Posts Tagged ‘christchurch’

Midwinter Woolfeast is here again!

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

Heads up Christchurch yarnsters!

The Midwinter Woolfeast is here again – your opportunity to buy from some of New Zealand’s most talented fibre artists and indie yarn dyers.

Come along to Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre for a day of visual, tactile and culinary treats and immerse yourself in the colour and opulence of the modern world of woolcraft. Learn a new craft skill and stay for some yummy refreshments.

Date: Saturday June 17
Time: 10am-5pm
Place: Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre, 341 Halswell Road, Halswell.
Cost: Free entry
More information:

midwinter woolfeast

Craft adds up!

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

Christchurch Maths Craft Day, Sunday 18 June

Here’s something for the geeky crafters out there – or is that crafty geeks?

Discover the maths behind craft and the craft behind maths at Christchurch’s first Maths Craft Day, Sunday June 18 in The Great Hall at The Arts Centre.

Featuring seven craft creation stations as well as public talks by mathematician crafters, the day-long celebration of maths promises to engage people of all ages. Make a Möbius strip, crochet a hyperbolic plane, build a fractal sculpture, fold an origami octahedron, and listen to talks about the connections between maths and crafts.

While you’re at The Arts Centre, why not also explore the newly opened Teece Museum of Classical Antiquities in the old Chemistry Building (now once again part of the University of Canterbury, housing the Classics Department) and discover the ancient relationship between mathematics and craftsmanship?

Christchurch Maths Craft Day is open to everyone: experts and amateurs, maths-fans and maths-phobes, the crafty and the curious.

Date: Sunday June 18
Time: 10am–5pm
Place: The Great Hall at The Arts Centre
Cost: Free entry
More information:

Christchurch Maths Craft Day, Sunday 18 June

Capturing colour: a stunning synthesis of natural and manmade materials

Monday, April 24th, 2017

Designer, music producer and DJ Nigel Greene takes inspiration for his eye-catching Greeen Customs jewellery creations from his engineering and music backgrounds, as well as the natural and manmade materials he uses. In his workshop in Christchurch he seamlessly blends native and exotic timbers, and resins in a stunning mix of colours, to create wearable art rings that are truly unique.

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What do you make?
Hand turned rings from custom castings and other creative supplies.

How did you get into your craft?
I was inspired to start a new business where I could harness my creativity and skills.

Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
Living a life of art and music, accompanied by a five year history of plastics and rubber engineering.

Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
I love working with resins, exotic and native woods, hybrid acrylic blanks and delving into anything interesting I can get my hands on!

I custom cast my own resin blanks, creating personalised colourways and can use or add other materials, then process using drills, saws, gluing, sanding and a lathe to create customised wearable art rings.

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Tell us about some of the techniques involved in producing one of your rings:
As part of the custom casting process I create multiple shades of as many colours as are desired and combine them with precision timing, which allows me to get amazing results.

What inspires you?
Life, colour, music, art, nature, and everyone awesome around me!

Describe your creative process:
I get inspired, create colour, search for and combine materials to produce my rings.

Describe your workspace:
I work from an early stage, at home workshop that is slowly shaping into what I need. It’s a great space and has a good sound system. (Very important! :-) – Ed.)

Five words that describe your mind:
Creative, seeking, detailed, intuitive, introverted.

Your favourite feedback from a customer:
“So happy to have found you and this amazing piece of jewelry.” (From a yoga teacher in New York.)

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What are you currently listening to?
Heaps of drum & bass/electronic music whilst performing/producing my own.

Recommend an album: Maduk – Never Give Up.

What would your advice be for those starting out in a crafty business?
Create something unique to yourself and constantly push forward no matter what anybody says! Stick at it and be different!

What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
It was a beaut handmade glass pendant. It features a dragon hand holding onto a sphere containing an awesome opal! I purchased it from the Illusion Glass Gallery in the heart of Denver, USA in 2015. I was fully drawn to the colour (Slime Green) and the crazy attention to detail – it really is a work of art!

What’s in store for the rest of 2017?
Fulfilling a lot of custom ring orders locally and from around the world. Taking the time to explore new materials and techniques as well as building an extensive backlog of designs and custom options whilst preparing myself to hit the market places come spring time!

