Interviews / Textiles

Interview: Holly Berry, woven textile designer

11.12.13

Holly Berry woven textiles interview Meet the Makers

What originally drew me to Holly Berry’s woven textiles were her snuggly scarves – so colourful and graphic. Furthermore, creating something using declining traditional techniques takes a lot of patience and dedication and once I saw that they spell out cute words in Morse code, I knew I needed to find out a little more about the woman who creates these heirlooms. Read on for Holly’s views on using social media as a crafter, and how she came to be such an incredible weaver. Read More

Interviews / Jewellery / Textiles

Interview: Love from Hetty and Dave…and Zoe

11.05.13

Love from Hetty and Dave interview Meet the Makers

Next up on my tour of MADE London was sitting down for a chat with Zoe Larkins from Love from Hetty and Dave‘, an amazing handmade range of textile accessories and jewellery. With cheery animals and more than a little humour, I knew Zoe would be as awesome as her creations. And I was right!

Love from Hetty and Dave Zoe Larkins interview Meet the Makers

Why ‘Hetty and Dave’?

I bought a photograph from a junk shop when I was at uni of this couple on what looks like their 60th wedding anniversary. She’s got really brilliant cat eye glasses on, and he’s got like magnifying glasses on and I just fell in love with it. When I got home, I took the picture out the frame and saw on the back it said, ‘To Mary and Bill, love from Hetty and Dave’. The photo was a bit of a standing joke in our student house ‘cos it was on top of the telly, and everyone asked, ‘Who are they?’ and found it hilarious. So we just called the business that!

Ace. What uni did you go to?

It was KIAD – Kent Institute of Art & Design, it’s Surrey Institue of Art & Design now. I studied silver and goldsmithing.

Love from Hetty and Dave French Kitty Brooch  interview Meet the Makers French Kitty Brooch // £14

That’s obviously quite different to what you’re doing now – how did that little journey happen?

I just hated it! I did my 3 years, just about scraped a third, don’t know how I passed at all, and just really wanted to work with textiles. But well, you pick up different skills on the way and meet different people at uni, so if I hadn’t gone there, maybe I wouldn’t be doing this now. You just don’t know do you?

You don’t. It’s the way that life works and I think that’s how it should be!

Someone said the other day ‘If your path is clear, you’re on someone else’s path’.

I haven’t heard that before – it’s really reassuring! That’s why I’m doing ‘Meet the Makers’ – I just have so much admiration for people like yourself who have a passion and are following it, and you’re not sitting in an office going ‘I really wish I could do that.’

Well, I used to work in offices and all the time I was thinking, ‘I don’t want to be doing this’ so I worked every hour of the day and night. Just worked in the office during the day, got home and started making. And I don’t know how I did it now, it was really full-on until I could do this permanently and full-time. It’s definitely been worth it! Yeah, I love it. I’m so pleased I put in the hours.

Love from Hetty and Dave Apple of my Eye leather necklace interview Apple of my Eye necklace // £28

What do you get up to outside of Love from Hetty and Dave? Do you have any other hobbies?

Well, I have just started a ceramics evening class, which I absolutely love. I used to really love doing ceramics at school when I was about 16. I teach workshops and one of my friends was actually coming to my workshop and said she was teaching ceramics courses and I thought, ‘Ohhh I’d quite like to do that’. So I do that at the moment and I think I’m just going to keep enrolling on her course every 12 weeks cos it’s soooo brilliant! I’m just always making, I can’t relax unless I’m doing something with my hands.

Do you ever feel like it’s become too much like work? The inspiration’s not there so much and sometimes it’s harder to get into than other times?

Occasionally, but I am really motivated so I don’t really ever feel, ‘Uhhh, I don’t want to do it today’. That’s really rare for me. There might be the odd week where I’m just knackered out, but no, I’m just always making stuff. I suppose when I’m not I spend quite a lot of time with my sister hanging out with their dog, I just like being around animals.

Cuthbert: dapper slug draft excluder extraordinaire // £28

And where do you get your inspiration from? Slugs, for example…

All over the place really. The slugs actually started when I was doing these little cat beanbag things from old cashmere jumpers and I had all these off-cuts of cashmere. I didn’t want to chuck them out but I couldn’t really make much from them and there were some slug-shaped off-cuts and I thought, ‘Well I’ll just make them up and see what happens’. Did not expect anything, I thought, ‘Oh well I’ll have these for years hanging around the shop’, and then they just went instantly. So I actually don’t bother making the cats anymore. But they’ve sort of grown into draft excluders. These ones are actually very English ones, but I do do French ones, black and white stripy ones, I love them. They look amazing – you’ve actually made slugs cute and that’s quite impressive!

