30 September 2010

A Conversation with Louise from Bibliographica

Words, longings, passions and memories belong on the pages of Louise's beautifully handmade journals. They beg to be written in, and are offered as a resting place for the world of words within. Each handmade book is woven from re-purposed objects from everyday walks through Louise's life. 

The lavish blank pages are ready to meet the pen. Her journals have respect for the written word and the images they portray. They are a gift to yourself and your dreams ... How could you refuse such an invitation to plant them out here in the world ... ?
Lets meet Louise ... Carol
Who is Bibliographica?
Bibliographica is the home of unique hand made journals, botanical photography and exciting costume jewelery.

What’s your “handmade groove ?
Bookbinding, collecting the materials to make my journals (and the stories I collect along the way), photographing botanical specimens and creating collage with them. I love handmade because it is hands on.

 What’s on your bedside table right now? (hey, no tidying up or censoring)
An alarm clock that needs a new battery, an old vintage lamp I got from Antique Alley in Mt Eden for $14, several books, my journal, my daily planner, a couple of pens, a nail file and a trilogy lip balm… and sometimes my cellphone. (that’s a lot for less than a square foot table top!!)

Who are your creative role models? What music, books, images, poetry spark your creative fire? 
I am greatly inspired by the likes of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Karl Blossfeldt in photography, Annie Dillard as a writer, world music sounds such as Baka Beyond, Ravi Shankar and John MacLaughlin. I love National Geographic magazine, going to flea markets, bric a brac stores & finding treasure in someone else’s trash. I feel immensely liberated by places such as Etsy, Felt and sites which promote and support the art and craft market – I feel blessed to be born into the information age! I have met and interacted with some incredibly talented people through this venture which is very exciting.

What could you talk late into the night about with like minded people? 
Photography, the conspiracy theory (if I am not too tired), bookbinding and adventure travel.

How do you balance your creative life with your family, life commitments? 
My creative life is my life.

What is your favourite creative screw-up? 
That would be telling… although I’ll reveal one. I’ve missed a stitch while Coptic binding before and had to take the whole book apart and start again… and when you are using 8 needles, are almost finished and find your missed stitch is at the beginning… this is testing!

Kitchen table or studio?
My kitchen table is now my studio work table. I don’t sit at the kitchen table, which has been replaced with a vintage school desk from the 1950s complete with a flip top lid. It houses a plant, some incense and usually some mail, and I don’t sit there either!

Do you have a wish list? Can you tell us what’s on it? 
Bologna, Paris, Prague… Learning to rock climb and subsequently climbing a really big rock…then looking back to see how far I have come.

You can find Louise at her blog, etsy and felt.

27 September 2010

Finding time

Coming out of a New Zealand Winter into Springtime is such a joy
Where one was busy being indoors and creating, sitting by the fire
Now one has to balance the lawn mowing, the planting of the garden etc
With  crafting in  between these activities
The season of Spring craft fairs has started
Are you all ready for the busy season ahead?

cheers Marie 
Softearth's world

23 September 2010

Silverworks Studio Tour

The beauty of working with precious metal clay is that you can do it almost anywhere! I started out in our small sunroom on a small table. I have to admit, the number of tools I had available right after I became a certified instructor for Art Clay Silver, was rather small. Everything fitted into the tool bag, see photo, and was put away quickly.

Nowadays it is a bit different, my workspace has somewhat expanded: my youngest son's bedroom has been transformed for my artwork.

The boxes with stamps and items I use to work with the silver clay are right there at my fingertips, and are easily packed when I take them with me when I teach out of the house.

The latest addition to my set up was a camp stove, (well before the earthquake in Christchurch!). Not for cooking but to show my students how easy it is to fire on it the jewellery they made.

I enjoy my jewellery studio, best thing is that I don't have to move work in progress any more!

Ingrid of Silverworks

19 September 2010

Porangahau Spring Fair...

Spring is well on its way... and so starts the beginning of fair season.  The first one on my list is the Porangahau Spring Fair.  The stalls will be set in the grounds around the beautiful Chapelwick homestead, a part of the original Porangahau Station.  It has been successfully running for three years, although this will be my first time as a stall holder.

 (Chapelwick Estate)

Last year 3000 people attended - each year seems to get bigger and better.  This year there will be over 120 stalls... art and crafts, wine tasting, exhibitions, fresh produce, music, bouncy castle, food stalls, petting zoo plus lots and lots more.  Feel free to stroll around and enjoy the grounds of the beautiful Porangahu Station Homestead... something for the whole family.

