I love that people who spin with my spindles, wear my shawl pins or keep things in my bowls tell me how much they appreciate the character of the timber from which they are created.

Describe your creative process:
Inspiration and ideas tend to come in a flood when I am in a creative frame of mind. New thoughts for shapes, decoration, or a new development, a new method of making something, a whole new “invention”. I scribble down sketches and annotations so I don’t forget and can develop the ideas later.

Describe your workspace:
I have several workspaces. The woodturning workshop is by necessity shared with Arnold, and contains a workbench, lathe, and various tools. My sewing nook is at the front of the bedroom; my art desk, storage and bookshelves in the spare room; and spinning, weaving and felting area at the front of the lounge! A bigger house would be useful…

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Five words that describe your mind:
Creative, determined, focussed, humorous, multi-tasking.

Your favourite feedback from a customer:
“I love, love, love spinning with my beautiful new spindle!”

What’s your favourite childhood book and why?
I don’t recall having a favourite. I do remember at eight years old walking to the library every day to get out the maximum three books, reading them and getting another three the following day. I still love to read.

What are you reading now?
Ken Follett’s World Without End. It has more action than I would usually go for, definitely more violence (I had to skip over one part) but it is an interesting and exciting book. As a bonus, the processes of weaving and dyeing the scarlet cloth are a vital part of the story, as one of the main characters, Caris, experiments with the best way to use madder to produce colour.

A favourite quote:
“Creativity takes courage.” – Henri Matisse.
We can often have creative ideas, but it can take courage to act on them without being afraid of failing, or of criticism. It also takes hard work, dedication and determination. And a lot of chocolate and the occasional cider.

Tell us about your pets:
We have five large goldfish who get grumpy if we don’t feed them, and a worm farm where all the worms are called Ethel and Fred.

What would your advice be for those starting out in a crafty business?
Do something that you have a passion for. Start small, grow steadily, don’t be shy, just get yourself out there. Create good products from good materials, and sell them for a price which reflects that. Believe in yourself, and don’t undervalue your talents or your products.


What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
On holiday in Vietnam last month, we were in the mountain region of Sapa. I bought a length of handwoven hemp fabric from one local H’mong weaver, and a length of handwoven hemp with indigo dyed batik from another. I wanted to buy from the craftspeople themselves, so they get the whole amount of money, and so I have that direct connection with the maker, the region and the country when I use the cloth.

What’s in store for the rest of 2017?
I am working to replenish my stock of spindles, both suspended and support spindles, plus Kauri shawl pins and tapestry bobbins. I want to build up a stock of wooden yarn bowls, and I have a number of new products up my sleeve. Many other ideas are zooming around in my head or scribbled in my sketchbook, waiting for time to try them out.

I will be trading at the Creative Fibre Area in Homebush on November 19th, and I have applied to be at Summer Woolfeast, to be held at Halswell Centre on November 25th.

I have just become involved in Pay it Forward, a lovely art and craft co-op in Nancy Ave, Mairehau, and will soon add some turned bowls to my shawl pins there. I also have shawl pins at Wool Yarn Fibre, the Creative Fibre shop at the Tannery in Woolston, and at my brother-in-law’s gallery Alfred Memelink Artspace on the Petone Esplanade. I have plans to add other products to these places as soon as I can, and of course to have a wider range of products in my online Felt store.

whimsywood giveaway blog

Prize draw!
Tedge has very kindly offered a great prize for one lucky Felt reader of a Whimsy spindle turned from recycled Kauri, with a hand-formed brass hook (see above). The spindle weighs 22g and the whorl has a diameter of 52mm. Perfect for spinning a fairly fine yarn, this little spindle spins smooth and fast. So that you have some fibre to spin, it will be accompanied by a pack of corriedale rolags with a dash of silk and sparkle. Total value $49 includes postage within New Zealand.

To be in to win this awesome combo, simply leave a comment telling us (a) what you like about Tedge’s products and (b) what yarn crafts you enjoy, or would like to try next! The draw will be made on Friday 28 July and is open to New Zealand residents only.


Purchase from Whimsy Wood & Wool now »


Tedge Memelink blog

Get ready for Encraftment, Canterbury!

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

Whoop whoop! This Sunday is the Winter Encraftment Market, Cantabrians – mark it in your calendar and make sure you get to Lincoln for this great gathering of 70 stalls, showcasing premium products designed and produced by the stallholder. A great day at Encraftment is easy with ATMs, parking and great food and coffee onsite.

Date: Sunday June 25
Time: 10am–3pm
Place: Lincoln Event Centre, 15 Meijer Place, Lincoln.
Cost: Free entry
More information:

Encraftment blog

Wired for silver: the Canterbury crafter who discovered a new passion

Monday, June 19th, 2017

Debbie of Wiredlove is a full time office worker, busy Mum to two teenage daughters (and one chocolate furbaby) and wife to Chris. Debbie creates her individual wearable art works in her spare time and dreams that one day her creations will adorn the necks and fingers of the rich and famous…

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What do you make?
I make handcrafted jewellery items using Sterling silver, copper, brass and mixed media.

