29 July 2010

Crafty Giveaway

To celebrate reaching 200+ fans on our facebook page we thought it was time to share more of the handmade goodness we've got going on here! So here is our second giveaway, some cute wee finger puppets from Joy at Kazzalblue

Hand knitted in acrylic wool they are perfect for toddlers pretend play, and Harry Potter and his friends are so cool! There are three puppets in this set, Harry Potter and his 2 friends, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley. They are just the right size for tiny little fingers with joggle eyes and hair attached, not knitted in, to give them a more real appearance.

Here are the rules for the giveaway. One entry for each :
  • Visit Kazzalblue's blog and become a follower (or leave a comment)
  • Tweet about NZ Handmade (tagged with #NZHM) and leave the link in a comment here
  • Blog about us and leave the link in a comment here
  • Subscribe via email to our blog and comment on this post telling us you did so
  • Shout out about New Zealand Handmade on Facebook -make sure you tag the post to let us know you shouted!
You can get 1 entry for each of the above, for a grand total of 5 entries! Entries close August 1st, Sunday 12 noon, New Zealand time. The drawing will take place and the winner announced on Sunday night! So get clicking and typing so you can have a chance at these crafty finger puppets.

27 July 2010

How much should I sell that for?

This is a big question, and one I have asked myself and have been asked many times before.  I think the key to pricing your work is to get a figure that feels comfortable for you and there are several ways to find that perfect price… here is the way I do it.
I usually start by asking myself what would I be comfortable getting paid to part with the product I have just made.  You will always have some sort of figure in mind of what you think your item is worth and this is a good place to start from.

It is always a good idea to determine what your actual cost is to make each of your items.  It is important to think of everything you used in every step of making of your product.  If you used a squirt of paint from a tube that cost $12, you would have to make a guess at how much that squirt cost… maybe $1 - $2 depending on the size of the squirt and the tube.  As well as the materials used to make your product you also have to include the selling costs… packaging, tissue, plastic envelopes, bubble bags, postage, advertising stickers for your packaging, and if your selling online banking fees and site selling fees etc....  Now you have a base cost you need to work out how much to add for retail sale.  Multiplying the cost by 2.5 - 3 is a good formula to start with and this will give you a possible retail price.

Once you have a selling figure it is a good idea to do a little research on what others are selling similar products for in a comparable market… you don’t want to under sell yourself or price yourself out of the market, but you do need to be competitive and it is important to know what your competition is is doing.  
Another thing to think about when pricing your work is the type and quality of the products you use.  Buzz words at the moment are eco-friendly, green and organic etc… if you are using any of these types of things it is a good idea to really advertise this in your product descriptions and let your customers know that they are buying quality that it is priced accordingly.

I have a few varying price ranges for different items that I sell to suit the budgets of all my customers.  I wouldn’t want to put a potential buyer off because I didn’t have something in their price range.  Another thing I do is I only use odd numbers in my original painting prices (I like odd numbers way more then even ones).  It may sounds silly but it came in handy one day when there was a discrepancy in a selling price with a gallery owner… she was trying to underpay me for a painting and I knew it was wrong as it contained an even number.

26 July 2010

A Busy Winter at Arcadia Studio

And I thought I had a quiet winter ahead of me!

Last year I agreed to be part of the July 2010 exhibition at the Taupo Museum.  Who would have expected that the Ashburton Society of Arts wanted to have me as guest artist for their 46th Annual Exhibition, then the Waiheke Community Art Gallery asked me to take part in their exhibition “Winterʼs Jewels” and just as I recovered from the jetlag after my overseas trip some of my jewellery pieces were requested for the upcoming show atthe Hastings Art Gallery. All jewellery to be sent off in July!

No complaints though, donʼt get me wrong! It is an honor to be involved in shows! But to prepare for four exhibitions is very exhausting and doesnʼt leave much time foranything else!

The following photos show some steps in finishing a small pendant in precious metal clay I work with.

The first is the clay roughly covering a little paper clay model where I sat the faceted natural peridot in, with the loop added at the top where the pendant hangs from. In the background you can see a few drawings I made before I started with this piece.  Though I must say my one-off jewellery items mostly evolve without much planning.

Then a line was added around the stone. At this stage there are still some rough patches, which are filled with silver paste. These need to dry before they can be sanded smooth.

The finished piece shows you a second line around the bottom of the piece.
After the pendant was fired it got a treatment with a stainless steel brush and then a toolcalled “burnisher” which brings the highlights on the raised parts. The pendant looks really sweet on a fine chain.
It can be seen (and purchased) in the exhibition “Art Created Here” at the Hastings Art Gallery beside the library.
The opening will be on 7 August from 4.30pm!
See you there for a glass of wine!

