"As a designer and creator I take my inspiration from a number of sources. I have inherited a love of fabrics and sewing from my grandmother. Having trained as a seamstress with a tailoring firm in Christchurch she was widowed early in her marriage and would take in sewing and dressmaking to support her young family.
As a child I would love to visit her and rummage through her cupboards beside the fireplace. She would encourage me to find a few special pieces of fabric to take home. I have inherited her practical nature, basket of nic nacs and colourful reels of cottons.
I also take inspiration from the wonderful colours and designs in the creation around me. I love gardening, a pastime fostered by my mum, and have the pleasure of sewing from home in a sunny space overlooking my courtyard garden.
I have a fascination with mathematical designs and repeat patterns. My natural curiosity as to how and why things work has been developed over the years by my education and training in teaching and interior design and by a keen sense of observation. I love the satisfaction of designing something that is both beautiful and practical.
Thrift is an old fashioned concept which we now describe as revamping/upcycling – it's all about reusing materials and reducing wastage. There is something incredibly satisfying about finding old treasures and giving them a new lease of life – bringing our heritage into the present.
I refashion vintage NZ wool blankets into Baby Blankets with cotton trims and currently am developing a range of Hottie Covers with original hand-stitched wool designs"
Photos by Sarah Greig illustration & design
Nicola Ellis - Rustic Love
Pop in to the shop and see the range from Nicola Ellis’ Rustic Love. The products consist of beautiful hessian bunting with a variety of words and patterns - chevron and spots, hearts or stars and "Mr & Mrs". They come in a variety of colours and can also be made to order. There are also some yummy hearts and crosses with gorgeous lace doilies in a range of on-trend colours, as well as industrial style ones in similar colours. Nicola says, ‘I hope to add some larger hearts and stars to the range in the next few months and maybe some birds too!’
This gorgeous collection is ideal for someone close on Valentine’s Day. Nicola is running a special for the month of February so with any Rustic Love product purchased you will receive a free small heart or star.
Rustic Love started last year for Nicola to have a creative outlet while being at home with her three children. Nicola says, ‘I have always been into creative things whether it be cross stitch, scrapbooking or making things for my home! I tend to see something I like and think "I can make that" and usually give it a go. All my children have things in their rooms made by me. Actually all over my house are creations by me!’
Nicola adds, ‘I love rustic/ vintage things, and up-cycling is something that works well for me. A lot of my bits and pieces are made out of old pallets and treasures I have found on the side of the road!’
Nicola became involved in Pay It Forward about nine months ago, as another way of getting visibility for her products and meeting other like-minded creators. She says, ‘I love the community feel about the shop and am very excited about the move to the new space two doors down. Working in the shop a couple of times a month means that I can see what's new and be in contact with the customers.’
Jill and Michelle are the Mother-Daughter Duo behind 'Not Just Cakes' and we at Pay It Forward are excited to have them as designers of the month this November. When it comes to cakes Jill is self-taught and has been decorating for customers for almost twenty years. For them, the best part of the process is seeing the looks on people's faces when they collect their masterpieces - especially the children!
The duo have also recently started making cards too, which came about thanks to earthquakes and wanting something to occupy the evenings - the perfect therapy!
To celebrate you will receive a free fudge with any purchase of 'Not Just Cakes' over $10! YUM!
Jill and Michelle initially were involved in a family bakery, after selling the business they decided to found 'Not Just Cakes' and incorporate a few of their loves - cakes, cookies, classes, cards and catering. Jill's skills in the art of cake decorating have been passed on to Michelle, whilst Jill loves creating three dimensional cakes, whilst Michelle loves decorating cookies - making a great combination.
The generational art of decorating was started long before the art became 'it' and 'now', and before there were so many other makers on the landscape. Both love being creative and believe this flows through their veins, after being passed down from the family matriarch Nana Marion.
The duo became involved with Pay It Forward in March and as Michelle says "I think the thing I love most about it, is how the shop changes every time I go in. I love my time in there, getting to look around and see what new things all the artisans have made. Everyone brings something different and unique to Pay It Forward and the combined creativity in such a tiny shop just makes it ooze 'wow' factor"
The changing and evolving projects the duo work on means that everyday is different"Sometimes we are up working early, sometimes we are up late. I think that is one fun part about us, things are so constantly different that we never get bored of what we do."