How did you get into your craft?
I have always done crafty things, be it clothes, or toys for my children or family or friends’ kids. But in the last four years I have gotten into jewellery – this started with a friend giving me some artistic wire and some beads and it went from there.

Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
In 2014 I attended a level 1 and 2 silver course with The Silversmiths’ Guild of Canterbury, who run courses at The Tannery in Woolston, Christchurch. From my very first lesson you could say I was hooked – I enjoyed it so much I became a Committee member on the Guild! The SSG run monthly workshops for members – so I’m always learning new techniques.

Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
I love mixing silver and copper in my creations. Both metals react differently once heated – over-heat silver and it will melt!


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Tell us about the techniques involved in producing one of your jewellery pieces:
Where do I start? Designing, handsawing a piece of silver plate, heating, forming, soldering, filing… not my most favourite job, but must be done!

What inspires you?
Everything inspires me. I love everything to do with nature, shapes… the list could go on. I also love looking at fashions overseas to see which way the trends are going.

Describe your creative process:
Sometimes I will wake up with ideas and sometimes just looking at something will give me an idea. I can’t say I have certain look to my jewellery (i.e. a range) – I’m forever trying new ideas out.

Describe your workspace:
Cluttered, disorganised and a work in progress. I currently have my work station set up in our office and my soldering station set up in our garage. My dream would be to have a bright airy studio in my backyard or at least a jeweller’s bench, which I’ve been waiting a couple of years for my brother-in-law to make, LOL!


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Your favourite feedback from a customer:
Just seeing the customer’s face on seeing an item is feedback enough.

What are you currently listening to?
Imagine Dragons – Thunder.

Recommend an album:
Imagine Dragons – Smoke + Mirrors – they are my favourites at the moment.

What are you reading right now?
Nora Roberts – Whiskey Beach.

A favourite quote:
Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.

Tell us about your pets:
An eight year old chocolate lab named Rusty – he’s finally starting to get out of the puppy stage! :-)

What would your advice be for those starting out in a crafty business?
Never give up on your dreams.

What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
Some beautiful body butter by Inga Ford Soapmaker, in Peachy – smells divine and leaves my skin feeling beautiful.

What’s in store for the rest of 2017?
I’m currently working on some commission work which I love doing. Perhaps some markets once the weather warms up, and The Silversmiths’ Guild have an exhibition later in the year – so I’ll be working towards this.


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Debbie has generously offered a sweet prize of a stamped Sterling silver adjustable bracelet with either ‘Aroha’ ‘Love’ or ‘Kia Kaha’ stamped on it, valued at $45.00 (see above) for one lucky Felt reader. To be in to win this beautiful bracelet, simply leave a comment telling us what you like about Debbie’s story and her creations. The draw will be made on Friday 30 June and is open to New Zealand residents only.


Purchase from Wiredlove here »


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A feline character

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Meet Nancy, inspired by the street-wise and saucy but compassionate and fiercely protective character from Charles Dickens’ Oliver.

This characterful feline, from the imagination of Canterbury artist Katrina Perano, is printed from a hand-carved Lino block onto high quality acid-free print paper, using archival blue-black ink. Take her home today!

katrina-perano blog

Other people would love them too: the voice that inspired a new direction

Monday, September 26th, 2016

Every now and then on Felt we meet a maker who has a truly extraordinary story to tell. Kim Annan of NZ Art is one such artist.

Waxeye on Windsticks by NZ Art

What do you make?
I make Windsticks, a kinetic wind sculpture which also feeds the birds if you wish – or you can just enjoy them for their lovely sculptural value and watch them move and sway in the wind.

How did you get into your craft?
I moved into a new subdivision in early 2000 and I had no trees or plants in my back yard. I had nowhere to hang my bird feeders from, so I was throwing the food on the lawn and my dog was eating it. I tried to train her out of that, but she wouldn’t listen. So I had to think of a way to feed the birds, keep them safe from my dog, and keep my dog away from their food…

I wanted something that looked pretty even when I was not feeding the birds, and I knew it had to be vertical as there was nothing on the section for anything to hang from. That was when Windsticks were born.

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Then after the first Christchurch earthquake in September 2010, I moved in with my best friend Stephen. I asked Stephen if I could put my Windsticks in his garden as I did not want them to get broken in storage. He said yes, as he loved my Windsticks. Stephen had told me this for years but I thought it was him just being kind as he was such a kind soul. After I installed them I would catch Stephen standing at the window watching them swaying in the breeze and I realised he actually genuinely did like them!

So I decided to make him a set of his own, as I thought he would miss them when I moved out. I made him a set of red ones and we installed them in his garden. We moved them three times in seven days trying to find the perfect spot. On the third try we had that “Ah ha!” moment of “That is the perfect spot.”

I said “I’m working from home tomorrow, so I will photograph them.” I took a photo and showed Stephen it that night. We both loved it (photo below).

