Posts Tagged ‘featured seller’

Ditching plastic for a sweet alternative: the Auckland business minding their own beeswax

Monday, February 27th, 2017

Auckland friends Tara, Jo and Amy share a love for the environment and a desire to create positive change. Three years ago they came up with a business plan that could change the face of packed lunches, picnics, and barbeques around the country – Jo shares the story and philosophy behind their business, Honeywrap.

Honeywrap natural reusable food wrap

What do you make?
We make reusable food wraps. Honeywraps are 100% organic cotton covered with beeswax, tree resin and jojoba oil. This perfect combination makes the cloth tacky which can then be shaped over your food and dishes designed to keep your food fresh and your conscience free! Honeywrap is great for wrapping cheeses, lunches, leftovers, salads, snacks on the run and much more.

How did you get into your craft?
Three years ago a school project and a midlife crisis prompted the beginnings of Honeywrap. We were all ready for a career change and over a few wines decided we’d start our own business focusing on something that was good for the planet. The idea we were all immediately drawn to was a school project one of our kids had been involved in, using beeswax covered fabric as an alternative to plastic foodwrap.

We have always tried to do our bit for the environment so it was exciting to find something that was easy to use, reduced waste, was functional and we all believed could make a difference. When we couldn’t find anywhere in NZ to buy them, we decided to make them ourselves. After months researching, testing, failing and many laughs, Honeywrap was born.

Honeywrap natural reuseable food wrap

Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
Nope, we just did a lot of research and called on 5th form science to get the right combo of ingredients then after months of trial and error, came up with the magic formula!

Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
We love the organic fabric and the beeswax as they are both natural materials which is great when we are surrounded by so much plastic in our lives. We felt strongly about using organic cotton as we didn’t want the fabric we used to be laden with pesticides and then covering food. The aroma of beeswax wafting through our workspace is an added bonus.

Tell us a bit about the techniques involved in producing your wraps
Our mix is sticky and hot when it goes on the fabric, so the main skill required is being quick so that the right amount of wax goes on – not too much and not too little!

Leaving the planet in better shape for our kids underlies everything we do and is really important to us.

What inspires you?
We love being in nature and keeping our planet pristine is the whole reason we do this, so I guess nature inspires us. We have just got some new designers on board for our next fabric range and their designs are strongly influenced by nature. We gave a broad brief of ocean, forest and city garden and can’t wait to see what they come up with.

Is there a philosophy behind your work?
Leaving the planet in better shape for our kids underlies everything we do and is really important to us.

Describe your workspace:
Cluttered, and slightly hectic! But we work from home, there’s lots of natural light and big windows looking out to the garden, which makes for a lovely calm vibe.

Honeywrap packaging design in the workshop

Tara at work in the Honeywrap workshop

Five words that describe your mind:
There are three of us, and our minds are all really different in some ways but we are all idealistic dreamers who are sure we can change the way people live.

Your favourite feedback from a customer:
Lots of people email us or message us to say that they have ditched plastic wrap for good, which we always love hearing.

What are you currently listening to?
Weekend Hangouts on Spotify always has super cruisey tunes.

Recommend an album:
London Grammar “If you wait” is great.

What’s your favourite childhood book and why?
“The Magic Faraway Tree” by Enid Blyton I was forever climbing trees as a kid, and I think I was always half expecting to find another world the higher I climbed.

Honeywrap Natural Reusable Food Wrap

What are you reading now?
“The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern – it is such a great escape into an entirely different, magical world. So imaginative and well written.

Who is your hero/heroine? Why?
Leonardo DiCaprio produced a great documentary called “Before the Flood” on climate change – so he’s a bit of a hero is our eyes. We also follow a lot of ordinary people on Instagram who live these amazing simple, waste free, organic lives – always inspiring.

Share a favourite quote:
“Each one of us can make a difference, together we make change” – Barbara Mihulski

What would your advice be for those starting out in a crafty business?
Do something or make something you love. That way it all feels worthwhile when it gets ridiculously busy and chaotic!

What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
A beautiful brass and wooden triple candle holder by Nannestad & Sons. I loved the simplicity of it and had to have it!

What’s in store for 2017?
We’ve just teamed up with a couple of very talented designers/artists who are currently designing a new range for us that celebrates the beauty of the planet we live on…more details will be released soon!

Tara, Jo and Amy have set up a special offer for Felt fans! Until the end of March, use the code FELT17 at checkout, and for every 3 pack (small, medium, large) purchased you’ll receive a free medium Honeywrap worth $12.

And for one lucky reader, they have a Honeywrap 3 Pack to give away! To be in to win this eco-friendly prize, leave a comment telling us what appeals to you about the Honeywrap story. The draw will be made on Friday 10 March and is open to New Zealand residents only.

Honeywrap natural reusable food wrap

 

Order your Honeywrap now »

 

Wood over plastic: the Northland illustrator making simply beautiful toys for imaginative play

Monday, November 7th, 2016

Rosa May Rutherford’s Steiner background meant that wholesome toys for imaginative play were a must for her young son Maioha. Once she’d made him a couple of wooden toys she was hooked, and Dean’s Workshop was born.

IMG_7790

IMG_7823

IMG_7831

deansworkshop whale

What do you make?
I make wooden toys, so far mostly animals.

How did you get into your craft?
When I was growing up, my dad was a full time wood carver, making mainly cooking spoons. I spent a bit of time in the workshop with him, but never really got into it. Through school I never enjoyed woodwork. I honestly found it so boring! I was more into art…

When I had my son, I wanted to make him some wooden toys, and since I live near my dad I was able to use all his gear. I didn’t think I would, but I got hooked straight away and now I really love it. The machinery is scary, but totally empowering. I still can’t believe how differently I feel about the whole thing as an adult. I’m so interested in learning my dad’s craft now.

Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
I studied documentary photography and illustration, so no, not in my current craft, but there is so much I can take from my degree and my amazing tutors to use in my work. I do some work as an illustrator so it was kind of easy to transition into making 3D versions of my illustrations.

Having my dad to teach me everything I need to know is a major bonus. There is no way I would be doing this if I hadn’t thought I could take advantage of his workshop, skills and knowledge.

deansworkshop cover

deansworkshop houses

Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
I love the whole process, coming up with designs, the workshop and the painting. The time in the workshop is particularly fun. Learning how to use different machines feels really cool.

I am still very much a beginner, but I’m getting more and more comfortable each week. I’m pretty hooked on his home made grinder!

Is there a philosophy behind your work?
I decided I wanted to make toys for other parents who want wholesome toys for their kids, and who value imaginative play.