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Nigel has very generously offered a prize for one lucky Felt reader of a $100 gift voucher to be redeemed in his Felt shop. Awesome, thank you Nigel!

To be in to win this great prize, simply leave a comment telling us what you like about Nigel’s story and his Greeen Customs creations. The voucher draw will be made on Friday 5 May and is open to New Zealand residents only.


Explore Nigel Greene’s amazing rings on Felt now »


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Made to be worn: the Christchurch jeweller sculpting life into silver

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

Sophie Divett is an ethical jeweller who has recently moved back to Christchurch from Wellington. Taking her inspirations from nature and antiquity, she specialises in bespoke pieces using sustainably sourced metals and natural gems.

What do you make?
I’m a jeweller, and I make a lot of wedding rings and bespoke, one-off pieces. I like to make jewels that hold sentimental value for the wearer and will be worn and treasured.


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How did you get into your craft?
I studied Fine Art and always gravitated toward making tiny, delicate sculptural pieces. After graduating, something clicked and I started making jewellery in the evenings as a way to stay making and creative. Everything just sort of escalated from there.

Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
Aside from my Bachelor of Fine Art, I’ve just finished my Diploma in Applied Arts (Jewellery Design) at Whitireia last year.

Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
All of the metals I use are ethically and sustainably sourced, mainly recycled from industry waste. I work with sterling silver, bronze and gold, with gold definitely being my favourite. It is a beautiful material to work with. I especially love white gold- most of the white gold you see in shops is rhodium plated to look brighter and more silvery, but naturally it has a beautiful subtle golden hue which is so unique.

My favourite tools would have to be the few that I have made myself, and older ones that have been handed on to me. Some tools get so much better with age, and you can’t beat a tool that has been customised or handmade to fit a specific purpose. A lot of these are the ones I use all the time and you can’t buy them in a shop.



Tell us about the techniques involved in producing a piece of your jewellery
I like to use lost wax casting methods to make my pieces, because the wax allows for so much more freedom with organic shapes. I’ll usually create a model of a new piece in wax, before casting it in precious metal. After that, lots of polishing and finishing, and setting stones.

…the impressions left by the wearer as it takes the knocks of life and becomes polished next to the skin become part of the piece.

What inspires you?
I’ve always been very inspired by the natural world, and ancient artifacts. I am fascinated by the way centuries-old objects develop the marks of time through corrosion and decay, and it is uncertain where the original object ends and the hand of nature begins. I like to think about this when making many of my jewels- they are made to be worn, and the impressions left by the wearer as it takes the knocks of life and becomes polished next to the skin become part of the piece.


Is there a philosophy behind your work?
Make beautiful things for lovely people.

Describe your creative process:
Sometimes there’s an idea first, other times I just begin with a lump of wax and see where it takes me. Either way, the best things happen when they develop organically.

Describe your workspace:
I share a workshop with two other jewellers at the back of Form Gallery on Colombo Street, in Christchurch. My bench is usually the messiest, though I prefer the term ‘creative jumble’. It’s usually covered in lots of half-made bits and pieces, any commissions I’m working on, and a scattering of interesting objects I’ve picked up at some point- rocks, bones, seeds, leaves, insects. The bench itself was made by repurposing an old bankers desk and customising it to suit my needs.



Your favourite feedback from a customer:
I’m quite blessed with a lot of absolutely lovely customers so couldn’t possibly pick just one. I love hearing about the people behind the jewels, which is a bit hard when so much of what I do is online, so it’s always so special when people go to the trouble to tell me their stories.

What are you currently listening to? Shura – Touch.

Recommend an album: Furns – Furns (2014).

If you were a crafty superhero, what would your name and superpower be?
I’m not sure about superhero, but I am pretty good at hoarding gold and precious jewels. So I’d probably be a dragon.


What would your advice be for those starting out in a crafty business?
Be prepared to persist, anything really worth doing is probably going to be difficult. But if it’s what you really want to do, do it and you won’t have any regrets.

What’s in store for 2017?
Oh, so much. This will be my first year working as a jeweller full-time since graduating, so it’s going to be all go. Right now I’m working on a new collection of engagement rings, which is so exciting, it’s something I’ve been planning for a long time. I’ve just moved back to Christchurch so am very interested in getting involved with the Christchurch arts scene, events and exhibitions and collaborations with other artists.


