Posts Tagged ‘jewellery and fashion’

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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greencustom 2 blog

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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greeencustom 8 blog

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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Friday finds

Friday, April 21st, 2017

underglass blog

emberglow blog

exlibris blog

cobredera blog

zazing blog

Vintage teaspoon earrings by Under Glass | Copper and Sterling silver leaf earrings by Emberglow | Miniature leather bound upcycled book earrings by Ex Libris | Walnut and copper earrings by Cobredera | Sterling silver feather ear sweep by ZaZing

Brrrr! Got your winter warmers sorted?

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

apricot blog


Purchase gloves and arm warmers here »


Beautiful rings for a special day

Monday, April 17th, 2017

sophiedivett blog

whalebird blog

zazing blog

Pair of bark textured rings in Sterling silver, with garnet by Sophie Divett | Simple 5mm personalised wedding band set by Whalebird | Personalised date ring by ZaZing


Explore our Weddings pages here »


Nail the perfect nail colour

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

Can’t find the perfect shade of nail polish? Got a favourite discontinued shade you’d love to have more of? Look no further than Artisan Cosmetics on Felt!

Send them an image, send a piece of fabric, or send your favourite discontinued nail polish! Artisan Cosmetics will match it, or tell you if it is beyond them. Can’t ask for better than that!

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Every 12ml Artisan Cosmetics nail polish is created by hand, with love, in their mixing studio in Riwaka. Artisan Cosmetics’ nail polishes are high shine, high pigment and chip resistant, and best of all they’re free from nasties like toluene, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin and camphor.

Saisei: the beauty of vintage kimono, reborn

Monday, March 27th, 2017

Saisei means “reborn” in Japanese, and it’s a name which perfectly reflects Wellington maker Hana Yoshida’s work. Hana’s beautiful clothing and accessories were born from her grandmother’s collection of vintage kimono and they continue today with the vintage kimono and fabric she still sources from Japan. Hana says: “When I unpick kimono, I think of somebody in Japan who spent days to hand sew the kimono for her loved ones. I think of someone who wore it with much care and love.”

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saisei rings

What do you make?
I upcycle and repurpose vintage Japanese kimono fabrics into modern and stylish clothing and accessories.

How did you get into your craft?
I am originally from Japan. When I went back to Japan last year, my mum mentioned loads of kimono that were left in my grandmother’s wardrobes. They had been there for decades since my grandmother passed away. As a lot of women did in the old days, she used to hand sew kimono for her whole family. She was a very good seamstress, so that often kimono retailers asked her to make kimono for their clients when they received custom made orders. She also taught students how to hand sew kimono at her home. My father still remembers her students coming to their house to learn kimono making. I was blown away by the beauty of the craftsmanship and fabric itself and decided to bring some back to New Zealand.

I have been always into making stuff myself. When I was kid, I used to knit a lot of things and I learnt basic sewing skills at my university. My earliest memory of recycling is making a bag out of my old jeans. So when I got my grandmother’s kimono, I started making some scarves and cushion covers with them. This is how it all started last year. Now I used up all of my grandmother’s silk, so I purchase fabric in Japan and get it shipped to New Zealand.

Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
No, except for at my university when I learnt basic skills as part of my Education/Teaching course. I’m self taught, so learnt a lot by trial and error! I also take private lessons from professionals.

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saisei textiles

Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
My favourite material is pre-loved and antique kimono silk. It’s getting rarer because most modern Japanese people have stopped wearing traditional kimono except for special ceremonies or events. So traditional kimono hand-crafting is in decline and there are fewer people who can pass on the techniques of crafting and dyeing kimono to the next generation.

Aizome boro cotton is also special to me. “Boro” means patched. In the old days, when the fabric was damaged, people didn’t throw it away. They patched the damaged area and kept on using it for a long time. So the cotton has a huge amount of character and really interesting textures. Nowadays, these textiles are loved and highly regarded by many all around the world.

My favourite process is creating the right patterns. It takes a long time and uses a lot of paper and sample fabrics. I repeat amending the patterns until I make the right ones. It is a long process, but really satisfying in the end.

Tell us about the techniques involved in producing one of your pieces
I purchase vintage kimono fabric from Japan. Some are actual pre-worn kimono and some are vintage kimono silks that are in bolts and never sewn or worn before.

The sewn kimono are unpicked (this can take around four hours) before being hand washed. Then they are dried in the shade and ironed gently. This is done before making anything. To make my capes, I make outer wool fabric and linings separately. The vintage kimono silk is used exclusively to make the linings of the capes. Because of the width of the silk (usually around 36cm), I cut up the silk into 8-9 pieces and sew them together to make one lining. Then darts and a collar are made. Finally I sew the lining, the outer wool and collar together.

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saisei cape

saisei capes

What inspires you?
Tattoo arts, 50s-70s vintage fashion.

Is there a philosophy behind your work?
I would like more people to enjoy the beauty and craftsmanship of kimono fabric in their daily life.

