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.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Monday Maker - Baby Bubba Steps

Hi Charlotte,

Were you creative as a child?

Yes, very creative. I was always thinking outside the box. My Grandmother and mother were very creative too. They sewed a great deal of my clothing as a child. I thought I was the coolest kid with a halter top (that my Mum made)!

How would you describe your work?

I design from 'real life'. I make ergonomic baby accessories that fit with my mission statement, "Making parenting....just a little easier".

I believe we all have our own talents and refuse to mimic other maker's wares. As my work takes shape, I mull over designs and ideas in my head until my artistry has exactly the feel that makes it complete.

How did you start selling on Etsy?

I heard about Etsy from other market vendors and after much reading of guidelines and well documented sales advice, decided this was the perfect handmade marketplace that had the ability to feature my Baby Bubba Steps - Bubba Gear in just the right environment for the exposure I aimed for, and in such a professional platform.

Who or what inspires you?

Literally my fabrics provide my daily inspiration. I imagine the happy faces of Mums and Dads as they pour over my brightly coloured bibs and burp cloths until they have found just the right one for their precious little one. I just love seeing those satisfied faces when they find it.

The person who inspired me to sew was my gorgeous mother-in-law, Diana! She always had several projects on the go. Her sewing room was a minefield of pins. One never went in without shoes!

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

My designs are deliberately created so as to minimise wastage, yet to be ergonomic. Nothing goes to waste.

Even my offcuts from bibs have become environmentally friendly reusable face washer pads.

Describe your work space?

I took over my daughter's granny flat style bedroom when she joined the Navy. I have cubby shelving and tubs for storing small pieces of fabric. I have over 20 entire bolts of fabric in my stock.

I work mostly off a 2m by 1.2m table, elevated on bricks to give me an ergonomic height. I keep fragranced candles in my work space as well as a photo of my family to remind me I can accomplish anything I set my mind to.

What is your favourite thing to make?

Pretty hair bows and fluffy head bands. I love seeing little girl's faces light up when they see them!
Everyone deserves to feel pretty.

And how did you come up with your business name?

A male nurse I work with calls everyone Bubba as an endearing name and he made me feel so special so I wanted to share that feeling with others. Baby Steps, is intended to fit in with the different items I make for the different stages of Babyhood. So we get Baby Bubba Steps.

Do you have a tip for others wanting to enter the Creative market?

Do your research!! Ensure you have an original idea. Shoppers always 'vote' for you with their wallet.

What is a creative day like for you?

A short walk into my sewing studio where I sit at my 'desk of creativity' and the juices are flowing.
If I already have a lot of stock I like to take out pen and paper and just draw, letting my imagination go. I always have 4 or 5 ideas on my "shelf".

Do you have a favourite quote?

'It's not done until it's fully done, and doesn't look 'homemade'.

What kind of music do you like to listen to while creating?

Please don't judge - I listen to very old funky music from Magic 88.2

Do you have a favourite handmade item you have bought from someone else?

A set of makeup brushes in a purpose made roll up travel case- from a BrsStyler at the Ipswich Rail Museum.

Where can we find you online?

How long have you been a BrisStyler and how did you find out about it?

Almost two years now and I found BrisStyle through an online search of Brisbane Markets.

What made you join BrisStyle?

I think it's important to have a sense of 'belonging'. The world is so 'me first' and I think people gain a greater sense of self and purpose when they belong to a group of likeminded crafters.

Every single market, I meet new crafts people and learn from them. I also share my knowledge.

Why do you 'make'?

I have a difficult time looking at things during Mall Shopping without thinking "I could make that better" so crafting is a natural.

Well thank you Charlotte.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Monday Maker - Fable Illustrations

Hello Bec and welcome to BrisStyle.

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

I was always drawing and writing when I was young. My family lived on a small farm outside of Beaudesert so I was always outside, discovering and creating. We'd go on bushwalks and I'd come back and fill journals with sketches. I would see holes in tree trunks and imagine all the goings-on of the wildlife that lived there. It was really just a natural thing to interpret what I saw into art.

How would you describe your work?

Whimsical, earthy, maybe even a little fragile. Like me :)

How has your work evolved since you started?

I used to paint mainly in oils, creating moody abstract landscapes, or dreamscapes.

I still love these, but the transparency and honesty of watercolour drew me in, and being able to work in small detail was really appealing.

I love how one little tiny dab of paint can change everything about a piece. And how so much can be said with the finest of layers.

How did you start selling online?

I used to paint little cards on scrap paper for friend's birthdays and they would say 'I wish I could buy something like this from a shop'. It took quite a few years before I had the courage to give it a try. 

Who or what inspires you?

My best friend Margeaux is the textile artist behind Willowynn, and a trail blazer for me in terms of taking a risk. We worked together as park rangers before we had children and I watched her build this beautiful business around her to compliment her life. It was like watching somebody discover themselves and like all bright stars, you can't help but want to follow them.

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

I use an Australian printing company that is extremely passionate about the environment. 

Describe your workspace?

I work from my office/studio in my home on the outskirts of Brisbane. I'm lucky to have this incredible woodland right at my back door, so at any moment I can look out and see kookaburras, kingfishers and cockatoos in the canopy. It keeps me connected to the natural environment.

What is your favourite thing to make?

I strangely go in phases where I just 'must' sew, or crochet, or paint dolls, or paint canvas.

It's all rewarding. I try to just listen to what my soul is craving. But lets face it, when I sketch or draw, my hand more than often turns to owls. I just love them!

How did your business name come about?

The name Fable came from a love of storytelling and a kinship with animals.

Most of my work starts from words - poetry, music, quotes that get under my skin - and then in my head they manifest into images, mostly of animals.

I felt like what my art represented seemed something like a fable.

