Monday, February 8, 2016

Monday Maker - Michelle from Two Plums Designs Designs

Hi Michelle and thank you for participating in the Monday Maker series.

Do you you come from a creative family?

As a child my mum used to sit us down with an old sheet (we owned a motel) and gave us textas to draw until our hearts content.  

My brother and I were often at a loose-end because mum and dad worked all the time. Drawing was our go-to.  

Mum is trained as an old school graphic artist, using Letraset and doing all of her designs free hand.  She didn't get to work much at her art during my childhood years because the business and us kids took up all her time!  

I was quickly engulfed by the world of dance, from my first lesson at 4 years.  From then it was dance lessons, travel and costumes until I left home.  

Creativity is a constant part of my life, whether it's in the kitchen, sewing, decorating, drawing, dancing, writing, sculpting, gardening and now silversmithing!

How would you describe your work?

My work is quite simple and elegant, it is also unique and unusual.  

I do not like overly embelished or tizzy designs.  I simply love the metal, and for now, my work honors that.  
I use basic techniques of forging and fabricating to produce my jewellery and I like the bright polished and matt finishes in comparison to blackened oxidised surfaces.  I don't use stones (although I may decide to in the future).  

How has your work evolved since you started?

I started with the bare minimum of tools and skills and worked with what I had.  

My pieces have become more refined and in some cases more complex, yet still quite simple!  My work evolves as I gain new skills and new tools.  
I'm always learning new techniques and although I now produce some geometric and angular pieces, I think I will always be a botanic artist.  

My imagination is endless and every new piece excites me!

How did you start selling online?

I sell through my website out of necessity more than anything.  It seems every small business and artist needs to have a website for legitimacy. 

Where does your inspiration come from?

The small details in everyday things inspire me.  
Nature inspires me.  
Passionate people inspire me.  
Even a rainy day inspires me! 

My work comes from an ever growing library of ideas in my head.  I see things in my natural environment and they often translate to the basis of a design.  Such as bracket fungi and gumnuts.  

Inspirations may also come from a new delivery of silver.  There is something really moving about holding a clean sheet of silver in my hands! 

Do you reduce, reuse, recycle as part of your creative process?  

Treading lightly on this earth is important to me.  As such I only buy recycled silver.  The silver I buy is recycled in Australia from manufacturing off-cuts, old jewellery and industrial silver.  

I have chosen 100% recycled unbleached packaging for my products and I swap harmful chemicals out of my studio for biodegradable options.  100% of my silver is used.  I even collect my filings.

Describe your studio/workspace?

I am a lucky artist who has a separate studio on our ten acre property in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast.  

It is a little self contained space and my husband has recently built a lovely big deck on the front from reclaimed timber.  It was used as storage space previously so I'm still fighting with stored furniture, but this year the make-over continues, I will be getting new flooring and a front door onto my new deck!  

It will be lovely but at the moment it's a bit of a mess.  I love my huge jewellers desk.  My husband and I drove all the way to Sydney to pick it up.  It was previously used in a manufacturing jewellers in the Strand Arcade.  It can accommodate two working jewellers as it is double sided - and I can spread myself out!

What is your favourite thing to make?

My favorite things tend to be quick things as I love that instant gratification from a finished piece.  A little toe ring or a simple bangle can be the most satisfying.  

How did your business/shop name come about?

In 2013 I decided I needed to start selling my creations and I harvested just two plums from our young tree.  I ate one and a bird got the other.  It was so sweet and juicy, I was in heaven!  

It must be the start of good things I thought to myself.  

Now I am happy to say each year my plum harvest is growing, just like my little business.  

Where do you see your creative journey taking you in the next 12 months?

I think my creative journey is going to take me back to university!  I have just enrolled in my graduate diploma of Fine Arts at the Queensland College of Arts.  It may lead to a Masters in Fine Arts (Jewellery and small objects). 

What’s your top tip to others wanting to break into the handmade/creative market?

Go at your own pace - your business relies on you so you have to be able to keep up.  

Describe your typical creative day?