I have a Steiner background, and that comes into it a lot. Simple toys made from natural materials give children the opportunity to use their imagination, which I value very highly as a parent and aunty, and also as someone who has experienced a lot of life through my imagination!

If I can get even one person to choose wood over plastic, I would be happy!

There is also the environmental aspect that comes into it. If I can get even one person to choose wood over plastic, I would be happy!

Describe your workspace:
I have two! One is my dad’s workshop in the most beautiful valley surrounded by kauri forest. While I work there, my dad looks after my boy, he is always close which I think is cool for him, and me.

The other is at home. I paint when my mum or sister babysit or after Maioha has gone to bed. That quiet evening time at my desk is pretty nice.

IMG_7778

IMG_7629

IMG_7661

IMG_7785

What are you currently listening to?
I always have a shuffle on including OCMS, Ryan Adams and Cat Power.

What’s your favourite childhood book and why?
I love any book with beautiful illustrations, for obvious reasons!

What are you reading now?
I am Malala and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, (I read it over and over).

What would your advice be for those starting out in a crafty business?
I think I’m still collecting advice myself, so I’m not sure I have much to offer! I think a big one for me is not to make things too time consuming, if you want to make money. I am still mastering that one.

IMG_7828

deansworkshop2

deansworkshop llamas

What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
I did a green dollar trade, a set of farm animals for a handmade Waldorf doll. The maker, Silvercap Dolls is so talented! She has made a bunch of gorgeous clothes including a tiny knitted jumper!

What’s in store for 2017?
I’m honestly so excited to get better and better at my craft, and make new items! I would like to get faster and more efficient with my materials, source second hand timber so that I can make my toys more environmental and as affordable as possible while still making a wee bit of coin!

I will be working on some illustration prints too and getting back into designing stationary with my sister.

Check out Dean’s Workshop on Felt for more of Rosa’s beautiful toys and artwork, and follow rosamayrutherford on Instagram to find out about her upcoming giveaway later this month with Silvercap Dolls.

 

Purchase from Dean’s Workshop here »

 

deansworkshop

deansworkshop polar bears

Nature, culture and symmetry in print: art and textile design by Jill Butler

Monday, July 18th, 2016

jillbutler2 blog

From her home studio in Auckland, Jill Butler designs and screen prints fabric, which she then makes into homewares, accessories and stationery items. Jill used to dream about having a place to sell her work where no door knocking was required, and where she could have total control over the colours, design and pricing of the screen printed products she sells.

The simplicity of having an online shop is really appealing to her. She feels that small business owners, with craft/art businesses, are so lucky now to have the opportunity to sell online. “With the internet and online sales platforms we have a wonderfully simple business structure, where we potentially just make stuff… and sell it. We can focus much more attention on making, rather than trying to gather our courage to knock on the doors to get retail outlets! I also like the direct contact with customers.”

 
Cosmetic bag by Jill Butler

gallery
What do you make?
I am a surface designer and screen printer. Mostly I screen print fabric, using my own designs, which I make into items such as gift cards, cushions, scarves and makeup bags. I also print my designs onto wooden coasters and placemats.

How did you get into your craft?
Years ago I did a two day batik course and fell in love with the idea of being able to put my own designs onto fabric. I was working in a library at the time, feeling really uncertain about what I wanted to do as a career. The excitement of designing fabric took hold and though I have had many other ‘day jobs’… in HR, banking, sales and currently gardening, designing fabric has always been there. Sometimes it has been pushed into the background more than I would have liked, but it has always been the work that has given me the most pleasure.

I fell in love with the idea of being able to put my own designs onto fabric.

After a few years of doing batik, a friend who I shared a studio with showed me the basics of screen printing, and from then on screen printing had me hooked.

Your favourite materials, tools, processes?
My favourite tool is my black pen and a ream of photocopy paper. I love drawing with a black pen. It’s the starting point of all my designing. I like to draw on the photocopy paper because it’s cheap and cheerful. I don’t feel the pressure to make a perfect drawing first up, as I would with more expensive beautiful paper. Mistakes and scribbles are made and abandoned without guilt.

jillbutler
jillbutler
jillbutler
jillbutler

jillbutler7 blog

What inspires you?
I love gardening, and drawing plants and flowers is almost my default setting. But I’m pretty much open to anything. Geometrics have intrigued me in the past, and lately I have been inspired by the designs on old plates, tapestries and Chinese embroidery. These are things just floating around in my head right now and I’m longing to spend some time, pen in hand, seeing where they take me.

Describe your creative process?
Oh dear, I am a bit haphazard… not very methodical. It’s all based on enthusiasm. I get an idea, and go for it. It propels me forward until it’s either finished or I take a wrong turning somewhere and I come to a standstill. At that point if I don’t know what to do next, I put it aside and it can rest… as a drawing or an incomplete piece of work… as I mull… sometimes for months… until the solution appears and I can complete it. So I suppose part of my creative process is letting my subconscious get to work on one project while I get on with another.

As far as the day to day work goes, I’m a list addict. Lists motivate me to get through the work. I love crossing off the things I’ve completed.

Describe your work space
I have a lovely studio that was originally a storeroom at the back of my carport. I am lucky that it has masses of deep built in shelving, sky lights and a concrete floor so I don’t have to worry too much about spills and splatter.

jillbutler8 blog

jillbutler9 blog

What other creative projects have you enjoyed working on?
I’m a real fan of the 100 Days Project, where you commit to doing a particular creative thing every day for 100 days. One year I did a doodle a day and the next year I did a small painting a day. Both times I have only managed to get to the 50 day mark, but loved the practice of drawing or painting daily. The organisers have recently announced this year’s start date in August. So I’m thinking about whether to do it again and if so, what my project will be. Perhaps not quite as time consuming as my other two, so that I have a better chance of completing the full 100 days.

Another crafty thing I have done lately is make peg angels. One of my gardening clients gave me a huge box of old lace and trims, which is perfect for their dresses.

What are you currently listening to?
Lately I have become addicted to listening to podcasts and TED talks while I work. There are so many wonderful podcasts out there, but one I have found inspiring recently is a series about living creatively without fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert, called Big Magic. They are podcasts based on the book she wrote by the same name, which I highly recommend to any stuck creatives out there.

As for TED talks, I recently worked my way through the top 10 most popular talks of all time. When I’m designing or writing I prefer silence.

jillbutler13 blog

jillbutler12 blog

jillbutler14 blog

What’s your favourite childhood book and why?
The Red Balloon, by Albert Lamorrisse. It is the story of a lonely boy in Paris and his friendship with a big red balloon. Based on an award winning film, the book is illustrated with photographs that had been taken while filming. I loved the story, but it was the photographs of old Paris that I adored.

