Saturday, March 26, 2011

Designer :: Planettreasures

“I have been designing and making jewellery for more than 15 years. I began just making earrings for myself when I couldnt find any I liked. I'd been living in the US for three years and was inspired by the wonderful choice of bead shops and local gemstones from where I lived in Arizona. since then my range has grown to include earrings, necklaces, brooches, bracelets and hatpins featuring glass beads from around the world - from Venice, the Czech republic, Austria and glass artists from Australia and the USA. I incorporate these beads with semi-precious gemstones and freshwater pearls”

Since the last time we spoke you’ve had lots of adventures, including a broken leg and overseas hiking trip. Can you fill us in on that?

I have had lots of adventures! I was in training for a Himalayan trek when I slipped and broke my ankle. This kept me indoors for 8 weeks in which time I did lots of small beadweaving projects and some knitting as well as catching up on movies.
We finally went on a 13 day trek in the beautiful Sikkim region of the Indian Himalayas. It was amazing, exhausting, and enlightening!

Like all the exhibiting artists, you’re a Blue Mountains local. What area are you in and do you love about living here?

I live in the Lower Blue Mountains on the high side of a western facing ridge so we have wonderful views of sunsets over the mountains. My workroom also looks out over the view and it a great space. I know I’m lucky to have a dedicatedworkspace – but I have so many beads – and other bits and pieces – they fill my whole room!

And now for a big one: Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

In 5 years time I will be travelling around Australia with hubby in a caravan stopping off at all the craft markets along the way. Grey-ish nomads!

What works of yours will we get to see at Mountain Makers this year?

I’ll be bringing my big, bold necklaces and earrings that are great for winter wear. As well as some simpler designs using freshwater pearls or Venetian glass beads.

Discover more about Planettreasures on her blog or visit her online store

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Designer :: Needle vs Thread

“Needle vs Thread is all about beautiful and practical bags, purses, homewares and accessories made by a girl who is just a little bit pedantic about making sure things are top-stitched, sewn straight, reinforced, centered, spaced evenly, and as perfect as she can get them!”

Since the last time we caught up you’ve had a name change! Can you tell us a little bit more about that?

Plus 1 Design was the name of my graphic design business and when I first started selling my sewing I kept using it, but it never quite fit right. So when it came time to register my business name, I wanted to come up with something new. One of the first paid sewing jobs I ever did was when my friend Cameron from the band Seaworthy commissioned me to make twenty or so different bags to package an album called Needle vs Thread. It seemed like the perfect business name for me, so I went ahead and borrowed it! It is proving a great choice and people often comment on how much they like it.

Like all the exhibiting artists, you’re a Blue Mountains local. Have you always lived here?

No – I'm totally a new kid! Most of my mum's family live in Springwood so I spent many a Christmas here as a child, but have only lived here for a little over two years. I grew up in Central Western NSW, then did a stint in Wollongong, then another in Canberra, then spent five years in Marrickville before moving up here. It's been a big change, but I'm almost settled in, and that is largely thanks to the friends I've made in the craft community.

What do you think are some of the limitations for indie business owners here (if any)?

Sourcing supplies up here has been by far the most difficult thing I've found. There just isn't the range that is available in the city. That hasn't always been a bad thing – it has just forced me to change the way I buy certain items. I'm buying more wholesale now which is an important part of growing my business.

The upsides of living up here outweigh any inconveniences. Selling at markets has become a key thing for me and that is a lot easier to start doing up here. The Mountain Makers exhibition in 2009 was my first time selling in real life (as opposed to online selling). It gave me my jump start into markets, which I may not have gotten in the city.

What do you enjoy most about market trading?

Seeing real life reactions to my work! After selling online for years, this is so refreshing and so valuable. I always thought I was too shy and too bad at maths to trade at markets, but I really love it. I get such a boost from the compliments that I receive about my work. I also get a kick out of seeing all my work arranged together in one space!

What works of yours will we get to see at Mountain Makers this year?

There will be some familiar pieces – hand embroidered purses, plus wallets, keyfobs, wrist cuffs, handbags and cushions. And there will also be some new vinyl satchels that you might not have seen yet. Mostly, there will be lots and lots of beautiful fabric prints to chose from. I try hard not to repeat anything too many times, so there's always something new to see in amongst my work.

Discover more about Needle vs Thread on her blog or visit her online store