My waking moments are full of ideas and new designs.  I am always inspired to jump up and get into the studio in the morning!  Sometimes at 6am!  

The beauty of working from home is I can start work in my PJ's.  I have regular breaks as I'm often interrupted by one or both of my two Rhodesian Ridgebacks.  

I also structure my other chores around the property in my breaks.  I work to my own flow and no two days are the same.  I'm often in the studio into the night (particularly when I'm home alone and don't have to stop to cook dinner!)

Do you have a Favourite quote?

"I never waste money, I spend it" Oscar Wilde

What type of music do you listen to while creating?

It's often Brazilian Samba music as I also teach Samba.

What is your favourite handmade item that you have bought?

I used to live in Kenya and while I was there I bought an Ethiopian Coptic Cross.  It's one of my cherished possessions.

Where can we find you online and elsewhere?

You can find me at or 
at BrisStyle Markets and the Young Designers Market most regularly.  Market dates are announced on my Facebook page Two Plums Design.  

The Caloundra Regional Art Gallery shop and Coastal Artisans Gallery Perigian also stock my work.

How long have you been a member of brisStyle?

Two years.

How did you find out about BrisStyle?

By accident on the net!

Why did you become a member?

What a great idea to have a bunch of creatives sharing ideas, skills and helping to launch small businesses!  It was a no brainer for me.

Why do you craft?

Because it's in my blood - I simply do.

Thank you Michelle.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Our first Monday Maker for 2016 is Keneena from the label Kablooie Store

Well I hope everyone is well rested from that wonderfully long summer break and now ready to get creating. The Monday Maker series for 2016 will start off with something really cute.

Kablooie Store. 

Let's find out more about this gorgeous children's clothing label.

Hi Keneena and thank you for making the time to share your thoughts with us today.

Were you creative as a child?

Yes!  I was constantly drawing, painting, using clay or making books. I ran a card making business for about a week when I was 8, with my mum and her friends as my main customers! 

Do you come from a creative family?

As I got older my mum taught me to sew and knit and I loved working with different mediums in art class at school.

How would you describe your work? 

I love all sorts of creating. 

I love to sew simple, fun clothing for kids.  

I absolutely love fabric, it is a bit of an addiction, and I love picking something absolutely gorgeous to showcase in clothing. 

I love to sew clothing in non traditional, colourful, but totally funky fabrics that both you and your child will love.

How has your work evolved since you started?  

I started sewing from remnants left over from my own sewing projects, using a skirt pattern I made up to sew for my daughter.  

I love to sew with high quality cottons, but I've become a little more adventurous in my search for the perfect fabric, trying out metallic denims, and dance fabrics too!  

I love to make things with my own individual touch, but as I have gained experience I also like to look for the newest trends that people love in colour and style and work with that.

How did you start selling on Etsy?

Etsy was my first choice because I already shopped there and was a member - I love handmade simply because you can find such individual and unique products, lots of little niches.  

When I first decided to try selling my own things, it was the first place I thought of. 

Who or what inspires you?  

The things I make are definitely inspired by colour and pattern, just a particular shade or combination of colours and shapes can make me explode with ideas!  

My love of sewing is also inspired by my Mum, who taught me as a teenager.  I'm also daily inspired by all new and amazing ideas I see coming from other makers - there's an endless stream of creativity in people, and everyone is so different!

Do you reduce, reuse, recycle as part of your creative process?  

I started out using remnants to make a few new products, like hair accessories and belts, to use up all my gorgeous little scraps of fabric that might have gone to waste otherwise.  I can't bear to throw out bits of fabrics that I love!

Describe your studio/workspace? 

At the moment I have a sewing table and an extra trestle table set up in our rumpus room downstairs - it works so well!  I sit and sew or stand and cut, and my kids play around me in the other half of the room, or my oldest does his homework.

It doesn't get a lot of natural light, but I'm brightening it up with some handmade treasures I've been collecting!

What is your favourite thing to make? 

I do love sewing up little girls skirts - they are so simple but can showcase a funky fabric so my own time I love to sew cute softies or car caddies for little friends!