I still have my very old copy of the book and I’ve sometimes thought I’d like to frame some of the photos to hang on my walls. I can’t quite reconcile the thought of cutting up my old book, but maybe I’ll take photos of some of my favourites and do it that way.

What are you reading now?
The Castle on the Hill by Elizabeth Goudge. The story is takes place in London and the Southwest of England during the blitz (1940). It’s a gorgeous, meandering story. The writing and characterisation is superb. But it is the details of what it was like living in England at that time that really sets the book apart, as it was published in 1941, so Elizabeth Goudge was writing about current events, so there is a real authenticity about her descriptions of life at that time.

A favourite quote?
“What you resist persists.” – Carl Jung. So, so true!

Tell us about your pets?
I have a little old lady cat called Whisper. When I got her she was almost a year old and had been abandoned, and by her nervousness I would say she had had some rough treatment. She was for sale in the shop attached to a vet practice in Newmarket, Auckland. The group of vets working there at that time rescued strays and found them homes. I was working nearby, and went in my lunchtime to buy a kitten and came out with Whisper. She was too cute to resist.

jillbutler1 blog

jillbutler10 blog

jillbutler11 blog

What would your advice be for those starting out in a crafty business?
Trust your instincts! I’m not saying there aren’t times when you need advice and help, but remember you are the expert about your business, about you, about your goals and motivations. Everyone you talk to will have an opinion, but only you have all the facts about you and your business.

What’s in store for the rest of 2016?
I want to hand paint more screens. So basically, more designs, and I want to add to my product range. I’m keen to make more cushions and scarves… and a few Christmassy things towards the end of the year.

Jill has very kindly offered a prize for one lucky Felt reader of a set of her gorgeous white rose coasters (below). These stylish screen printed wooden coasters are varnished four times to protect them, and backed with felt to protect your table. To be in to win this lovely prize, simply leave a comment telling us what you like about Jill’s story and her designs. The draw will be made on Friday 29 July and is open to New Zealand residents only.

See more from Jill Butler on Felt »

jillbutler rose coasters blog

Save

A glimpse into The Felted Room: the tactile, textile imaginarium of Sandra Grieve

Monday, June 20th, 2016

Sandra Grieve of The Felted Room is a mixed media artist who designs and creates eco friendly artworks: unique textile creations, needle felted sculptures, designer cat and dog beds, wedding boutonnieres, and much more – all from her cosy workroom in Wanganui.

Sandra Grieve of The Felted Room in her studio

What do you make?
Original mushroom, butterfly and dragonfly textile art, designer cat and dog beds, wedding boutonnieres, fibre sculptures made with New Zealand wools, fabrics and recycled treasures.

How did you get into your craft?
Ever since I was a little girl I would paint, draw and sew. My Mum was a florist and I used to go into her work and watch her create for many years.

After being a graphic designer for 15 years, I took a break from that to homeschool my son, and while doing that I came across a tiny little needle felted dog sitting on a staircase in an interior design magazine. I thought he was just gorgeous and so realistic, like a tiny dog that had shrunk. I literally went out straight away brought felting needles and wool, sat down and had a go at making one. That was the start of it all.

Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
No, I’m completely self taught.

feltedroom
feltedroom
feltedroom
feltedroom

Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
Anything old, whether it’s fabric, thread or jewellery to embellish. My sewing machine is special as it reminds me of my Grandma every time I use it. She left me her sewing box and scissors which I use daily, and dearly treasure.

New Zealand wools are gorgeous to work with. I get huge enjoyment from using them for needle felting. Just the fact that it’s such an ancient art – using various very sharp specialised barbed needles which you work into raw wool, causing the fibres to bind and compress together to form your desired shape – this can take anything from hours, days or weeks to complete.

I love the fact that the materials I use are vintage, natural, recycled, upcycled, eco friendly or New Zealand made wherever possible.

What inspires you?
A beautiful blue sky sunshiny day right through to a overcast rain filled day. Nature is all inspiring to me, boundless colours found everywhere. Gorgeous pieces of fabric. My big brother and my son who always has a smile on his face and un-dwindling encouragement and support for his Mama. I’m also inspired by my Grandma who was a professional seamstress and loved to create many things.

Is there a philosophy behind your work?
I enjoy designing and creating original pieces. When you’re buying from The Felted Room you can know that everything is made with love and attention to detail. I love the fact that the materials I use are vintage, natural, recycled, upcycled, eco friendly or New Zealand made wherever possible. If it puts a smile on someone’s face, then that’s even better.

feltedroom
feltedroom

Sandra Grieve of The Felted Room in her studio

The Felted Room

Describe your creative process:
Usually ideas just pop into my head! Usually after a lovely long sleep, although sometimes waking early to sketch out a thought on paper before going back to sleep. I create what feels right, especially when working with wool. My sculptures usually just evolve themselves into being as if they take on a life of their own.

Describe your workspace:
My workspace is a small but cute room under my house, built for me by my Dad. It still has the original stairs in the corner that make great storage. The room is filled top to bottom with all sorts of treasures. I’m surrounded by some of my work, my favourites being a large needle felted white rabbit and a giant moth that I adorned with a small antique silver ornate belt clip and mirror, that my Grandma rescued from the fire when she was a little girl.

All the furniture is recycled or upcycled: wardrobes with shelves added to store my wool, an old dining table cut to make shelves, and the drawers from my workbench were the town clerk’s in the 50s! Dad added a rimu top. Even my sewing table was made for me by Dad when I was in my 20s. You can shut yourself away in this space and totally lose yourself to the outside world, it’s lovely.

pic10 blog

pic6 blog

Five words that describe your mind:
Imaginative, calm, grateful, flexible, creative.

What’s your favourite childhood book and why?
Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish. I loved how she was different to everyone else, Amelia thought and did things differently… a little like me only I wouldn’t go so far as to peg my lightbulbs out on the clothesline!

Who is your hero/heroine? Why?
Lesley Eru is a truly inspiring person to me. She started her own business, Iron Alley, here in Wanganui. She always uplifts, encourages and empowers you. Lesley is living proof that with hard work, focus and determination you can succeed in what you set out to do with amazing results. Stay on track, start strong and finish stronger.

A favourite quote:
“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” – Albert Einstein.

