Monday, May 4, 2020

Please introduce yourself and tell us about what you create?

 I'm Jemica, the owner, designer and maker behind Meekz Contemporary Jewellery.  I'm a qualified silversmith having graduated from Griffith University in 2009 and I love architecture and sculptural art.  I have a real passion for geometric design and love making wearable art, that transforms the everyday into something unique and beautiful.  

What makes what you do that bit different to the other people in your creative field?

My business is a sustainable, ethical and handmade jewellery label.  I draw inspiration from the urban environment and minimalist geometric forms around me.   

Using traditional silversmithing techniques such as hand sawing, soldering, hammer texturing and oxidising, I bring to life my sketched drawings to create statement jewellery that can be worn every day.    

Adopting an ethically responsible and environmentally friendly practice, all Meekz collections are made using recycled, reclaimed and repurposed materials such road signs, recycled sterling silver, electrical wire, recycled aluminium, copper and brass, transforming the everyday into something unique and beautiful.  

By designing my own custom packaging from recycled card boards and card stocks and hand sewing all my own jewellery pouches from discarded industrial felt sourced from local recycling centres, I believe I can further contribute to a sustainable foot print.

I even use discarded timber, wooden blocks and tree branches to create all my unique jewellery displays and market stands.

In my studio I use a combination of recyclable and biodegradable materials and chemicals, adopting a cradle-to-cradle mentality to create all my exhibition and retail production work.

How long since you started on this creative journey?

This July will be my 15th year in business.  I started Meekz Contemporary Jewellery while I was studying at University in 2005.   My lecturer suggested I seek some feedback on my designs and so a group of students and I created a
small business called the JSO Collective and approached the South Bank Markets to see if we could have a stall at the Young Designers Markets and they said yes!  

Once graduating university in 2009, I left the Collective and went on to work full time in my own studio that I created with the help of my parents on their property, transforming an old horse stable into a functioning jewellery space.  

In 2015 some friends of mine asked me to show them how to make jewellery and I guess I fell in love with teaching.  I still teach to this day and have created classes for all skill levels. My workshops offer an insight into the life of a jeweller. From private one on one sessions to group classes, each workshop aims to encourage creativity, confidence and learning while having fun.

Were you creative as a child/do you come from a creative family?

I have always been creative and as a child my mum taught me lots of different things from cooking to cross stitching to painting.  I even used to help her make dolls clothes for her business and helped out at markets selling them (I think that’s where I got the bug for my business you could say).

 What's the story behind your business/shop name (if applicable)?

My business name came from a nickname I gave myself at high school – Meeka, as no one could say my name Jemica.  And when I applied for a trading name Meeka was knocked back so I changed it to Meekz and added a description so no one else would have the same name!

And so Meekz Contemporary Jewellery was born.

Do you do this as a hobby or as a small business?

I  work full time in my small business and love every minute of it!

     How have you found your work has evolved since you started?

My designs have definitely changed over the years.  My first designs out of University incorporated everything from recycled/repurposed/found fabrics to plastics to papers and of course metal.   Over time I noticed I was becoming more a textile artist and wanted to find myself again so ditched everything that wasn’t metal and focused on silversmithing again (what I was trained in) and fell back in love with my art. 

Technological advances over the 15 years have also played a big part in my redirection as well I think.  The introduction of Laser Cutting was a big one for me.   The value, perception, price and accessibility of machine cut acrylic saw my jewellery sales drop over night and I could no longer compete with this, so I dropped the line.

How did you start selling your work? Do you sell online or at markets/shops?

I  started selling at the Young Designers Market as a member of the JSO Collective small business we started while at University in 2005.   I then opened up an Etsy shop to test my products online and finally opened up my own  website  to have full control of design, style and create my own templates. 

I currently have 25 Stockist throughout Australia that are small handmade/sustainable or boutique style shops that I wholesale my designs to. 

My favourite of all platforms to sell would have to be at Markets or Events though as I get to meet my customers face to face and see them light up when they spot something they love.  They are the reason I love what I do. 

My jewellery workshops are also a form of work I sell as well as the tools we use in class.  I get so much joy from seeing a student light up with confidence once they have made something from scratch. 

How do you find your inspiration? 

I  find inspiration from my surroundings, from nature, urban environment and my friends and family.

Describe your studio/workspace?

My studio is small but I love it.  

I  have converted the garage in my house into a studio space.

I have an old office desk that my grandfather converted into a jewellers bench, I have another row of jewellery benches for my students, a bench with a table mounted drill press, a metal guillotine/bender/roller machine and soldering station and a open shelving system with all my finished stock, market displays, market tools, marquee, tables, battery and lights and workshop tools, materials and displays.  

I also now have an office/clean studio which I’ve never had before so that’s cool.  Here I do all my invoicing, accounting, packaging of finished jewellery and store all my packaging, boxes and felt for my pouches.