And how did your business name come about?

Kablooie kinda means an explosion or a splat - it popped into my head because I love big, loud, colourful fabrics and I wanted my range of kids clothing to be like an explosion of colour and fun.   The name is to reflect that. 

Where do you see your creative journey taking you in the next 12 months? 

I'd like to try out some new products, and keep sewing simple designs from awesome fabrics that just make people smile out loud!

What’s your top tip to others wanting to break into the handmade/creative market?  

Just start!  You'll never be completely ready but you learn so much more by doing!  

And get savvy with social media to connect with people who love handmade.

Describe your typical creative day? 

Hmmm.  It usually starts with a quick Instagram post while stuffing breakfast into my 2 year old's mouth, getting my oldest (and now my new preppy!) into school, uniforms and lunches into bags...zoom off for drop offs, gym, grocery shopping, errands, lunch and finally time to work during my daughter's nap time.  

I usually work on photography during the day to catch the light, as well as some cutting and sewing.  Then after a crazy afternoon of pickups, arvo tea, homework, housework, baths, and dinner, everyone gets tucked into bed, hubby and I have a quick catch up, then it's off to the sewing room to get stuck into orders!  

I often spend swimming lessons editing photos or working on my website.

What kind of music do you like to listen to while creating?

It's more often Peppa pig in the background than anything, although I like to listen to podcasts from @mumswithhustle when I get a chance, and I also like to catch up on recordings from some church meetings when I'm cutting.

What is your favourite handmade item that you have bought?

I love my colourful screen prints tee shirts from smukieau on etsy - I have three and just recently bought another for a gift! 

I also love buying handmade jewellery, I have heaps!

Where can we find you online?

and I also have some stock at The Collective Store, which is in Wynnum, Brisbane.

How long have you been a member of BrisStyle? 

I just joined up in 2015. I started Kablooiestore in June 2015, and joined BrisStyle a few months later.

How did you find out about BrisStyle? 

I found out about BrisStyle when I was looking for Etsy teams to join, as well as Friday and Saturday markets to participate in.

Why did you become a member?  

It looked great!  I also really want to try out market selling and the brisstyle markets look amazing.  I loved the idea of being part of a creative community, and although I'm starting slowly, I'd like to get more involved (as much as life with three kids allows me too!).

Why do you craft Keneena?

I love it!  I always see fabric and think, oh I need to make something with that! 

I'm sure a lot of creatives can relate to that, and thank you Keneena for your creative encouragement.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Monday Maker - Meet Julie from Ministry of Handmade

Let's find out a bit more about The Ministry of Handmade. Cool name huh!

Hi Julie and thanks for taking the time out to answer a few questions so we can all get to know you a bit better.

Now firstly, we'd love to know if you were creative as a child and if you come from a creative family?

Yes, to both questions.

I always loved sewing, knitting, crochet, collecting pictures of amazing houses from magazines, using my dad’s tools to make doll’s beds, etc. And while my mother was a dressmaker, my dad could build anything out of anything. Both my parents were very resourceful and loved to recycle and re-purpose wherever possible.

How would you describe your work?

We have two arms to our business….teaching and making. We run workshops and I teach dressmaking, soft furnishings, lampshades, upholstery, shibori dyeing, etc. We also make and sell a range of our own unique designs of lampshades, lamps and ottomans.

How has your work evolved since you started?

We have expanded our range of workshops to include upholstery and shibori dyeing and have added our own range of retro rocket lamps. 

We have had a chance to develop a line of products that reflect who we really are and look forward to growing this area further.

Do you have a website? 

Yes, we have a website that has a small store and we have sold some products but we are in the process of revamping our website to include a bigger and better online store with a range of handmade products, not just our own.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Bright bold colours, graphic prints….these energise me! 

And I like people who are prepared to take risks with colour and don’t play it safe!!!

Do you reduce, reuse, recycle as part of your creative process?  

I love recycling wherever possible, I love reupholstering old pieces of furniture and teaching others to do the same. I talk about the responsible use of resources, in particular, textiles, in my workshops.