Tell us about your pets:
Sherbert and Luna are my British Shorthair cats and I just adore them. They were the inspiration behind my cat beds’ design and production, as they never wanted to go into cat beds I’d brought for them. So, I designed these and they absolutely love them – in fact its hard to get them out sometimes! From that I designed the small dog bed for my Italian Greyhound Chakotay so he wouldn’t feel left out either.

pic9 blog

pic8 blog

What would your advice be for those starting out in a crafty business?
Have diversity with your products. Good photos are essential, and using social media like Facebook. Designing and creating things you love, and having a passion for your craft is a must.

What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
A small cat, it was so sweet I bought it and now use it for a pin cushion, it’s super cute and different.

What’s in store for the rest of 2016?
Exciting things are ahead, with so many new ideas waiting to come to life and be made for my shop The Felted Room, I can’t wait!

Sandra has very kindly offered a prize for one lucky Felt reader of this stunning moth textile art wall hanging (below). This beautiful creature has wings fashioned out of gorgeous vintage floral and magenta velvet fabrics, and her body is a vintage brown faux fur with glass eyes and wire antennae. Measuring 34cm x 19cm, she’ll look stunning hung on the wall or simply placed around your home as if ready to take flight.

To be in to win, simply leave a comment telling us what you like about Sandra’s story and creations. The draw will be made on Friday 1 July and is open to New Zealand residents only.

 

See more from The Felted Room on Felt »

 

prizedrawpic1 blog

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

P1100693witheye

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

Nature, heritage and homewares: making the tea towel meaningful

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

Kate Watts of Crown and Feathers screenprints her original designs onto high quality cotton and linen teatowels in her Dunedin workshop, using eco-friendly waterbased inks. Inspired by objects of household history, and the natural world around her, she feels her work brings lightness and enjoyment to everyday chores.

felt2

What do you make?
I design and hand print a range of tea towels with designs inspired by vintage kitchenware and birds.

How did you get into your craft?
I studied Craft Design at Christchurch Polytech, though I’ve always made things. My parents used to keep me quiet with a pile of cardboard, scissors and glue when I was a child. After I finished studying, I decided I needed to learn a trade, so I started a clothing label and taught myself to sew, in that order! I designed and made clothes for quite a few years, and sold through around four little boutiques around New Zealand.

Towards the end of this time (It’s a jolly hard way to try to earn a living) I started making fingerless gloves, which turned out to be quite popular. I stopped making clothing for a while, and worked for Southern Opera and the Court Theatre as a casual machinist, but after a while started making the gloves to supplement my income. The first gloves I made were knit fabric with patches of brocade sewn on with a zig zag, which were cute, but not very easy to make in larger quantities. I taught myself to screen print as a way to add a point of difference to my gloves, that was much more suitable to boutique manufacturing than stitched patches. The gloves sold really well, and became a full time job.

I started printing the tea towels a few years later when I felt like designing a slightly bigger print! Most of the prints on the gloves are only 5 x 13cm, so it is nice to have a bit more space to play with, with the tea towels.

Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
Yes, a Bachelor of Design from Christchurch Polytech.

Printing duck tea towels

pigments

Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
I banned myself from any medium other than textiles years ago. I love many things, fine metals, resins, wood.. but I realised early on that it is expensive to tool up for each material, you end up storing so many different kinds of materials, and you need a different kind of work space for each craft… I’m really glad I decided to specialise. I think I have developed a really good skills base, textiles is a vast creative field all in itself.

Tell us about the techniques involved in producing a print onto textile:
I start with an idea, which I follow up with hours of drawing. I usually start with a pencil, then sometimes move to a pen, sometimes watercolour. The duck print’s uneven tone was created with a stamp pad and fingerprints. Usually the work will then go into photoshop where I will sometimes heavily over draw, sometimes lightly touch up, depending on what the design needs to translate well to print. A tea towel design will usually take 8-16 hours to design.

I usually test print a small section of the design to check how the texture is reading and to test colours that I think might work. The pink and green that the swans are printed in took me hours to mix, they are colour matched to some of my favourite old 50s teacups.

I make my own screens using a thermal screen process – you might notice that my screens look a bit different to most screen printing screens, which usually have big wooden frames. I decided to use thermal screens, as I started my business in our old tiny little 40s dining room and really didn’t have enough space for traditional screens. The thermal screens are an expensive set up cost for the machine, but the ongoing running costs are super cheap and the whole process is super fast and very compact. The screen quality is a bit average, but I design around its limitations.

I use Australian made eco-friendly water based printing inks.

crownnfeathers
crownnfeathers

a really early swatch book with a guest appearance from percy

What inspires you?
Lots of things! When I am designing I often start with a walk through native bush, followed by a trip to the museum. The jelly moulds are inspired by the old battered metal ones Mum used to make us jelly in when we were kids, and the one with the kitchen utensils is drawn from items in the kitchen and scullery at Olveston Historic Home in Dunedin. Flocks of birds, a feather found on the beach, familiar things.

Is there a philosophy behind your work?
I believe that waking up under a beautiful duvet will make you feel better, that drying your dishes with a pretty teatowel will bring a lightness to an otherwise dull chore. Aesthetics can improve our every day life in small and meaningful ways.

Aesthetics can improve our every day life in small and meaningful ways.

Describe your creative process:
Running a medium sized creative business is quite time consuming, there are many aspects that need to be kept on top of, like ordering materials, keeping the websites updated, sending out orders to my retailers, making sure we have enough stock. I also do all of the screen printing, which can often take a couple of days a week, so unfortunately the creative bits often get squished in at the last minute in a real rush and it can get quite stressful, trying to come up with something good enough within tight deadlines. On the upside, it means I have learnt to commit to a design and bring it through to completion quite quickly, but I know if I had more time my work would have a more considered beauty. I throw away at least 1/3 of the designs I work on every season, sometimes they just don’t quite work out, and you just have to let them go!

Test printing and coulour testing

Screens of a design that didnt make the cut

Describe your workspace:
It’s a great big mess! I’ve got a lovely big space in Dunedin, I’ve just got way too much stuff.

When I first started out I just had one little 50s extendable formica table – I did my printing, then I cleared off the table, then packed up my orders, then cleared it all off to print again.

Now I’ve got heaps of great big work tables, there’s a separate area for everything. One for printing, one for the computer, another for the sewing machines, another for pressing and sending the orders out. I feel pretty lucky! I’ve got great views of some lovely buildings too. I’d love to show you, but honestly, the state of it is a bit embarrassing.

Five words that describe your mind:
Busy, a little chaotic, inquiring.

