Monday, August 29, 2016

Today's Monday Maker is Robyn Stewart from Birdy and Clementine

Were you creative as a child/do you come from a creative family?
My mum was crafty and my Aunt was a painter but I only remember making mud pies.
How would you describe your work?
A little bit retro a little bit modern, feminine and complicated like me :0. I focus primarily on surface decoration as that is my first love and I like to wing it as I have a low boredom threshold'.

How has your work evolved since you started? 
I started a looonnnggg time ago with a big hiatus where I moved interstate and was the main caregiver for my gorgeous gals- they were my priority for many years. Now that I am an empty nester I can indulge my passions again . My work has changed firing temperatures and  am using new techniques but I look at my work from 20 years ago and I can still see similarities in the colour palette,the lustre used and the simple shapes although I was doing wheel work a lot more then and now I prefer to hand build and slip cast my original proto types.

How did you start selling online/ Etsy?
Ahh this for me is the big change... way back when you did art shows and sold face to face  now the online world is massive. It's great opportunity to have a global audience, incredibly exciting but alas my photography skills need a lot of work so I don't really have a presence there as yet. I have a shop.. it's rather sad only two items listed to date.
Who or what inspires you?
Colour, pattern and texture be it in the natural world or man made... life really - it's full of amazing things.
Do you reduce, reuse, recycle as part of your creative process? If yes, how is your art/craft eco-friendly?
I have solar panel assisted electric kilns which I fire predominately when the sun is shining. I prefer to keep packaging to a minimum and use recycled where possible.

Describe your studio/workspace?
I have two workspaces, actually that's a lie because if I need to commandeer the whole house I will! I have just done The Finders Keepers for the first time and I literally took over the spare bedroom and had work stations dotted throughout the house, nothing was sacred, the dining room ,the living room two verandahs... you get the picture. :)
Generally though I have a tidy area which is my studio upstairs (an enclosed verandah) where I do my hand building , decorating and lustering and downstairs where I slip cast , make a big ole mess and have my kilns
What is your favourite thing to make?
Right now I love love love making earrings. I treat each one like a mini abstract painting and enjoy where they end up.
How did your business/shop name come about?
A brainstorming session with my eldest daughter. I know I wanted Birdy (Robyn) and the Clementine was brainstormed from a bunch of 50's names as I feel my work harks back to that era (albeit in a lateral way)

Where do you see your creative journey taking you in the next 12 months?
I have so many ideas but I am currently time poor... more tableware, more jewels. I love a good cup and I used to specialise in teapots so I would like to develop that further.
What’s your top tip to others wanting to break into the handmade/creative market?
Well I feel like I'm still doing that myself but basically you need to take yourself seriously and do the work.As boring as that sounds everyday you need to do something that takes you forward and sometimes that ain't sexy.
Describe your typical creative day?
They are often long. I have breakky then walk into the studio upstairs and depending on what I am making I could be running up and down stairs all day between work spaces. I mix it up a bit otherwise the body protests so if I alternate fine and gross motor skills I find I can work longer. I tend to focus way too much on the making and very little on the marketing.
Music or movie while creating?
I have a very eclectic taste in music so it could be anything from classic to folk, funk. grunge, alternative, world, R &B etc
What is your favourite handmade item that you have bought?
So many... I  really appreciate and collect antique hand stitched fabrics especially from minority tribes in Asia.
Where can we find you online/stockists?

How long have you been a member of brisstyle?
Almost two years

Why do you craft?
Because that is the true expression of who I am. Be yourself people!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Jemica is the brain behind MeekzContemporary and she is our Monday Maker this week

Jemica and I go way back, I can't even remember the first market we met at, and we share a common interest.
Hi there Meekz, so glad I finally nailed you down for an interview.

Hi Anita
Thanks, I would love to be interviewed thanks for thinking of me :P

Well my first question is:

Were you creative as a child and do you come from a creative family?
Yes to both. I loved to do art and craft with my mum when I was little. My mum you could say is a gypsie and has been everywhere and done everything. She is very skilled in sewing, carpentry, floristry, beauty therapy, hospitality etc and has always tried to teach me everything from an early age.

How would you describe your work? 
I would describe my practice as evolving.  I love the notion that I am creating something out of nothing and that a piece of throw away metal can be turned into something beautiful and inspiring.  
Art can be anything and it is the story or journey taken that makes it rich.   

So how has your work evolved since you started?
My jewellery has evolved dramatically since I started back at university. I explored using lots of recycled materials as a source of inspiration and substance for my jewellery from plastic buttons, to hessian rope, to fabric off cuts and finally to recycled acrylic signs.   As a silversmith this gave me great excitement to explore the possibilities, but something was lacking.  

