Saturday, February 27, 2016

AlmaB is this week's Monday Maker

Hi Rebecca

Were you creative as a child?

I have always loved art, and was always involved in some kind of art or craft activity growing up. My mum is also extremely creative, so it was always around and always encouraged.

How would you describe your work, Rebecca?

I am an illustrator who uses digital painting techniques. My work is colourful, playful and dreamy. I love using lots of colour and filling the page with interesting things. 
I then use my illustrations to create art prints and stationery.

How has your work evolved since you started?

When I started I was doing simple, original acrylic paintings and now I work digitally. 

I find that digitally, I can get more detail into my work, and I find it easier to match the image that I have in my head when I start working. As my digital style and techniques evolve, and technology improves, I find it more and more enjoyable.

How did you start selling on Etsy?

I read a little article about Etsy shortly after it started, and it made me think about selling my art (I was painting and drawing at the time). 
I opened up my shop in 2006 and started selling original artwork. 

Who or what inspires you?

I am constantly inspired by the natural world. I live in a very bushy part of Brisbane, and the birds, butterflies and other wildlife are a constant companion.

Looking around on the internet is also a large source of inspiration. There are so many talented people around, it is sometimes inspiring, sometimes disheartening! 

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

The environmental aspect of my work is something I think about a lot, as it is largely paper objects that have a purely aesthetic appeal. I am constantly finding ways to make as little impact as possible. I paint and share my work digitally, and if it is printed, I choose recycled paper, local printers, and the most environmentally efficient printing options. 

Describe your workspace?

I have just been kicked out of my office to make way for my second son, who was born earlier this year, so now I am creating out of our laundry until we begin renovations to our house. 

The laundry is not exactly inspiring, but I am already planning my little space that will be built under the house, which will have my computer, printer and desk, as well as some wall space for inspiring images and things I like to look at while working.

What is your favourite thing to make?

I love creating images for myself, or my sons. Anything where I can let my imagination run wild is good. My husband will often write little stories to accompany each piece, I love collaborating on that with him. It's a family affair.

How did your shop name come about?

Alma is my middle name, and was the name of my grandmother who I never met. I just liked the look and sound of it, and decided to use it as my artist name. The B is a nod back to Bec, and also adds to the look and sound of the name.

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

The next 12 months is very exciting for me. After a few years of pregnancy and baby raising, I now have the next 12 months as a clean slate to create (fitting in around child minding duties of course!). 

I have two children’s books in the making (one of my own, one I'm doing the illustrations only for), I want to start doing markets in Brisbane, and generally building up an audience. 

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

Be prepared for a lot of hard work! Often there is a lot of work before you can even start presenting your work to the world, which will be unpaid. 

You have to be passionate, and be prepared to put up with that slow start.

That's great advice!

Can you describe your typical creative day for us?

Because I still have young children, I don't have large stretches of creative time, but on days when my eldest child goes to day care, I work frantically in the nap times of my youngest – sitting at the computer, drawing, emailing, posting images online.

There is no routine at the moment! Once my youngest is a little bit older I hope to have more reliable creating time, but at the moment it's just doing whatever needs the most urgent attention.

Do you have a favourite quote?

My absolute favourite:

'Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.' - Howard Thurman

What do you like to listen to while creating?

I love listening to podcasts while I'm creating. I try to fill any time I can with acquiring some kind of knowledge. 
My favourites are 'This American Life', 'Blueprint for Living', 'I don't know How She Does It' and 'The Create and Thrive Podcast'. 

What is your favourite handmade item that you have bought?

There are so many! Our house is filled with handmade objects. 

One that has slowly become a favourite within our household is a large bird nest type structure created by an artist just outside of Mackay (who I forget the name of, which is terrible!). 
My husband and I bought it on a whim and now my sons and I like to add to it with our own nature finds.

Where can we find your work?

for behind the scenes - Instagram: @almab_illustration

How long have you been a member of BrisStyle?

I joined early 2015.

And how did you find out about BrisStyle?

I actually went along to the first ever get-togethers of what was to become BrisStyle – I think it was 2008, when a bunch of people from Brisbane that were on Etsy decided to meet up at Avid Reader at West End and meet each other in person. 

It was great, but unfortunately soon after that, I moved up to North Queensland, and had a bit of a break from the creative online world. But I always had in mind that I would join when I moved back, which I did!

Why did you become a member?

I knew I wanted to start doing some markets and connecting with people more in the real world, so BrisStyle seemed like a good place to find that community, and a way to become immersed in the local market scene. 

Why do you craft?

It's something I would do no matter what else was going on. It's something I've always done, and always will do. It's relaxing and gives me time to myself. 

