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.

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