Describe a typical creative day? How do you balance your creativity with your everyday life/work?

A typical day …well I try to start or end the day with some sort of exercise, I then have breakfast, then head into the studio – create a list with the days tasks and get to work making.  I then have lunch and then head back to work to finish off what I can for the day.  I then either exercise if I haven’t already with a friend if possible and then make dinner and then veg out to some Netflix or a movie, have a shower and then head to bed.   Some nights I may even sit and make jewellery while watching TV.  It's usually a late one for me as I am a night owl.    

How do I juggle everyday life/work… well I plan my life around a Diary. Everything gets entered into the calendar or it doesn’t happen.  Like if I have a meeting tomorrow or want to catch up with a friend next Tuesday or I’m having dinner with my parents in a month, it all goes into my diary or I would forget everything!    

My diary is LIFE, without it I wouldn’t have a business or social life lol.

Do you listen to music/tv/podcasts etc while creating?

I  listen to the radio.  Can’t watch Tv as I start watching it instead and podcasts I haven’t tried yet.

Do you have any advice for someone starting out in the creative world? Any tips that might help them?

Love what you do!  Find your niche, something no one else has and make it yours.  Your customers will love you for it and will keep coming back to you as they can only get it from you.   

Believe in yourself!  You can do this, you are strong, you know your stuff and you are talented or you wouldn’t be starting this.

Schedule in Lunch Break /Time with friends and family and take Holidays! Do this, its so easy to over look all of this and your mental state is worth more than money! 

Do you reduce, reuse, recycle as part of your creative process?  If yes, how is your art/craft eco-friendly?

Yep it is my core value!  I use sustainable materials / methods and chemicals throughout my practise.

Do you have a favourite item to make?

At the moment I would have to say it's my Rain Bow Earrings and Necklaces.  They just have that extra little wibble wobble and I love the combination of movement, mixed metal and mixed textures.

Do you have a favourite quote?

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution."
-Albert Einstein, What Life Means to Einstein (1924)  

fell in love with this quote in my teenage years and have lived every day by it.  I even have a tattoo on my back that says “Imagination is Knowledge”.

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

In 12 months… designing even better jewellery designs, having hopefully a larger studio space, one that I can teach bigger classes in and that I can paint/ decorate and make my own!

Where can we find you online/stockists (links etc)?

Check out my website  

Whereabouts did you find out about BrisStyle?

It was one of the first markets I attended back in the day to sell my jewellery at.   It was so long ago now that I can’t remember where I heard about it from sorry.

How long ago did you become a member and what made you decide to join?

I  joined while I was in Uni so between 2005 – 2009 again not sure on actual date sorry.

What do you think the Covid-19 situation has changed in your creative practice?

Covid-19 has definitely made it hard for my business.  I can no longer attend markets or events to sell my jewellery, teach classes or speak at PD Talks. 

I  however have been able to continue selling online.  Definitely nowhere near as much as I use to make at events, markets or workshops, but it’s something while I wait for Centrelink … my fingers are crossed.

Before COVID-19 I had wanted to start holding monthly Ready To Ship Restocks on my website and treat the stock on hand as though it was a wholesaler and set it aside for when it sells.  I had in the past run my website in a Make to Order format and didn’t get as many sales.

Now with everything going on I suddenly have way more time on my hands and so held my first Ready To Ship Restock in April and was blown away by my customers.  Not only did I sell lots of pieces (which I was so sure I wouldn’t as it had never worked before) but that I sold OUT of items and had customers contacting me personally asking if they could order more.

I’m not sure if this was a fluke but I’m going to continue and have another restock planned for next Friday 1st May at 8pm QLD time so wish me luck.
Xxx Meekz

Monday, April 20, 2020

Meet the Maker - Myclectic

Please introduce yourself and tell us about what you create?  

Hi, I’m Anita the face, hands and brains behind the leather work label ‘Myclectic’. I’m earring obsessed so that’s mostly what I create.

What makes what you do that bit different to the other people in your creative field?

Not the fact that I am an earring maker, that’s for sure but my point of difference is the materials I use. Leather is usually a material used for bags, coats and shoes. Why not earrings? And interior design samples such as lux wallpaper or vinyl floor samples. Again I say: Why not earrings? I’ve even made earrings out of corporate cricket tickets! 

I don’t want to be known as  ‘just another earring maker’.
Almost any material I look at I think ‘how would that look as a pair of earrings?

How long since you started on this creative journey?

I think I first started selling on Etsy and at markets around 2010 or 2011. But I have been a ‘maker’ since I was a pre-teen. That’s a LONG time ago!!

Were you creative as a child/do you come from a creative family?

 Yes and yes. I remember Mum sewing clothes for us when we were little and I’m very fond of a music box Dad made that was completely covered in sea shells.

