Monday, March 13, 2017

Textile Artisan

Today we meet Jenny from Textile Artisan.

Hi Jenny

Do you come from a creative family? 

Yes. My Dad received a Soldier’s Settler Block in the Blue Mountains after WW2. Both he and my Mother worked tirelessly to create everything that they needed from a home to poultry sheds etc, and Mum made everything that she could on a treadle sewing machine as there was no power. 

Years later after her children had left home my Mother enrolled in ceramics at East Sydney Tech. and travelled 3hrs per day for 2yrs to become a potter.

And how would you describe your work?

I make practical items using natural fibres and natural dyes. 

I hope that the items will retain their use for a long time and contribute to sustainable living.

Has your work evolved since you started?

The change has been in the size and type of loom that I use. I started with an Inkle loom that I made for myself when living 150km NW of Bourke NSW.

Then my Mother purchased a floor loom for me that a retired Englishman had made. It had been advertised in the local paper. He had been involved in the textile industry in the UK. I was living outside Bathurst at the time and came in contact with a weaver living in a railway cottage in Bathurst. That was Irma Binder who was from Europe and a truly classical weaver and my first weaving contact.

How did you start selling online?

I built a website a couple of years ago and also had a presence on Etsy. Unfortunately I haven’t had the time to keep these sites up to date. I intend to build an online selling point.

What inspires you?

The ability to create an item from the simplest elements. 

To spin, dye and weave fabric then design and cut the pieces to construct a garment or accessory. 

Or to weave something that comes off the loom ready to wear, after finishing.

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

Yes. I make items from patches left over from cutting. 

I also weave right to the end of warps and use the extra pieces for making up. I use up as much as I can.

Can you describe your studio for us?

My studio is the main bedroom of our retirement unit. My loom just fits in with some storage shelving around two walls and the rest in the WIR, I have a beautiful bushland view in two directions. My studio is part of my living space.

Do you have a favourite thing to make?

I don’t have a favourite. Every item is unique.

And how did your business name come about?

Textile was a given but I was so glad that Artisan was available as it means a skilled worker in the handmade.

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

Due to several reasons I have not been weaving for 3 years so the next 12 months is my focused return to weaving and online marketing.

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

Be honest in making your own product of your best quality. 

What is a typical creative day for you? 

I am a carer for my blind/deaf partner so I try to have studio time in the afternoons and evenings. 
I often spin in the evenings

Dyeing sessions are governed by the availability of material e.g. I have grown Coreopsis and collected the blossom to store in the freezer until I have enough for a dye bath (or too much for the freezer). I have a large stand of Goldenrod (another ancient dye source) that will bring on a big dying effort when it flowers. 

Do you have a favourite quote?    

Never give up!

What is your favourite handmade item that you have bought?

A beautiful end delivery shuttle. 

Where can we find you online?

How long have you been a member of BrisStyle?  

Part of a year.

Why did you become a member? 

To be part of a vibrant marketing group.

Why do you craft?

There is something inside me that reaches far back in time that encourages me to live a simple life and to make, with integrity, what I can, from natural fibres and dyes. 

It is probably in my genes and in my upbringing. 
I feel compelled to work with my hands and I am happy about it.

Well thank you Jenny for sharing your thoughts with us.

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