02 February 2012

A Conversation with Bronwen of BK Crafts and Keystones

Bronwen of BK Crafts and Keystones makes a wonderfully eclectic mix of products with her inherited crafty background playing a big part I suspect.  From hand appliqued children's t-shirts to beautiful hand-painted keystones featuring inspirational NZ scenery and uplifting quotes, Bronwen shares with us how she came to take her creative path...

Who is BK Crafts and Keystones? 

I’m Bronwen, the BK of BK crafts. I’m a mum, a wife, a vegetarian, a sewer, a painter, a dancer, a student, a librarian. I like marmite not vegemite, butter not margarine, and I like my fitted sheets folded square.

What’s your “handmade groove ?” 

I will have a go at pretty much any craft. I will see something, and think, “I could make that.” I’m a sewer first, and I do a bit of quilting, patchwork, smocking and embroidery, as well as dressmaking. I also knit, paint, make jewellery, cards, and cake decorations... Did I miss anything? The only thing I’ve tried that I didn’t take to is crochet (my first attempt was a hat that I made at school...it was supposed to be a hat for me, but I gave up in disgust and gave it to my Sindy doll. It fitted her rather well. (I hope some of you remember Sindy, and can therefor picture just how pathetically small that hat was!))

What’s on your bedside table right now? (hey, no tidying up or censoring)

As well as the lamp, baby monitor and a pretty box full of girly stuff (all of which actually belong there) there is a Steiner doll by the name of Sam that I made when I was a child, Sam’s clothes (my 2yr old likes to take Sam’s clothes off, but hasn’t yet learnt to put them back on), an odd sock, an empty gift bag left there since my husband’s birthday last month, the rings from the baby gym, my diary, and “Angel and the Flying Stallions” by Stacy Gregg, which belongs to my daughter and I have just started reading.

Who are your creative role models? 

What music, books, images, poetry spark your creative fire? For my art, I draw a lot of my inspiration from the beautiful scenery around Banks Peninsular. With my sewing, I am often inspired by the fabric itself, and my kids are always inspiring me to make things, toys, costumes and things they will enjoy. I come from crafty stock, my Mum, and both Grannies all being painters and crafters.

What could you talk late into the night about with like minded people? 

Religion, philosophy, and history (Classical that is, especially Alexander the Great) . And ways to cook with chocolate :)

If you could go to three free workshops/creative events this year which ones would they be? What are they about? 

I don’t know of any actual events, but here’s what I’d love to do if I could. A cake decorating workshop, so I could get beyond the dabbling stage, a scrap-booking class to give me the shove I need to do something with all the family photos, and maybe a hand quilting class, so I can learn to do that properly.

How do you balance your creative life with your family, life commitments? 

It can be difficult. I try to do most of my crafts while the children are at school and preschool, or while my son is having a nap, but things do spill over into times that are supposed to be family times. I get fidgety, and can’t sit still, so I usually have some hand-crafts to do while watching TV n the evenings, or while sitting on the deck in the weekends.

What is your favourite creative screw-up? 

I can’t say that I have a “favourite” so perhaps I’ll go with most recent...I was making a new outfit for my son to wear when my husband and I renewed our vows on Christmas Eve. I had made my own pattern for a sailor romper suit, I had almost completed it, and was just trying it on him, when I realised that I had miss-measured and made it too short in the body, and I could barely do up the domes! Luckily I realised I could unpick the bands on the crotch, use the dome tape as a facing, and make it longer that way - and it fits! It probably won’t still fit next summer, as I had originally hoped, but I guess that doesn’t really matter since my husband thinks the Young Lad will be too old to wear things like sailor suits then anyway!

Kitchen table or studio? 

Both!! I have a sewing room, but the table in there is usually so cluttered that I end up cutting out on the dining table. I also paint in the dining room because I like the light better in there. And I like to do my hand-work in the evenings, so I also have a little side-table and drawers in the living room in an attempt to keep it tidy.

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

A dress-makers dummy and a sewing machine with embroidery and quilting stitches (for my crafts), an ice-cream maker (for my sweet tooth), and a lilac tree (for my soul.)

Akaroa harbour - the inspiration behind below keystone

You can find BK Crafts products ... here
And follow on Facebook .... here


  1. Very cool.

    I had a Sindy too, she was less American than Barbie ;-)

    I'd encourage you to try the crochet again, you might find it easier the second time round (I did)

  2. I did try crochet again much later...I made some crochet Christmas decoration, which I am very proud of, as they are really pretty...but they took ages, and were rather frustrating to do, and I didn't like the constant counting I had to do. I didn't find it relaxing like knitting. But maybe I just tried something that was a bit too hard for a newbie

  3. Just loving those key stones, oh so cool, cheers Marie

  4. I had Sindy too:) Very fond memories - infact she is packed somewhere with all her clothes ready for another day of play! Right there with you on the crochet. I can manage a Peggy square but will need a reminder before the next attempt. Really need proper lessons!

  5. Thanks for your comments :)

    Sadly my Sindy is long gone, which is a shame, as it would be fun to have a prop for the times when I tell the story about how my Dad got confused at the toy shop, and bought me Action Woman instead. She was extremely ugly, and I burst into tears. We went to the toy shop and bought Active Sindy right after Christmas :)

    Marie, I'm hoping to paint some new designs this year


We love hearing what you have to say, please feel welcome to leave your comments...