Windsticks in Stephens garden

The very next day, 22 February 2011, Stephen was killed in the CTV site.

Stephen only had his Windsticks for seven days, but in those seven days we talked about them every day. They were the last conversations that we had, and his voice got stuck in my head: “You need to do more with these, other people would love them too.” His voice played over and over in my head every day, like a tape stuck on loop.

His voice played over and over in my head every day, like a tape stuck on loop.

So after I found a place of my own, and I got my drill press out of storage, I decided to make a few Windsticks and go to a show. Stephen was right, other people do love them too! I even won a bronze medal at the 2014 Ellerslie Flower Show.

2013-03-09-ellerslie-flower-show Lake Display


Dealing with Stephen’s death was difficult and all the positive feedback from customers and the joy that my Windsticks brought them was the most therapeutic thing for me. Now there is a little piece of myself, Stephen and Bailey dog bringing smiles and joy to people and little birds all over New Zealand.

This has been a silver lining in a very difficult time. This experience confirmed to me that if you find the perfect gift for a loved one, you should give it to them then, do not wait until their birthday or Christmas as life can be unpredictable and you never know what can happen. Stephen got so much enjoyment out of his Windsticks in those seven days.

In 2013, I was given permission to install a large set of red Windsticks on the CTV site (photo below). It is the only sculpture on the CTV site. On anniversary day this year, I wired on 30 real white roses to give a moving flower sculpture for the day.

Windsticks - CTV site 22-2-2016

Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
No. But I have always been artistic. I also do landscape photography, stone mosaic work and stonemats, and last year I learnt abstract painting. I love learning new things and one day I would love to learn casting glass and also Oamaru stone carving.

Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
It would be stones. Every Windstick has two river stones set on it. All the stones are hand selected and drilled by me.

Tell us about the techniques involved in developing and producing your windsticks
I spent time choosing the eight colours and getting them to the exact shade that I wanted. The stones are hand selected and staggered at five different heights, which allows for varying weights of food, and they also move slightly differently in the wind. I have chosen a diameter on the wands that means that they will move even in the slightest of winds.

I wanted to feed the little birds, but not the big ones. I was frustrated in the past how the large birds like black birds and thrushes would bully the small pretty birds like wax eyes, bellbirds and finches away from the food. So I spent time working out what diameter the 2m Windsticks needed to be that the larger birds were too heavy for them. I have a large thrush here that knows he is too heavy to land on the 2m Windsticks but he wants the food so much that sometimes he tries to grab a bite of the food as he flies by! It is really funny to watch.



Is there a philosophy behind your work?
I create things that I love and then often I find that others like it too.

Describe your workspace:
I work from home. My garage is fully dedicated as my creative space and I have another room as an office. I can look at my window and see the birds feeding on my Windsticks, and when I take my coffee break I spend time with my ducks and ducklings at the creek in my back yard.

Five words that describe your mind:
Fast, bright, passionate, analytical, creative.

Your favourite feedback from a customer:
“I bought some Windsticks from you and they are installed in the garden. They are awesome, within two hours the wax eyes turned up and were having a feed. I can’t get the smile off my face.”

2014-Aug-06-windsticks-127 - white windsticks with kiwifruit

What are you currently listening to?
Sia – This Is Acting.

Recommend an album:
A classic that I like but is little known – Amos Lee – self titled album called Amos Lee.

What are you reading now?
I am really enjoying some books by Napoleon Hill. I have just been listening to an audiobook called “Napoleon Hill in his own voice”. Napoleon Hill’s books look at the principals to achieving success.

In 1908 Napoleon Hill was given an assignment by the wealthiest man in the world, philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, to spend 20 years studying him and other successful and wealthy people like Henry Ford, Alexander Graham Bell, Elmer R Gates and Thomas Edison to discover a simple formula for success. In 1937 Napoleon published Think and Grow Rich and his teachings have been made into the successful “The Secret.”

Who is your hero/heroine? Why?
I find stories like Napoleon Hill inspiring as he worked for free for those 20 years, he was never paid a cent as he studied those successful people. He understood the value of spending time with them. He really wanted to share the learnings with the world to help others. During the 20 years everyone including his family thought he was mad working for free as he struggled financially yet the people he was studying were very rich. But eventually the joke was on them as Napoleon’s Think and Grow Rich book has now sold over 100 million copies, and in Napoleon’s words, he said he ended up with more money than everyone in his family added together for many generations back. Among other things Napoleon shows that if you believe in something, never ever give up, no matter what everyone else thinks. Always believe in yourself.

A favourite quote:
“People are like stained glass windows, they sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” – Elizabeth Kubler Ross.

“Happiness is not in having what you want, but wanting what you have.” – from the Thunderbirds.



Tell us about your pets:
I love animals and have had an array of animals in my life – including a pet penguin when I was 7! We found him with a broken wing and we rehabilitated him back to the wild. My lovely dog passed away before the quakes and the house I live in now is too small for a dog, but it does have a creek in the back yard and that brings other opportunities.