Other galleries stocking my jewellery are Statements Gallery in Napier, Unio Goldsmith and Gallery in Havelock North, Sarjeant Gallery in Wanganui, Zea You Gallery in Taupo, the retail store of Te Papa Museum in Wellington, Form Gallery in Christchurch.
Also www.silverworks.felt.co.nz.
More information on my jewellery, the process on how they are made and the workshops
can be found on www.arcadiastudio.co.nz.

- Ingrid

22 July 2010

A Conversation With Joy Doggett (Kazzalblue - Baby & Childrens Boutique)

This week we get to meet the New Zealand half of Kazzalblue - Joy Doggett. Knitter and creator with her twin sister of baby and childrens knitwear, handmade toys, totes and wallets... all to be found on Felt, Etsy and her website.

Who is Kazzalblue?
Kazzalblue is a sister act. My twin sister - Karen (Kazzalblue) - and I - Joy (Jazzalblue) - formed Kazzalblue Baby and Childrens Boutique in order to sell our creations to the big wide world. It all stemmed from a very creative mother from whom we caught the 'handmade bug'.

What’s your “handmade groove ?

I knit and sew as well as playing with paper. I also like the thought of drawing old buildings in pencil - but its been a few years. Now I am working on the Sarah Moon's 'The Bride', a counted cross-stitch.

What’s on your bedside table right now? (hey, no tidying up or censoring)
My touch lamp, a book - An Echo in the Bone, a paper mache coaster, a pretty blue pendant I bought in Japan and my water bottle.

Who are your creative role models? What music, books, images, poetry spark your creative fire?
I love reading about other creative people and how they go about their businesses. I collect old Jean Greenhowe knitted toy books and love combing her pages for inspiration. But my main inspiration is really my sister, Karen, because she has such great ideas and can make anything happen.

What could you talk late into the night about with like minded people?
Books and travel. My sister and I talk endlessly about our business and its direction and our handmade crafts.

If you could go to three free workshops/creative events this year which ones would they be? What are they about?
I would love to go to anything crafty minded. Just walking around a market can give you motivation and inspiration.

How do you balance your creative life with your family, life committments?
Working fulltime and growing a business which stems from an out of control hobby does tend to keep me busy. Exercise is a key component of staying in command of a hectic schedule - and sleep!

What is your favourite creative screw-up?
Luckily most of my screwups are fixable or I just start over.

Kitchen table or studio?
I am very lucky to have a room I call my studio. My husband decided this was a better option than my taking over the lounge. He even bought me custom made shelves.

Do you have a wish list? Can you tell us what’s on it?
My wish is to

-Be able to live close enough to my sister (that means in the same country) that we could work together to open our own shop while continuing to build our online presence.
-Be able to spend more time on Kazzalblue.
-Build a Kazzalblue Boutique website - on the agenda for this year!
-Take a graphics design course.
-Take a computer course - so I actually know what I am doing and it's not by a random stroke of luck when something works out.

21 July 2010

Introducing my new Felt shop...

Well I have finally done it, plucked up the courage to open my 1st online shop!!! I would like to show you a selection of items that I am selling.

Meet Little Lucy

Little Lucy loves words and is never happier than when she is doing a crossword...

This is Benson, he has become a firm favourite of mine...

Benson spends his days in the garage polishing his car, and tooting his horn. He dreams of the open road and one day he will take his car for a drive. But first he needs to get his licence!!!

Also meet Milly

Milly was a country girl who recently moved to the city. She loves buying clothes and doing her groccery shopping at Woolworths!!! She hopes to one day be a fashion designer...

A girls best friend...Gems n Jewels

This necklace all your favourite colours into one stunning piece of jewellery. It is so versatile as it can be worn with so many different outfits.
So please have a look at my shop and tell me what you think.

18 July 2010

Update on that crocheted hoodie

Since I showed you so so many photos of this work in progress in the tutorial post on carrying yarn up the side in crochet, I thought I'd share with you how it looks finished.

Since the baby is due mid-August, near the end of the Northern Hemisphere's summer, I thought I'd make it in the 6 month size.  It's quite a bulky warm cardigan and it would have been perfect for deep winter freezes.  But because my yarn was on the heavy side, the sweater ended up closer to the measurements for a one-year-old.  Just goes to show how important doing a gauge swatch is, even with crochet.

I found buttons that matched perfectly, and it's good that they're extra big, because with wriggly babies, it's nice to not have to fiddle around with dainty little buttons.

