Monday, May 16, 2016

Meet Rachel from Servant Ceramics

Well it's no secret that I am a huge fan of all things clay and one of my favourite clay artist's is none other than the ever so sweet Rachel from Servant Ceramics.

Hi Rachel, thanks in advance for answering a few questions for us.

Were you creative as a child?

I always seemed to have my hands in something messy as a child - paint, pencils, baking...

Do you come from a creative family?

Both my parents were very supportive, especially my Dad who likes to dabble with sketching and watercolour landscapes. 

How would you describe your work?

I would describe my ceramic work as functional,  practical and unique vessels that enhance everyday living. 

Ideally, they become part of daily life and ensure that the user never eats or drinks alone but act as a reminder of community, resilience and grace. 

How has your work evolved since you started?

 I now have work with handles! 

Originally, I avoided handles as they are a true test of a potter's skills as they combine functionality and aesthetics. 

I have added additional glaze colours and have explored gold lustre and decal transfers too. And there's still so much I want to bring in as well but, you know, time!!

How did you start selling on Etsy?

I started selling on Etsy a couple of years ago after participating in Jess Van Den's Set Up Shop course.

Who or what inspires you?

I'm always inspired by people who are chasing down their dreams and just keep trying despite enormous odds and difficult life circumstances.

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

I do my best to recycle as much clay as I can in my making process. It makes so much sense!

Describe your studio/workspace?

My potters wheel is set up in a small sunroom-turned studio space at home. I glaze and fire my wares at a friend's studio as I am renting and my landlord won't allow me to have my own kiln set up. 

But I do have a small gas kiln that I'm trying to get up and running at my parents' house out at Redcliffe. 

Do you have a favourite thing to make?

I love my cupping cups - they are simple but so satisfying to make and to use! 

How did your business name come about?

My business name was chosen for two main reasons - my wares are service based vessels but I also knew that I could easily get overwhelmed and all-consumed by the demands of running one's own small business so it is a constant reminder of who is master and who is servant. 

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

I have taken on a new project this year that has significantly reduced my studio time but I am looking at developing more collaborative ranges and introducing new clay bodies into my regular lines. 

Describe your typical creative day?

My typical creative day would be an early start with a good couple of throwing hours, early lunch and social media check with an afternoon of turning, altering and decorating. 

Do you like to listen to Music while creating?

I tend to throw and turn better in silence as it allows me to stay better connected with the clay but I do like listening to podcasts when glazing - like Tales of the Red Clay Rambler. 

What is your favourite handmade item that you have bought?

At the last BrisStyle Twilight Market, I picked up on of Thorogami's yarn Cacti which I LOVE!!!! It's perfect for a black thumb like me - I can't even keep herbs alive!

Where can we find you online?

Via my Etsy shop and I am also in the Collective Store (at Wynnum). 

How long have you been a member of brisstyle?

I joined BrisStyle soon after I moved up from Melbourne so about 4 years ago.

How did you find out about BrisStyle?

I found out about BrisStyle through a Brisbane City Council brochure promoting their library information sessions. One about setting up a market stall - it was just what I wanted and needed at the time.

Why did you become a member?

I joined BrisStyle to connect with like-minded creatives and to sell at their markets. 
BrisStyle has and continues to have such a good reputation for cultivating and promoting handmade makers and artisans. 

But the reason why I stay a member is because I want to stay connected with these fabulous makers and support them. 

The encouragement and friendships I've formed are indispensable in life and I just want to give back to an organisation that has given me so much! 

Why do you craft?

I believe I was created to create ...and I get cranky if I don't. I especially love working with such a primal material as clay and creating something with permanency and innate usefulness. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Jenny from Thorigami - Monday Maker

Jenny must be one of the cheeriest creative people I've ever met. Always helpful and often helping out as one of our gorgeous 'market Angels'. I've been wanting to interview her for quite a while. Well the opportunity finally came.

And here it is. Hello Jenny and thank you so much for being this week's Monday Maker.

Do you come from a creative family?