So at this time in my life I have what I call “Nature’s free pets” – ducks and ducklings and all the birds that feed on my Windsticks like wax eyes, bellbirds and finches, among many others like fantails that enjoy my garden.

I am in the central city of Christchurch but there can be 100 birds in my back yard at any time, it is like a small sanctuary in amongst the urban CBD. The ducks have their own duck bath and a lovely spot to sit by the creek.

Last year one of the ducks turned up with a very badly damaged leg. He struggled to stand or walk and would fall over trying to walk. He was like that for weeks. We took care of him and kept him fed and safe. Last week I was excited when he turned up with a wife and 14 ducklings!

The ducks are well trained – I use the same principals of training that I did for my dog. When I whistle they come running – that way I know if they are ducks that have lived here before or new ducks. I have at least 15 ducks that visit and over summer we will have over 40 ducklings. I can hand feed them and all the ducklings are all friendly enough to sit on my knee. I find nature very relaxing and the ducks, although not as bright as my dog, are more intelligent that I ever gave them credit for and they are trainable. They bring me lots of smiles and joy.

If you were a crafty superhero, what would your name and superpower be?
I would be the superhero of my feathered friends, making little birds fat and happy all over New Zealand from feeding on my Windsticks and keeping them safe from cats and dogs as they feed well above the ground.



What would your advice be for those starting out in a crafty business?
If you make something for yourself that you are passionate about and love, the chances are that others will love it too. Create a listing on Felt and see what happens!

It is important that the photo is great, that you have good text describing the item. Try and convey what you love about what you have created. Remember the customer cannot pick it up and touch it, so you have to convey all of that with your words and photos. Customers love getting to know the creator and some will fall in love with the story about you and your creation. (Excellent advice! -Ed.)

Believe in yourself and never ever give up.

What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
I purchased a lovely hand painted cushion. I loved the colours and the design and it perfectly matched the colours in my house.

What’s in store for 2016?
October to January is summer trade show time! I attend many of the larger shows around the South Island and some in the North Island. Events coming up in the next month include:
Thursday 27 October – the Culverden Fete
Sunday 30 October – Oxford Garden Fete
Thursday 3 November – Geraldine Summer Fete
Sunday 6 November – Garden Marlborough in Blenheim

Kim has a special offer running right now in her Felt shop NZ Art: purchase any item before 31 October, and go in the draw to win a bundle of five beautiful 2m Windsticks in the colour of your choice, shipped anywhere in NZ. With a cost of $75 plus $28 shipping, this is a total prize value of $103, so place an order now!

Competition open to New Zealand residents only. The winner will be drawn by Kim on 31 October and will be notified directly.


Reversible redecoration: the Christchurch company making wallpaper magic

Monday, August 15th, 2016

Iris Hao of BC Magic Wallpaper works with her husband Tony and colleague Alexandra to produce innovative removable and reusable wallpaper and wall decals in a range of gorgeous patterns. Iris says they love to do custom orders, as they can tailor an order to exactly the colour and amount each customer wants.

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What do you make?
We design and custom make self-adhesive and repositionable wallpaper! We also make feature walls, wall boarders and wall stickers with the same repositionable material.

How did you get into your craft?
We were living in a rental when we first moved to Christchurch in 2012 and we had to be super careful that our young son Leon wouldn’t draw on the ugly wallpaper. We dreamed of wallpapering the house with a cool pattern and thought wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to take the wallpaper with us when we moved houses!

We realised that a lot of people would have the same problem. They might want to temporarily decorate a space and change it back later. Traditional wallpaper or feature walls are so permanent! When we discovered a special type of material that was newly introduced to the New Zealand market we realised this could be the wallpaper we’d been looking for.

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My husband Tony and I used to run an advertising company together. Our background in printing and graphic design gave us the knowledge of how to turn a creative idea into a product. We started off by testing the product with small wall stickers and removable photo posters. Then people began to show more interest in feature walls printed with their own photos.

Tony loves to take beautiful landscape photos so he became our first customer. We put up a feature wall with one of his photos in the office, and moved it to our rental house six months later. It is still on the wall in my son Leon’s bedroom today. Most of the landscape photos you find on our website were taken by Tony.

Alexandra came on board in 2015 taking care of customer service and social media. She is a huge fan of interior design and has a degree in Art History.

Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
The process of doing a custom order is our favourite part of the job. We begin by finding out about the interior style of our customer’s room, the curtains they have chosen, which wall needs a little love, and the colour scheme of their space. We then introduce the patterns which we feel should work best in the environment and send them home with a few pattern samples to test out on the wall. It gives us enormous pleasure to help a customer achieve their dream design.

bcmagic iris

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bcmagic cutting

What inspires you?
Our designs are inspired by interior trends from around the globe. We pick up what’s popular at the moment and help our customers create a vision. We get our inspiration from magazines, social media, fashion shows and art exhibitions. Starry skies, old buildings and street arts also give us ideas.