Sometimes the duo are asked to interpret a concept and get creative, as Michelle says"We chat about ideas, sometimes search for ideas, but it can tend to be a 'create as we go' situation sometimes. We are always bouncing ideas off each other though - and both of us have different strengths which can come in handy. I have a Pinterest board full of pins that contain ideas I would like to use someday - with a love of cakes, cookies and papercraft - it is rather large!"
A lot of what they create is custom made, with their customers providing very specific briefs to be fulfilled. "Prehaps you could say we are more inspired by products - and what we can do with them. More than a particular person. Our whole family are fans of Duff from 'Ace of Cakes' and the girls at 'Charly's Bakery' though!"
Be sure to pop by the store this November and check out what else the duo have on offer!
Luscious lotions now available at Pay It Forward. Koral Fitzgerald’s Handled With Care range features at Pay It Forward, corner Nancy Ave and Weston Road this month. Koral says, ‘It came about as an extension of a hobby making natural goodies for myself, friends and family. Most Christmases, those nearest and dearest to me would get something created by my hands - baking, crafts or products to use on themselves or around the house. I am a wife, proud mum to a gorgeous toddler and have had a career working in the health and not-for-profit sectors. I thrive on challenges and actively live life.’
The brand name originated from the ethos Koral has around what we put into and onto our bodies - with so many additives, preservatives, petroleum, SLS and often long chemical names on ingredients lists these days, we miss the message that Mother Nature has something for everybody, for every ailment. It just needs to be selected and prepared appropriately, that is, handled with care.
Connecting with Pay It Forward after a friend of mine introduced me to the shop, I have chosen my favourite few products to market and sell, with the goal to expand in due course,’ says Koral. ‘My keystone product is Calendula Salve. This all-purpose preparation is made from organic dried flowers of the calendula, and is macerated for 4-6 weeks in oil to extract the healing properties of this fabulous plant. It can be used on almost all minor skin complaints including eczema, chapped lips and burns.’
Other products include a natural lip balm tinted with freshly cooked beetroot, a coffee/coconut oil/cinnamon body scrub to awaken your senses and a fresh lemon hand and foot scrub. In addition to the treats for humans, Koral hasn’t forgotten our beloved four-legged friends! Taste-tested on many canines, she makes two varieties of pooch treats that can be used as a training tool, or simply a natural indulgence for your dog.
Koral’s products are free from synthetics, additives, detergents and parabens. As they are also preservative-free, most products will have a shorter shelf life than store-bought equivalents, however they don't usually get to sit around for long! Look out for new products in Koral’s range coming soon - other salves, scrubs, ointments, oils, soaps, balms and bath treats. So do your body some good and treat yourself (and your pooch) to these natural products.
We were lucky enough to sit down with Koral and ask her a few questions about her creative journey...
Koral, you are actively involved in Pay It Forward, what do you enjoy most about being involved with this project? The Pay It Forward co-operative is an amazing creation for like-minded artisans, and I am very grateful the Neighbourhood Trust had the insight and energy to run with it! I enjoy meeting other artisans, chatting to them about their products and their journey so far creating beautiful items. Looking after the shop is also fun, especially being able to help customers find what they need and to educate them on who we are and what we do as a group. To this day, each time I have done a shift I leave having purchased at least one item! With that, I love being able to support my peers in the group, as the range is so diverse it is a fabulous location to purchase birthday and Christmas gifts.
What does an average day look like to you? I am a busy mum juggling a part-time job and caring for my one year old son. As most people do I'm sure, I look forward to the weekends - time to spend as a family, catch up on some chores, see friends and most importantly, have fun! I put aside time every fortnight to work on projects needing my attention, including 'Handled with Care'.
Who do you consider to be your muse? Mother Nature.
What does your creative look like? I have a lovely ring-bound A4 notebook which journals my creation of 'Handled with Care', including many pages of sketches of how the logo might look, page references for recipes I have seen in books or magazines to try out, costings of ingredients, and many recipes either jotted in or cut-and-pasted from elsewhere. I have a bookshelf full of books and magazines regarding natural health and beauty - flicking through these gives me inspiration when I make new things.