Sophie has very generously offered an exquisite prize for one lucky Felt reader of a beautiful Sterling silver Annui necklace (see above). Annui in Latin means to favour or smile on, and this necklace embodies that feeling wonderfully.

To be in to win this elegant handcrafted prize, simply leave a comment telling us what appeals to you about Sophie’s story and her beautiful jewellery creations. The draw will be made on Friday 10 February and is open to New Zealand residents only.


Explore Sophie Divett’s ethical jewellery on Felt »



Fairytale characters and crystal caves: an adventure wrought in silver

Monday, October 24th, 2016

Kim Goulding-Piper of Ore and Wander has been building her relationship with crystal and metal since she was a child. Her journey has taken her from beaches and caves, through managing a chain of prestigious crystal shops in the UK, to Aotearoa, where she now sits in her workshop with a view of snow-capped mountains.



What do you make?
I create jewellery including rings, necklaces, pendants, earrings, bangles, tiaras, ear cuffs, and wands.

How did you get into your craft?
I grew up living on a boat in a new age town, and I think the combination really fostered a love of fossicking on beaches and finding precious rocks. At an early age I would fill my pockets with rocks and hoard my treasure in my room. From there I started to collect crystals and when I was 10 years old my grandmother died leaving me a beautiful smokey quartz necklace. This began my crystal bead collection and at 16 I had my first exhibition in a local gallery.

The same year a crystal shop opened in my home town I knew I had to work there, so I went and asked for a job. They were not hiring at the time but being desperate for the job I asked to be trained so that when a position opened up I would be exactly what they needed. Liking my enthusiasm they hired me straight away and I worked for the Crystals Company for 14 years, becoming part of a wonderful family. I filled many roles within the company and loved every position I held there, especially getting paid to talk to people about crystals all day long!

The company helped me realise my dream by facilitating an apprenticeship with the company goldsmith. From there the fairy-tale began: everyday I would go in to the workshop and fix, tinker with, and create jewellery with the resident goldsmith. It was like entering a crystal cave and working with a dwarf to create glittering treasure.

In this time I also trained in crystal therapy, which I still practice today. After learning my trade I came to New Zealand (9 years ago) and lived in a house truck until meeting my wonderful partner and having my beautiful son.



Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
My training was intensive and lasted many years, but it was not formal and I have no paper to say I know how to do what I do. I spent many years doing all the silver and many of the gold repairs, along with commissions and designing new ranges, for 21 shops. Dwarfs living in crystal caverns tend to be more focused on practical skills rather than paper ones!

Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
I love to work with crystals, blending the healing properties to suit people’s needs. This led me to spend lots of time looking at archetypes and stories. Often my work is inspired by the crystal’s properties, people, and more recently stories. There is often a fairy-tale or character behind a finished product.

Tell us about some of the techniques involved in producing your jewellery
I try to keep the techniques simple. Once I am in the workshop, taming the ideas in to a few I can stick to is my main focus, then lots of soldering and setting stones (and lots of singing and hopefully no swearing). Next a bit of polishing where everything gets nice and shiny except me, then off to have a nice soak in the bath!

What inspires you?
Most recently I have been inspired by the stories I make up to tell my five year old son every night. We go on fantastical journeys, where anything can happen and we meet incredible characters on the way. I find that some of the characters are still with me in the morning when I go into the workshop. My latest range has no crystals but is infused with the magic of the fairy-tales we share and the things that stir emotions in us.



Is there a philosophy behind your work?
My philosophy is that jewellery is not just something to match an outfit to, but something that has meaning and can act as a reminder for us to focus on the positive. Whether it is a reminder of the person who gave it to you, the quality that you are trying to work on, or a feeling/character that you love.

Describe your creative process:
Often I dream of what I am going to make next, sometimes the stones seem to know how they want to be set and sometimes the stories find their own way on to the work. I try not to force the work, there are some days where nothing comes and some days where you have so many ideas that you have to thin them out before they overwhelm you. I have often found it difficult to represent my work in one style as there are always so many new ideas that I want to try, so many things that inspire me. I try to catch as many as I can, but for each piece I create at least ten slip through my grasp and float off!