When: Sunday 26 September 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Where: Chapelwick Estate 482 Hunter Road, RD 4, Porangahau, Waipukurau.

Admission: Free...

Click here to see a map

So if your in the neighbourhood come along it will be good to see you there.


17 September 2010

A Conversation with Kim Hands from Sticky Tiki

This week we meet Kim Hands from Sticky Tiki. Her handcrafted original designs translate beautifully into accessible wall art for children ... Dynamic and quirky they are reflections of New Zealand, love and the everyday. On Sticky Tiki's website they leave us with the thought,  LIVE LOVE LEARN and LAUGH ... her designs are living proof she does just that and shares it all from her (he)Art. 
With Christmas coming up how can you resist? Lets meet Kim Hands from Sticky Tiki ... ♥ Carol

Who is are you?
Kim aka 'StickyTiki'

What’s your “handmade groove ?”
Well kind of everything, I am the jack of all but my main thing is painting, hence the hand painted wall stickers we make, we then print them so I am loving that too....just need to work on the graphics thing, I usually leave that to Si but life would be easier if I knew more in that area.  I will pretty much give anything a go, I like to sew too but I never use a pattern and I am VERY impatient:) At the moment I am restoring my lovely old caravan and am having visions of 50s beach holidays in it complete with the crown lynn.

What’s on your bedside table right now? (hey, no tidying up or censoring)
My bedside table is a very impracticable, a white retro plastic stool thingy so the only stuff I can fit on there is a lamp, a glass of water, and a few old tea stain rings! Everything goes on the floor. I am reading 'the girl with the dragon tattoo ' so that would be there if it could fit.

Who are your creative role models? What music, books, images, poetry spark your creative fire?
Well two of my Children are named after painters : My daughter is Kahlo (after Frida Kahlo)..she is a HUGE HUGE influence, so are other artists like Paula Rego, Rita Angus, Cindy Sherman. My first influences with painting were the abstract expressionists like William De Kooning, Jackson Pollack! My middle child Jasper is kind of named after Jasper Johns but mainly because I have always loved the name Jasper. I love films and books, and have  very eclectic tastes in these and music, I can listen to 80s and reminisce but I am just as happy listening to rock, dub, reggae, dance, indie, I love a bit of classical , a bit of Motown, soul stuff ...I love kiwi music and we should be really proud of our musicians. For Mothers day my stepchildren (21 & 23) who live in Oz sent me over a compilation CD of music they thought I would love...Florence and the Machine and other goodies. I enjoy that they can relate to me, my stepdaughter loves Barry White because it reminds her of me....we always laugh about that, because I used to turn up Barry full blast while doing the housework:)
I lOVE old gangster comics and old skool tattoos, and have been influenced by these in my personal art, but also have some stickytiki stuff related to that coming out soon. I love mid century decor, lovely treasures that pop up at the auctions that need resurrection. Poetry quite honestly has never done it for me...but in all honesty this is because I haven't given it the time, I never get to sit still long enough.

What could you talk late into the night about with like minded people?
I love hanging out with my long time girlfriends and talking absolute garbage or discuss how we could right the world. I am a people person so will always find something I can talk about in anyone late into the night especially over a wee tipple.

If you could go to three free workshops/creative events this year which ones would they be? What are they about?
In all honesty creative workshops and things like this don't really appeal to me...hope that doesn't make me sound bad! I prefer to fly solo when I am creating, I will stay away from exhibitions to avoid influence, I know this completely contradicts what I said earlier about influences and being a people person:). I would much rather work alone than a room full of other artists...don't get me wrong I really love the discussion times..but no creative workshops are not my cup of tea....and I have tried!! I have tickets for U2 and I would love to go to Leonard Cohen does that count?

How do you balance your creative life with your family, life commitments?
With great chaos, I have three children and have the work (stickytiki) and family commitments pretty sorted it is just when other things pop up that I find it hard to fit in. I have been asked to paint a Ukelele for a charity auction in a few weeks.....I have the Ukelele, some ideas but now I just have to fit it in, I usually come through in the final hour...Pisces,you see they are notoriously late, last minute and go with the flow...drives my friends mad!

What is your favourite creative screw-up?
Well you know I guess Stickytiki is my favourite screw up, Our intention for it was quite different to how it has turned out..but I am so glad we saw our point of difference and went with that..yep a great screw up!!

Kitchen table or studio?
Studio, I need my own space to create..but in saying that my children always share it too, they don't take over, they have the kitchen table and the rest of the house for that.