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us Bec.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Monday Maker - Mandy Made by Mandy Thompson

Grab a coffee and let's have a chat with Mandy from 'Mandy Made''.

Hi Mandy, well the first question we ask everyone is of course, 

Do you come from a creative family?

I really do come from a creative family. Both my mother’s and father’s side of the family are creative, and good at making things with their hands: woodwork, painting, sewing, watercolor you name it!

Mum is very creative with pretty much everything she puts her hand to – sewing, embroidery, cooking jams and preserves and even painting when she was younger. 

And Dad has an eye for colour and is great when it comes to wood or metalwork, he has also been fantastic when it has come to art projects... more on that in a moment! My sister is also very talented with free hand drawing in black and white.

How about you Mandy, were you creative as a child?

I learnt to sew at a really young age probably before I could reach the foot control. I would make things with the offcuts when my mum would make clothes. 

I have always been interested in painting, jewellery and sewing and have always had various stashes of art supplies. 

I learnt most of my skills through my family or have been self taught over the years. 

In high school though - I got frustrated with myself easily because I didn’t learn “art skills” the traditional way, or it didn’t work the way I wanted it to. 

There has been more than one instance where Mum has helped me finish Home Economics sewing projects, or my Dad has come to the rescue and helped me build a Junk sculpture out of recycled materials....

and between you and I –

Dad got an A+ for that one (not me!)

How would you describe your work?

Colourful! Lots of fun colour, and I’m hooked on the charcoal linen fabric, natural linens and denim. I'm also loving the geometric, or floral prints.

How has your work evolved since you started?

My product has had more definition, and my brand definition is probably the biggest change since Mandy Made began. 

It sounds cliche, but I guess through art/sewing you get to learn more about yourself and understand your own personality, talents and I guess “what makes you, YOU”.

Being self taught, my skills and abilities have also been refined.

How did you start selling on Etsy?

I actually started selling handmade when I was in high school, I would make jewellery and sell my work on a stand at our local hairdresser who was so lovely and a huge support to me.

And with “Mandy Made” specifically, it started online through Etsy, and the same place most of us started – making for friends and family.

Who or what inspires you?

I am inspired by making everyday life more organised.

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

I’ve always made a point of using all my fabric scraps. In either smaller projects or jewellery.

Can you describe your workspace for us?

My workspace is in my spare room. 
It consists of 3 sewing machines and LOTS of fabric choices and is completely dedicated to Mandy Made: 
production, stock, supplies and *ahem* my sewing LIFE.

It truly is more than a handmade business, or hobby. I could happily live in there... so long as there was coffee.

What is your favourite thing to make?

When I’m not making for Mandy Made, I really enjoy teaching myself new skills. For the last 12 months I have been teaching myself to make /sew clothes for myself. A slightly different skill set to handbags and accessories. 

My favourite item for Mandy Made would have to be the “First Aid Clutch” love these little guys to bits.

How did your shop name come about?

My business name is a pretty self explanatory “Mandy Made” essentially meaning made by me, plus the alliteration makes it fun to say!

The tag line however is a bit of a play on words. It reads “handmade for Me and You” when you look at the Me and You it reads “Mandy”

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

Hopefully having the courage to try wholesale selling, and I’d love to try my hand at textile design / surface pattern design.

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

If you can’t stop thinking about it... DO IT! 

If it makes you happy... DO IT.

I thought about it giving it a go for about 7 years. It made me nervous but so excited. I didn’t want to have the regret of never giving it a go, and my only advice is to don’t try and do it all at once – add on little components in small manageable chunks.

Describe your typical creative day?

Creative day? .... Really it’s a creative moment, or a creative weekend.

I still work a full time job, I spend my weeknights editing photos and working on my online store / listing information, reading and doing any planning. 

And my weekends are either spent with BrisStyle markets or in my creative workspace sewing when not spending time with the family or other commitments.

Do you have a favourite quote?

Quotes and positive affirmations can be something quite inspiring, of which I have many. 
So many fit our everyday or our creative lives. Here's a sample:

“just keep swimming” – Dory

“whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right” – Henry Ford

“Everything will be all right in the end, if its not all right, its not yet the end” - The best exotic marigold hotel

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

Music + podcasts....

Music - I can't lie, I’m a sucker for Keith Urban while sewing. (Just don’t listen to my singing!)

Podcasts – I have many, but my top three that I Love, love, love, and won't miss, would be:
* create & thrive - great info and really inspirational and SO relatable
she percolates - great girls, always a good laugh and interview some really creative people and even discuss everyday life 
* elise gets crafty - love her interviewing style, and the subjects she talks about!

What is your favourite handmade item that you have bought?

I have many... also if I'm not making a gift, I generally try to purchase handmade.