Your favourite feedback from a customer:
I’ve got customers who have been buying from me again and again over the years, I think that’s the best compliment. And I get people calling me and emailing me to tell me how much they love my packaging. I should really update my listing photos, it’s much nicer than what I’ve got pictured! I guess you’ll just have to place an order to see it. ;-)

crownnfeathers
crownnfeathers

Packaging

What are you currently listening to?
National Radio! It’s great company when you work by yourself a lot of the time. I’d like to listen to more music though, maybe a mix tape full of 50s girl groups and Nick Cave. Oh and throw in some early punk please!

Recommend an album:
Well I would have to say The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. It just takes you away to another place, it’s a very special album, from beginning to end. Otherworld, other time.

What’s your favourite childhood book and why?
I read so many Agatha Christies, I still love them.

What are you reading now?
Robert Heinlein. He’s a bit disappointing. I’m in the mood for some more recent sci-fi, I’m curious to see where the more recent writers think the future holds for us, on this big old ball of rock.

Who is your hero/heroine? Why?
Anyone who is out there making incredibly beautiful work and sharing it with us.

Tell us about your pets:
I miss my old studio cat Percy from Oamaru. He came with my last house, he’s got a tonne of personality, not all of it easy to live with, but he’s awesome in his own way. He’s still back in Oamaru, I do think about kid(cat?)napping him sometimes but he’s probably happier where he is.

If you were a crafty superhero, what would your name and superpower be?
I would be Floral Girl, and if you sit still too long I will appliqué floral designs on you… or maybe just tie your shoe laces together.

crownnfeathers
crownnfeathers
crownnfeathers
crownnfeathers

What would your advice be for those starting out in a crafty business?
Part of me is is saying: think big. We are the ones holding ourselves back. Write a solid business plan, and write one that you still want to be doing in ten years. Put some holidays in it. And be open to the market telling you what it wants – I never set out to make gloves, but it’s put food on my table for many years. And costings! The numbers never lie. They can be brutal, but you need to listen to them. Find good mentors, and a network of like minded business buddies. :-) Make sure you’re not squishing the fun bits into what ever little bits of time are left over after all the rest is done.

The other part of me wants to add here that if you like having money to spend, want to have more than 60c in your savings account, full time self employment in the crafts is probably not the path. How many people are making more than just enough to get by? I think the dream gets a bit over sold, and I am wary of adding to that. But then what is life for? Some of us just aren’t meant for the 9-5.

I do think there’s a lot of joy and quite a bit of success and fun to be had doing it part time.

What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
I brought a super cute purse for my friend in Harajuku, Tokyo last year. it was in an awesomely fun sticker shop, the staff were so friendly, and the purse was a cut out shape of a girl flashing her knickers, in a yellow dress on one side and blue on the other. It was fun, cheeky, surprising, and really nicely made.

What’s in store for 2016?
Later this year I’m planning on going back to study fine arts, to get back in to the creative groove, to make the most beautiful work I can.

Kate has kindly offered one of her gorgeous linen swan vase print tea towels (you can see her working on one below) as a prize for one lucky Felt reader. Printed in a classic retro swan design in white, these natural linen tea towels wash up beautifully, don’t stain the same as a white cotton cloth, and they do a beautiful job on your dishes. To be in to win, simply leave a comment telling us what you like about Kate’s story and her gorgeous designs. The draw will be made on Friday 3 June and is open to New Zealand residents only.

 

Purchase from Crown and Feathers on Felt »

 

felt3

felt1

Sound craftsmanship: the timber and timbre of Tukituki Instruments

Monday, May 9th, 2016

Cajón drum maker Phill Jones of Tukituki Instruments hails from Wellington, but sends us his interview from Istanbul, on his way to to Bulgaria. Travelling with his partner to visit her home country for the first time, he made a special cajón for the journey in anticipation of meeting interesting people and joining some interesting jams – and it doubles as a suitcase!

PhillJones_Cajon_13

tukituki2

What do you make?
I make cajón drums, which are an Afro-Peruvian and Flamenco instrument, nowadays used in everything from rock to hip hop music. They are essentially a box made using various thicknesses of plywood and with a specially designed guitar-string snare inside. The player can sit on top of the drum and play it between the legs. I know, I know, it’s got to be one of the most confusing instruments to describe. It’s probably best to just watch this video, which does a much better job at explaining what a cajón is:

I use many different timbers and techniques to get different sounds and visual features on my instruments including native NZ and Australian veneers, laser etching, paint, and inlaying to create custom designs for my customers.

How did you get into your craft?
I started building musical instruments when I was 15 years old, living in Hawke’s Bay. I was fascinated by sounds I heard in music from around the world and curious to see whether I could make any of them using the bamboo that was growing like a weed around the property my family were renting at that time. So, I built didgeridoos and later on I got into various styles of flutes. The internet was barely useful for researching at the time so I read books and made dozens of prototypes. I don’t think I’d even seen a didgeridoo before! I loved the challenge and I spent most of my time outside of school making things from that bamboo.

10 years later, when I came home from living overseas, I was at a loss for what to do with myself. It was then that I rediscovered what made me tick and got me up and out of bed in the morning. I started my new challenge of making cajón box-drums, an instrument which had inspired me during my travels.

Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
For the craft and woodwork side, no. I learned as I went along. But I consider myself a musician first. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Music, and I grew up learning the guitar, piano, and trumpet from an early age.

IMG_7187

IMG_6362

Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
My favourite tool for cajón making has to be a pair of wire cutters that my friend Nolan found in a second-hand store in Sweden that have ‘Music Wire’ engraved on them. I love it when tools are obviously made with care, they do what they are supposed to do, and they have a story. I also have some of my grandfather’s old tools which are very precious to me.

What inspires you?
Listening to music from around the world seems to have this effect on me which sends me straight back into my workshop to build and learn more about my craft, or to pick up an instrument and play, or to travel.

Describe your workspace:
My workshop is a space under the house. It’s somewhat cosy, slightly too small, but better than nothing! It’s a precious space for me. There’s a good stereo system, a record player and some good lighting. Upstairs live inspiring friends, a good supply of tea and a heat-pump. In the yard there is a communal garden and space for me to make a bit of a mess at times.

I love it when tools are obviously made with care, they do what they are supposed to do, and they have a story.

PhillJones_Cajon_10

PhillJones_Cajon_5

PhillJones_Cajon_6

PhillJones_Cajon_11

Your favourite feedback from a customer:
After I built a cajón for the NZSO, one of the percussionists wrote me a testimonial which I thought was pretty cool: “With this instrument, I have the capability of producing an exceptional array of colours and can project above a Symphony Orchestra.”

What are you currently listening to?
I’m currently traveling in Turkey on my way to Bulgaria. I’ve heard a lot of amazing Turkish music, especially at a traditional music and dance gathering I went to recently! I learned to play more percussion instruments like the daf and bendir, and met some great players of other instruments I hope to learn too.

