Monday, December 14, 2015

Monday Maker - Meet Julie from Ministry of Handmade

Let's find out a bit more about The Ministry of Handmade. Cool name huh!

Hi Julie and thanks for taking the time out to answer a few questions so we can all get to know you a bit better.

Now firstly, we'd love to know if you were creative as a child and if you come from a creative family?

Yes, to both questions.

I always loved sewing, knitting, crochet, collecting pictures of amazing houses from magazines, using my dad’s tools to make doll’s beds, etc. And while my mother was a dressmaker, my dad could build anything out of anything. Both my parents were very resourceful and loved to recycle and re-purpose wherever possible.

How would you describe your work?

We have two arms to our business….teaching and making. We run workshops and I teach dressmaking, soft furnishings, lampshades, upholstery, shibori dyeing, etc. We also make and sell a range of our own unique designs of lampshades, lamps and ottomans.

How has your work evolved since you started?

We have expanded our range of workshops to include upholstery and shibori dyeing and have added our own range of retro rocket lamps. 

We have had a chance to develop a line of products that reflect who we really are and look forward to growing this area further.

Do you have a website? 

Yes, we have a website that has a small store and we have sold some products but we are in the process of revamping our website to include a bigger and better online store with a range of handmade products, not just our own.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Bright bold colours, graphic prints….these energise me! 

And I like people who are prepared to take risks with colour and don’t play it safe!!!

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

I love recycling wherever possible, I love reupholstering old pieces of furniture and teaching others to do the same. I talk about the responsible use of resources, in particular, textiles, in my workshops.

Describe your studio?

We run our business from our home that is on a 1/3 acre block in a green leafy suburb. We have a range of creative spaces that include: 
  • three studios that are airy, light filled and spacious. We use these for running workshops and working on our own projects. These are our “clean” spaces that are full of textiles and upholstery project samples and lots of other creative things!
  • a timber workshop that is dusty and full of big fun tools that make lots of noise (routers, table saws, drop saws, etc.) This is used to build the ottoman bases, bed head frames, rocket lamp bases, etc.
  • a large verandah (that overlooks a park and bush) that we can use for upholstery, shibori dyeing, chalk painting, etc.

What is your favourite thing to make?

Ooh, that’s a tough question….dresses, ottomans, lampshades, upholstered bed heads.

How did your business name come about?

We figured if Jamie Oliver could have the Ministry of Food, we could have the Ministry of Handmade!!

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

We are keen to really develop the online selling side of our business including more virtual products as well as a range of kits and patterns. We are also developing the workshop side of things with new workshops and also workshops in other locations….we are keen to travel to deliver workshops particularly in country areas that often miss out on the range of fun creative activities available in the cities.

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

Make sure your product is top class and be yourself…let your work be a reflection of the real you!

Describe your typical creative day?

Every day is so different…a range of activities including: running workshops, teaching private lessons in sewing and/or upholstery, sourcing supplies, answering emails, doing admin, developing and prototyping new ideas, creating new samples of workshop projects, despatching sold products, fulfilling custom orders, preparing talks for speaking engagements, updating the website, writing the newsletter, marketing, social media posts…….drinking coffee, a bit of gardening hopefully, a nice glass of wine with dinner! I am up early and late to bed at night!

Do you have a favourite quote?

"If you step out in faith, you will be given wings to fly or a floor to walk on."

What is your favourite handmade item that you have bought?

A clutch purse by Sybella.

Where can we find you online? 

How long have you been a member of BrisStyle?

About three years

How did you find out about BrisStyle?

Another member told me about it.

Why did you become a member?

Mixing with other creatives, opportunities to participate in markets, networking

Why do you craft?

To me, it is like breathing…a necessary part of life! I am sad without it!!! 

Thank you Julie for allowing me to interview you. And thank you to everyone so far who has participated in our Monday Maker series.

Considering the summer holidays have started we will be having a break for a few weeks but we will be back with the Monday Maker series in January 2016.

Have a safe holiday break and see you next year.

Anita - Myclectic 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Monday Maker - Myclectic

I'm pretty good at talking to myself so during a lull in interview participants I've decided to interview myself.

And guess what, some questions are really hard to think about. So here goes.

Anita Gosden is the name behind the label myclectic

Hi Anita, thanks for sharing yourself with us and firstly I'd love to know, were you creative as a child and do you come from a creative family?

I remember clearly being creative as a child with both Mum and Dad always encouraging me. 

In fact, I've developed my whacky sense of colour from my father who moved to Australia in the 60's as a German migrant. 

And I vividly remember Mum teaching me how to draw. 

There was no 'bad art' in our house. I'm lucky to have had two parents who loved everything my sister and I made.