What is the best piece of advice you've learnt on your creative journey? It may not be perfect the first time around: review, learn, adapt and do it all again!
Where to next? I would love to have my items available as an online store and expand my range to include all the goodies I love making at different times of the year. As time permits, I hope I can chip away at this goal over the next year.
Hi I'm Amber from Vintage Mosaics. I have been dabbling in the vast expanse of mosaic art for fifteen years now, and have worked with every different type of mixed media available and have fallen in love with china. I work the direct mosaic method and I have a collection of vintage china mirrors available.
After the earthquakes I was able to offer an alternative to throwing away the broken bits - offering to make something from them. This is how my workshops were born.
For the month of September purchase any workshop and bring a friend for free as part of the 'Pay It Forward' designer of the month promotion.
You are actively involved with Pay It Forward, what do you enjoy most about being involved with this project?
I have been a part of Pay It Forward for six months, I have met some really lovely creative people and I enjoy being part of this project evolving into something amazing for our community. It isn't until you immerse yourself into something like this that you realise how many truly talented people there are.
What does an average day look like to you?
My average day begins early with the school run, then back home to tie up any lose ends so I can start with a blank slate.
If I have orders I will always be working on these but any new designs are always ticking away as I work. I don't pre-draw or anything, the work just flows and develops as I go and sometimes the end result can be totally different to when you started.
What does your creative look like? Do you keep sketch/recipe books? Have an online journal? I keep a photo record of pieces I have made in case a customer has seen a particular piece and wants it matched as close as possible. Other than the co-op I sell on-line and have pieces for sale in cafes & galleries in Central Otago where I come from.
My workshops are held at home usually during the day but generally worked around the student, the best part seems to be the smashing of china, they love it!
I enjoy passing on my knowledge and watching the students create their own masterpiece and everyone's personality comes out in their work, then they go home and they have the mosaic bug, it's great to see.
My goal is to continue to teach & grow my workshops so others can create, it's a lot of fun and I am meeting some very interesting people along the way. Christchurch has a very intertwined artistic community, and with our city becoming a very unique landscape this community has a great launch pad.
Tell us the story behind ‘your brand’ - the who, what and how of how it came to be.
Pretty Birds itself started with my husband saying “You’ve got too much stuff. You need to sell some.” I got together with my friends Emma and Christy and we pooled our ideas together and started Pretty Birds Creations. They were going to be selling some of their craftiness under the Pretty Birds name too, which is why we are Pretty Birds Creations, rather than Pretty Birds Jewellery, but they both got caught up in other parts of their lives and now cheer me on from the sidelines (and give good advice!) So now it’s just me and the bling. It has grown faster than I expected, and isn’t the ideal way to start a business, but when I started I didn’t realise that’s what I was doing, however, I do now and I’m far more intentional about what I do and how I do it – I’m always tweaking!
You are actively involved with Pay It Forward, what do you enjoy most about being involved with this project?
I love being in the shop. I’d been thinking that I’d like to maybe have a shop one day and then saw Hazels’ call for interest in Pay it Forward. When I realised it was in conjunction with The Neigbourhood Trust I definitely wanted to be on board because I had worked with NHT on another project a few years ago and knew they were very good at community focussed projects and that Ginny was amazing at getting things off the ground. It’s a great opportunity for lots of us to learn and hone our skills and I’m really enjoying working with other artisans. We’ve also had great feedback from the community and they seem really stoked that we’re there. I can’t wait to move in to the bigger shop!
What does an average day look like to you?
I love this question. Now that all three kids are at school I’m finally getting a more settled daily routine going. After I get them off to the school bus stop, I do a quick whip around the morning jobs -breakfast dishes, putting on a load of washing etc (although some days if you looked in the window it might look like I’m sitting on facebook but really you’re hallucinating).
I try to get out to the shed by 9 and work solidly until 3pm. The best days are when I’m creating then look at the clock and it’s 2.45 and I feel like I’ve only just started – looove that feeling of “flow.” On other days I may do a few hours in the shed then come inside to the computer and either do accounts, email replies, designing, or packaging up parcels and taking them down to the Post Office in Kaiapoi.