Describe your studio?

We run our business from our home that is on a 1/3 acre block in a green leafy suburb. We have a range of creative spaces that include: 
  • three studios that are airy, light filled and spacious. We use these for running workshops and working on our own projects. These are our “clean” spaces that are full of textiles and upholstery project samples and lots of other creative things!
  • a timber workshop that is dusty and full of big fun tools that make lots of noise (routers, table saws, drop saws, etc.) This is used to build the ottoman bases, bed head frames, rocket lamp bases, etc.
  • a large verandah (that overlooks a park and bush) that we can use for upholstery, shibori dyeing, chalk painting, etc.

What is your favourite thing to make?

Ooh, that’s a tough question….dresses, ottomans, lampshades, upholstered bed heads.

How did your business name come about?

We figured if Jamie Oliver could have the Ministry of Food, we could have the Ministry of Handmade!!

Where do you see your creative journey taking you in the next 12 months?

We are keen to really develop the online selling side of our business including more virtual products as well as a range of kits and patterns. We are also developing the workshop side of things with new workshops and also workshops in other locations….we are keen to travel to deliver workshops particularly in country areas that often miss out on the range of fun creative activities available in the cities.

What’s your top tip to others wanting to break into the handmade/creative market?

Make sure your product is top class and be yourself…let your work be a reflection of the real you!

Describe your typical creative day?

Every day is so different…a range of activities including: running workshops, teaching private lessons in sewing and/or upholstery, sourcing supplies, answering emails, doing admin, developing and prototyping new ideas, creating new samples of workshop projects, despatching sold products, fulfilling custom orders, preparing talks for speaking engagements, updating the website, writing the newsletter, marketing, social media posts…….drinking coffee, a bit of gardening hopefully, a nice glass of wine with dinner! I am up early and late to bed at night!

Do you have a favourite quote?

"If you step out in faith, you will be given wings to fly or a floor to walk on."

What is your favourite handmade item that you have bought?

A clutch purse by Sybella.

Where can we find you online? 

How long have you been a member of BrisStyle?

About three years

How did you find out about BrisStyle?

Another member told me about it.

Why did you become a member?

Mixing with other creatives, opportunities to participate in markets, networking

Why do you craft?

To me, it is like breathing…a necessary part of life! I am sad without it!!! 

Thank you Julie for allowing me to interview you. And thank you to everyone so far who has participated in our Monday Maker series.

Considering the summer holidays have started we will be having a break for a few weeks but we will be back with the Monday Maker series in January 2016.

Have a safe holiday break and see you next year.

Anita - Myclectic 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Monday Maker - Myclectic

I'm pretty good at talking to myself so during a lull in interview participants I've decided to interview myself.

And guess what, some questions are really hard to think about. So here goes.

Anita Gosden is the name behind the label myclectic

Hi Anita, thanks for sharing yourself with us and firstly I'd love to know, were you creative as a child and do you come from a creative family?

I remember clearly being creative as a child with both Mum and Dad always encouraging me. 

In fact, I've developed my whacky sense of colour from my father who moved to Australia in the 60's as a German migrant. 

And I vividly remember Mum teaching me how to draw. 

There was no 'bad art' in our house. I'm lucky to have had two parents who loved everything my sister and I made.

How would you describe your work?

I would describe my work like a 6 year old boy. 

It's all over the place. And of course like many other creatives, I lose interest easily and love to move on and try something different. 

How has your work evolved since you started?

Rather than saying my work has 'evolved' I feel that it has actually 'matured' and settled down, just a little. 

It has become ever so slightly, more disciplined in that I am more conscious of perfecting the 'finish'. 

Although I do still love jumping from one thing to the other.

How did you start selling on Etsy?

I started selling my comic book jewelry on Etsy because originally it was a requirement as a BrisStyle member. 

Before BrisStyle I had never even heard of Etsy.

I also found that when at markets interested fans wanted to know where to find me online. 

I do now have a very neglected website but I really love using selling sites such as Etsy and Madeit because there is so much support on them and much more traffic. 