How would you describe your work?

I would describe my work like a 6 year old boy. 

It's all over the place. And of course like many other creatives, I lose interest easily and love to move on and try something different. 

How has your work evolved since you started?

Rather than saying my work has 'evolved' I feel that it has actually 'matured' and settled down, just a little. 

It has become ever so slightly, more disciplined in that I am more conscious of perfecting the 'finish'. 

Although I do still love jumping from one thing to the other.

How did you start selling on Etsy?

I started selling my comic book jewelry on Etsy because originally it was a requirement as a BrisStyle member. 

Before BrisStyle I had never even heard of Etsy.

I also found that when at markets interested fans wanted to know where to find me online. 

I do now have a very neglected website but I really love using selling sites such as Etsy and Madeit because there is so much support on them and much more traffic. 

I even remember my first sale on Etsy. It was a brooch made of vintage kimono fabric and silly me had actually put it in a shop over the other side of town.

That sale actually cost me but I was so tickled that someone in San Francisco would be walking around wearing MY handmade brooch.

Who or what inspires you?

Who? I'd have to say I am very inspired by other creatives I know on Instagram (I won't name them, there are too many).

and What? inspires me.
I'm a very visual person so usually I find that pre-loved and second hand materials I use in my work inspires me. 

So much so that I don't use patterns or drawings in my work, just ideas in my head. The pattern comes later.

Indigo dyed preloved leather bowls
Do you reduce, reuse or recycle as part of your creative process?

Yes! to all three.

Most leather I use is pre-loved. I've built up some fabulous connections who are always on the look out for second hand leather for me which I prefer using in my work because it is always unusual and makes the finished product different to others. 

It gives me a 'point of difference' because no one else usually has the same type of leather.

A very small part of my pre-loved leather stash

Can you describe your studio?

I dream of having a real studio one day, but for now my creative corner is actually our small kitchen table. It is next to a big glass window that lets in plenty of light and looks out over our huge backyard. And my stuff is all over the place in our tiny two room unit. 

Do you have a favourite thing to make?

That would have to be a 'make it up as you go' leather bag. Always dependent on the texture, shape, colour and thickness, then the pattern emerges.

Oh how I love working with such a tactile and natural material. 

This suede leather once belonged to Lisa Ho

How did your shop name come about?

The name Myclectic is my own fabrication. 

There is no such word but if you Google it, you will only find references to me. I love that. I wanted a name with eclectic in it but found that this was overused. I then wrote 'eclectic' down on a piece of paper and added 'my' to it. 

My eclectic, still too common. So I took the letter 'e' out and tadah, I discovered 'Myclectic'. My kind of eclectic.

I have also been known in the past and present as MumsCupboard, ButtonBeads, VintageKimono and get_tasseled.

I kind of like making up names.

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

I can see myself still creating in the next twelve months, 24 months and so on. Creativity is a journey and is music to the brain. 

I never want to stop.

Indigo shibori dyed leather tassel earrings

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

It's a cliche but 'do what you love' and 'love what you do'

Oh and 'don't compare yourself to others', that's disheartening.

Describe your typical creative day?

My typical creative day starts with minimum necessary household chores and then straight into it. I use lists but never seem to tick everything off. 

If something needs doing immediately I skip the housework and get right into creating (still in my PJ's, sorry, not sorry).

Leatherwork tools

Do you have a favourite quote?

'Art is performance - Performance is confidence' ~ Andrew Gosden (my husband)

or in other words 'don't think about creating, just do it'.

Do you prefer to listen to music or watch a movie while creating?

Some days I have silence, but that is because I have gotten so involved in something I have forgotten to play anything.

But mostly I love to listen to our CD collection. Some favourites are; INXS, John Butler Trio, Band of Horses, The Black Keys, Bluebottle Kiss, The Fumes, J.Mascis, anything loud, rhythmic and moody.

What is your favourite handmade item that you have ever bought?

That's a really hard question. I love handmade, especially here in Brisbane. The talent is amazing. 

I'm sorry, I don't have a favourite, I love them all.

Where can we find you online or instore?

I currently stock: 

* The Collective Store in Wynnum
* Retro Metro, Paddington
* Village Creative Studio, Wellington Point

Online stores are:

How long have you been a member of BrisStyle?

I think about 3 years.

How did you find out about brisstyle and why did you join?

Years ago I rented a space at incub8r in the Valley. I met a BrisStyler working there and she recommended joining BrisStyle because of the King George Square markets.

I really wanted to do those markets and have been doing so ever since.

I'm so grateful she suggested it to me because it has opened up a whole new world of creative opportunities for me.