I love watching “The Block NZ” and love seeing how passionate people are about designing a space. We share the same passion at BC Magic Wallpaper.

Describe your creative process:
First we find out what pattern our customer would like, and what colour scheme they use in the rest of their space. We can then customise the pattern to suit their colour scheme. Before making a final order, we always recommend our customers get a few colour samples so they can see the products in person. It helps them to visualise the finished room when they can see the real sample on the wall. When they have decided on a colour or a pattern, we then print the wallpaper at their wall size and cut the panels at a width that is easy for them to hang. Every order is unique. All our wallpapers are hand cut and packaged by ourselves, here in Christchurch.

Describe your workspace:
It is very colourful! We have a wall of different wallpaper panels on display. We also have a beautiful photo wallpaper mural, an autumnal scene from Christchurch’s Hagley Park. My husband captured the photo recently. We also have our ‘Stag in the Woods’ mural on display.

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Your favourite feedback from a customer:
My two favourite feedbacks so far have been: “So so good! Custom sizing and when it got here I was able to apply it super fast! So happy with the results!”

“Love it so much!! So easy to put it up!! We want to buy more for other rooms!! Awesome product!!”
I also love when a customer sends us photos of their finished space, it’s such a great feeling to see the wallpaper on the wall.

What’s your favourite childhood book and why?
The Harry Potter series and Lord of the Rings series. I love the fantasy genre and watching the movies based on the books.

What are you reading now?
Cross Stitch from the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.

Who is your hero/heroine? Why?
The interior designer and textile maker, Iris Apfel. She is in her nineties and still exudes confidence and style, while ageing gracefully – and she loves to play with colour!

A favourite quote:
“There’s no how-to road map to style. It’s all about self-expression and, above all, attitude.” – Iris Apfel.

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What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
I just purchased a lovely ceramic vase from Vanessa Bean, I can’t wait for it to arrive! She makes beautiful vases with faces. When flowers are placed inside it looks like a cute hairstyle for the vase.

What’s in store for the rest of 2016?
We recently created some new patterns and new colour ways of some old favourites. I’m always looking for inspiration for new pattern ideas and fun colour combinations.

If you’d like to meet Iris and the team from BC Magic Wallpaper, they will be exhibiting at the Christchurch Home Show in October. Iris says they love showing their product to people in person!


Purchase from BC Magic Wallpaper here »


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Mindful making: the Christchurch woman whose handmade dolls inspire inner strength

Monday, June 6th, 2016

Hilary Tapper-Zakheim creates her inspiring, eco-friendly Khadil dolls with a hand-powered sewing machine in her Christchurch workroom. She uses handwoven cotton, woven by empowered village women in India, and other natural materials to create dolls that celebrate natural beauty, wholesomeness, inner strength, and handmade, conscious living.

khadil front page blog

What do you make?
Dolls to inspire inner strength.

How did you get into your craft?
My mum taught me to sew when I was little, and I’ve always loved cuddly friends.

Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
Handwoven cotton ‘khadi’ fabric (made by empowered women weavers), coffee and medicinal herbs to dye the khadi a variety of skin tones, local New Zealand wool for stuffing, my hand-powered sewing machine, coconut shell buttons for attaching the body parts, and hand-spun thread for the hair.

What inspires you?
Feeling guided from within and feeling in harmony with my surroundings.

Is there a philosophy behind your work?
Khadil (pronounced ‘cuddle’) comes from the word ‘khadi’, meaning handspun, handwoven cloth which was a vital aspect of Gandhi’s freedom movement – it symbolises self-sufficiency, non-violence and truth. I use khadi handwoven by a women’s empowerment group in India, and feel that the love and happiness of these women is woven into every fibre of the cloth.

khadil 1 blog

khadil 13 blog

khadil 23 blog

Conscious living and non-violence are very important to this project both in regards to the materials I use, but also the purpose of the dolls. These dolls are designed with the intention of simplicity and self-love, inner strength and wholesomeness. I want that every girl know that she is perfect and beautiful just the way she is, that her power and magnificence lies within her, and she need not seek her value outside of herself. These dolls are not just for young ones, but also all of us ‘big kids’ who still need reminders now and again that we are loved and never alone in our lives.

These dolls are designed with the intention of simplicity and self-love, inner strength and wholesomeness.

Describe your creative process:
I see an idea in my mind and try to unpack it on sketch paper. Sometimes it takes me a while to finally see all the details and then I create it – or I hear a song, smell a childhood scent, a memory returns, or I feel great affection for a friend, and I try to embody that feeling/sound/scent into a form.

Describe your workspace:
Lots of beautiful fabrics, a big wooden table, calming music, my watercolour paints and paintings, lots of bits of scrap papers, ideas, sketches and lists.

khadil construction blog

khadil at work blog

Your favourite feedback from a customer:
“She sits on my desk at work and keeps me centered, a friend to remind me that I’m never alone.”

What are you currently listening to? Miriam Stockley, Perfect Day.