I even remember my first sale on Etsy. It was a brooch made of vintage kimono fabric and silly me had actually put it in a shop over the other side of town.

That sale actually cost me but I was so tickled that someone in San Francisco would be walking around wearing MY handmade brooch.

Who or what inspires you?

Who? I'd have to say I am very inspired by other creatives I know on Instagram (I won't name them, there are too many).

and What? inspires me.
I'm a very visual person so usually I find that pre-loved and second hand materials I use in my work inspires me. 

So much so that I don't use patterns or drawings in my work, just ideas in my head. The pattern comes later.

Indigo dyed preloved leather bowls
Do you reduce, reuse or recycle as part of your creative process?

Yes! to all three.

Most leather I use is pre-loved. I've built up some fabulous connections who are always on the look out for second hand leather for me which I prefer using in my work because it is always unusual and makes the finished product different to others. 

It gives me a 'point of difference' because no one else usually has the same type of leather.

A very small part of my pre-loved leather stash

Can you describe your studio?

I dream of having a real studio one day, but for now my creative corner is actually our small kitchen table. It is next to a big glass window that lets in plenty of light and looks out over our huge backyard. And my stuff is all over the place in our tiny two room unit. 

Do you have a favourite thing to make?

That would have to be a 'make it up as you go' leather bag. Always dependent on the texture, shape, colour and thickness, then the pattern emerges.

Oh how I love working with such a tactile and natural material. 

This suede leather once belonged to Lisa Ho

How did your shop name come about?

The name Myclectic is my own fabrication. 

There is no such word but if you Google it, you will only find references to me. I love that. I wanted a name with eclectic in it but found that this was overused. I then wrote 'eclectic' down on a piece of paper and added 'my' to it. 

My eclectic, still too common. So I took the letter 'e' out and tadah, I discovered 'Myclectic'. My kind of eclectic.

I have also been known in the past and present as MumsCupboard, ButtonBeads, VintageKimono and get_tasseled.

I kind of like making up names.

Where do you see your creative journey taking you in the next 12 months?

I can see myself still creating in the next twelve months, 24 months and so on. Creativity is a journey and is music to the brain. 

I never want to stop.

Indigo shibori dyed leather tassel earrings

What’s your top tip to others wanting to break into the handmade/creative market?

It's a cliche but 'do what you love' and 'love what you do'

Oh and 'don't compare yourself to others', that's disheartening.

Describe your typical creative day?

My typical creative day starts with minimum necessary household chores and then straight into it. I use lists but never seem to tick everything off. 

If something needs doing immediately I skip the housework and get right into creating (still in my PJ's, sorry, not sorry).

Leatherwork tools

Do you have a favourite quote?

'Art is performance - Performance is confidence' ~ Andrew Gosden (my husband)

or in other words 'don't think about creating, just do it'.

Do you prefer to listen to music or watch a movie while creating?

Some days I have silence, but that is because I have gotten so involved in something I have forgotten to play anything.

But mostly I love to listen to our CD collection. Some favourites are; INXS, John Butler Trio, Band of Horses, The Black Keys, Bluebottle Kiss, The Fumes, J.Mascis, anything loud, rhythmic and moody.

What is your favourite handmade item that you have ever bought?

That's a really hard question. I love handmade, especially here in Brisbane. The talent is amazing. 

I'm sorry, I don't have a favourite, I love them all.

Where can we find you online or instore?

I currently stock: 

* The Collective Store in Wynnum
* Retro Metro, Paddington
* Village Creative Studio, Wellington Point

Online stores are:

How long have you been a member of BrisStyle?

I think about 3 years.

How did you find out about brisstyle and why did you join?

Years ago I rented a space at incub8r in the Valley. I met a BrisStyler working there and she recommended joining BrisStyle because of the King George Square markets.

I really wanted to do those markets and have been doing so ever since.

I'm so grateful she suggested it to me because it has opened up a whole new world of creative opportunities for me.

This is my favourite question and I am so glad to be asking myself this one.

Why do YOU craft Anita?

Because I LOVE IT!