Describe your work space:
My workshop is small but seems big to me after living in boats, house trucks and geodomes. It is a luxury to have a separate room to go to! I try to fill my work space with things that inspire me, remind me of friends and places, or tell me stories. I have a fantastic display cabinet made from an old Singer sewing machine that my wonderful partner made for me as a moving in present.



I work from home and when the weather is nice I take small sanding and filing jobs out in to the sun with a cup of tea. We live in the middle of nowhere with no neighbours, and stunning views of the mountains and the Port Hills, so it is very relaxing.

Five words that describe your mind:
Dreamlike, excited, holistic, meandering and intuitive.

Your favourite feedback from a customer:
One of my customers told me that during the Feb 22 (2011) earthquake in Christchurch, she had to walk through the city centre with her little dog to get out of the city. She told me that she carried the dog in her arms but put her hand over the bangle I had made because all she could think of was how devastated she would be if she lost or damaged it in the chaos. To be up there in importance with someone’s favourite pet in an emergency was very special.

What are you currently listening to?
I listen to lots of different music: mostly tunes that make me feel good, I can sing along to, and have a good story. I love old English folk for the stories, I listen to world music and sing along in a language I don’t know if the song stirs my emotions. I listen to devotional music to calm my soul. I love music that reminds me of people, there really is not a lot that I don’t appreciate.

At night when I tell my son stories they often end with me singing a song to him so I try to introduce him to as many different music styles as I can, I think music is like taste you have to try things and hear things a few times to learn to enjoy them. I also love to listen to BBC Radio plays in my workshop.



Recommend an album:
One album is too hard! Try new things often and look for the beauty in all of it. I recommend checking out The BBC Archives and trying samples of folk, world, 60s, classical… anything you don’t usually listen to. Expand your horizons!

What’s your favourite childhood book and why?
I love to read, so did my Mum and Dad. I could name a hundred books I loved as a child but my favourite was always the one that Mum or Dad was reading to me at the time. I knew if they had a book in their hand I could go and snuggle up on the sofa with them for a long relaxing reading session! My Mum was great at all the voices and I loved hearing my Dad read the Just So Stories so much that I asked him to record them for my son. Mum and I collected the pieces to make the Magic Alphabet Necklace from How the Alphabet Was Made for years. I am still looking for a few letters!

What are you reading now?
Jasper Fforde’s The Well of Lost Plots and Mitch Album’s Tuesdays with Morrie (again). It is one of my favourite books and reminds me of my Mum’s grace, courage and wisdom.

Who is your hero/heroine? Why?
My Mum. She worked so hard to make herself into the person she knew her children deserved. She was true to herself and lived with integrity. She made me who I am and that reminds me that I am always good enough.

A favourite quote:
“We are all here because we have more to learn, if we didn’t we wouldn’t need to be here and we would evolve!” – My Mum.

“There used to be giants in the sky who looked after everything but they all died so now the police have to do it.” – My son (at age 4).



Tell us about your pets:
We have a beautiful cat called Itty Nabibi (Little Black Panther) who is fantastically independent, properly witchy and super snuggly.

If you were a crafty superhero, what would your name and superpower be?
My super power would be to make all my jewellery able to come alive and tell the stories that inspired them. My name: the Silver Story Singer.

What would your advice be for those starting out in a crafty business?
Do what you love.

What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
I bought a beautiful sculpture from one of my favourite local artists, Blanch Fryer. I brought it for my wonderful partner who works in the circus field and loves all things circus, especially clowns and object manipulation. The sculpture was of a jester juggling, and Blanch had captured the expression so beautifully. I think Blanch may have my super hero skill as I feel that her work is about to come alive and tell me a fantastical story!

What’s in store for the rest of the year, and 2017?
I have no idea! Where is the fun in having it all mapped out? I have a hundred things I want to create, at least two new ranges that I want to get stuck into, and a secret project that I am itching to start. I have the feeling that 2017 is going to be exciting! I have had four delightful years at home with my son, but I am now beginning to refocus my attention on my creative goals and that fills me with a sense of adventure.


See more from Ore and Wander here »



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.