Recommend an album: Jahnavi Harrison, Like a River to the Sea

What’s your favourite childhood book and why?
The Tailor of Gloucester by Beatrix Potter – I love the magic of the little mice coming in the night and finishing the tailor’s coat.

What are you reading now?
The Lord is My Shepherd by Rabbi Harold S. Kushner.

khadil illustrations

khadil dolls blog


Who is your hero/heroine? Why?
My husband, an embodiment of creativity, infinite possibility and ready any hour of the day for bouncing ideas, problem solving, and hugs. He makes special tools to suit whatever function I need – he made all the stuffing and turning-inside-out tools I use for my dolls.

A favourite quote:
“…at the still point, there the dance is.” T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets.

What would your advice be for those starting out in a crafty business?
Read The Artist’s Way, seek your inner guide within your heart, and do your craft everyday with confidence.

What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
A felted sleeping fox, quiet and enchanting.

What’s in store for the rest of 2016?
I have an unending list of doll designs to create, and I hope to do more of my watercolour illustrations and start printing them.

dollcompetition blog

Hilary has very generously offered a prize for one lucky Felt reader of a custom Khadil doll! The winner will get to get to choose their own hair colour, skin tone and dress fabric for their very own doll, which will also come with a woollen cardigan and handwoven scarf. To be in to win, simply leave a comment telling us what you like about Hilary’s philosophy and dolls. The draw will be made on Friday 17 June and is open to New Zealand residents only.


See more Khadil dolls on Felt »


khadil bunny blog

Copper, timber and time: the sculptural forms of Cobredera

Monday, February 15th, 2016

Like many makers, Christchurch craftsman Ben Teeuwen’s journey started with making handcrafted gifts that drew compliments and led to word-of-mouth interest. From that emerged a plan to fashion beautiful jewellery using natural timber and recycled copper. His shop name, Cobredera, comes from the two Spanish words for his favourite materials: cobre (copper) and madera (wood).

Cobredera diamond pendant

What do you make?
I make both copper and wood jewellery, on their own, or both combined where possible. That consists of earrings, pendants and rings. I also use a little bit of brass. All the copper sheet, wire and so on is recycled (rescued from old machinery or bought from a scrap metal merchant).

Most of the wood used has been found on the beach, on the West Coast (red beech, beech), or from trees that I have obtained from family or clients (apple, kowhai, blackboy peach). But my most favourite material I have used so far in my jewellery has been an 80 year old walnut tree I found in a South Canterbury river, part of its trunk and, most importantly for me, its roots. You will see in my jewellery how dark the items are that have come from the roots, almost petrified.

How did you get into your craft?
I had made a few small simple pieces of jewellery, a couple initially for my wonderful mum, and then I gave a couple away. But what really got my creative juices flowing was when I had made some earrings for my physio, as a thank you for the more than 10 years of work she had done on me. They were round walnut root earrings with a copper inlay. It was not so much her response (which was hugely appreciated) but the comments she received from friends and family when she was wearing them. That made me think that what I was making was turning people’s heads.

Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
I do not have any formal training, but I have been very fortunate to have been guided by Tatyanna Meharry at Risingholme, where I was the only male doing jewellery making, in the corner whilst a pottery class was going on! She was very helpful with me getting to grips with the basics of working with copper, and soldering, and other techniques. I would come to class with a partially made item, and with a plan of how I would finish the item, and she would be helpful in leaving it as I had planned or tweaking it to make it something special. But all the shapes and designs are my own.

Cobredera walnut root pendant

Cobredera disc earrings

Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
My favourite materials are the more heavily grained timbers, which mostly come in the form of native driftwood found on the beaches on the West Coast. I spend ages combing the piles washed up at a beautiful northern West Coast beach (and swatting the hundreds of sandflies that enjoy me!). The wood has to be left for some time to dry, at least for six months, and even then when it’s cut open it can still be surprisingly wet inside from the journey it has had downriver and in the sea, before being washed up.

My favourite materials are the more heavily grained timbers, which mostly come in the form of native driftwood found on the beaches on the West Coast.

My favourite tools are my bandsaw, which I use to cut open the chunks of driftwood or other timber used and reveal the grains and colour inside.

I use my belt sander (upside down) as my creator of form/shape, because a planned shape or design often does not end up as such and a new form often appears. It is a hungry beast, often ripping my gloves or spitting a piece out that I am working on! But is a huge time saver.

For shaping irregular designs I use a Dremel handpiece with a number of shaping burrs. I must also not forget to mention my wood lathe, which I use to make round earrings, pendants, and necklace parts. Getting the amazing final results in both metal and wood is the boring and repetitive sanding, going through the various grades and finishing with steel wool. There’s a total of seven different lots of sanding per jewellery item! That is why I have started making some more basic jewellery, that still shows off its amazing characteristics, but is somewhat less refined, reflected in the price.

But my most favourite part of the whole process is the application of the natural oil I use, made by the Natural House Co. Suddenly the amazing colours and grains pop out at you, and it leaves a soft satiny finish.