What’s the story behind your business/shop name (if applicable)?

I’ve been through a few names until I landed on the present one. First I was ‘Buttonbeads’ because I made button necklaces, then I started making little purses and bags using an awesome stash of vintage material I scored through BrisStyle contacts so I renamed myself ‘Mums Cupboard’ because I was using materials found in my own Mum’s cupboard as well as ‘other’ mum’s cupboards. 
And then when I started dabbling in leather, my hubby and I came up with the name ‘Myclectic’. It comes from MY kind of ECLECTIC, which is where I was heading. We shortened it to what it is now, registered it, plastered it all over the internet and now it truly is mine. It’s the name I had been waiting for.

Do you do this as a hobby or as a small business?

At first I approached this a business due to the fact that I was unemployed but eventually it has become more of a hobby again. Mostly because we needed to pay the bills and I found a new job.

How have you found your work has evolved since you started?

I never really knew what my ‘style’ was at the beginning, I just started making whatever I thought of at the time. I started with the button necklaces because of a gift I made for a friend. Then because of the vintage fabric I acquired I moved on to bags. I went through the ‘glass cabochon bezel style’ jewellery stage next because I wanted to use up the fabric scraps from the bags I had made. This lead me to experimenting with different things to glue into the cabochon jewellery. Vintage doilies, fabric, old maps, vintage Laura Ashley paper samples and eventually, COMIC BOOKS. The comics were really cool and super popular but of course as with everything else I made previously, others were soon making similar things and I was bored and wanted to get on to them next thing’.
That’s when the leather craft began.

How did you start selling your work? Do you sell online or at markets/shops?

Due to the tactile nature of my products, I sell mainly at markets and my very first market ever was a BrisStyle Twilight Market.

How do you find your inspiration?

Mostly inspiration comes to me from the actual materials I use.  It's the colours and the textures that get my creative juices going.

Describe your studio/workspace?

I’ve got the corner of an enclosed verandah in the beautiful old Queenslander home we currently live in. It has a fabulous large window I can gaze out of and over our quiet suburban street.

I have a table covered in everything I am working on and absolutely need. I have everything at my fingertips. Yes it looks like a war zone and I love it that way!

Describe a typical creative day? How do you balance your creativity with your everyday life/work?

It really helps having a room solely for the purpose of working in. I can shut the doors and leave the mess. This allows me to continue what I was doing when I get home from the ‘other job’. I love not having to ‘pack up’.

Do you listen to music/tv/podcasts etc while creating?

Sometimes I listen to music through my ear phones but mostly I work in silence, that’s when the ideas start rolling. I talk to myself a lot too. Doesn’t everyone? 

Do you have any advice for someone starting out in the creative world? Any tips that might help them?

My suggestions are more about being happy rather than ambitious. I have a few. 
Don’t compare yourself with others. Success and all things shiny on the internet are mostly illusions (remember that when you feel a bit down). Be careful not to become a slave to your followers. Make what YOU love not just what you think is popular. Don’t copy others it’s unethical and so unoriginal. Be yourself. Be real. Have fun.  

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

YES, always have, always will. I come from the ‘don’t waste it’ generation. 

If yes, how is your art/craft eco-friendly? 

I use even the tiniest pieces of leather for my earrings and save every scrap. I also use a lot of samples from my day job.

Do you have a favourite item to make?


Do you have a favourite quote?

‘Don’t sweat the small stuff, everything is small stuff’ - from the movie Pontiac Moon.

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

I’m not going any where. I’m happy to just keep making earrings using lots of pretty upcycled bits and pieces. And I hope to be a bit more selective in my market venue choices this year.

‘Less is more’

Where can we find you online/stockists (links etc)?

I’m on Etsy and Finders Keepers Online.

Whereabouts did you find out about BrisStyle?

Many years ago I met a BrisStyler who worked in a shop called Incub8er in the Valley where I rented a shelf to sell my leather cuffs I was making at the time.

She recommended checking out a BrisStyle market, which I did and was absolutely hooked.

How long ago did you become a member and what made you decide to join?

I’m not sure how long ago it was, but it was a very long time ago. Way back before Instagram or iPads and when Facebook was still a big deal and there was no such thing as ‘algorithms’.  I think mobile phones had just been invented. 

How do you think the Covid-19 situation has changed your creative practice?

It's changed EVERYTHING! I had just started prepping for two of my biggest markets when boom. The world stopped. And retail pretty much died, a slow death. Markets are everything to my creative practice. Who needs earrings when people are dying. But a creative must create so I made gifts for dear friends, practical gifts. Fabric face masks. And then I decided to keep a "daily accomplishments" journal, just to keep on track and not get too down about what is happening. I will "make" for the duration but I am now more inclined to make more practical things for me and my friends. And do lots of studio tidying up in readiness for.... I'm not really sure? 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Monday Maker - Macandroma

Say hello to Fiona, the creative brain behind the label Macandroma.