A shift and focus back to using recycled metals last year as my sole source of materials has filled the void and given me back the enjoyment I missed as a metalsmith.  I now work entirely with recycled metal from road signs, electrical wire, kitchen fittings, recycled and preloved sterling silver and gold jewellery, crockery and cutlery and other metals including recycled copper, brass and aluminium.  

The tactile qualities of working with metal and using traditional tools and techniques has sparked alive again the joy I found at university in making jewellery and given me a more fulfilling purpose in knowing that the traditional art of silversmithing is still continuing today.

How did you start selling online?
I started selling online through etsy to begin with.  This was an easy manageable outlet for me to sell my jewellery online along side facebook. 1 year later, I decided to pursue my own website, after I felt it was hard to find or locate me as at the time there were no Australian search areas on Etsy to refine your search for local designers and I felt I was getting missed.

I have now refined and changed my website 3 times as technology has progressed and with new formats, layouts, and underlying codes have changed.  This however has meant that I now have the ability to manage and edit my own website using and find this greatly satisfying knowing that I can control the entire look, feel and format of my website and don't need to pay any one else to add or change content.  

Who or what inspires you?
My fellow jewellers, friends, and family inspire me everyday.  Art in general as well as direct topics such as architecture, geometry and fashion are great influencers in my practice and help to shape the outcomes of my work.  My sketches play a big part in the design of each piece and usually form the basis of each piece.

I know you reduce, reuse, recycle as part of your creative process but can you tell us how your art is eco - friendly?
I pride myself in having an environmentally sustainable practice from the techniques used to the materials I source.  I love to recycle, reuse, up-cycle and incorporate preloved materials such as road signs, tea pots, lamp shades, electrical wire, sterling silver cutlery/crockery/jewellery as well as copper piping, hot water systems, brass kitchen fittings etc.  Everything I source is locally found.  The tactile nature of working with raw materials alongside existing forms always creates a dialogue for me and continually keeps me searching for ways to express new stories.  

Can you describe your workspace?
My newly renovated studio space is fantastic.  I now have 4 fully functioning jewellers benches by which I can hold regular jewellery workshops to teach the community about traditional silversmithing.   Made with the help of my parents the benches are all made from recycled wood including two table tops.  We resurfaced the concrete floor, added a splash of paint and dad even made me a gorgeous sign to go out the front.

Do you have a favourite thing to make?
I love making all my jewellery.  There are no two pieces that are alike across all my ranges.  
My wrapped up range - (The brightly coloured wire jewellery)  Each piece is hand weaved using my signature weave and no two pieces are ever alike.  The simple form and minimalist design of this range make any piece the prefect accessory for an outfit.  The array of colours available allow for perfect colour coordination or colour matching.

My hammer texture range explores mark making and texturisation.  Featuring nine hand forged designs along with a combination of letter, number and symbol stamping, this collection provides the most possibilities for individual, personal and custom exploration.  No two pieces are ever the same.  Colour, pattern, texture and theme are the most inspiring characteristics of this collection for me.

How did your business name come about?
My business name : Meekz Contemporary Jewellery  came about from a play on my nickname - Meeka.  Unable to register Meeka at the business registry, I changed it to Meekz and added Contemporary Jewellery as a descriptive element and hence Meekz Contemporary Jewellery was born.

Where do you see your creative journey taking you in the next 12 months?
I would like to see myself still teaching and designing new pieces within 12 months. I would like to perhaps travel and explore maybe a residency or go on a jewellery tour overseas to see how other jewellers practice and gain some insight.  Learning and creating networks is a big passion of mine and keeps me motivated and passionate.

What's your top tip to others wanting to break into the creative market?
Be passionate, driven and self motivated.  It is a big scary world out there but if you put in the hard work you wont regret it.  
Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it and if you can ... help others as we are all in the same boat.

Describe your typical creative day?
A typical creative day of making in the studio is filled with great music, plenty of water and my mood boards.  The hours are long, the techniques and number of tools used is some days enormous but the joy I get out of creating something from nothing is priceless.  Knowing that I made a piece of jewellery that someone one day will cherish is all that matters.  

Do you have a Favourite quote?
My favourite quote is by Albert Einstein and is Knowledge is Imagination.   This to me is great and I understand where he was going with this, but as an artist I have reinterpreted this and created my own personal quote and mantra. - "Imagination is Knowledge".  If we first don't create, imagine and explore then how can we know! Knowledge can't be created without imagination and so hence Imagination is Knowledge.   

Do you prefer Music or movies while creating?
Definitely Music

What is your favourite handmade item that you have bought?
My favourite handmade item that I have bought to date would have to be my original Little Brown Dog set of rectangular cushions made by the wonderful Bec Lewis.  They feature 2 guinea fowl's one on each cushion and are the perfect statement homeware in my room!