Tell us about your pets:
We have a cat called Rika. We got her from the Cat’s Protection League as a kitten back in 2002, so she’s an old cat now. We have two little kids so Rika gets less attention than she used to, however when the kids are in bed she likes to sit on my lap and fall asleep.

What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
A flowering branch necklace on Felt from a maker in Nelson. This pendant top was about 6cm and looked just like plum flowers. I liked the oriental feel to it. I wear it on my market days.

What’s in store for the rest of 2017?
There will be more capes and reversible silk cardigans. I would like to add dresses as well, but I will see. Also men’s organic cotton T-shirts with Aizome cotton pockets.


Hana will be holding a stall at Wellington Underground Market on Saturday 1 April, from 10am to 4pm. This is one of only a handful of markets that Hana will do this year, and it’s a good opportunity to see and try on her garments. Hana will also have sample fabrics on the day, so you can choose fabrics for you own special cape or cardigan.

Hana has also very generously offered a prize for one lucky Felt reader of this lovely autumnal scarf. This vibrant silk scarf with an orange leaf pattern, measuring 17cm x 180cm, was made with 100% vintage Japanese kimono silk. The silk was hand woven and hand printed in Kyoto, Japan.


To be in to win this gorgeous handcrafted prize, simply leave a comment telling us what appeals to you about Hana’s story and her reborn creations. The draw will be made on Friday 7 April and is open to New Zealand residents only.


Explore Hana Yoshida’s beautiful work on Felt »


saisei cardigan

Shaping salvaged remnants into precious treasures

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

Blue Willow boat pendant by Remnants Jewellery

Bay of Plenty designer Sarah of Remnants Jewellery seeks out damaged, unwanted china and ceramics, and gives them a new lease of life as unique statement jewellery. She shapes the salvaged remnants into their final form and applies jeweller’s lead-free solder to frame and intricately embellish the cut ceramic.

The Blue Willow pendant pictured above is taken from the classic Willow Pattern design, depicting the Chinese fable of an eloping couple escaping on a little boat, only to drown at sea, then transform into doves.

Blue Flower pendant by Remnants Jewellery

Vintage Roses pendant by Remnants Jewellery


Browse unique pieces by Remnants Jewellery »


The ancient art of shibori

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

Woman's peach shibori scarf by Ruru Textiles

Not only is this scarf completely gorgeous, it also has a fascinating story, which all good accessories should. Rosemary of Ruru Textiles in Rotorua dyes her textiles using the ancient Japanese art (as far back as the 8th century!) of shibori, a range of techniques that produce more or less intricate designs on fabric. Isn’t it a stunning effect?

“My work is slow. Leather does not invite speed.” The contemplative craft of Honey Bird Leathercraft

Monday, February 13th, 2017


Max Jones of Honey Bird Leathercraft has a way with words as well as leather:

“Perhaps every man comes to a point in his life when he looks around at what he has created for himself and is thus afforded an opportunity to really consider the authenticity of it all. It seems we can so easily fall into roles and jobs that are not necessarily aligned with our true authentic selves. This was revealed to me a couple of years ago and there was no denying the truth of it.

I accepted my fate, and the challenge of following my destiny. Playing the Fool card, I leapt off the proverbial cliff into the relative unknown of becoming a leatherworker. I have not looked back since then. It has been such a fulfilling journey. And yes, it feels authentic; a true and inherent expression of who I am and what I “really” came here to do.

My love for the smell of leather, the sound it makes when being cut, the “ping” of a solid brass rivet being hammered upon an anvil, the energetic weight of a hand tool forged 135 years ago and the smiles on people’s faces who appreciate the quality they hold in their hands and wear on their feet, are a few of the ways that I measure the authenticity of it all.”



honeybirdchaser matariki

What do you make?
I make things from vegetable tanned leather. At the moment, I am focusing on sandals, belts, and bracelets.

How did you get into your craft?
I needed a new lease on life. I really wanted to do something with my hands. Something noble. One day last winter, while I was polishing up a pair of old Italian leather boots, the idea came to me that I would like to work with leather. That was it! My “A-ha” moment. I just knew it was right. I just went for it! That’s my style. That’s how I roll.

Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
I have had no formal training. I am mostly self-taught. I did have the honour of spending five days with one of New Zealand’s oldest shoe makers. He taught me how to make a particular style of sandal, what we now call the WayFinder. Before this I had, as most people, only worn leather.

Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
My favourite material is the vegetable tanned leather that I use for my work. Prior to becoming a leatherworker, I was unaware that there were different ways to tan leather. In fact, 95% of the leather products on the market today are made from leather tanned using Chromium Sulfate. This is a rather “dirty” i.e. toxic way to go about it. I don’t want my children, or my customers, absorbing this “salt” into their bloodstreams by wearing my sandals. For this, and other reasons, I use veg-tanned leather exclusively.

My most prized tool is a Joseph Dixon Plough Gauge made in 1884. It allows me to cut straps up to 6” wide. I love just looking at this ancient piece of art.

