Monday, April 24, 2017

Tricia Smout

Today we interview long time artist Tricia Smout.

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

My mother knitted and sewed in any spare time she had. Since I was a little girl, I have enjoyed playing with paper, yarns and fabric, and I made my own clothes in high school and university. 

After a career of science research and teaching, and then raising a family, I finally got back to creating artwork thirty years ago.

How would you describe your work?

I love working with all types of textiles … fibres, paper, yarns and fabrics. The tactile qualities of the materials give me tremendous pleasure, and I also delight in playing with different colour combinations.

My ‘grande passion’ is calligraphy and lettering, and in addition to legible calligraphy commissions, I use letters, words and symbols as the inspiration to create innovative hangings, artist books, sculptures and wearable art using a wide range of techniques.

I had a fabulous year as the 2012 Artist-in-Residence at Brisbane Botanic Gardens creating many collaborative works …

How has your work evolved since you started?

My original calligraphy work was only on paper or card. In 1993 I did a weekend workshop with famous English calligrapher Pat Russell, and this inspired me to put lettering on to fabric. 

I now try to include lettering in as many different forms as possible …bookmaking, embroidery, appliqué, patchwork, papermaking, felting, crochet, knitting and collage.

How did you start selling online?

I haven’t managed to set up an Etsy shop yet, but I have details of items for sale on my

Who or what inspires you?

When I decide to enter an exhibition or a competition, I find the theme or title often gives me the impetus I need to start jotting down ideas. 

Pat Russell’s tapestries and embroideries were my initial inspiration. 

I enjoy seeing how other artists incorporate lettering in their work. Denise Lach’s “Calligraphy: A Book of Contemporary Inspiration” is my current favourite.


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

As much as possible I do try to reuse things in my stash leftover from other projects, or things that others have discarded. 

Can you describe your workspace?

Now that my children have left home, I have bits and pieces in each of their bedrooms. Sadly I am not good at putting things away, so any vacant table spaces quickly fill up, and I have to resort to working on the kitchen table!

What is your favourite thing to make?

I need variety, so I enter as many competitions and exhibitions as I can to give me a creative challenge. 

I also really enjoy making multiples of my small books, which is very relaxing to do at night while watching TV documentaries. 

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

For the past two years, three friends and I have staged our “Shifting Seasons” exhibition in August at Richard Randall Studio, and we are doing it again this year.

I will continue entering competitions and exhibitions.

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

Persistence and self-belief … and luck!

Describe your typical creative day?

It varies al lot. Some days I attend a craft group meeting, other days I work quietly by myself at home.

 Do you have a favourite quote?

“All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.” Willa Hoey

“All glory comes from daring to begin.” Eugene F. Ware

Do you like to listen to Music or watch TV while creating?

I prefer to work quietly when creating one-off artworks, but I watch TV documentaries when I’m mass-producing multiples of my merchandise items.

What is your favourite handmade item that you have bought?

A commissioned embroidered letter “S” on handmade paper by Pat Russell. 

And two calligraphy artworks from Donald Jackson (official calligrapher to the Queen)

Where can we find you online?
My merchandise items are on my website -

I also have my work for sale at -
Scattered Arts in Camp Hill
The Hut in Samford
Aspire at Paddington
Redcliffe Art Gallery Shop and various craft fairs. 

How long have you been a member of BrisStyle?

I joined in 2012.

How did you find out about BrisStyle?

I first saw the BrisStyle girls at a “Finders Keepers“ market, but in those days you had to have an Etsy shop to be a member of BrisStyle. 

When I attended a talk at a local library in 2012 I found out I could now join.

Why did you become a member?

I hoped to be able to reach a wider audience who would buy my merchandise.

Why do you craft?

I need craft to keep me sane. I find it relaxing, and I get a real buzz when someone says they like my work.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Creative Space Visit - Raynbowcrowstudios

In February this year I was lucking enough to get an all access pass into the world of Bronwyn who is the human dynamo marbler behind Raynbowcrowstudios. She was the first of my studio visits I am going to be doing throughout the year.