Where can we find you online?
I am on facebook, instagram and have a website.
Instagram - meekzcontemporaryjewellery
Plus I have 12  stockists at present and they include:

Perch and Pantry - Cleveland, Reverse Garbage Echoes Gift Shop - Woolloongabba, Miss Bond Jewellery - Fortitude Valley, Estelle Elliott Designs - Yeronga, KickArts Contemporary Arts - Cairns, Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery Shop - Toowoomba, Bridget Bunchy - The Summit, Erin Lightfoot - Eat Street Market/Hamilton, Nicky's Fashion Fair - Laidley, Story Tree - Boonah, 

E for Ethel - Adelaide

Zero Degrees - Thredbo

How long have you been a member of Brisstyle?
For ages now, I can't remember and don't know how to find out how long its been now.

How did you find out about Brisstyle?  
From a friend originally

Why did you become a member?
I became a member of Brisstyle to network, meet friends, surround myself with like minded people, to learn how to improve my business at workshops and discussion catch ups and to attend markets and sell my pieces while gaining recognition and get my brand out there. 

Why do you craft?
I craft because I love to make, get creative and experiment.  I am a hands on person and love to learn.

Thank you Meeks.


Monday, August 15, 2016

Brooke from Vessel and Vine is today's Monday Maker

Hi Brooke and thank you for taking the time out of your very busy schedule to share your experience with us.

Were you creative as a child?
Yes very, I was the crafty kid. I did all kinds of art classes and went onto study art and then interior design and merchandising.

And do you come from a creative family?

Definitely influenced by family, my parents are very into DIY, we always lived in a half finished renovation!

How would you describe your work?
Cute, simple home wares. I always liked making my own home wares and objects to decorate with so it all sort of came about from that.

How has your work evolved since you started?
I think some of the first things I made were jewellery items, I used to work with leather a lot and then I started trying new materials and techniques.

How did you start selling online? 
I was a long time Etsy shopper and for a while in the early 2000s' I lived in a regional area and had to get my 'retail therapy' online. I
I found this cute little site called "Etsy" haha, and was hooked! 
I loved scrolling through and "favourite-ing" items and making treasuries and I always thought about one day opening my own shop, it took years but I finally got there!

Who or what inspires you?
I get a lot of inspiration from other handmade designers, as well as nature, colour. 
I admire a lot of Australian designers as well as local people and other BrisStylers too!

Do you reduce, reuse, recycle as part of your creative process?  
I used to do a lot or reduce, reuse and recycling work as part of my former job, I ran the handmade section at Reverse Garbage for 6 years before going full time with Vessel and Vine so that practice is definitely part of my creative process.  I don't use a lot of salvaged material anymore but I try to be thrifty and reduce my waste and consumption as part of my business.

Can you describe your workspace?
I work downstairs under our house and have a few tables and lots of storage and drying shelving in a corner of the downstairs space. Its not very stylish but it's practical. 

What is your favourite thing to make?
At the moment it's new things, I'm currently trying out some new designs and that's always fun. One of my items, a little marble tea light/planter has been so popular I've made 1000's over the past two years so it does get a bit repetitive! 
I'm looking forward to debuting some new items soon!

How did your business name come about?
I think it just popped into my head while driving to work one day....

Where do you see your creative journey taking you in the next 12 months?
We're expecting a baby in September so my plans for 2016 have changed dramatically! I wanted to do a lot more interstate design markets after having a go at Sydney Finders Keepers last year but those plans have changed! I just did the latest one down there a few weeks ago and it was hard work! I will be working on building up my online shop and adding new items to the range.

What’s your top tip to others wanting to break into the handmade market?
If you already make things that you think people will like go for it.! We're very lucky in Brisbane to have the amazing BrisStyle markets and development workshops, take advantage of learning everything you can and try a few markets cause everyone is so lovely and supportive. If you like the idea of being a maker and dabble in a few different things, find something you really love and stick with it. Be original, give your chosen craft your own signature style to set yourself apart in the handmade market. It's a long road, I didn't sell anything at my first market! but I learnt little things here and there and it eventually all came together. 

Describe your typical creative day?
My new year goal was to have devoted admin and making days and stick to a schedule, well its nearly June and that hasn't happened haha...I usually check social media and emails in the morning, head downstairs and make up any Etsy or wholesale orders until mid afternoon and then come back upstairs and do some emailing or invoicing. Everyday is different cause I don't have a schedule but it's organised chaos!

Do you have a Favourite quote?
I think I got this from the Create and Thrive podcast 'it's better done than perfect', I love that because I would procrastinate and put things off, like adding items to my online shop because I thought the photos weren't good enough or whatever the reason but I now think it's better to go for it and learn along the way! Another one is: "The best time to make mistakes is in the beginning when no one's watching!" haha

Do you have a fave anything to listen to while creating?
I usually listen to podcasts while I work as it helps me concentrate, I love BrisStyler, Jess Van Den's Create and Thrive Podcast its really great, lots of business tips and interviews with other makers.