This is my favourite question and I am so glad to be asking myself this one.

Why do YOU craft Anita?

Because I LOVE IT!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Monday Maker - Amy and Meg from Yummy! Ideas

Who doesn't love treats?
Today we have our very first interview with a foodie BrisStyler.

Meet Yummy! Ideas creators Meg and Amy.

I managed to interview them recently to find out how they got started with their unique food label: Yummy! Ideas

Don't you just love that name?

Thanks so much for your time. Now we would love to know if you were creative as a child.
Actually, no. Not really. But I always loved to cook - and didn't necessarily equate creativity with that.

And how would you describe your work?
Yummy! Ideas can be taken very literally - we hope to provide as many people as possible with yummy ideas that help them have successful cooking and dining moments with friends and family.

We believe 100% that creating and sharing a meal with or for friends and family is the best way to really connect and enjoy someone's company.

How has your work 'grown' since you started?
Our launch product from January 2015,  'Date Night: Romantic Menu' is what we planned to produce with various changes to the menu and inclusions plus an online component with all the trimmings. However through market research, this product has quickly streamlined as our clients give us feedback about what THEY like most about the product.

- FLAVOUR IS THE WORD and we are delivering that to our best ability with a growing herb and spice range created along with each menu. Each recipe is also developed with tweaks to help people tailor our ideas to their needs. 

The original 'Date Night: Romantic Menu' is now produced as 'Yummy! Menu: Date Night for 2' 
which includes the herb and spice packets and the full set of recipe cards, with shopping list etc.  

We now also create small batch jars of our range for our clients to re-order their favourites and we are actively seeking a wholesale market for our Herb and Spice Range.

Do you sell online? 

We haven't focused on selling online at this point.  We have an Etsy shop and a product order form on our website but at this point sales are word-of-mouth and exposure through markets and fundraisers.

Who inspires you?

Any person interested in cooking! 

I am inspired to create new flavour profiles, recipes & menus and to offer any tweaks, advice and tips asked for, to help raise confidence! 

Cooking and sharing good food is so rewarding on so many levels - at Yummy! Ideas we are also committed to keeping everything we produce not only tasty but cost effective for our clients because we believe that people will create and share good food more regularly if it’s sustainable to do so and if the recipes and ingredients in the pantry are reasonably easy to obtain and reproduce.

'I love old cooking books'

Are you able to reduce, reuse or recycle as part of your creative process? 

We fill re-usable screw top glass jars with our herb and spice blends plus we source everything we produce locally.  

Our message about produce is to buy local, seasonal, sustainable and organic - whether that’s an apple, a chicken or prawns - our newsletter is affiliated with two local businesses that advocate the same. 

Can you describe your workspace? 

The Studio is located in Amy’s home in Highgate Hill. 

The office section is creatively messy with recipe and menu ideas in progress  & the test kitchen doubles as a family kitchen - the small batch process for our Herb and Spice Blends takes over the entire workspace on a large island as needed.

Do you have a favourite recipe?

I develop the flavours and create the recipes and menus - I get really excited when a new flavour profile comes together - the possibilities are then endless - it’s a rush.

How did you come up with your business name?

I created personalised cook books for my children to take with them when they left home and the titles were Yum!my ideas for Meg… Yum!my ideas for Luke.. - that was the starting point for the name of the business.

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

We are aiming to have the Herb and Spice Blends find a wholesale market. 

Also a new range we recently launched with Chocolate Spice has the potential to be a wholesale product as well. Still new beginnings with that product and collecting market analysis.
Do you have a top tip for others wanting to break into the handmade/creative field?

Let it grow organically.

Can you describe for us your typical creative day? 

Ha!  Usually it starts as a very non creative day - with lots of commitments that should be addressed and then the ideas start coming and I give in to them and just follow where it leads.  

It doesn’t always make sense but I trust to let it happen now and write everything down or start messing with the flavours etc. The commitments I should have addressed get handled eventually…..

What is your favourite quote?


Do you have a favourite CD to listen to while creating?

At the moment I'm drawn to The Black Keys - at a high volume!

What is your favourite handmade item that you have bought? 

A Spurtle - I bought it from a wood turner on the Sunshine Coast a few years back - it is a Scottish creation for stirring porridge. Very useful and beautiful.

Where can we find you online?
How long have you been a BrisStyler?

Not even a year yet.  And I became a member because I thought it would give me good market exposure.

I usually ask everyone 'Why do you craft" but in this case I will ask you 'Why do you Create?'

I create tasty recipes and menus to encourage others to experience that lovely feeling one gets when producing something they and others enjoy together! 

Its the best!! Very empowering!