One of my favourite processes is burnishing the edges of the leather. It gives a nice slick effect to my sandals.



Tell us about the techniques involved in producing a pair of your sandals
I start with 10 ounce veg tanned leather. The upper is cut from this. I use a 7 ounce leather for the straps which I cut with my beloved plough gauge. These are saddle soaped and conditioned with a beeswax polish to replace some of the fats and liquors which are removed during the tanning process.

Then there is bevelling and burnishing before the dyeing takes place. The holes are punched in the soles for the straps to pass through. These are fixed to the uppers using solid brass rivets.

I use wooden shoe lasts to build the sandals around to give me a three dimensional form to work with.

I use a non-toxic, water based glue to adhere the uppers to the soles. I nail the leather soles on using brass clinching nails and for the rubber soles we sew them on with our antique sewing machine. The edges are hand burnished and everything receives one more lick of beeswax conditioner before they are ready for their adventure.



What inspires you?
I am inspired by so many things. My wife’s incredible artistic abilities. My children’s enthusiasm and zest for life. The smell of leather. The way water always finds the path of least resistance. The vocal range of the Tui. The timelessness of the mighty Totara. The flight of the kereru. Silence.

Is there a philosophy behind your work?
My work is slow. Leather does not invite speed. It demands that you are attentive and calculated with your movements. It’s a good teacher that way. It affords me a lot of time to contemplate the fact that life has gotten too fast for most of us. My intention with everything that I make, is that it enables the person who buys it to slow down; to be more attentive and connected to the Earth and their fellow humans, animals, and plants.

I don’t look for short cuts along the way. It’s those little, and often time consuming details, that make such a difference in the end.

Describe your creative process:
My creative process begins in the realm of The Visual. I “see” the finished piece and then work backwards. I don’t look for short cuts along the way. It’s those little, and often time consuming details, that make such a difference in the end. I enjoy the work. I am not rushed by the world around me. I am now in the realm of The Creator.

Describe your workspace:
My workshop is located on the Motueka River in the lovely wee hamlet of Ngatimoti. It’s in an old shed that was once used to make wind chimes. It’s got good vibes. I have old photos of my ancestors on the walls. They help me do the “mahi”.

There’s a huge table in the center that I can lay out a hide on. Some of these skins are over 2.5m long so its really nice to be able to accommodate them completely. My beloved outsole-stitching machine has a nice home here. His name is the Chief. He was born in Czechoslovakia in 1940. He’s a bit fat, weighing in at 450kg, but we love him just the same.

There’s always music. And yerba mate. Lots of yerba mate.



Five words that describe your mind:
Ancestral, connected, open, deep, precise.

Your favourite feedback from a customer:
“Son, look at this. This is quality. This is going to last!”

What are you currently listening to?
Xavier Rudd.

Recommend an album:
Live at the Old Quarter by Townes Van Zandt.

What are you reading now?
The Wayfinders by Wade Davis. This is a great book about why ancient wisdom matters in the modern world. I’ve read it several times now. We named our first pair of sandals in honour of this book’s message.

Who is your hero/heroine? Why?
My heroes and heroines are all those who have walked this path before me. My ancestors enrich and enliven me. Their stories inspire me. I endeavour to make them proud. I am forever making more space for them in my life.

A favourite quote:
“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell. Don’t go back to sleep.” – Rumi.



If you were a crafty superhero, what would your name and superpower be?
I am Kitar Valentine. I am a World Bridger Extraordinaire. I journey to other dimensions, galaxies, and universes to seek out mystical nuggets, which I bring back to Earth in my Super Flash Time Capsule.

What would your advice be for those starting out in a crafty business?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. In the beginning I wrote to people all over the world asking for advice with various things. Virtually everyone I have written to has responded. And quickly!

I found my mentor this way. He lives on a tiny island in British Columbia and has been making leather sandals for 55 years! He’s awesome.

What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
I rescued a beautiful ceramic cup at an op-shop recently. It was on a table surrounded by heaps of mass produced coffee cups. I heard its cry for freedom. It was 50 cents!

What’s in store for 2017?
We will begin making wallets, journal covers, bags and camera straps. We will be saddle stitching these items together. We will refine our sandal making skills and be offering a few new designs. And we will enlist the help off others to achieve all this. We are building a website and will continue to offer our wares at local markets and festivals.


She sells sea shells…

Monday, February 13th, 2017

Okains Bay shell studs by The Stud Farm

We’re ever so slightly smitten with this new range of sterling silver studs by Canterbury studio The Stud Farm. These teeny sea shells are cast actual size from real shells collected on beautiful New Zealand beaches, from Tahunanui to Okain’s Bay.

Each pair has two different shells – matched, but not identical – and comes on a handpainted card with their origin stamped on the front. How gorgeous is that?!

Kaikoura shell studs by The Stud Farm

Tahunanui shell studs by The Stud Farm


See more sea shells from The Stud Farm »