My favourite items I've bought recently as a gift to someone, would be the little cement planters by “vessel and vine” or fudge from “I heart coffee, tea, fudge” - seriously good!

One item I would like to buy one day in the future is basically anything from “Hello Halsted Jewellery".  If I can snap something up before it all sells out!

Where can we find you online?


Instagram: @mandymadeforyou


How long have you been a member of brisstyle and what made you join?

Approximately 12 months. I participated in the Etsy pop up November 2014 and joined soon after as it was great to be involved and I felt it was a great community environment, everyone was encouraging and supportive.

How did you find out about BrisStyle?

Because I visited the city hall market one day when I was in the city, before I even had Mandy Made as a business.

Why do you craft Mandy?

SANITY! Honestly, that’s the short answer! 

The long answer is – it’s a creative inspiration release. 

I can’t sit still, and go a bit loopy if I don’t have the opportunity to do something creative. 

Thank you so much Mandy for sharing your thoughts with us.

See you at the next BrisStyle market.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Marianne Wilson Designs - This week's Monday Maker

This week we managed to interview one of our newer members, Marianne Wilson.

Were you creative as a child?

Yes, I was creative as a child and was always drawing or making something. 

I used to sew my doll's clothes when I was 12 years. I found that growing up in South Africa had some advantages as there was no TV in the country until 1975! So we had to make our own entertainment.

How would you describe your work?

Very eclectic. 

I worked as a textile designer in the fashion department for a large cotton mill near Cape Town in South Africa. This was before the age of computers, so we had to be able to create many different types of designs, from watercolour effects to crocodile skin type designs. I work mainly in watercolours or gouache, depending on the type of design.

How has your work evolved since you started?

When I started designing we had to do designs according to what was in fashion at the time. I created all the designs for a shop in South Africa called the Biggie Best shop. It was lots of fun as it was a coordinated range for home decor similar to Laura Ashley (this dates me!) but using Victorian designs. 

Now that I live in Australia I no longer do fashion textiles but am inspired by the Australian flora and want to promote these beautiful images. 

I am also influenced by Oriental designs - my grandparents both grew up in Japan and China.

Who or what inspires you?

I just love indigenous flora and want to reproduce these images on to textiles. I live in The Gap and we are surrounded by beautiful forests.

Is your work eco-friendly?

The only way I suppose I am Eco-friendly is that the printing inks for my textiles are produced in Australia and are water based and environmentally friendly.

Describe your studio/workspace?

I have a large flat desk for doing my watercolour and also another desk on which I have a light box. My husband made this for me years ago and as I do all my artwork from scratch - don't use computers- this is my most important piece of equipment. 

I have beautiful paint brushes (some years old) and loads of watercolours mainly Winsor and Newton. I have a computer in my studio as well and a sewing machine and overlocker. There is also a piano in there. On the walls I have two large notice boards and lots of my own artwork along with other favourites.

What is your favourite thing to make?

I love painting designs for textiles and start from scratch beginning with eg. eucalyptus leaves in a vase, sketching these and eventually it will become the artwork from which the textile will be printed.

 How did your business name come about?

I have always used the name Mimosa but there were quite a few here in Australia so just went for my name, Marianne Wilson.

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

The next 12 months  -  I hope to be doing more of the same - will expand my T towel range promoting Australiana especially for the tourist market. I will also be expanding my textile range.

Do you have a top tip to others wanting to break into the handmade/creative market?

As this is my first attempt, I am not really qualified to give advice, but I am starting small...

Describe your typical creative day?

My typical creative day starts with a cup of tea....household chores and then I get to my desk. 

I always have the radio on - Radio National or Classic FM and I have a collection of beautiful inspiring art books collected over many years from which I get inspiration. Depending on what I am drawing I also go onto the internet for different images.

Do you have a Favourite quote?

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. 
So throw off the bowlines. 
Sail away from the safe harbour. 
Catch the trade winds in your sails. 
Explore. Dream. Discover." ~  Mark Twain.  

My daughter put this on my notice board some years ago and I took it to heart. 

My older sister died in Toronto last year, from a brain tumour at the age of 59 and I did not want to get to the end of my life and regret that I did not even TRY.

What is your favourite handmade item that you have bought?

A beautiful felt rose which my neighbour made. It was just exquisite and I still have it in my bedroom.

Where can we find you online?

How long have you been a member of BrisStyle?

I have been a member for about three months.

How did you find out about BrisStyle?

I came across  a Brisbane City Council promotion booklet and the BrisStyle information was on the back of it.

I applied the same day!

Why did you become a member?

I wanted to be part of a group of like minded, creative and exciting people. I have learnt so much already.

Why do you craft?

I just love being creative and am never bored. 

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.