A selection of the materials Ben uses to create his jewellery.

cobredera triangle earrings

What inspires you?
Basically it’s whatever comes into my head. My job as a landscape gardener leaves plenty of space in the head to allow it to wander off and come up with new ideas. I do actually need to aim my thinking at a problem I am having, or apply the brain to a new set of designs. Then when I stop for a break, I will make a note of a new creation.

My job as a landscape gardener leaves plenty of space in the head to allow it to wander off and come up with new ideas.

Is there a philosophy behind your work?
My main aim is to make jewellery that is different, that is unique, and enhances the actual materials that I use. Just to be able to surprise prospective customers with the type of wood used on an item they may be interested in is a very enjoyable experience. There are not many people making jewellery out of wood the way I do, so I hope to be breaking new ground. With the wood, I aim to show off its natural colours and grains, and the copper or other metals, to show them off in their own best unique lustre where possible.

Describe your workspace:
Workspace for me is in about three places. The photo is a corner of my office I use for finishing items, oiling them, fitting copper wire fittings,etc. The other main area is my garage, where my bandsaw and wood lathe sit, (but it is not tidy enough for a photo!) and then normally an outside seat in my garden where I sit with a board on my lap, wearing overalls and a dust mask, and go through the sanding process. If it’s wet, I sit in my garage.

Ben Teeuwen of Cobredera at work on his jewellery

Cobredera turned earrings

Five words that describe your mind:
Surprising, creative, from left field, muddled, determined.

Your favourite feedback from a customer: Just that whenever they were wearing the jewellery they had bought from me, without fail they’d been asked at least two or three times where they had bought it and who had made it.

Who is your hero/heroine?
My hero or heroes really are my parents, who made many sacrifices to emigrate to New Zealand from The Netherlands over 40 years ago to create for themselves and me and my brother a new and better life. It is a very short sentence to describe the long and hard working effort put in by them both. Something I will always be thankful for!

What are you reading now?
I just returned a couple of fiction books written by New Zealand authors, but did not keep their names! I tend to try to read Kiwi written books where possible.

A favourite quote:
“Someone who saves something, has something!” A translation of a Dutch saying. This quote applies very much to what I make. My dad has accumulated many things over the years, like the copper sheet and wire that I am now using in my jewellery. And as time goes on, I’m accumulating plenty as well.

If you were a crafty superhero, what would your name and superpower be?
The name COBREDERA would stay the same, but my superpower would be to be someone like a Michael Hill, or a world renowned brand like a Gucci, and have my jewellery sold all over the world, and the riches that come with it! Maybe I dream too much!

Cobredera pendants

Simple walnut pendant by Cobredera

What would your advice be for those starting out in a crafty business?
Oh boy, that is so hard, as there are as many theories on success and failure as there are sunrises! Give it a go! Experienced people I have talked to in regards how they have found the magic formula for successful sales and thereby successful businesses, say that there is not one! For me it’s early days yet and am reluctant to step out of my safety zone to use social media to promote my product, and I do struggle with the technology, but maybe I need to put my head above the parapet and say “Here I am!”.

But I do know that those that have been successful have worked very hard at it, and have stuck at it, and when they’ve had disappointing days at markets have persevered and also had good days. Give it a go but do not hang everything you have on what you want to do. All you need sometimes is a lucky break, in whichever form that takes. Do not make decisions off the cuff – take the ideas or propositions people make to you home and spend time thinking about them.

I do know that those that have been successful have worked very hard at it … and when they’ve had disappointing days at markets have persevered and also had good days.

What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
I don’t know if a fine bottle of wine from Marlborough whilst on holiday is regarded as handmade, but I think so as the grapes where handpicked and put through various processes by the hands of the winemaker. And because I love a good bottle of wine! (We agree! – Felt team.)

What’s in store for 2016?
A number of things for me. One, I have to spend more time on practising my soldering techniques so that I can make more affordable but still stunning copper wire jewellery. I also need to spend more weekends at markets, as I have on an infrequent basis at the Harbour Bazaar, which is joined onto the Lyttelton Farmers’ Market. I have a number of designs running through my head for new stuff, and also some jewellery that is going to be OUT there! I am a long way yet from being an accomplished or established jewellery maker, but that is the challenge, I have lots to learn and improve on.

Also to go on holiday soon to the West Coast to my special place, and bring back more beautiful driftwood home!


See more by Cobredera on Felt »


cobredera collection

Featured seller: Buoni Sapori

Monday, December 7th, 2015

Simonetta Ferrari makes her delicious Buoni Sapori condiments from the heritage organic produce of Gunyah Country Estate in Windwhistle, Canterbury. A member of the Selwyn Food & Wine Trail, Simonetta can also be found presenting her creations at the Hororata Highland Games and the Royal A&P Show in Christchurch. Her Felt shop has a great range of goodies, perfect for Christmas.

bunoisapori gunyah vinaigrette

What do you make?
A wide range of country-style spreads, sauces, jellies, jams, chutneys, oils and baked goods made only with organically grown fresh produce from old varieties of trees on our estate. There are no artificial ingredients, flavourings or colours and practically all goods are gluten-free and dairy-free. All handmade in our kitchens at Gunyah Country Estate using traditional recipes. Deliciously tasty, unique and sophisticated preserves.