Evenings often find me sifting round my suppliers websites re-ordering or seeing what’s new. If I’ve had enough for the day I’m deep in a book or veged out in front of the TV.
Who do you consider to be your muse?
Probably more like “what”, but there are a few “who” as well, including some of my stylish friends, who probably don’t even know they are!
What does your creative look like? Do you keep sketch/recipe books? Have an online journal?
Two ways: Pinterest (nuff said). Also, I have a diary. I write down inspirations in there, draw little pictures etc and make notes. I generally disregard the date so I end up making notes I think of in July way back in February or where ever there’s an empty page. I certainly don’t use it as a diary or appointment calendar – that’s what my phone is for! I probably should just get a notebook and use that instead…
What is the best piece of creative advice you’ve learnt on your creative journey?
I heard something I really liked the other day “Originality is the best form of rebellion” Mike Sasso. It’s hard to come up with ideas that are all your own (really, there’s nothing new under the sun), however I know most of us crafty people try hard to be original. I have lots of ideas, but I’m quite good at letting them sit for a while and then next thing you know someone else brings out “my” idea. I need to act on my ideas quicker!
Where to next? Where do you see ‘Your brand’ heading in the future?
I’m in a position to take on more retailers now with the kids all at school, so I would like to be stocked in more shops around the country. I love the relationships I have with all my stockists and for the most part, different retailers suit different collections from my range which keeps things interesting for me. Often when I’m designing I’ll have an idea of which customers will like which styles and which stockists the piece will suit. It keeps things fun - places like Lava Gallery in Akaroa and Design Withdrawals in Dunedin, who have been stocking me from the beginning, are always wanting pieces that are new and “now” so that also pushes me to look for fresh new ideas.
As for other things, I’ll be working more in sterling silver and other materials too. I’ve also been working on a range non-jewellery items for about a year now, and I’m getting closer to break through with them – all the stars are lining up – hopefully!
Do you have any specials running this month?
Yes! During the month of August there is a box full of Pretty Birds jewellery and if you purchase anything from the Pretty Birds range in store, you will get to choose anything you like from the box - for free!
I’m Ginny, the Manager and New Projects Worker for Neighbourhood Trust (NHT), a charitable trust set up in 1999. The whole idea of Pay It Forward had been whispering to me for a long time – around 18 months before doing much about it. It was a concept of having a range of activities operating from one site that would increase the well-being of the community, as well as foster a sense of generosity and encourage creativity.
The start was a combination of factors. I’d done quite a bit of research around social enterprise – businesses set up with a social purpose and there were lots of vacant shops in the Mairehau area attracting graffiti and starting to look really run-down. Being faith-based, I felt it was a God nudge to have a base in the heart of Mairehau, but didn’t have a clue what form that would take. One of the shops had once been a second-hand book store, owned by an older man and when he fell ill, he just closed it down. People in the community had missed it, so second-hand books and promoting a love of learning was the start point. But I knew there was much more to the project.
I noticed all the craft markets going on and the lack of a base for Canterbury crafts people with the Arts Centre not able to be used. It was natural to talk with Hazel about the possibility of creating a hub and retail outlet for artisans. From there it kind of snow-balled as the first query put on her website had a host of replies and lots of enthusiasm for the idea.
As well as the retail side of things, there was a need to rebuild the sense of community in this suburb, which had been torn apart by the earthquakes and school closures. I saw Pay It Forward as becoming a meeting place for people, where they could browse at leisure, use the shop as a base for walking groups, learn new crafts, have discussion groups on special interest areas and be a place to swap resources and skills.
At the same time Council had recognised the lack of community meeting places in Mairehau and supported the project with a grant from their Endowment Fund. This gave the confidence to look at purchasing one of the shops. We took out a lease on a corner shop, with SeniorNet (who teach new technologies to older adults) coming on board as partners and using the back part of the shop, while we set up a pilot project shop in the front part. There is also a children’s books swap box out front and it is delightful to see children stop and take a book and the surprise from their parents that they are free. We’d love some more donations into the box as they disappear quite quickly.