Was this always your plan? Do you have a plan B if it was all to change tomorrow?

I don’t know. There were times when my Mum was like, ‘Right. You’ve just got to give yourself a time-frame and if it’s not working out by then you’ve got to rethink it.’ But I wasn’t really prepared to do that! I thought, ‘I’ve got to make this work’.

So are your parents quite creative as well?

Yeah, they are quite actually. That must be very supportive. Yeah, really supportive actually. And my sister (who I’m sharing a stand with) is obviously creative. We all are really. My parents don’t do creative jobs as such but you know, it is there.

Love from Hetty and Dave interview Otis the owl leather clutch bag Otis the owl leather clutch bag (one-off) // £120

One thing I’m interested in is social media. How do you find doing self-promotion? Do you find it quite difficult/time-consuming to put yourself out there? Or is it easy?

To start with, I found it really hard. I found it hard to let go and sort of… I don’t know, I was a bit embarrassed about it, like, ‘Ohhh what are people going to think?’ But now I’ve kind of got over that and I find it quite easy, because it’s so visual. I really try to put something on every day, just to keep people interested, and I really enjoy that. I like Facebook because it connects with everything like Twitter, but Facebook is really what I enjoy.

I can imagine a lot of creators finding the ‘technological’ side of things quite difficult, as it’s not really something you used to have to think about with crafting.

Some people do struggle with it, but I always say to my friends, ‘You’ve got to do the social networking’ even if you hate it. It’s so important now.’ And I see the drop in my sales if I don’t do anything online even if just for a few days, I see my online sales drop dramatically. Really? That’s really interesting! Yeah, it’s such a powerful tool for me. I try and do Instagram, but I’ve got a rubbish phone!

Love from Hetty and Dave bumble bee leather shoes interview Meet the Makers Bumble bee leather shoes // £32

Is there a reason you’ve gone for quite unusual animals – badgers, foxes…? I like that they’re not your usual cute puppies.

I like all the woodlandy stuff, and I’m sort of a bit of a country girl at heart, living in Dorset. I like foxes, hedgehogs, squirrels…

Are there any other crafters, magazines or blogs that you read or recommend; anything you particularly follow and get inspired by?

(Laughs) Do you know what? I’m so in my own little bubble that I don’t know too much. Someone bought something of mine and my sister said, ‘Do you know who that is?’ and I said, ‘No’. Apparently it was quite a famous embroiderer! I’ve got some really crafty friends and I just really adore their work. That must be really nice. Yeah, I think because I don’t get up to London so much now and there isn’t an awful lot going on down there (in Dorset), I do just sort of get caught up in my own little thing.

Love from Hetty and Dave Kingfisher brooch I read a lot of magazines, especially ‘Mollie Makes

Ah yeah, I think I’m in that next month! Oh, brilliant! And is that them approaching you? Yeah. That must be a really incredible feeling when that first happens. Yeah brilliant. I think in Mollie Makes I’m in like nearly every month (laughs), which is great. And I do really like that magazine – it’s lovely to flick through when I get it through the post,

I think I’d find it quite hard to let go of, when you’re making stuff that you love.

I think I have that a lot with my workshops. I teach workshops and people say ‘I’m going to make this for a friend’ but at the end of the workshop, they’re like, ‘Yeah, I’m gonna keep this, and I’m just not going to tell them.’

Brilliant, thank you so much for your time Zoe. It was really really nice to meet you!

You’re welcome.

I’m now currently sat here wondering exactly why I don’t have a giant kingfisher brooch to cheer me up every day, and wishing I lived near Bournemouth so I could check out one of Zoe’s workshops.

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Interviews / Jewellery

Interview: Annabelle Lucilla Jewellery

11.01.13

Annabelle Lucilla Jewellery interview Meet the Makers

Pootling my way around MADE London on Sunday P.S. (Pre-Storm, before our power outed for four and a half days…) I spotted THE most beautiful jewellery – delicate, eye-catching and absolutely one of a kind. Immediately drawn to it, I troubled its creator Annabelle Lucilla Hastings for a few minutes of her time and she kindly agreed to answer a couple of questions.

Annabelle Lucilla Hastings Jewellery interview Peacock Necklace Meet the Makers Single Oriental Peacock Pendant // £180

Could you introduce yourself & your work please?

My name’s Annabelle Lucilla and my jewellery brand’s called Annabelle Lucilla Jewellery. I specialise in etchings so I transfer all my illustrations onto metal. I nickname them metallic graphics – they’re all very detailed and they all have a lovely surface texture. I also love to contemporise ancient techniques so lots of my work is very detailed. Very bold as well.