Recommend an album:
Folk Roots, New Routes by Shirley Collins and Davy Graham.

tukituki1

tukituki

What’s your favourite childhood book and why?
The Usborne Book of Knowledge never failed to inspire my dreams every night as a kid. (Me too! -Ed.)

Do you have any pets?
Where my workshop is in Newtown there are four chicken pets which keep me company during the day. I’m currently in Istanbul which is famous for its thousands of street cats.

What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
I found some great Mexican made leather sandals in an op-shop on Cuba Street. They have beautiful woven leatherwork on them and the heel opens up a bit like a lotus flower. The soles are made of parts of a car tyre and are replaceable once they wear out.

What’s in store for the rest of 2016?
Find more inspiration on my travels and challenge myself to keep crafting, creating and collaborating!

cajon 34343

PhillJones_Cajon_14

 

Order from Tukituki Instruments on Felt »

 

Soft, snuggly and super-sized: Chain Gang makes it big

Monday, April 25th, 2016

Suz Grimwood listed her Chain Gang products on Felt just one month before her third daughter was born in an ‘it’s now or never’ moment. Nearly a year on, she has enjoyed selling her throws and scarves online and in stores amidst the craziness of parenting. With a background in graphic design and magazine work she has always loved making things – and is proud to bring us her beautiful, incredibly soft, super-chunky knits. Winter is coming, so check out what’s in store and be tempted!

chain gang_6

chain gang_2

What do you make?
I make chunky knit throws and scarves using New Zealand merino wool.

How did you get into your craft?
My Mum! I grew up learning macrame as a preschooler, knitting myself jerseys in primary school and sewing clothes as a teenager. Making things makes me happy – so being able to sell what I love to make just makes sense.

Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
I have a degree in Visual Communications and have been a graphic designer for over 10 years – but no specific training in knitting – just my Mum (and the internet when I want to learn a new stitch!)

Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
My favourite materials for my Chain Gang products are the huge sacks of merino wool that I have stashed all over the place! No one can resist touching it, it’s amazingly soft and snuggly. I love that the wool comes from sheep in the South Island, and that I’m supporting another local business in the process.

My favourite tools would have to be my hands! And some pretty large knitting needles. A measuring tape can come in handy too. And I must give a mention to my trusty Mac – as without it I couldn’t bring all the creative mess together to sell what I make online.

My process in most cases starts with a bit of online inspiration or just sitting down with a pen and notebook and doodling my ideas. From there I just start experimenting with the wool. One thing I’ve learnt is to be prepared to make prototypes, and to be prepared to undo (a lot) and start again. No pain, no gain right? Not everything works perfectly the first time and starting again can be hard – but in the end it’s always worth it when you can be proud of the finished product.

Not everything works perfectly the first time and starting again can be hard – but in the end it’s always worth it when you can be proud of the finished product.

chain gang_12

chain gang_11

chain gang_1

What inspires you?
People that are passionate about what they do, other crafters, Pinterest, children’s books, art, magazines…

Is there a philosophy behind your work?
Use what you have in your hands, start with what you’ve got, what you’re good at or what you already know and go from there. For me in the busy/crazy stage of life that I’m in with young children, my products are achievable for me to make because I can do the majority of what I make myself – and fit it in around everything else that’s going on!

Describe your workspace:
A creative mess, which takes over the whole house! We converted half of our garage into a studio space which I am so lucky to have. Unfortunately my default setting is a bit messy, so even though I am constantly buying more storage items in the hope that one day my studio will be tidy – actually that will probably never happen! (So jealous of those tidy craft rooms online. Who are these people?) Even though I have a studio, at the moment most of my knitting is actually done in my lounge late at night when everyone is (finally) sleeping. And all my computer time is done inside too!

chain gang_10

chain gang_9

chain gang_8

Five words that describe your mind:
I’m a visualiser, detail-focussed, creative, messy, dreamer.

Your favourite feedback from a customer:
I love all my feedback! Sometimes online sales can be a bit lonely as not everyone sends a message or gives feedback. When people email with a lovely comment about my service and how much they love their purchase I am totally stoked! Once a customer that had no computer or email address got her sister to search me out on her behalf and visited me in person to purchase a throw. She then emailed (via her sister again) to say how thrilled she was with it. It’s really nice to meet the people that buy your products. I also have a customer who loves his throw so much he asked me to custom make a scarf so he can wear it out of the house!

What are you currently listening to?
I hardly ever put music on! But I do listen to RDU in the car.

What’s your favourite childhood book and why?
Mr. Gumpy’s Outing by John Burningham and Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins as I love the illustrations. A favourite book that I read my children now is Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett. The illustrations by Jon Klassen are amazing.

What are you reading now?
Many, many children’s books, over and over again! Otherwise I mostly flick through various home magazines and Frankie.

Who is your hero/heroine?
The main character from the book Extra Yarn! Definitely read it. She is an ordinary girl who changes a colourless town into a vibrant place with her knitting! She totally believes in herself and what she does – and isn’t swayed by money or put off by negativity.

chain gang_5

chaingang

chain gang_4

A favourite quote:
Bloom where you are planted.

Do you have any pets?
No, but the amount of wool I have – you’d think we own a flock of sheep out the back!

If you were a crafty superhero, what would your name and superpower be?
The Woollenator. My superpower would be that everything is magically clean and tidy after a crafting session!

What would your advice be for those starting out in a crafty business?
Just start with what you have and build from there. I often talk myself out of ideas because ‘everyone else is already doing it’ or ‘you can already buy it cheaper elsewhere’ – but in reality there are still people who seek out beautiful New Zealand made items and will love what you do. Although I have a tendency to want to get things perfect, I do think it’s great to just get your product out there. It’s great to get feedback and encouragement from doing markets. Or start by giving your products as a gift to friends and family so they can trial them before you sell them. I am fairly avoidant of social media – but if you do that well it’s huge!

What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
A couple of cute prints by Katie of In My Backyard. I just love her illustrations. She’s such a talent – who I studied with back in the day!

What’s in store for the winter season of 2016?
Throws, available in two sizes and two styles – garter and rib stitch, plus the ever-popular double infinity scarves. New this season will be some extra long scarves for both men and women – and a couple of new colours, cobalt blue and moss green. I am also experimenting with knitwear. So if time allows, watch this space and there may be some new wearable pieces in my shop. If you’re interested, please get in touch!

chaingang_prize

Suz has generously offered one of her stylish and super snuggly infinity scarves (pictured above) as a prize for one lucky Felt reader. These chunky knit double-infinity scarves are made of beautifully soft 100% NZ merino wool – and the winner gets to choose the colour! (Choose from creamy white, light grey, grey-brown, turquoise or cobalt blue.) To be in to win, simply leave a comment telling us what you like about Suz’s story and her gorgeous scarves and throws. The draw will be made on Friday 6 May and is open to New Zealand residents only.