A perfect tension: the art and craft of making artists’ canvasses

Monday, September 12th, 2016

Stretched canvas maker Alanah Tocker freely admits she has an obsession with timber. With more than ten years of industry experience, Alanah joined Felt a year ago to offer her high quality, fully customised painting surfaces as Stretched – a very appropriate name! Alanah starts with New Zealand first grade kiln dried pine, which is handcrafted into stretcher frames of 35 and 45mm and stretched with quality 12 ounce cotton duck canvas. The canvas is then primed twice by hand for a perfect painting surface.

stretched 4

stretched 7

stretched 1

What do you make?
I make stretched canvasses, boards and blocks for artists. I often work directly with artists to ‘create’ a surface that they are looking for to complete their artistic ideas that they cannot make or buy elsewhere.

How did you get into your craft?
I have always painted, and being a poor student could never justify paying crazy prices for poor quality canvasses. I was lucky to be taught to make canvasses from scratch by David Heaphy, the technician at the School of Fine Arts at Canterbury University. David made and sold to full-time artists, so I learnt the tricks-of-the-trade from the best.

Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
I have a BFA from the University of Canterbury, where I studied sculpture. The art school workshop was so well appointed I was able to learn woodworking, casting and mould-making, foundry skills, welding as well as critical thinking. Following art school, I worked as a screen printer, a stretched-canvas maker for local artists, and then as an artist’s technician for Phil Price and Hannah Kidd, whilst retaining a painting practice and selling canvasses.

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Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
Wood is my favourite material to work with, it’s so versatile and I can craft anything from it. My favourite tool would be a very old wood plane of my great granddad’s, which I still use regularly. My favourite process is taking a 4×2 and a roll of cotton-duck canvas and producing a beautiful stretched canvas. If I want to paint on it I know it’s good!

What inspires you?
I love being in the workshop or studio – it’s my happy place, it brings me energy. I think I am supposed to say “my kids”… I guess they’re pretty inspiring too! I love the fact that my boys think it’s totally normal to have a mum using power tools and a builders pouch – which it should be! No surprises they want to be builders!

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Often it’s the customers that keep me focused, their feedback and gratitude for helping them translate their vision into reality, make me feel great about what I produce.

Is there a philosophy behind your work?
Simple: Locally-made and careful production will always result in premium quality products.

Describe your creative process
The creative process for crafting my artist’s surfaces involves putting myself in the artist’s shoes; it helps being a painter too! I and ask what does the ideal surface look like? What details are important and what do I need to do to achieve that. Then I build from there.

Describe your workspace
I work out of a 100-year-old workshop-turned-garage-turned-workshop again at home, in organised chaos! The fun comes when the bigger canvasses need to be walked outside, just to be turned around! It can be chilly but it makes me work fast to get warm, which is easy as I usually have lots of projects going on at once!



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Five words that describe your mind:
Enquiring, introverted, passionate, authentic, inspired.

Your favourite feedback from a customer:
“Your canvasses and rimu blocks are absolutely stunning!” Feedback from last week’s order, feedback makes me happy!

What are you currently listening to?
Tiny Ruins, a Melbourne based singer-songwriter, beautiful music to paint to.

Recommend an album:
The Lumineers by The Lumineers, always a go to for the workshop!

What’s your favourite childhood book and why?
Pottle Pig by Shirley Hughes (also my boys’ favourite!). I love the naughty pig that always gets into trouble along with the lovely illustrations, reading it now makes me love and reminisce about the farm I grew up on.

What are you reading now?
The Goose Bath Poems by Janet Frame, love her work – so honest.

Who is your hero/heroine? Why?
I would have to say hero and heroine would be my mum and dad. They’ve always encouraged my love of the arts, from Dad starting me off on his tools at age 10, to Mum taking me to buy paints. They’ve supported me through art school and even now look after the kids one or more days a week so I can get my orders out. They are awesome.

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A favourite quote:
Live simply, dream big, be grateful, give love, and laugh lots.

Tell us about your pets:
One old whippet named Uma, one old cat named Meow-meow and a selection of chooks, names dependent on if they are in the veggie garden!

If you were a crafty superhero what would your name and superpower be?
Timber Woman – with the power of building and shaping anything using just her mind.