Thanks so much for your time, you've made me hungry and inspired me to bake some yummy scones. 

x Anita

Monday, November 23, 2015

Monday Maker - Jemima from the label Pure Cute

Hello Jemima and welcome to BrisStyle! We'd love to know a bit more about you and your label 'Pure Cute'.

Were you creative as a child?

I was an unruly child. "Wild" they said. But not in a good way.

How would you describe your work?

I create beautiful clothes for precious little people to wear. My designs are more like those I'd create for Mums, only scaled down for their daughters.

I felt that most kid's clothes available were too 'practical' and unattractive.

The kind of clothes I make are the sort I'd like to remember my children wearing as they dream, play and explore.

Adventures were not made in a Department Store.

And how has your work grown since you started Jemima?

My early designs were unique but not very wearable. Over time, my work has become more tailored and intuitive. Lines are cleaner allowing little bodies to move with more freedom.

I don't pay much attention to 'trends' but rather trust in my own integrity of what I am making, and I am more confident in what I like. I focus on creating pieces that our babes adore wearing.

How did you start selling on Etsy?

I opened my Etsy shop because I wasn't afraid to fail.  Even with early clients, the layout of the etsy market space and the selling process had me longing to build my own website for my label. I knew I'd be able to really own and make that space mine. And the investment would keep me focused on making it work!

What inspires you?

Pastels! I'm unashamed of pastels. And anything metallic or sparkling. Reckless bravery inspires me as well as challenges and beginnings. ( I find that tying up loose ends is my Achilles heel ) I'm also inspired by what others create from their imagination and experiences.

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

Yes, I use recycled fabric and remnants where I can, for drafting and refining designs - it also helps me to learn about textiles that I haven't worked with before. Running a small home-grown design studio forces you to make your materials go as far as they can!

Can you describe your workspace for us?

A glorious tiny wedge of our apartment with one hour of gorgeous golden afternoon light. - on sunny days.  The rest of the time it's a maze of of Ikea clothes racks, perilously piled fabric and half finished projects laid out carefully in order.

Woe befalls the fool who moves anything without telling me!

Do you have a favourite thing to make?

I love finishing rolled hems on Flamenco dresses and fiddling with the oven temperature when I'm baking beads. I feel like a chemist.

How did your business name "Pure Cute" come about?

I was joking with my husband about what to call a baby modelling agency. "Pure Cute" popped out of my mouth. He laughed his head off and then started talking seriously about it. He wouldn't drop it. Wrong business idea but great name.

I had wanted to start my own children's label for years .... and when I found the courage to dive into it,  I pinched "Pure Cute" and here we are!

Yes, that is a great name Jemima! So where do you see your creative journey taking you in the next 12 months?

I want to know what people dream about dressing their little babes in. I know what I like, but it's not just about that! Design is a collaboration.

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

Never give up! Plan things....and do them. Keep going.

Describe your typical creative day?

Stolen bursts of time madly churning out work.....Sprinkled in-between with playing, walking, screaming and dancing with my little girl. I hop in between different hands on projects but save all the admin/marketing and writing for after bedtime.

Plus, there is a brand new newborn on board now too, so imagine extreme multitasking!

Do you have a favourite quote?

           "But what if I fall?
           Oh, but my darling...
           What if you fly?"

Do have a favourite program you like to watch or listen to while creating?

Re-runs of 'Sex in the City' - I know them by heart, so it doesn't distract me. It makes me feel like I'm still part of it - even with two babes at my feet.

What is your favourite handmade item you have ever bought?

A stunning handcrafted copper ring by Curiously Obsessed - it arrived as a gift from the designer Emma McKimmie two days before our beautiful babe Goldie was born.  I look at it every morning and remember that.

Where can we find you online?

How long have you been a member of BrisStyle?

I joined in August 2015 after reminding myself to do so, a million times earlier in the year.

How did you find out about BrisStyle?

I saw BrisStyle in several places.  On etsy, Facebook and just googling when researching where I'd like to try selling at markets.  I kept saying " Oh I have to get involved in that".  So I did!

Why did you become a member?

Like many creatives, I'm a bit of a 'quiet extrovert' 'outgoing introvert' and I don't always put myself out there in everyday life.  I wanted a place to connect with other local makers that wasn't competitive.

Seeing what others are creating is inspiring and drives me to 'pull my finger out' so to speak.  So I actually create all the things in my head instead of just dreaming about them.

Finally, Why do you craft Jemima?

Because a day where I don't make damn boring!
I want something to colour each day.

I want to paint a story with the things I make and do.

Thank you so much for sharing your creative words of wisdom with us Jemima, it's been very encouraging and inspiring.  ~ anita