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