 

Purchase from Chain Gang on Felt »

 

chain gang_13

A cascade of colour, critters and cute: Maisie Moo, mobile maker

Monday, April 11th, 2016

maisie-moo.felt.co.nz

Ria Crawford of Maisie Moo loves colour, and loves felt. Ria grew up in a maker family, but never thought she’d take take path herself until her maternity leave projects for her own nursery started being requested by friends, and then friends of friends… and soon a hobby was a full time business. She creates from her studio in sunny Tauranga, where she focuses on nursery decor, baby mobiles and wall art (and now sewing patterns), while still being able to be close to her own family.

What do you make?
I work with felt and pretty much everything I make is classed as nursery décor. Baby mobiles would be my most popular item, but I also make personalised name signs, garlands, decorations, hair tidies, tooth fairy pillows and most recently I have started creating sewing patterns. I make everything to order which means I can customise design, colour, whatever is required to suit my customer’s needs. It is great fun working with a soon to be mum or dad on a mobile to match a nursery that so much love has gone into creating.

How did you get into your craft?
By accident really… I was completely obsessed with making the most perfect nursery possible for my first baby. I had all these ideas but could not find anything to suit. My mum purchased a bulk lot of good quality wool felt from Trade Me and together we made a baby mobile for what was to be Maisie’s nursery. It was so much fun I then went on to make a few more creations. Originally these were only meant for me, however during my maternity leave I started to make them for friends, then friends of friends. What was a hobby soon became my full time business.

maisie-moo.felt.co.nz

P1060451

Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
None what so ever! The closest thing to formal training would be sewing classes in third form at Hamilton Girls. My mum taught me how to hand sew and I grew up in a family that ‘made’ things. Back in the 70s my parents crafted wooden toys, dolls and even furniture which they would sell at local markets. I have a few friends that commented ‘I was the last person’ they’d expect to ‘go all crafty’ hahaha I think it is kind of cool to surprise people sometimes.

Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
Felt hands down. It is such a versatile material to work with. It can be made from 100% wool, woolmix and synthetic however I do not restrict myself to any one type. It does not fray, is tactile and robust. My favourite tool would be my teeny tiny scissors, perfect for the more detailed of my creations.

What inspires you?
I am inspired by my customers. That soon to be mum or dad who wants a baby mobile to suit their well thought out nursery. I love receiving fabric swatches and paint samples to colour match and working alongside them to create something they will (hopefully) think is perfect. It is such a memorable time in people’s lives and I feel privileged to be able to play my small part in making it special for them.

Up, Up, Up and Away - Hot Air Balloon Baby Mobile with Birdy Friends by Maisie Moo

Aeroplane Baby Mobile by Maisie Moo

Is there a philosophy behind your work?
I like to think that the enjoyment and care shines through in what I create. I try not to take on too many custom creations, which is why I can have a wait time of up to 6 weeks or more. One of the reasons I enjoy my work is that I have a good work/life balance. Maisie Moo has given me the freedom to work around and spend more time with my beautiful family.

I like to think that the enjoyment and care shines through in what I create.

Describe your workspace:
My studio is in the spare bedroom overlooking the garden which is bordered in native bush. I can stitch away to the sound of tuis or the screeching of the girls on the tramp. What is great is that I can still be working but not feel like I am missing out on too much when the family is all home.

As for what it looks like, imagine the chef off the Muppet Show, except instead of cooking it is making felt creations! Haha I find that when working on something, especially a new design, there is no time to tidy, I get carried away in the creative process. I also have two little gremlins who love to ‘help’. I have to do a major overhaul once a week and always promise myself to tidy as I go… it never happens.

One of the great benefits of what I do is that I can take my work almost anywhere. Sometimes it can be the couch watching a movie, relaxing at my mum and dad’s in the sun or over a cup of coffee with a pal.

maisie-moo.felt.co.nz

maisie-moo.felt.co.nz

Five words that describe your mind:
I asked my husband this one… here are his answers, all good except for the last one! Imaginative, creative, flexible, innovative, and frazzled!!

Your favourite feedback from a customer:
I have a lovely lady from down Wellington way whom I have made over 15 creations for over the last 3 or 4 years. This for me is the greatest complement, to know that my work is so well received for a customer to return again and again really makes what I do worthwhile.

What’s your favourite childhood book and why?
I was always drawn to a book called Aesop’s Fables, I loved the illustrations and moralistic stories. My favourite was the tortoise and the hare, slow and steady wins the race. I do try to remind myself this often as I tend to do everything at high speed, a ‘bull at the gate’ my mother always says. Something good about hand stitching is you have to stop and take your time, it can be quite relaxing.

What are you reading now?
Tinkerbell and the Fairy Rescue (to the girls). I confess that most books I read these days are from the girls’ bookshelf. It has been an absolute age since I had the chance to settle down and enjoy and good book. Maybe on my next tropical island holiday (yeah right!).

The curious fox - a Woodland Scene Mobile or Wall Hanging by Maisie-Moo

Sewing Pattern - Woodland Animal Set by Maisie Moo

Who is your hero/heroine?
Clichéd but hands down my Mum and Dad. Two wonderfully supportive, inspiring and loving human beings. They inspired me to follow in their footsteps and travel the world and step outside of my comfort zone. I feel so lucky that my girls are able to spend so much quality time with them both (they live just down the road). They even help me in my business, Mum will always offer to stitch the odd star or two and my mobile hangers are all made in Dad’s workshop.

A favourite quote:
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.
- Dr Seuss

Do you have any pets?
We recently moved to the country where we have a bit more room so just last week we adopted a 3-year-old black lab called Romeo. He has a lovely gentle nature and has just slotted right in to our little family.

If you were a crafty superhero, what would your name and superpower be?
The Un-Tangler – able to untangle a huge pile of embroidery thread in a single bound!

Golden Dreams - White and Gold Feather Mobile by Maisie Moo

What would your advice be for those starting out in a crafty business?
Do it, you have nothing to lose! You can easily test the market for your creations with the help of sites like Felt where it is easy to set up your shop. It is also important to use social media (Facebook, Instagram etc) to get your handcrafts noticed. Photos are key, you put so much hard work into all you create make sure your photos show this. Have fun!