What is your favourite handmade item that you have bought?
I have loads of handmade items, not sure if I have a favourite! I just love ceramics, lots of things I've gotten from BrisStylers like a kitty planter by Bonnie Hislop, little dishes from Birdy and Clementine and Servant Ceramics.

Where can we find you online? 
the link to my Etsy shop can be found on my website: or,

How long have you been a member of brisstyle? 
I think I joined in 2012

How did you find out about brisstyle? 
I had met Helen and Bel at a handmade exhibition and also met a lot of BrisStylers through my previous work.

Why did you become a member? 
I joined up to take part in some of the workshops and eventually started doing markets

Why do you craft?
Because I'm not good at sports?!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Makiko from Makis Art is Monday's Maker

Today we get to meet Maki the Maker. Maki is such a busy little bee with workshops and origami classes. It seems as if she is everywhere making paper cranes, flowers and even cute little animals. Let's find out what keeps her going in the creative world. 

Hi Maki and thank you for allowing us to get to know you a little bit more.

Can you tell us about your family, do you come from a creative family?

My grandmother was a very crafty lady, so she influenced me a lot. Whenever she would be making craft, I would be next to her watching and helping her. Specially she taught me lots of origami skills. She used to make many thousands of origami cranes after she couldn't walk around easily any more.

How would you describe your work, Maki?
My jewellery is a very Japanese take on traditional jewellery making. I use a lot of Japanese materials that are from Japan

How has your work evolved since you started?
As I have had more exposure to jewellery making, I have had more inspiration to create new designs and new types of jewellery items. One example of a process change for me is switching from wax coating to resin coating when treating my folded creations.

How did you start selling online?
I take online orders for my jewellery, but I haven't started my Etsy store yet. I plan to in the future if I have enough time. 

Who or what inspires you?

The look on people's faces when they see my creations gives me a really good feeling. They always give me nice comments on my jewellery creations. I also want to show and share with everyone what is possible with origami and crafts from different cultures.

Do you or what inspires you?
The look on people's faces when they see my creations gives me a really good feeling. 

Describe your workspace?
I always create in my home at a large table that is protected from wind for the resin coating process. 

What is your favourite thing to make?

My  crane brooches are very fun to make, as the patterns on the washi really stand out, plus they're easier to fold for me.

My crane earrings and other tiny parts are fun, but it takes a long time to make each piece.

My favourite things to make are new products! It's fun to think about new products and new designs. 

How did your business name come about? 
I wanted to keep it simple, so I wanted a name that had impact and which showed that I was involved in the making process of every item. 

And where do you see your creative journey taking you in the next 12 months. 
In the coming months I will have a new baby to take care of. I see that a lot of my work will be put into making my online store and selling online.
Stalls at markets will be a bit more difficult to manage, so I will pick and choose my preferred markets to attend. 

Do you have a top tip to others wanting to break into the creative market?
I think you should stick to your strengths, and try to create something that is unique and hard to find in other markets. Choose your target market, age group and budget that you want to share and sell to. 
It's also important to understand that your creations aren't for everyone, so focus on and listen to people who love your creations.
I think that it's also good to have a set of core products that people enjoy, and try to keep things interesting for them by developing and desig new products which can introduce new customers to your business.

Describe your typical creative day?
I work during the mornings and afternoons at outside school hours care, so I have a gap in the middle of the day to take advantage of.
Mostly I create things during this time period. When there is a market coming up I normally work late into the night (sometimes until midnight - 1am)  to make sure I've got enough products to display.

Do you have a favourite quote?

"there is always someone out there who will love your creations"

Do you like to listen to music or watch TV while you are making?
I always watch and listen to Japanese TV shows on Youtube while I am creating.

Do you have a favourite handmade item you
have bought?

I love my navy blue leather bracelet from myclectic and also my gold glitter earrings from Each to Own.
Where can we find you online?
I put photos of my creations on Facebook and my website.

Facebook: Maki’s Art


How long have you been a member of BrisStyle?
I've been a BrisStyler for nearly 2 years,

And how did you find about BrisStyle?
I wore a necklace that I had made to a BrisStyle Twilight Market in 2014 and a stallholder there liked my handmade necklace and told me about the BrisStyle community, I joined soon after.

Why did you become a BrisStyle member?

I use to make as a hobby. I also use to make lots

of different types of jewellery, then my friends and family suggested it would be a good idea for me to try and sell these sorts of things at markets. This is the reason why I joined the community - they could help me get my products in front of the public.

Why do you craft, Maki?

I love making, creating and designing things. I like to think about new designs. Craft is so much fun for me.