Do you have a wish list? Can you tell us what’s on it?
World Peace, No Poverty....
Well I guess that is not going to happen fast so I will settle with my niece 'Matisse' getting her transplant soon (she has been waiting in the states for 4 years) , getting better and my sister and family being able to come home so as the cuzzys can grow up together, my Dads sight to be restored, and a trailer full of money would go astray either!

12 September 2010

Have you met our Tumblr?

If you're one of our more observant readers you will have noticed way down on the left side of our home page a link to our Tumblr.  To those of you less observant, or less curious, I'm here to introduce you.

I'm the curator of our Tumblr, the job having fallen to me because I was the one who suggested having one, and I was the only one of our group who had ever heard of Tumblr.  So don't feel left out if you've never heard of it either.  Tumblr is a blogging site, kinda a cross between Blogger and Twitter.

You can post content, you can "follow" other tumblogs, you can "like" people's posts, and best of all, you can "reblog" posts.  The reblog is the heart of Tumblr, allowing your post to become other people's content, and hence other people's followers to see your content.

There are three main types of Tumblr users...  Those who post only new content, those who only reblog, and those who do a bit of both.  Tumblrs that are mainly reblogs usually represent the interests and passions of the person well, or else are great compilations of a certain subject.  For this compilation type blog there's a Tumblr tradition of giving the blog a name I won't be sharing here, but click through to this one of origami, or this one all about New Zealand to find out.

A large part of the appeal of Tumblr is the ease of posting, the ease of finding interesting content, and the ease of forming a community.  Like Blogger, everything is done from your Dashboard.
You pick which type of post you want to create from the icons.  For the New Zealand Handmade Tumblr I pretty much post photos from this, our main blog.  I also grab random items from our shops, and the shops of Friends of NZHM.  I always tag posts with "New Zealand" and "Handmade" as well as other appropriate keywords so that people searching Tumblr can find us if they're interested.

You can see above that I'm following 140 people.  Their avatars are at the bottom of our Tumblr.  They're all people who seem, based on what they post, interested in art or handcrafted things or New Zealand.  I found them by searching Tumblr (that search bar at the top right of the dashboard, click the arrow to change "My Dashboard" to "Tumblr" to search all of Tumblr).  Following them allows their posts to show up on my dashboard, which I love perusing, but it also serves as a way to have them notice me and my tumblog.  It's the best way to get followers, of which we now have 53!

It's so hard to keep up with all the different networking websites out these days, and half the time it's not even worth the effort involved in signing up.  But I think that Tumblr's a keeper.  I've been tumbling my own personal ramblings for over a year now, lots of major news/media outlets have a Tumblr (for example Newsweek, the New Yorker) and musicians do, too (such as Amanda Palmer, and John Mayer, who recently posted about his Tumblr addiction).

So check it out... Start your own Tumblr... Follow us, and I'll follow you back.  :)

Kya of Clutch Creations

10 September 2010

Christchurch Earthquake Fundraising..

We're stepping outside our normal blog posting timetable to let you know of some fundraising ventures to benefit the victims of last Saturday's 7.1 magnitude earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand. 

The video below shows just some of the devastation to buildings - particularly in the CBD.  Residents in Christchurch and the wider Canterbury district have had water, power and sanitation facilities affected.  Many homes have been left uninhabitable and big aftershocks up to 5.1 on the ricter scale continue to shake the nerves of residents.  Police, Civil Defence, the Army, and many volunteer organisations are working to return the City and outlying districts to a sense of normality with the state of emergency status set to continue until Wednesday 15 September, and estimates of rebuilding the city in the $billions.  Many schools and businesses remain closed.

**You Can Help**:  Below are just some of the initiatives we are aware of by creative businesses and suppliers to help Canterbury residents:

Kids Fashion Review are holding two Auctions - the 1st tonight at 8pm NZ time, the 2nd on Monday 13 September at 8pm.. many businesses are donating fantastic products and vouchers for the auctions including our New Zealand Handmade members ... Lily Pad Designs, Topography, and Estella Rose.

A New shop - Felt Aid -  is being created at Felt with handcrafted wares being donated to the shop and all proceeds going to the Christchurch earthquake relief effort via Canterbury Red Cross.  This initiative is currently being co-ordinated by volunteer Felt sellers and products will be loaded over the weekend. 

Please join the Facebook Fan page or follow the blog to keep up to date with developments.  You can also email feltaid@gmail.com if you wish to be donate products.

Sticky Tiki are donating $5 from every sale on their website to the Canterbury Red Cross until the end of September.

We will add to this list as we hear of new ways you can help out.  If you know of any fundraising events, please let us know by commenting on this post or emailing us at info@newzealandhandmade.co.nz

If you are in Christchurch, please also feel welcome to comment with your experience of the Earthquake and how it is affecting you and yours.