What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
I purchased a lovely coin purse as a gift from the Little Big Markets a few weeks back. There are so many wonderful makers in the Bay and on Felt so most of the gifts I buy are handmade.

What’s in store for 2016?
So far it has been a busy one for Maisie Moo so I shall continue to smile and stitch away.

Ria has very kindly offered two of her adorable tooth fairy pillows (pictured below), one for a boy and one for a girl, as a prize for one lucky Felt reader. To be in to win, simply leave a comment telling us what you like about Ria’s story and her gorgeous creations. The draw will be made on Friday 22 April and is open to New Zealand residents only.

 

Purchase from Maisie Moo on Felt »

 

Win two adorable tooth fairy pillows from Maisie Moo!

The Squeegee Diaries: tales from The Art Room

Monday, March 28th, 2016

Graphic designer Hayley Pearce of The Art Room started illustrating and hand screen-printing children’s artwork when her first daughter was born and she couldn’t find what she wanted for her room. Now a mum to two little girls, her design range has also grown to include cards, smaller prints, teatowels and pillowcases.

theartroom Mr and Mrs portrait

What do you make?
I screen-print onto pillowcases, cushions, limited edition art prints, cards, onesies, ham bags at Christmas time and pretty much anything that can be printed! All the designs are drawings I’ve done from scratch by hand, or my children have helped draw. I turn the designs into a stencil or screen and spend most days in my studio with the radio going and printing up a storm.

How did you get into your craft?
When our first daughter was born I did a large print for her room, but with the nature of screenprinting I couldn’t stop at one and ended up doing 32 of them! Then I did another two characters to make a series. When a friend got married I printed a Mr and Mrs pillowcase set and a colleague wanted a set too and then more people wanted sets. I added them to my website and they haven’t been out of print since. They are now my top seller followed by the King and Queen Pillowcase designs.

theartroom printing 3

theartroom assistant

theartroom prints drying

Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
Kind of. I did a Bachelor of Visual Communication and each year I chose printmaking as an elective – so that’s where I learned to print – but it’s not what I did for a living. For a long time I worked as a graphic designer in the magazine industry and that taught me all kinds of things especially how to work fast and to a tight deadline and how to anticipate what a client is wanting. Now I need to learn to slow down and try not to leave a huge mess in my wake!

Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
I love that I can make a drawing in the morning, expose a screen or make a stencil and have a design printed by the afternoon. I really love the speed of screenprinting – I used to have an etching press and never used it – it took a long time to figure out the reason was because it took soooooo long just to make one print.

Favourite tool: the squeegee (such a strange word). The satisfying line up of mixed ink pots on the shelves is another favourite thing.

theartroom printing

theartroom printing 2

What inspires you?
Mostly, talking with my friends about new projects. I always come away from a coffee or night in town brimming with ideas and then I need to work out which ones will make the cut.

Is there a philosophy behind your work?
I guess the main philosophy I want to project is that everything is hand screenprinted by me with love and care. So people know when they’re buying from The Art Room that it’s not a mass produced design printed offshore.

Describe your workspace:
Chaotic with a semblance of order. It’s a studio space the size of a single garage with a window at each end. It keeps filling up as I get more screens, inks, cushion inners and pillowcase piles which means the floor space I have to work in is continually reducing! I keep promising myself that I will tidy it up but I never do.

Five words that describe your mind: A bit of a jungle!

theartroom studio inks

theartroom studio

theartroom mum teatowel

Your favourite feedback from a customer:
Here’s some sweet feedback from a Felt customer: Such a lovely person to deal with! So friendly and was so accommodating of my request for haste (because I’m unorganised and left things til the last minute!) And the product is gorgeous! (It’s actually the second time I’ve bought the exact same thing from Hayley as they make great wedding gifts).

Felt customers have left me some lovely feedback over the years. I’m very grateful.

What are you currently listening to?
Hopetoun Brown. They are amazing and great live AND from New Zealand.

Recommend an album: Time (The Revelator) by Gillian Welch.

What’s your favourite childhood book and why?
Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree. Totally absorbing and a fantastic array of crazy characters.

What are you reading now?
Just finished reading Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick deWitt the genius who wrote The Sisters Brothers. Both amazing books. Next I’m tempted to read Bill Bryson’s The Road to Little Dribbling, but for the book club I belong to I should be reading Where’d You Go, Bernadette.

Who is your hero/heroine?
Currently obsessed with the artwork and business nous of Laura Blythman. Colour extravaganza and cut-out shapes to make scenes of wonder.

theartroom Art Collab Kit

theartroom label close up

Do you have any pets?
Yes, a cat that looks and acts like a pedigree but her Dad is actually a rascally tom cat!

If you were a crafty superhero, what would your name and superpower be?
A crafty superhero… I would call myself Screenella Printessa and I could print everyone a teeshirt that magically displayed what their dreams were. Kind of like worldwide care bears.

What would your advice be for those starting out in a crafty business?
Personally, once I had hired an accountant all the pressure of ‘the business’ just melted away. I am not good with numbers and definitely not good with ‘a plan’ either. So, I’m probably not the best person to take advice from… but I guess the main things are: Take it slowly, make sure you continue to enjoy your craft, use social media to its fullest (after all, it’s free publicity), take good photos (advice I need to heed myself) and get a fantastic accountant.

What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
I bought an A4 pot plant screenprint and set of blocks from Sly & Co, (we had tables side by side at the General Collective Market recently). I love their simplicity and use of colour, they make me happy every time I walk past them. We talked about the joy of mixing ink and not writing down the formula – and never being able to repeat the same thing again!

theartroom studio inspiration

theartroom heart

theartroom hayley

What’s in store for 2016?
I’ve been a bit slack over summer and spent a lot of time swanning around pretending to work. SO, I need to crack into some new designs ASAP. I’m aiming for a few new pillowcase designs this winter along with matching art prints. It’s hard for me to plan, I usually just sit down with a pile of paper and see what drawings emerge… so I’ll surprise you! x

Hayley has kindly offered a pair of her popular and stylish King/Queen pillowcases (pictured below) as a prize for one lucky Felt reader. You’ll feel like royalty with these 100% cotton hand screen-printed pillowcases from The Art Room. Sewn, designed and printed in Auckland, you know you’re supporting New Zealand made. (And yes, you can switch for King/King or Queen/Queen if that suits you better.)

To be in to win, simply leave a comment telling us what you like about Hayley’s story, her art, and her homewares. The draw will be made on Friday 8 April and is open to New Zealand residents only.

 

Purchase from The Art Room on Felt »

 

theartroom king and queen