Both my parents are creative in different ways, so were my grandparents. My mum always knitted, crocheted, baked and stitched. As a child l would watch her, she was also very good at sewing, as was my grandmother, who was a seamstress. My parents are also very creative with their garden, creating an amazing space in their back yard and at their summer house in the forest. 

My Dad is incredible at creating things from his own designs, he builds outdoor rooms from recycled windows, outdoor showers, he can basically build anything and is a very creative person. They have both inspired me in different ways to be creative.

Were you creative as a child?

As a child l was sick a lot, so l guess l always had a lot of time being creative. I loved drawing and cutting things out and sorting my grandmother's buttons into colours. 

My grandmother taught me how to crochet at the age of about 7. She was a cool grandmother as she also taught me to play poker, with tooth picks as money, it still makes me laugh thinking about it. 

l would make Christmas gifts for my family, pretty wonky potholders mainly.  My dad also would take the time to teach me how to make my own wooden butter knives, cutting boards etc, which found their way into Christmas presents. 
I basically loved doing things with my hands and creating little things from a very early age.

How would you describe your work?

I would describe my work as a little bit whimsical and very much inspired by nature. 
I love to watch things come to life, it really gives me a happy feeling. 

So basically my work is colorful and mainly inspired by nature. The shape, the colours all play a big part, even in my daily life. 

What is your favourite thing to make?

Big crochet toadstools, cacti and colorful mandalas are some of my favorite things to make, as well as folding origami into tiny little creations and then making them into earrings. 
I find the process really calming.

Focusing internally on one little thing, and being very repetitive, is almost like meditating.

Has your work evolved since you started?

I guess l am always evolving, l think if l stop evolving my craft, l would get immensely bored.

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

I try to use as much recycled paper as l can, as well as buying recycled silver findings. Op shopping for yarn and ripping up sweaters. I like to do as much as l can, another example is that the stuffing l use for my toadstools and cactus are usually from old cushions. 

Most of the things l make can also be taken apart and recycled or reused for other things, if you get tired of them.

Describe your workspace?

I work from many places in my house, in front of the TV, on my sunny deck, out in the back yard or cafes. My craft is easy to take on the road, l guess because both paper and yarn are very portable.

l also have a sunroom, which l love sitting in, on my old yellow vinyl, late 60's chairs, around my octagonal table. The space is so full of light and also very close to my yarn and other things l need.

How did your business name come about?

My name came about, talking to my partner about names and just mucking around. He said "how's about Thorogami? Your surname and origami merged!" l liked it and from there it went. 

Hopefully l will still feel happy and inspired in the next year or so and keep coming up with new things to make. But l will never stop being creative, making and creating makes me happy and challenges me in many ways, l love it!

What's your top tip to others wanting to break into the creative market?

I would say to any one wanting to start selling their crafty creations, just do it, be brave, jump in! Join a creative group like BrisStyle and get involved, talk to other creative people and make things you love.

Describe your typical creative day?

The great thing about working from home is that l can stay in pj's if l want, drink tea all day and be around my two dogs, who sometimes get tangled in my yarn, especially my Chihuahua, Pippi, who likes to sleep on my lap. 

I really like it. But I guess my typical creative day doesn't just last 9-5, it goes into the evening, weekends and pretty much anytime. I love that it's flexible and that l love doing it, l never feel bored.

Do you like to listen to music or have any fave  movies while creating? 

I love listening to all sorts of music whilst creating, and also binge watch series on Netflix, naughty, l know. Sometimes l just love sitting outside with only the birds and the sound of my little back yard, it all depends on my mood.

What is your favourite handmade item that you have bought?

One of my favorite handmade things l've bought is a pair of silver earrings from a silver village in Sumatra, it was a really lovely place to visit and it took us a couple of hours to walk there, something l will never forget. 

But l also love many local Brisbane makers. Buying handmade is wonderful.

Where can we find you online

I am a bit of a procrastinator and have been saying for about 1 year that l'm going to start my etsy and madeit shops, l have started filling out everything, but then l get distracted. 

But you can find me on Instagram @jemthorsan_thorogami
and here

Thank you so much for wanting share my journey

Do you have a Favourite quote 

One of my favourite quotes are 'My religion is simple, my religion is kindness' HH Dalai Lama

How long have you been a member of BrisStyle?

l think l am on my third year now that l have been a member. 