Do you come from a creative family Fiona?

As a child my mother had a workroom. It was a room full of craft, sewing, knitting, spinning, crocheting, doll making and crammed with things! I would watch and assist her in creating whatever project she was working on at the time. Regularly, she would be sewing and I was allowed to help with the sewing machine, then create something out of the scraps.

I made little sleeping bags for my dolls, blankets, pillows for my teddies, occasionally clothes for my dolls, but they weren't the best! Mum still has a workroom today in a different house, and it is still brimming full of things and she still sews.

My Dad has always been creative too. He is lucky in the sense that when he sees something, he can normally create it. More in the line of construction or electrical engineering. Dad is also a great trouble shooter when it comes to creating things. He created my keyring racks from his own design.

How would you describe your work?

My work is a combination of what I envisage and what is on trend. I have a bit of a crush with beautiful fabric, but the item needs to be practical.

My main lines are hand painted wood bead necklaces, hand painted key rings, rice and lavender filled eye pillows - heat cool packs and beautiful clutch bags. I also love to paint and sew, creating from scratch.

Has your work evolved since you started?

Yes, enormously. I first started making key rings. In fact, the key rings didn't sell that well, then someone said 'can you make me a necklace?', and I said 'yeah, why not'.  

So I moved on from there. I have found since, that the items which sell well are also the items in which I love creating. Clutch bags, lavender eye pillows, hand painted wood bead necklaces and key rings are Mac and Roma's most popular items.

How did you start selling on Etsy?

In the beginning, I started asking around my Brisbane friends who I knew crafted, how to go about selling online. They all said, Etsy! I thought why not.

It took me forever to set up my site because I didn't have any clear picture of what I wanted. I tweaked it and I am now happy with it. I also wanted to set up my own site so I used Big Cartel.

Who or what inspires you?

I get inspiration from so many different things. The colours in nature, the weather, the ocean, the beach, my favourite colours.

If I see something and I love the colours, I have to make a necklace with those colours, seeing something in a shop, making necklaces and clutch bags to co- ordinate with outfits.

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

I try to reduce, reuse, recycle. If I have purchased some fabric and have left overs I will always try my best to use those leftovers in my other pieces.

Describe your studio?

My studio or art space is my dining room table and a small area surrounding it, it is a mess at times but most of the time I know where everything is. I can see trees and the sky outside my studio/dining room.

I keep all my paints in a large container, my brushes in another, my beads in separate bags showing which size they are, my fabrics are piled up in pieces to be made, pieces to be finished and finished pieces.

My brain cannot function if I don't have everything in the correct place, I like to be organised to be able to get my pieces finished.

Do you have a favourite thing to make?

At the moment, my favourite thing to make is our new clutch bags. I love the pretty colours and trims and especially the exotic tassels.

How did your business name come about?

The name, ummmm well, that's tough. I had been tossing up between a couple of names but nothing ever made me think, oh, that sounds cool.

I thought it should probably have Roma in it, being my surname. Then I thought hang on, my maiden name and married name, Macdonald. Together, as it is part of my childhood and part of my adulthood in which I am creating these pieces.

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

I would like to expand my wholesale market and start selling to small shops and boutiques.

I want to keep evolving and creating pieces which are gorgeous, practical and sophisticated at the same time but I want to keep the fun in it!

I also intend to attend the BrisStyle markets in various locations.

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

My top tip is 'have the courage to do it'.

I have been slowly losing my hearing since I was 24 years old. When I turned 40 I had my first cochlear implant and then had the second one in January 2016. Since then my confidence has returned and I felt that I was able to face the outside world again.

I felt that if I had the courage then I could create my own business and I did it, but I was so scared of failure. If you don't try you won't know, if you have failed or not. I thought it's better to try than to not try.

Can you describe your typical creative day?

It usually involves having a plan of what I want to achieve for the day. Having a plan, not necessarily written down but using that plan of getting things done and not finishing until I have finished what I wanted to do.

I set achievable goals most of the time.  For example: yesterday, I finished sewing nine clutch bags, including cutting the lining.

Do you have a favourite quote?

Stay positive, work hard and make it happen. (My note: if it doesn't happen, try again a different way.)

What is your favourite handmade item that you have bought?

Delicious soy candles with amazing scents. They just keep giving.

Where can we find you online?

Mac and Roma has an online store at:

Why did you become a BrisStyle member?

I thought they would help to increase our profile and also there are many benefits such as the great market locations and numbers of shoppers.

Why do you craft?

I guess because I love using my creative side. I see items which I want to use in everyday life and see it made up into a finished piece. I can see the finished piece and I want to achieve it.
Thank you Fiona, it was lovely to learn more about you.