What advice do you have for those starting out in a craft business?
Start now. Get on Felt. Have a great website, and have real conversations with your audience and client base – no matter how big.

What was the last handmade item you brought and what attracted you to it?
A Mother’s Day tea towel for my mum, it also came with a hand printed card, from the Felt website of course!

What’s in store for the rest of 2016?
Starting to build our first home with my partner, wrangling a 7, 5, and 0.25 year old! And of course finding time to paint…

I have some exciting new developments for artists’ surfaces. I am working on developing a special laminated circular stretcher frame made from a mould, I also have a new ‘floating’ artists board in development and I would also like to promote some of my oil paintings on the Felt site… watch this space!

Alanah has very generously offered a marvellous prize for one lucky Felt reader of one of her new 500mm diameter x 45mm deep stretched canvas circles, stretched with a 12oz canvas and primed twice by hand. These are made from a marine laminate timber using a mould technique and have a total value of $65 plus postage, and will be available on Felt from next month.

To be in to win this absolutely unique prize, simply leave a comment telling us what appeals to you about Alanah’s story and her craft. The draw will be made on Friday 23 September and is open to New Zealand residents only.

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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.

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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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This Saturday, it’s all about that yarn…

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

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This Saturday is World Wide Knit in Public Day, and there are events on around the country to celebrate!

Here in Christchurch we’d like to give a shout-out to the Midwinter Woolfeast, where they’ll be celebrating yarn in style with a gathering of New Zealand’s most talented fibre artists and indie yarn dyers – and Felt will be there too!

You can catch Midwinter Woolfeast from 10am to 5pm at the newly-built Te Hapua: Halswell Centre, 341 Halswell Rd, Halswell, Christchurch. Admission is free. For more information, check out their website (and you can find out about other official World Wide Knit in Public Day events on their webpage and in our What’s on This Week post).

And if you like more of a mix in your craft, make sure you also scoot over to Stash reHash (yep, it’s a busy day for Christchurch crafters, you can even get knitting on a bus!), where it’s all happening from 11am to 2pm at St Mark’s Church, Withells Road, Avonhead. This year’s Stash reHash promises to be bursting with sewing goodies in need of new homes, and it’s all in support of Arthritis New Zealand. Entry is by gold coin donation and you can find more details here.

What’s on this week

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

Here is this week’s selection of crafty and creative events from around Aotearoa.

Crafty Happenings Weekly Bulletin


Midwinter Woolfeast

Midwinter Woolfeast
Saturday 18 June: 10am–5pm, Te Hapua: Halswell Centre, 341 Halswell Road. Admission free.
A wool spectacular featuring New Zealand’s leading indie yarn dyers and fibre artisans. Shop till you drop and sample craft beer and yummy food. Midwinter Woolfeast is an official World Wide Knit In Public Day host. Find out more »

Stash reHash

Stash Rehash
Saturday 18 June: 11am–2pm, St Mark’s Church, Withells Road, Avonhead. Admission by gold coin donation.
A crafty way to help people with arthritis! Stash reHash is a materials and craft supplies market with a difference. You can get rid of your old stash, buy some new and help the 620,000 people in New Zealand with arthritis. Find out more »

Knit Around the Orbiter
Saturday 18 June: 1pm–3pm, Te Hapua: Halswell Centre, 341 Halswell Road. Admission free. Celebrate World Wide Knit in Public Day with a knitting loop on the bus. Meet at Barrington Mall bus stop (opposite Spreydon Library) at 1pm to catch the 1.06pm clockwise Orbiter – look for the yarny bike on the front! Find out more »


Midwinter Knack
Saturday 18 June: 9.30am – 1.30pm, Berhampore School Hall, 105 Britomart St, Berhampore. Admission free. Beautiful, original, New Zealand made craft and design direct from the makers, many of whom have a recycled and ecological focus. Free parking, Eftpos available. Find out more »


Sit & Knit
Saturday 18 June: 10am–4pm, Auckland Museum. Admission free. Celebrate World Wide Knit in Public Day! Get your needles clicking to put together a peggy square blanket for the Auckland City Mission. Find out more »

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See more Crafty Happenings on our homepage »