Best wishes - the New Zealand Handmade team

09 September 2010

A Conversation with Erin Carver

Erin Carvers collaged pieces are an alchemical transformation of life into art. They are a conversation with an inner world made visible. Dressed for the world with vibrant colours and found objects they are sent out into the world with affirmations and cheerful inspiration. The challenge here is picking which one to put above my "creative" space. Meet Erin Carver ... Carol

Who is Erin Carver?
Part-time artist and office manager, I work and create from my home in Lower Hutt where I live with my amazing partner and one very gorgeous cat called Marley (lovingly named after Bob).

What’s your “handmade groove”?
Painting and collage, mainly on canvas. Some of my favourite materials include acrylic paints and mediums, oil sticks, pretty papers and fabrics, buttons, stamps, maps, postcards, precious pre-loved doilies and any other old treasures I happen to have collected. I have a really big thing for beautiful, inspiring words. And I love the way that mixed media brings an added sense of story and nostalgia to a painting. From time to time I also play with mosaic making and crafting fun collaged wall hangings, fridge magnets and Christmas decorations!

What’s on your bedside table right now?
A lamp, a clock, a wee pot of Trilogy’s delicious all natural‘Everything Balm’ and a much loved copy of Letters to a young artist by Julia Cameron which I’ve just started re-reading (and highly recommend!).

Who are your creative role models? What music, books, images, poetry spark your creative fire?
I’m a huge fan of alternative rock, reggae, dub and folk music (particularly of the homegrown variety!) and I unashamedly confess to being a self-help book junkie! On the art front, wow there are so many… 2 that jump to mind immediately are American mixed media artist Kelly Rae Roberts (as much for her incredible story as her fabulous art), and closer to home my talented photographer friend Susannah Tucker (an incredible mentor to me…and her gorgeous work always inspires!)

What could you talk late into the night about with like minded people?
Life’s dreams and possibilities, family, films, books, travel, music and all things arty-crafty.

If you could go to three workshops/creative events this year which ones would they be? What are they about?
It would be a total dream to attend some of the amazing mixed media art workshops and creativity retreats that are on offer in the US – Squam Art Workshops, An Artful Journey, Art and Soul and Be Present Retreats.

How do you balance your creative life with your family, life commitments?
I work part-time, a blessing that allows time for creativity. Mastering the balancing act however is still an ever evolving work in progress! It helps to have set work hours, and I try to set my own dedicated time and space for artwork too.

What is your favourite creative screw-up?
There have been plenty! One of the joys of mixed media is that I work in many layers of paint and papers…there’s usually no screw up that can’t be fixed (after some time out to work through any frustration over a good cup of tea).

Kitchen table or studio?
We don’t have a kitchen table, but I daresay if we did I’d definitely work on it! For now my work table, easel and inspiration wall occupy a corner of our spare room and I proudly call this wee space my studio.

Do you have a wish list? Can you tell us what’s on it?
Oooh yes, a lovely long one….
practice yoga and meditation regularly. master the ukulele. design a range of my own gift cards. develop a website. have regular stalls at some local craft markets and art shows. to be working full time as an artist, earning a good living doing what I love. And to one day grow my creative business into my own gallery and studio space for art and creativity workshops. I’m a firm believer in the importance of dreaming big!

You can buy, BUY fom Erin here at Felt.

Next week we meet Kim from Sticky Tiki.. Until then have a great week... and for our friends in Christchurch, Kia Kaha....... we are thinking of you...

07 September 2010

Best craft book ever ( In my opinion )

Twenty years ago, while browsing in a second hand shop, I came upon this book for $1.
"Girls Book of Crafts" by Ruth Zechlin, first English version edition 1959, it had been first printed in The Netherlands. 
Whether we carve or weave, embroider or make a toy, we always feel the same: first the joy of creating, then the satisfaction with the finished work; finally, we are also happy if it can give pleasure to someone.

The contents are amazing, subjects like, Knitting, Crochet, Plaiting in Raffia, Basketry, Leatherwork, Batik, Painting porcelain, Bookbinding, Enamel work, and the list goes on.

The wonder of "Handmade" is what this site is all about, and I am sure that your bookshelves are full of interesting books.

Do you have a well thumbed art and craft book that you would like to share

Cheers  Marie,   Softearth's World

05 September 2010

Hawkes Bay Gems

New Zealand Handmade have members from across New Zealand and if you would like to find out more about becoming a member then please click this link. However the original group of members come from Hawkes Bay - scattered across both Hastings and Napier City. It is such a beautiful part of NZ that we wanted to share some of the gems of our region with our readers - and if you decide to come and visit - great!