We love the name 'Pay It Forward', we're all aware of the concept, but why this name for the store? The idea for the name came from the sense of a place where people would share what they had to offer with others, a place of warmth and welcome. A place where crafts people learn from each other, with knowledge and expertise shared. A place where others can learn new skills and pass them on to others. A place to give in to (children’s books, produce) - to experience the ‘buzz’ of giving without expecting something back.
Each of us have people in our lives who have given to us freely – of time, money, resources, gifts that made us feel good when we were down. We may never be able to pay them back but know that they would be happy that we had passed on this good fortune to others. That we are prepared to listen to the story of someone who needs to be heard; to share a book with a child who might not otherwise have books; to share knowledge and expertise and pass on the love of making something ourselves.
It’s a statement against our ‘me first’ world of consumerism and is a reminder that we live in a community and each of us are affected by the acts of others.
How does the store work? The store is a co-operative that houses 21 artisans, with currently 19 inquiries from potential new crafters. Each brings skills and expertise in different areas with them, so there is an amazing buzz in the room when meetings are held. Commission is charged on sales and this helps to pay the bills and bring resources into the shop. The commission is based on the number of hours the person contributes into the running of the project, whether it is working in the shop or helping with advertising, Facebook page, delivering flyers, processing new artisans or doing displays. The project remains under the Neighbourhood Trust umbrella, so any surplus goes back into the community.
How can artisans get involved with the store? As we have a large number of people already involved, the group decided to set up a curator’s panel, which meets every couple of months or so. We have an application form that newcomers can fill out and then we ask them to bring in a few samples of their work for the curators to view. There is a matrix of criteria and a rating system to try to maintain a fair process. The current shop is small and even when we move we won’t have heaps of room, so the curators have to be discerning around what fits in with the style of the shop and what will complement the current items on offer, as well as having got a feel for what sells best through this outlet. If they give a ‘no’ it therefore doesn’t reflect on quality or even attractiveness of the product. Having said this, we love to see new creations and welcome newcomers. You can pick up an application form from Pay It Forward (cnr Nancy Ave and Weston Road), or email email@example.com or inquire through the website payitforward.kiwi.nz
Because the store is a co-operative, the artisans have the opportunity to make decisions around every element of the store. It’s their place, but without the huge overheads that normally apply to running a shop. And they have support from day one from their peers. If they have questions around for example, tax law, they can ask another crafter who is also a chartered accountant. If they have questions around branding, one of the crafters is a graphic designer. There’s also a mix of people who have been creating their craft for a long time and have developed it into a substantial business and those who are just starting out. There’s a generosity in those who have worked through different issues that come up when you are creating objects for sale, being willing to pass on what they have learned, so there is a coaching element. It can be as simple as where’s the best place to purchase boxes for packaging.
We have a ‘secret’ Facebook page for discussions, questions and formulating policies and ways of working together.
It’s exciting because it’s still in the formative stage. Artisans have the ability to feed in ideas about how the new shop might look and what services it might provide. And they know they are backed 100% by NHT. It’s also stimulating, as this is a new concept – having social services alongside a retail outlet, so we are all learning as we go.
Where to next for Pay It Forward? Earlier this year, we purchased a bigger shop two doors down from the current pilot project, but didn’t immediately have the resources to be able to develop it. A grant from The Canterbury Community Trust Social Enterprise Fund has made it possible to set in place plans to turn this into both a larger retail outlet and a meeting/learning place. There’ll also be computers set up with internet access and assistance for those who need it, a mail-drop box for people in transitional accommodation and an automated coffee and hot chocolate machine. We believe it will become a destination shop, where people will hang around for a bit and enjoy the atmosphere. We’re excited to be at the stage where work will begin on alterations and Pay It Forward can expand.
We also spoke with a couple of the artisans themselves about Pay It Forward, this is what they had to say.
Kirstee from Hibiscus, why did you decide to get involved in Pay It Forward? When I answered the call for Pay It Forward applications, I was fairly new to the Christchurch indie design scene, and I was really focused on getting feet in doors and fingers in pies, so to speak. I pretty much jumped on into anything that came my way, and the results of the frightfully busy six months that followed have catapulted me into 2014 with great gusto and a gargantuan appetite for more.