So how you do you go from drawing an illustration to creating a piece of jewellery?

Well, I use a special technique called etching – you have to transfer your image, your illustration, onto special film which is then transferred onto metal. And then the acids eat away where the lines of your drawing are. How long does that take? To create a bespoke piece would take about 2 to 3 hours.

Annabelle Lucilla Hastings Jewellery interview Large_Oriental_Hoop_Studs Meet the Makers Large oriental hoop studs // £95

Do you run Annabelle Lucilla Hastings Jewellery full-time?

Most of the time, yes. I do a lot of design work for other people, and illustration work too.

Is this something you’ve always wanted to do?

Yup! I’ve always had a really strong idea about what I’ve wanted to do.

Do your friends ask you for jewellery all the time?

Ha, yeah…(laughs) It must be a really tricky situation to be in! Yes, but when it comes to birthdays I do always have an idea of what I want to give somebody. Do you ever want to keep some stuff for yourself? Oh yeah, definitely!

Annabelle Lucilla Hastings Jewellery tiny diamond stacking ring Meet the Makers interview Tiny diamond stacking ring in gold // £36

Where do you get your inspiration from?

This collection is called ‘Oriental Embodiment’ so a lot of inspiration is from ancient Greece and ancient India. I look at lots of Grecian forms, lots of Grecian and Indian decorations, and lots of Indian adornment as well. So a lot of my work is very full of articulation, lots of moving parts, lots of details and it’s all very decadent.

Are there any specific blogs, websites or magazines that you follow? Anything that you’d recommend particularly?

I love National Geographic, just because of all the interesting places and unusual surroundings they visit. It’s really inspiring and I get to see places that I’d love to go but I can’t – I take my holidays via images.

Annabelle Lucilla Hastings Jewellery Helios interview Meet the Makers Lantern charm hand chain // £90

Do you have a favourite piece?

I always wear the single oriental peacock necklace, just because it’s so easy to wear and it accessorises any outfit because it’s just so glam.

Thank you so much for your time Annabelle, it was great to meet you!

Annabelle Lucilla Hastings illustration Parrot print interview Meet the Makers One of Annabelle’s detailed illustrations

I left Annabelle’s stand feeling (as expected) in awe of the time and patience she puts into creating each unique piece, as well as wondering exactly how big the hints are I need to drop to my loved ones about what I want under the Christmas tree this year (subtle!). Most excitingly, Annabelle hinted that she would one day love to open her own shop – watch this space!

You can follow Annabelle Lucilla Jewellery on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and on her Instagram.

What piece of Annabelle Lucilla Jewellery would you most like to discover Dec. 25th?

(Images: via Annabelle Lucilla Jewellery)

What I want

Well, that got exciting fast

10.23.13

Gosh! People are nice aren’t they? I emailed Zoe from the ace lovefromhettyanddave asking whether she may have a few minutes free this Sunday (at MADE London) for a couple of pics and some questions, and she not only said yes but also replied in record time! Now I need to figure out how to speak to her without accidentally buying all of her amazing products, wish me luck…

In the meantime, here are a few of my Wednesday Wants from lovefromhettyanddave:

 

New York cushion
Rah! Tiger feet!

 

Eye want to wear this
Ahoy there me hearties

 

 

Spotlight

Hello and Welcome to Meet the Makers

10.23.13

v about

Hello!

Thank you for visiting Meet the Makers, a brand new site dedicated to all those smashing, talented people out there who make stuff, paint stuff, write things, sing things and basically create anything they can, because they can. I can’t you see, making things is not what you could call my strongest point (I still remember my GCSE Art Teacher commenting ‘I really thought you were a B student at one point…but I can see I was wrong‘). But my admiration/jealousy for people who are not only talented but are actively following their passion is never-ending.

So I say: if you can’t join them, meet them instead! Meet the Makers is all about actually meeting these creatives and asking a question or three to find out about their journeys, products, advice, embarrassing anecdotes, anything really that satisfies my curious mind. These ‘chats’ (interview is a strong word don’t you think? Although I use it often. Anyone got an alternative for me?) will introduce you to some of the most original and beautiful hand-made creations and the people behind them. I strongly believe that everyone has a story to tell and in doing so, a little or a lot of inspiration to give – I can’t wait to share some stories with you!

I’m hoping this will cure me of my jealousy as well.

I’m excited! I hope you are too,

 

Verity x

PS. Any creators/crafters/artists/artisans, etc who you may know or may in fact be, if you fancy talking about you and your work (whether in person or by email), please leave a comment below or email verity@meetthemakers.co.uk.