How did you find out about BrisStyle?

I was invited to the Christmas party at Southside Tearoom, by Sharon, from Treble Two. We met at a crochet group, she thought l should come along. l am so glad l did, l loved it, even though l think it took me another 6 months to join. 

Why did you become a member?

l became a member because it felt like such a lovely community, easy going and encouraging, very friendly. l also wanted to feel part of a group of other creative people. 

Why do you craft?

l craft because it is part of me, l always have and always will craft, make things and think of things l want to try. Crafting challenges me and also keeps me happy, 

Well thank you so much Jenny, it's been lovely talking to you.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Monday Maker is Dot from Designz by Dot

Hi Dot and thank you for making the time to tell us a bit about your label, Dezignzbydot.

Now please tell us, 

Were you creative as a child?

I’ve never considered myself a creative person.  As a child I liked to colour in but I can’t draw to save my life (even my stick men come out disfigured).  

I’ve always been good with colour, though and I did some photography courses when I was younger which I really enjoyed.  I do a bit of abstract painting using different mediums and I’ve just started learning how to sew.  

Do you come from a creative family?

There is creativity in my family – my sister is a very talented artist and my aunt can do anything creative that she puts her mind to, so I guess there is a creative gene in there somewhere.

How would you describe your work?

That’s a really tough question!  I guess I would describe it as eclectic because I draw inspiration from so many different areas, which you can see in the different types of jewellery I make and the different types of materials I use and I’m always seeing new techniques and materials that I’d like to learn how to use.

How has your work changed since you started?

I started with straight beading and have moved on since then to using buttons, cabochons, Japanese
paper, photographs, acrylic and wood.  

I’m hoping to do a resin course and a silversmith course in the future, which I’m really looking forward to.

How did you start selling on Etsy?

Selling my work came about as a way to support my (jewellery making) habit.  

I got obsessed with creating and there is only so much you can give away to your friends so I thought I should start selling to cover my costs and allow me to continue creating.  

I looked at different options and chose Etsy because the pricing was reasonable, the software easy to use, its popularity with customers (Etsy is a household name) and the fact that the site was all about supporting the handmade community.

Who or what inspires you?


When I’m waiting for the bus to go to work I check out what other women are wearing and think 
about what I like, what I would do differently, etc.  I tend to lean towards vintage designs – I like the elegance and femininity of the bygone eras (anything from the 1920s – 1960s) but you will see some steampunk influence in my designs at times as well.

Can you describe your workspace for us?

My studio is my kitchen/living area in my little granny flat!  

Most of the year my kitchen table is covered in materials waiting to be made into some design or 

I recently cleaned this up and it looks more like a living area again rather than a workspace.

What is your favourite thing to make?

My favourite creation so far is definitely my acrylic bird necklaces.  

I had the idea for at least six months before I went ahead and made them. In that time I researched what patterns and colours I wanted to use and brainstormed how I could bring the idea to life.  They can be a bit of a challenge to put together as well because they’re like a little puzzle that you glue together so all the bits have to be put in properly or the birds will look wrong.  I’m really happy with the outcome and can’t wait to create more.

How did  your business name come about?

My friend and I were up late ordering business cards at the last minute for my first market stall, so we quickly brainstormed ideas.  

Dezignz by Dot wasn’t my first choice (my other 
choices were already taken – including Designs 
by Dot) so I decided to go with something that included my (rather unique) name and I ordered 
business cards with polka dots on them which 
was cute and fun.  The name has been really good, though, because when people come to my stall they ask me if I’m Dot, which I think makes my items more personal.  

My friend also made me a fabulous frilly polka dot table cloth to use at markets, which I just love.

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

Hopefully lots of places.  

I already have a number of ideas permeating in my brain and can’t wait to see them come to life. There will be a few changes over the next 12 months but I don’t like spoilers so you’ll just have to 
keep an eye on the Instagram and Facebook pages to see what they will be (wink).

What's your top tip for newbies?

At the risk of sounding like Nike – Just do It!  

You have something to share/give so believe in yourself and don’t listen to the little voices in your 
head telling you your not good enough.  