What is the best bit about being involved in the co-op? I've said this before, and I'll say it again. It's the gathering together. Gathering of amazing talent and fruitful minds, all focused on one, ultimate goal. By each individual bringing independent dreams, significance and ideas and by releasing them into the encompassing support of the Pay It Forward pot, the soup which has evolved in these last seven months is one of spirit, zest and soul. Pay It Forward is not only a gorgeous little shop on a quiet suburban corner in Christchurch, it is that courage, inspiration and love of the thirty four faces behind it. Co operative. It's an outrageously uplifting place to be.
Koral from Handled with Care, why did you decide to get involved in Pay It Forward? I decided to get involved as I had a window of opportunity whilst on maternity leave. It allowed me space to be more creative, and this also provided a good artistic outlet whilst juggling my gorgeous baby boy.
What is the best bit about being involved in the co-op? As a new addition to the group, I am learning the benefits of being part of the Pay It Forward co-op as I go! It was great to attend my first committee meeting last week and put a number of faces to the names I was aware of, and see the amazing insight and vision that the group has for expanding the brand. This is the first time I have sold products I've made, and it is great volunteering hours at the shop to meet your potential customers. I'm immensely enjoying it!
Rose in Thorns has been my creative outlet for quite some time now. It began many years ago as rose among thorns, a brand I used for freelance graphic design work. A couple of years later I decided I would like to get back into candle making again, and I setup a stand at Craft World as ‘Candles by rose among thorns’. This was put on hold for a few more years to make time for our OE and then our wedding. At the same time the local craft scene was beginning to grow, so I decided to join in!
I looked into different alternatives to the rather unsustainable paraffin wax I had been using, and found that recycling old candles and using soy wax were two options worth exploring further. Since then, the range has evolved quite a lot, and I made the leap to self-employment after I discovered permanent jobs aren’t always permanent. I still dabble in graphic design, and have worked on the Pay it Forward brand.
You are actively involved with Pay It Forward, what do you enjoy most about being involved with this project? I like having our own wee shop! It’s something I’ve always dreamed about, but the reality of setting one up and running it means it never got past that stage. Unlike having your products in other stores, you get to choose what to display, and how to display it. I really like having that input, and seeing what works and what doesn’t. It’s great working with the other designers behind the scenes too, everyone has different skills, and together we’ve created something quite special.
You have a background in Graphic Design, how do you think this has shaped the brand in front of us today? My logo has evolved along with the business, I think it’s on its third incarnation now! It definitely helps to give my brand a more professional feel, though like all specialists in their field, I never seem to spend enough time on it as I think I should! I often get comments from people saying how they love the look of my brand.
What does an average day look like to you? I have a one year old son, so there is no such thing as an ‘average’ day! I try to sneak in some work while he naps, but often there’s a juggle between that and the household chores. I have some regular candle and design clients, so I’ll often try to keep up to date with their work, and I’ll make any candle orders, or replenish stock that is running low. Candle making is a disjointed process, as once the candles are poured, I usually wait to the next day before I can finish them. Consequently there can be several half finished batches of candles in progress at any given time! If there is any spare time, I might work on some new designs, or do some marketing on social media. Then of course there is the paperwork that always takes longer than I would like it to!
Who do you consider to be your muse? I don’t really have one, to be honest! I’ve always tried to keep my candles a little different to what’s already out there, so I’m usually looking for the gaps to fill, or what’s not there.
What does your creative look like? Do you keep sketch/recipe books? Have an online journal? It mostly lives in my head. I aspire to be organised, and keep track of everything, but I tend to end up with lots of bits of paper. I have lots of lists to help remind what I want to do next, but it almost seems to be a lot longer than the available time I have to do it.
What is the best piece of creative advice you've learnt on your creative journey? You don’t know until you try.
Where to next? Where do you see Rose in Thorns heading in the future? I still have a list of things I thought I could make when I first signed up to Felt all those years ago. Some I have tried, some given up on, and some still sit there, waiting. I like drawing and painting, and would love to get into illustration, and do a range of greeting cards and maybe other stationery or prints. I do have a new project I’m working on at the moment. It’s getting closer to completion, so hopefully I will be able to reveal all soon!