How did you get into your craft?
I sort of grew up with it. I grew up in Italy with a grandmother in the house, who did all the cooking. Each summer of course there was a lot of preserving going on. My grandfather on the other side also made all sorts of things. We had a large vege garden and an orchard, and people freely swapped goods from their land. The first cookbook I ever bought was a preserving book and I was 14…

Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
Not as such, though I am the chef at Gunyah Country Estate and I have been teaching Italian cooking classes for years.

Simonetta making preserves

Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
Vegetables, fruit and nuts, from old varieties of trees/plants without any chemical interference or anything artificial.

Traditional (now considered ‘old fashioned’) preserving methods – basically oil, vinegar, sugar or salt, according to what you are making. Old recipes, some go back 300 years!

My Robot Coupe food processor is invaluable, as are exceptionally large pots for sterilising though I need some help in lifting them sometimes as they get very heavy!

My zester that I bought in Paris years ago: I stumbled upon a very large warehouse for hospitality supplies in Les Halles, complete with men in brown coats… I composed this very long sentence in French: “Bonjour monsieur, je cherche etc etc, that implement that you use to take the zest off lemons and oranges…” with great pains explaining what the item did, since I did not know its name in French, and after all that the man exclaimed, “Ah, madame, vous cherchez un zesteur!” There you go, I could have guessed it myself and made up the word! Anyway, it is one of my precious implements, along with long silicone gloves to extract the jars from the steriliser.

my apples

What inspires you?
Anything that is traditional, old fashioned, country and from England, France and northern Italy.

Is there a philosophy behind your work?
Yes, it has to be traditional, nothing fashionable and fandangled. (Well, apart from the food processor, which makes work a lot faster!)

Describe your workspace:
I have a commercial kitchen at Gunyah, with stainless steel benches and very practical white cupboards. I don’t like the look of it, it was put in by previous owners and it looks too much like a city kitchen, while we are in the depths of the country in Canterbury. One day when I am rich I will re-do it – ha ha!

There are rules and regulations for the food inspector, so I quite like the stainless steel. The window looks onto the orchard and the Port Hills in the distance. Gunyah is 103 years old and has a cellar, quite an unusual thing in New Zealand. I can store a lot of produce there naturally, keeping it cool while being processed.

Five words that describe your mind:
Organised, efficient, people-minded, caring.

Your favourite feedback from a customer:
A man at a fair, a farmer, keeps coming back to buy the ambrosial marmalade, and every time he tells me it is the best he has ever had and it is his special treat!

buonisapori at market

buonisapori ambrosial marmalade

What are you currently listening to?
Gladys Knight “Midnight train to Georgia.”

Recommend an album:
Nat King Cole Ultimate Collection, and various bits of blues music

What’s your favourite childhood book and why?
Tom Sawyer. I read and re-read it every summer… I loved it when he went fishing, in the bush or painted the fence. They don’t have wooden fences in Italy so it was quite fascinating for me.

What are you reading now?
Strangerland, the story of a family that started off in Britain, then India in the colonial days then New Zealand. It is a book-club book.

Who is your hero/heroine and why?
My grandmother- I learnt just about everything from her!

A favourite quote:
“He who plants a garden plants happiness.”

the vege garden

Do you have any pets?
Two chocolate Labradors called Boris and Luigi, two cats (mutts) called Lady Lavinia and Princess Daisy and perhaps the hens can also be considered pets… there are 17 of them, a few with a name.

If you were a crafty superhero, what would your name and superpower be?
The Pixette (because I am short and I move fast around the kitchen).

What would your advice be for those starting out in a crafty business?
Be patient, it is very labour intensive so be prepared for a lot of hard work, but enjoy the creative process! Present your products well, it helps selling them.

What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
A felted hairclip, like an orange daisy, because it was made by my friend, the one who introduced me to Felt, actually…

What’s in store for 2016?
A new product, something rather sophisticated and delicate in jars, for special occasions. (We look forward to seeing it! -Ed.)

buonisapori pickled peppers pugliese

If you like the look of Simonetta’s tasty preserves and condiments, check out her Felt shop for more.

Simonetta has kindly offered a prize for one lucky Felt reader of a jar of her gorgeous Pickled Peppers Pugliese in olive oil (above), with a recipe from Taste magazine to go with it. To win this delicious prize, simply leave a comment telling us what you like about Simonetta’s story and her creations. The draw will be made on Friday 18 December and is open to New Zealand residents only.

Gunyah Estate

orchard in snow.

Featured seller: Evelyn Rose Design

Monday, October 12th, 2015

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.”

evelynrose cover

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.

evelynrose workroom

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.

evelynrose prizedraw

Love Sarita’s Evelyn Rose range? Check out more of her gorgeous products in her Felt shop.

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.