And look how tidy that edge is!  :)

-Kya of Clutch Creations

16 July 2010

A Conversation with Mel of Wildflower Designs

Here we are again, with another chat with one of our wonderful artists.  This time we're talking with Mel Stothers, whose amazing jewelry can be found on both Etsy and Felt.  To get to know her even better, check out her site at http://www.wildflowerdesigns.co.nz/.

Who is Mel Stothers?
Many things! In no particular order ... mother, wife, employee, friend, lover of shiny colourful things, creator.

What’s your “handmade groove ?”
Love, love, love jewellery design and all it encompasses and hence Wildflower Designs came to be. The endless possibilities of creation - colour, shape, form, and the variety of different media that can be used just blows my mind.

What’s on your bedside table right now? (hey, no tidying up or censoring)
Ummm… I actually don’t have one. But the floor next to my bed holds a variety of magazines – Fitness, Next, Homestyle, Extra Curricular, World Sweet World and 3 library books – all ‘how to’ books of various types. I don’t read fiction but DIY is a bit of a passion. I have a mental list of things I want to make and talents I want to acquire – gibstopping – can it really be that hard!? Oh, and 2 kids library books as every night my 2 boys and I snuggle into my bed and read – I treasure this time so much – trying to take mental pictures of their facial profiles and general gorgeousness whilst trying to ignore the competitive arguments over whose book we read first! Ah... and a hairclip.

Who are your creative role models? What music, books, images, poetry spark your creative fire?
I have met some amazingly talented people in the last year in particular – both on-line and in person. I am constantly inspired by the New Zealand creative force and the commitment and drive to spreading the word on quality ‘Handmade’. The NZ Art and Craft community is a vibrant, supportive wonderland!

Books – April Fool’s Day by Bryce Courtenay (a raw account a true family tragedy and recovery and the reason I will probably never read fiction again – real life is so much more interesting as this book attests), The New Zealand Collection of Short Stories given to me by my Dad when I was a teenager (If another fiction book every comes along to match this one, I might be tempted to give it a try – Witi Ihimaera, Fiona Kidman, all the greats– brilliant).

Music – I can’t work without background noise – anything Pearl Jam or the so-called ‘Seattle Sound’ works well for me. If I’m feeling reminiscent, The Exponents or Cold Chisel may even find their way out!

What could you talk late into the night about with like minded people?
More a listener than a talker, so whatever my company wants to talk about, I’ll happily hear.

If you could go to three free workshops/creative events this year which ones would they be? What are they about?
Craft 2.0 was something I had on my wish list and was delighted to attend in the company of 2 other NZ Handmade members – fab.

Would love to attend Craft Affair in Christchurch, and the Auckland Craft Fair – they will both be amazing events.

How do you balance your creative life with your family, life commitments?
Not sure I ever get it quite right – but the aim is family and friends first, pay the bills 2nd, then create, create, create. I find lists are now invaluable – nothing quite like ticking things off as done 

What is your favourite creative screw-up?
‘Favourite’ and ‘Screw-up’ in the same sentence … Uh uh..take it apart and start again!

Kitchen table or studio?
Neither, lounge floor. Yes, really :)

Do you have a wish list? Can you tell us what’s on it?
Purely creatively speaking - to discover an extra hour in the day. To conquer self-doubt and believe in myself and my abilities, to one day go back to Venice and find the awe-inspiring glass-blowing workshop I visited as a 10 year old, to do the Diploma in Contemporary Crafts (I will need that extra hour in my day).

13 July 2010

Rainbow bird Tutorial

What fun to make Rainbow needle felted birds: You will need: Carded wool, needle felting needle and a small piece of sponge pad.
1.. Take a piece of wool 7 inches long, make a knot 1 inch from the end, fold small bit over head and needle felt in.

2. Concertina the wool to form a body, and needle felt in.

3. Take a piece of wool 7 inches long and fold in half, lay this on the back of the bird, this forms the tail, needle felt in

4. Take a piece of wool 5 inches long and wrap it around the birds body, going over and under, needle felt in.

5. Take a 5 inch piece of wool and wrap it horizontally around the bird and needle felt in

6. Spend a bit of time firming the bird by poking it with the needle

7. Get a small bit of pink wool for the beak and needle felt it first on the sponge pad, then add to bird.

8. Add some dark blue wool for the eyes and you have it, you own little blue bird of happiness.

You can buy a Rainbow set of my birds on my FELT and ETSY shops
Or you can purchase a kit, which comes with full instructions, rainbow carded wool, needle felted needle and sponge pad.

This is an original design by Softearthart

Have fun. cheers Marie

11 July 2010

Kazzalblue's Baby and Childrens Boutique

Many years ago our Mother instilled in us the virtue of handmade. Kazzalblue has evolved from that into an online boutique specialising in baby and children's wares.