What is the story behind 'Hibiscus'? The naming itself is a nod to my time overseas, spending glorious years nestled in a sub tropical paradise. Every morning, without much fail, I would pick a hibiscus flower for my hair on my way to work, so naming my business after my own sweet memories seem apt, given that this, my own little business, was created from dreams of past reminiscence, just by me.
How did the brand come to be? Hibiscus was dreamt in my imagination back in 2005, a year after I welcomed our first child into the world. It has taken on a number of different faces since, including a substantial break following the Christchurch earthquakes (where all my stock was stuck in our red stickered Mt Pleasant home, unable to be salvaged for a time). The Hibiscus which lies before you now was created after our second child was born, and after our world had stopped rocking, in 2013, and has taken on a life of it’s own during the last twelve months.
Your brand is synonymous with upcycling. What do you enjoy most about working with and restoring previously loved pieces? Without a doubt, it has to be the transformation from beast to beauty. I also get a huge sense of achievement knowing I have deliberately saved one more piece of unused furniture from the scrap heap and imminent landfill.
I like to think I’m saving the planet one piece of wood and vintage book at a time! My ‘get up and go’ stems from the immense pleasure I gain from sanding a piece of many times painted furniture, and seeing what beauty of forgotten wood might lay beneath.
I am often sprung posting pictures of before and after sanding adventures, it keeps the history part real for me, and I hope it enables my customers to appreciate the pieces in their real and true form.
I try to keep as much natural, bare wood, in some capacity, in as many pieces as possible, though do admit defeat in original wood too damaged to remain bare. This is when I haul out the fabric and turn it into something almost majestical...
Do you have any interesting stories about where you've discovered pieces that you've worked with? I spend a lot of time garage saling and op shopping! There have been amazing finds of disused Russian lifeboat oars and mid century side tables which have gone on to live again in the form of children’s play kitchen’s and tide clocks. I often wonder what these pieces have seen in their lifetime, and get a load of pleasure knowing I have given them life to see a whole lot more...
You are one of the founding Pay It Forward artisans, what have you enjoyed most about this creative journey? Most definitely the gathering together. Gathering of people who become one brain, resources which become the co-operative and running as a whole, and the friendships which ensue.
What are the advantages to being in a co-operative like this? The saying goes “Many hands make light work." In Pay It Forward’s case, many hands make for more than just light work, it also represents the gathering of a community of like minded, kindred crafting spirits working together for one common goal - bringing New Zealand the best of local, handcrafted amazingness!
I know you've collaborated with a couple of the other founding artisans - recently Crazybird with the cover of Hazed and at markets with Miss Mavis, what do you enjoy most about having the opportunity to work with other designers. Knowing there are others out there who have a ‘lightbulb project moment’ at some wildly un-human hour, which they must start immediately... and again, the pooling of resources and talents to show my best work to it’s full potential. This is highly evident at markets where I collaborate with Sam from Miss Mavis. Furniture is jolly hard to present on it’s own to make it look useable and homely, so the addition of a couple of stunning cushions will never go astray!
Your still relatively new to this 'scene', what hurdles have you found along your journey? With earthquakes, shifting house (and business) copious amounts of times aside, not a lot I'm pleased to say! I have been warmly welcomed into the world of indie design in Christchurch, with many dreams being realised very quickly in the forms of market acceptance’s, repeat clients, appearing in and on the cover of Hazed Magazine, and being a part of the Pay It Forward Co Operative. The above are just some of the opportunities I have jumped for, and landed the proverbial feather for Hibiscus’s cap.
And, where do you see your journey taking you in the future? I’m currently conquering the universe. I’ll let you know how that goes for me!
What is the best piece of creative advice you've ever been given? Be true to you. Hold the values within, high on the outside. I’ve also learned the same rule is true for my knickers when attempting to be an entrepreneur/stay at home Mama Super Hero.
What does the term 'Indie Design' mean to you? Individuality. Close to home locality. It’s a revolution. Get amongst it. I dare you!