Hastings is a beautiful place to visit in Hawkes Bay and well known for Splash Planet and other adventurous sports as well as wineries and fantastic eateries. The famous Hastings Blossom Festival widely attracts visitors to Hawkes Bay every year. It signals the beginning of Spring and all the joy that brings with it after a cold winter.

This year the Blossom Festival runs from September 10th until the 19th and there are many events planned for during that time. The one event everyone enjoys is the day of the Blossom Parade. There are pipe bands, marching girls and colourful floats with school children on them. The parade is preceded by a craft market in the middle of the city and afterward the entertainment continues on the stage.

There are other events to look forward to such as the Epicurious Weekend – a two day celebration of food, wine and entertainment. You can go to Seleni Estate for the first ever Olive Festival celebrating all things Olive, take cooking demonstrations by outstanding Wellington chef Rex Morgan or the Hawkes Bay Opera House on Saturday 18th to hear New Zealand band Opshop perform.

It is a jam packed week of celebrating and if you are coming near the Hawkes Bay definitely a must for your calendar! For details of the programme of events click this link here.

Joy from Kazzalblue

02 September 2010

A Conversation with Aimee Brock from Lilly Pad Designs

Aimee from Lilly Pad designs has plenty to be happy about this month. Her designs are being showcased in the quintessential Fashion Quarterly (the little black book, of course!). Handmade in NZ, her creations are vibrant must haves. Lets meet Aimee.....
Who is {lily pad designs}?
lilly pad designs is me, Aimee Brock, and is the name of my wee kids and parents’ label – covering all my handmade crafts. It is named after my lily pad pram liner.

What’s your “handmade groove ?”
I’m really focused on the idea of sparking a love of creativity in kids at a young age. I come at it by ‘spoiling kids with colour’ – and parents too. Too many baby and children’s products today use ugly, boring synthetic materials and are mass produced so everyone blends in with each other. There are gorgeous multi-coloured hand- or screen printed 100% cotton and merino fabrics out there that kids are drawn to and also make parents feel special and stylish. My favourite past time is researching these patterns – and opening my packages in the post!

What’s on your bedside table right now? (hey, no tidying up or censoring)
Three books from my bookclub – The Help; The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; and The Secret Life of Bees. Also pictures of my two girls, and Vicks vapour rub!

Who are your creative role models? What music, books, images, poetry spark your creative fire?
I learnt a lot from the books Shantaram and A Thousand Splendid Suns last year, and since then my group of friends at book club and I have been going through a long phase of reading books focused on middle-eastern, far eastern and African stories, so I’m really inspired by the colours and patterns in these cultures. I am also a big follower of the modern quilting/textile designers in the US and Europe – Amy Butler, Joel Dewberry and Heather Bailey top my list right now. I am also inspired by the images and colours my children and their friends are drawn to.
 What could you talk late into the night about with like minded people?
Books! And great new recipe finds or old family recipes, that are good for young families’ tight budgets and for nutrition.

If you could go to three free workshops/creative events this year which ones would they be? What are they about?
1)Running a business and balancing accounts
2) Screen printing your own fabric 
3) Sewing school for lessons in complicated patterns.

How do you balance your creative life with your family, life commitments?
At the moment I balance it ok because my eldest child goes to kindy five mornings a week, so morning are my creative work time. Once my baby stops doing a big morning sleep it might be different! I also have a hugely supportive husband who is totally involved and sits beside me at night times building my website or helping me with strategies, etc.

What is your favourite creative screw-up?
Sitting on the floor of my lounge at night, cutting out patterns and wadding – and then realizing I’d also cut through the quilt covering of my children’s play mat. Doh! ☹

Kitchen table or studio?
Lounge floor and I also share the computer room’s desk with my sewing machine!

Do you have a wish list? Can you tell us what’s on it?
Custom made dolls from A Little Vintage for my girls.
An old fashioned rose tea cup-pin cushion from Cotton Kiwi.
An old fashioned rose tea cup t-shirt from Topography to match.
A grey link necklace scarf from Kute Kiwi.
And happiness for my family!

Around here at New Zealand Handmade, we get pretty excited when we hear from you asking to be our friend. A sort of wiggly email dance starts up, we all head off to your place and say hi, then we tell our friends and we shout out on Facebook. (WHY keep you a secret huh?) 
We also get a kick out of sharing our own passions, letting you see what we are up to and we especially love to share the spotlight with you all  ... Carol