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!