The team at Kazzalblue are twin sisters - Joy (that's me) and Karen. I live in New Zealand and Karen lives in Australia - so this is a Trans-Tasman effort. It has always been our dream to turn Kazzalblue into a fulltime business and give up our day jobs, sharing in the experience together.

My sister and I have been handcrafting handmade items for just over 30 years and love the feedback we have had from people on our products.

We specialise in baby accessories including nappy / diaper pouches , baby boots, baby quilts, finger puppets, crayon wallets and just about anything else that takes our fancy.

We have established online shops on Felt...Like something different , Etsy and Madeit and are branching out into some brick and mortar stores this year. We hope you can come along and visit with us and bring your friends.

You can find us and updates on our endeavours on our blog - Crafty Business. Our current post is well worth a read, focussing on promoting yourself through social media like Facebook.

Hope to see you there.

08 July 2010

A Conversation with Marie Pickering (SoftEarthArt)

Welcome to our next conversation!  This time we're getting to know Marie Pickering, a needle felter of gorgeous natural wool sculptures.  You can find her on Etsy as softearthart and she's got her own blog at Softearth's World.
What’s your “handmade groove ?”
New Zealand has a lot of sheep, this means lots of wool. I am a needle felt artist who turns this wool into Enchanted Creations.

What’s on your bedside table right now?
Country living magazine, a Rose Quartz crystal, Archangel Oracle cards, and a lovely slim line frosted touch lamp.
Who are your creative role models? What music, books, images, poetry spark your creative fire?
This would be Mother Nature, she inspires me with her beautiful colors thoughout the changing seasons.
Music: Sam Cooke, The Eagles, Seals and Crofts, The Carpenters, Joan Baez, all the old great folksy artists.
Books: Old fashioned Children' s fairy tales, Country living Magazine,Waldorf Children's books like Children of the Forest by Elsa Beskow, and The Story of the Root Children by Sibylle Olfess
Images: Rainbows, Natural wooden toys, silk dolls, carded wool, crystals, Mother Earth, gardens

What could you talk late into the night about with like minded people?
Anything to do with the Enchanted world, Gnomes, Angels, etc.  And movies, I am a keen movie fan.

If you could go to three workshops/creative events this year which ones would they be? What are they about?
Creative Hawkes Bay has Professional Development workshops these look cool. Margaret-Mary Farr offers wet-on-wet and veil painting classes, I would love to attend those.

How do you balance your creative life with your family, life commitments?
I walk every morning with my neighbor and do yoga (though not as often as I should).  My children have grown and flown so I have the time to create.

What is your favourite creative screw-up?
I don't have many of these, the beauty of needle felting is that you can pull it apart and start again.

Kitchen table or studio?
My open plan home has a beautiful large wooden table that my husband made, this is my workspace in the lounge, warm and snug by the fire.
Do you have a wish list? Can you tell us what’s on it?
I would love a large wooden cabinet to hold all my wool. I sometimes write small verses that go along with my creations, so maybe a small book of these. I would love a serious of postcards.

Thank you for sharing with us, Marie!

06 July 2010

StickyTiki Studio Tour

Hi all, my name is Kim and I co-own a wee company called 'stickytiki' which I run with my partner in life Si. I am the arty one and he is the techy one (although I am currently..under duress learning the technical side of things!). We make hand crafted fabric wall decals for kids. They originate from my paintings, drawing etc and Si turns them into the finished product that can be stuck to the wall. Below is a photo of our StickyTiki studio space, which was in 1875 the storage shed for the Ahuriri general store..(we live in what was the general store).

I have a room inside the house that I use as my create space, so for painting and creating the new designs for ST..this is very much a shared space with our 3 children Zav, Jasper and Kahlo (but they do respect my artwork and only use their own paints not mine).
My messy work desk..try as I may I never seem to keep a tidy space, I am creative amidst chaos!

All big decisions are made from this chair..if I had the time I would sit here for hours contemplating the wall opposite...contemplation is a very important part in making art, but unfortunately for me life is way too busy to be allowed this luxury often!

From the chair yesterday I briefly contemplated this after I had finished making it..then again in between cooking the dinner, printing and the ads of Desperate Housewives! I am doing a little job for the Hawkes Bay Exhibition Centre for a show 'Puti Puti- The Flower in Contemporary New Zealand Art' (which opens Friday night) This and an installation of some of our roses will go in the foyer for the show. I have made the NZ out of our Pohutukawa flowers...and I can possibly see we may have to add this to our range as I think it may be quite popular..what do you think??