Be prepared to work hard, utilise social media and network with others of similar minds.  You’ll be
amazed how much you inspire each other and you’ll make some really great friends along the way.

Describe your typical creative day?

I’m not a morning person so I sleep until I wake up, have breaky and at least one cup of coffee 
(usually more).  Usually everything will already be on the table so I’ll sit there and look at it for a 
while until inspiration hits and then I create my little heart out.

Do you have a favourite quote?

Tomorrow is brand new with no mistakes in it – 
from Anne of Green Gables.  

Anne Shirley is one of my favourite redheads 
(I’m a redhead too) and I love her shenanigans
but also her positive attitude even when life was 
a bit harsh.

Do you have a favourite movie you like to watch while creating?

When I first started created I listened to a podcast called Serial, which is a true-life investigation into 
a murder in the 90s (I have an interest in crime investigation) and this led me to another podcast 
called This American Life which is a weekly podcast full of the most amazing, awe-inspiring and 
heart breaking true life stories I’ve ever heard.

What is your favourite item you have ever bought?

Another difficult question - there are so many lovely handmade items from some seriously talented 

I’d have to say that my favourite items would be my Materiel Design necklaces – I have the blue and 
white damask and the lotus flower.  I love their uniqueness and always get compliments when I wear 

Where can we find you online?

How long have you been a BrisStyle member and how did you find out about BrisStyle?

Since May/June 2015.

I’d been aware of Brisstyle for a number of years but didn’t join because I felt like my products weren’t good enough as there are some truly talented people in the community and I felt a bit intimidated by that.  

Having been a member for a while now, I know that my fears were unfounded as it really is a great 
supportive community.

Why did you become a member?

My friend Marnie bought me a membership and after seeing how supportive everyone was I decided 
to renew at the beginning of the financial year.

Why do you craft Dot?

Because I love it!  It’s become a passion/obsession.  My day job is all about following policy and
procedure so crafting is a good way to balance that out. Also, this is going to sound really vain but I 
love it when people get joy from something I’ve made and I think it’s the ultimate endorsement when
someone chooses to spend their hard-earned money on one of my creations.

Monday, March 14, 2016

It's Monday Maker Gen Rossouw from Jhoomka

Hi Gen and thanks for participating in the Monday Maker interview. 

I'd love to ask you just a few questions.

Firstly, do you come from a creative family?

Yes, I have a family of creatives, my mum makes quilts and my 3 aunties have all been very successful crafters.

How would you describe your work?

My earrings are funky ;)

Has your work changed since you started?

Yes, slowly and bit by bit I have tried new styles of earrings to make and improved the doilies heaps.

How did you start selling on Etsy?

I opened my Etsy store through joining  Brisstyle and talking to members. It seems to work for a lot of people so I thought to give it a go!

What inspires you?

Art, street art especially! 

Do you reduce or reuse as part of your creative process?

Yes I do! My earrings are from old tableclothes, reused and repurposed! They are eco-friendly :)

What is your work area like?

I have a small table set up at home.

Do you have a favourite thing to make?

Knitted beanies. There is an odd satisfaction that I get from knitting.

Where did the name Jhoomka come from?

Jhoomka means earrings in Nepalese and I recently spent a lot of time there and it seemed fitting and different.

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

I hope to get a small thriving business going as part of my creative journey as well as delving into different aspects of jewelry making such as wire work and making beads.

Do you have any advice for others trying to make it in the creative industry?

Persistence, patience and belief in your work.

Do you like to watch movies or listen to music while creating?

I watch movies when I make earrings or listen to blues music. Keeps the juices flowing :)

What is your favourite handmade object that you have bought?

A handmade bed spread from Cambodia. It must have taken hours for someone to make and it's so so gorgeous!

Where can we find you online?

How long have you been a member of BrisStyle?

I joined only a few months ago.

And how did you find out about BrisStyle?

Through Facebook.

Why did you join?

I became a member to learn more about making my crafts into a business, how to do the markets and overall inspiration.

Why do you create Gen?

I can't sit still and it's a great way to release tension and stress

Thanks Gen and welcome to BrisStyle.