I was just a tad excited to see what she did in her studio/workshop to make those fabulous marbled items. I'm sure there are a fair few of us out there that were introduced to marbling during their formative primary school years.

One of the things that make Bronwyn's space so amazing is the peaceful location and green front garden at her house. You pull up under a lovely lush tree and walk up some old stone stairs that look like they have been there since the 1950's.

Her space is set up in the rumpus room as we call it here in Australia under her house. The large glass sliding door looks out to a gorgeous hibiscus hedge. She shares it with her son and husband so there's also a drum set, guitar and a computer area.

I loved seeing her space whilst it was being used to create. It's great to have an area to let your creative side go wild.

The main item in her everyday marbling is her bath of liquid that she uses - I believe it is called "size". She has adapted a wonderful use of a table and frame that allows her to change the amount of size used to marble different things.

For a moment I was inspired seeing a bar fridge near her marbling table but it's only for the marbling.... I was wondering how I could fit one into my workshop. I'm still thinking even now.....

It was like watching an alchemist working when she was adding the colours to the size and then making patterns. It was a pleasure to watch. When I was there she was marbling paper and some of her amazing fans.

She hangs them outside to dry on portable clotheslines that brought back memories of when my children were at preschool and it was so much fun to be able to help her hang her wet items.

I absolutely love plants as any of you who know me would know so it was terrific to see she has a Fiddle Leaf Fig outside! She was on trend so much earlier then most of us.

It was a fabulous morning and I can see by the amount of work and the amount of love she puts into her creations that anyone who gets to own any of them is a very lucky person!

Michelle xx

Monday, April 10, 2017


Hi Megan.

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

I’ve never considered myself to be particularly creative, however when I think about it, I’m always attempting some sort of craft or renovation at some point! 

Both my grandmother and my aunt are incredibly creative and talented – perhaps some of their genes have been passed through!

How would you describe your work?

Fun, bright and bold!

How has your work evolved since you started?

I’m still quite new – I only started November 2016. So I’d say I’m still very much evolving. I can already see different patterns, colours and mediums used in such a short amount of time. 

I’m excited for the future!

How did you start selling on Etsy?

I created my Etsy page as an easier way for people to browse my items, previously I was receiving orders through Instagram and e-mail.

What inspires you?


I’m a huge fan of bright and bold colours. I also LOVE so many creative people on social media. 

I’m also inspired by a few clothing brands such as Gorman, known for their bold and funky prints, as well as Brisbane based designers Jericho Road Clothing.

Describe your workspace?

It used to be my coffee table! 

Luckily my husband has created me a studio from our spare bedroom with a standing work station and everything in arms reach. My back and physio are absolutely thanking me!

What is your favourite thing to make?

GIANT BRIGHT earrings!

How did your shop name come about?

My name is Meg! And I make, haha.

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

Hopefully I’ll be attending markets and being more involved with the BrisStyle community! Things have snowballed very quickly – so who knows where things may lead!

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

Use social media and start connecting with others in your local community!

Describe your typical creative day?

It’s very chill – I think of MegMakes as my hobby rather than my small business, as I absolutely love creating. 

I’m still working full time in finance, so I’ll head into my studio after work (perhaps with a wine!) pop on a rotten show on Netflix (I’m currently a sucker for Pretty Litter Liars) in the background and start creating!

What is your favourite handmade item that you have bought?

I have so many! 

I adore my clutches from Tiff Manuell and my many earrings from Each To Own!

Where can we find you online?

I have something in the works that’s due to be announced very very soon! So keep a look out!

How long have you been a member of BrisStyle?

I'm a Newbie.  Since December 2016

How did you find out about BrisStyle?

I follow a fair few crafters on Instagram that belong to this community, as well as attending many BrisStyle markets.

Why did you become a member?

I wanted to join this fabulous community and to be involved in the BrisStyle markets regularly.

Why do you craft?

I love it! It’s a fabulous outlet – and it results in fabulous accessories!

Thank you Megan, and I look forward to seeing you at the next BrisStyle market.