Anyway I am off now to make a floral frame..also for the show and will post some pics on my blog when it is all done.
Have a great week and thanks for reading:)

04 July 2010

Getting Back on Track...

I’ve been battling with creative self-doubt. I find myself sitting with numerous containers of beads around me second guessing myself about what colours, hues, and shapes to combine. Ahhhhh!!!
I decided to break it down a bit to get to the source of the problem…

I love composition and have no problems coming up with designs (in fact sometimes I wake up and have to hurriedly sketch ideas down while still fresh in my mind), and I’m totally confident with technique (practice, practice, practice!).

But for some reason, when I come to sit down and bring the sketches to life, surrounded by a dozen or so bead storage trays, I’ve started to doubt myself…”hmm.. maybe I should use the Swarovski pearls instead of freshwater”… “would it have more impact if I used red tones “..

I think not having a designated ‘work space’ is half the problem, my lounge floor tends to be my creation area and it may allow me to sit cross-legged in a cosy warm, family-filled environment, but it sure doesn’t help efficiency!!

So, I’ve decided I will make the following resolutions to get myself back on track:

1. I will select certain designs and stick to making those (and only those) until they are finished.

2. I will trust my 1st instincts with colourways.

3. I will give myself 10 minutes (timed!) to pick out the majority of beads I’m going to use for a big piece. 5 minutes for anything smaller.

4. I will create at the dining table (still in the lounge but one colour (unlike our stunning ‘80s carpet), and therefore less likely to cause visual overload and lost beads!)

5. I will have a ‘destash’ on trademe. There are some beads and findings I’ve had awhile that really don’t inspire me and I’m unlikely to ever use, but I bet they will be treasures to someone else .

How about all you other creative peeps out there – have you ever had this problem? Do you have any tips you’d like to share?

(I’ll let you know how my resolutions go on my Wildflower blog in a couple of weeks!)

(Mel - Wildflower Designs)

02 July 2010

A Conversation with Katherine Quinn (Sleep and her sisters)

Welcome to our first in a series of conversations with New Zealand artists, designers, crafters, and people who make things!  And breaking the ice is our very own Katherine Quinn of Sleep and her sisters.  She makes wonderful collages and paintings and sells high quality art prints of them on Etsy.

Who is Katherine Quinn?
I am a part time artist under the name Sleep and her sisters… I have two children, a 17 year old and a nearly 5 year old.  Collecting apple lollies makes me happy.
What’s your “handmade groove ?”
I paint and collage, I like to sew and draw.  And I am also obsessed with paper, and stationery. 

What’s on your bedside table right now?
My light, clock, a Jodi Picoult book,  half an Incrediable Hulk (where the other half is I am not sure)?  A pencil, a pair of pliers (needed for a quick repair job on a necklace before work last week).
Who are your creative role models? What music, books, images, poetry spark your creative fire?
I have a long list of creative role models, children’s book illustrators, fellow artists, graphic designers… I love them all.  I am inspired by Frou Frou, Badly Drawn boy, The Beautiful SouthKate Rusby… just to name a few musicians.  I love this poem by Dorothy Parker:
Travel, trouble, music, art,
A kiss, a frock, a rhyme-
I never said they feed my heart,
But still they pass my time.

What could you talk late into the night about with like minded people?
Anything art related…

If you could go to three workshops/creative events this year which ones would they be? What are they about?
Squamit will be an experience that will open you up to your best self and reconnect you with what makes you most happy.
An Artful Journey… awaken your senses, nourish your soul, replenish your spirit, learn, share, connect.
Be Present Retreat… An invitation to pause in your life and gather in an intimate, creative community to explore, create, discover, and soak up the world around you. Each retreat includes creative workshops paired with exercises to remind you to open your eyes and heart and be present on your path. Each retreat also encourages a balance of time spent in community with time to reconnect with you.

How do you balance your creative life with your family, life commitments?
I think of life like it’s a 50 cent mix bag of lollies, make sure your week has a bit of everything in it.

What is your favourite creative screw-up?
I have a whole folder full of these…

Kitchen table or studio?
I would love it to be a studio one day but for now it is my Kitchen table.
Do you have a wish list? Can you tell us what’s on it?
Write and publish a series of children's books with a wonderful and supportive publisher.
To have a licencing deal and produce a beautiful range of stationery and products.
Work full time as an artist earning a good living doing what makes me happy.
Earn enough to be able to travel and visit my new friends around the world.
Be involved in the creative community in Hawke's Bay and New Zealand.
Develop a stunning website with a clever designer.
Take part in art retreat in the States.
A dream I would like to be a part of would be to have a local art supplies shop that would have a cute little gallery and café attached.