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

Right now I'm just letting the natural course of things take me for the ride. 

I think I've learned that trying to make something happen can feel like its forced, and then when you're not expecting it, an opportunity arises.

I've also got my husband joining me at my side this year to help with marketing and sales, so who knows where things may lead!

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

I'm not sure I'm qualified to give top tips at this stage, but I think what I've learned from my own journey, and watching others along the way, is that it's important to stand by your integrity, so that what you put out there into the creative market is a product you truly feel proud of. 

Whatever else happens doesn't matter if you have achieved that.

Describe your typical creative day?

Sometimes I feel most creative around my young girls, when they sit and paint with me and I am blown away by their imagination.

Other days, it takes a quieter space and a lot of reading and listening to music, to sink into the zone. 

What kind of music do you like to listen to while creating?

Emma Louise and Japanese Wallpaper are a few.

What is your favourite handmade item that you have bought?

I love my Erin's Window hanging ornament that was gifted to me. It features a woman and a wolf standing side by side. It feels very me.

Where can we find you online and stockists?

I'm also stocked at Mudwood Studio in Kyogle NSW, and New Farm Editions, Clarence Corner Bookshop and Bowerbird Collections in Brisbane.

And how long have you been a member of BrisStyle?

Just a few months.

How did you find out about BrisStyle?

A fellow creative referred me.

Why did you become a member?

I wanted to connect with other artists and get a sense of the scene in Brisbane. It can be hard to keep up with all of the action in such a big city.

Why do you craft?

It's an extension of who I am, and I'll do it until I don't want to anymore. But I can't imagine that happening :)

Thank you Bec
x Anita


Monday, August 7, 2017

Monday Maker - Bagua Lala

Hello Sadia, tell us a bit about yourself.

Were you creative as a child?

I think I was more curious and my Mother encouraged me to try different things. I remember I had a collection of beads and a 'Spirograph'.

And your parents, are they creative?

My Mother knows how to draw.
How would you describe your work?

I do little things with my hands for your beautiful fingers and ears. I really think that we don't need to wait for people to give us a gift to feel loved. Our style is a way to present our identity, and I try to propose a panel of colours to fit with our state of mind too. This is about feelings, each jewellery piece has a story, and has come from a different part of the world, so when somebody buys one of my products, a real relationship starts between them.

How has your work evolved since you started?

I worked with recycled buttons from my Mother, originally, and then when travelling I decided to keep a piece of each place we visited by collecting a few buttons that were really different from what I had ever seen. Then I decided to add some ribbon and play with different materials.

Recently, I have created earrings, adding beads to my work. I am surprise I didn't go to beads first but I always have been in love with buttons! :)

Who or what inspires you?

I think I am inspired mostly by artists like Van Gogh, drawers of Zentangling as well as writers of personal development books

Brisbane and Queensland encourage me to keep my eyes open to creativity. Everything around is so colourful! Nature is so impressive. I love patterns for example and you can find patterns everywhere!

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

YES! Some of my buttons and beads come from my secret box. Clients sometimes offer me some of their beautiful 'leftovers' and hope I can do something with it.

Sometimes, I can create something after many years! One of my last pair of earrings has been made with a necklace I had stashed more than 15 years ago.

Can you describe your workspace?

I have a special room to create, I always go back in the living room to have light and be near the kitchen to prepare cups of tea.

What is your favourite thing to make?

I think the earrings are becoming something I prefer, probably because it is new to me and I like to challenge myself. I also create my own gift boxes and I really enjoy doing that.

I love Zentangling and drawing classes as well as drawing on paper or fabrics. I am thinking about doing something with these new skills.

How did your business/shop name come about?

Bagua Lala comes from Bague à Lala which means in French :  Ring of Lala. Lala, is one of my nicknames I received from a friend at school and it stays

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

I would like to create a different line in jewellery, handmade cards and decoration. But 12 months doesn't look like enough time so during this time I will improve my skills and my style.

Do you have a top tip to others wanting to break into the handmade market?

I would say enjoy the opportunity to talk people. You don't need to wait for them to purchase, try to imagine you are them and get to know your customers.

There are so many choices everywhere, and we are all trying to do our best to please people. But remember to continue to create things that YOU like by adding love and piece of soul in everything you create.

Respect your product, they are born from you. They were just ideas before you decided to give birth to them. Enjoy speaking with your stall neighbours, you can share a lot of things and advice with other creative people!

Describe your typical creative day for us?

I put everything I have on my table before I start work.  It looks like a mess. Often I will go back to a previous creation, to repair or to change something.

I like to go buying new supplies even if I have enough at home. I mix what I already have with new things. Sometimes, as I told you about recycling, I can buy something and wait several months before using it. That's really funny because when I buy, I know exactly what I want to do with it.

Do you have a Favourite inspirational quote?

'The better is the enemy of good'.

But it sounds so much better in French, "Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien" and 'Do your best at this precise time, that's the most important.'

Favourite Music while creating?

Music of my teenage years or any playlist I have made on Spotify. I have one with just soft songs

How long have you been a member of BrisStyle?

I am still 'new', I arrived in July 2016.

How did you find out about BrisStyle and what made you take them plunge and become a member?

Thanks to Sarah from Designs of the Heart, when I met her at an Etsy market and thanks to Meg from Stychy Wytchy when I discovered my first Twilight market as a customer.

I wanted to be a visible part of a community. I like this idea in the City. You feel supported and you can share. I like it a lot.

Why do you craft?

I like this question.! I think I like to invite others to not forget themselves, especially women.
When you offer yourself as a gift, it is a sign of self-esteem and you can improve your self-esteem this way.

I like to invite people to make a special gift too. Something with a story, a personality. I think I like to achieve things. It makes me feel really proud of myself.