>>> I’ve been neglecting my blog the past couple of weeks but for good reason – i’ve just launched my Little Swift shop on Etsy!
>>> Little Swift is the place to find unique, colorful, folk inspired, whimsical accessories. Each accessory piece is lovingly designed and handmade by myself in my little studio space in Suffolk, England. I use reclaimed fabrics and textiles, along with vintage buttons, embroidery thread and other treasures found in charity shops and second hand stores. Each piece is unique and a one off and I love to reinvent, recycle and remake which is the philosophy I like to follow when I create new products for the shop.
>>> I’ve included a few photos of some of the accessories available to purchase at Little Swift, I hope you like them!
>>> If you would like to visit the Little Swift shop please click here
>>> Whenever I travel I like to keep a visual record of the things I see, experience and discover. This is usually done with my digital camera but when I have the time and opportunity I love getting out my watercolours, ink and pencils and working on paper.
>>> This is what I did for my recent trip to South East Asia where I found I had time to make little sketches and collages inspired by the landscapes and scenes I saw in Java, Cambodia and Vietnam. The paper used was rice paper I bought from a little artists studio in Hoi Ann, Vietnam and was perfect for mixing washes of the watercolour paint, other papers were found on my travels, gleened from old books and packaging and used in the collages. Birds are used in some of the pieces (as I love to draw them), the colours and styles inspired by the asian cultures and designs I experienced.
>>> Here are a few pages from my Sketchbook – Trails of Asia, I hope you enjoy looking at them.
>>> All work is Copyright Cheryl Henry 2012. Please do not use, copy or reproduce these images without asking permission first. Thankyou.
>>> I think Pop Up shops are brilliant and I was so happy to discover one at the end of my street in the Carlton suburb of Melbourne. Even moreso when I saw that it was a Craft Co-op called The Crafty Co and had just recently opened to the public.
>>> Not wanting to miss out I ventured in to say hello to the two lovely ladies behind the counter and after talking to them both for a bit I asked if they were looking for anyone else to get involved with the co-op. I explained I was a textile designer and had been making and selling handmade recycled paper products in Brisbane at Suitcase Rummage. They took my details and after a quick meeting with the owner Tracey I was invited to join the Crafty Co Pop Up Shop.
>>> I excitedly set about making some new stock for the Crafty Co Shop, new designs for gift tags, new handmade notebooks and button bobbles in a colour palette I could merchandise together. It was really great to see the paper giftware in a retail space environment and because the Crafty Co is run as a co-operative it was really affordable for first timers into retail like myself. We all shared the rental costs and expenses in return for a low commission on sales we make.
>>> Being part of the Crafty Co means we all take some time out of our work/life to run the shop so that it is open to the public and we can generate sales and interest for our work.
>>> This has been a great experience too as I love the face to face contact with customers and to be able to talk about the products and what’s behind the process. It’s local and handmade in Melbourne and that’s what I really loved and got excited about being part of.
>>> This time last year I was escaping the UK winter by living in Brisbane, Australia. Whilst I was there I discovered a bespoke monthly Indie Market called Suitcase Rummage. It was held in the open air in a square at the top of the busy Queen Street Mall one sunday a month and cost a mere $10 for a pitch where you could sell just about anything!
>>> The only thing you were required to have was a suitcase used as part of your display and there was an eclectic mix of handmade products made by young and old alongside vintage, second hand and retro goods sold by small independants or individuals just clearing out their closets.
>>> Having dipped my toes into the water making handmade bird collages and other products in New Zealand I was really keen to start making things to sell in Australia. Suitcase Rummage was perfect and I loved the quirky collection of stalls and the focus on handmade designers and makers.
>>> I decided to make recycled paper products such as gift tags, ‘chook marks’ for books, framed artwork, artisan notebooks and recycled button hair accessories. I set up a stall with my partner Matt who is a graphic designer and we began spruiking our handmade goodies to the Brissie crowds.
>>> Much fun was had and friends made at Suitcase Rummage in the following few months. We had to leave Brisbane for pastures new but having been inspired by the genuine regard and love for things handmade we looked forward to what Melbourne’s indie craft scene had to offer us.
>>> Just a collection of some illustration and print visuals I found to inspire me on a Saturday afternoon. Incredible colours and attention to detail, fresh, playful pattern and designs, all of which embrace a love for hand drawn illustration.
>>> Birds are one of my favourite things and they are used lots in my design work. They are such beautiful shapes, colours and patterns and they constantly fascinate me.
>>> I was travelling and working in New Zealand during 2009 and 2010 and whilst I was there I had plenty of time to discover the unique birds of this beautiful country. I was exploring paper collage at the time as it was easy to carry around in a backpack, no paints and brushes required, just some paper and a pritt stick! I was using recycled papers, cutting bits of pages out of magazines, which was great fun and meant I could build layers and create textures within the designs.
>>> The finished designs were copied and made into cards which I sold to a gallery called Birdwoods near Hastings and also on a weekly craft market at Takaka in Golden Bay. The original paper collages were custom framed when I returned to the UK and are available to buy on my Misi Shop – http://www.misi.co.uk/handmade/littleswift.html
>>> Recycling fabric and re-inventing textiles, breathing new life into once discarded or unloved items of clothing or homeware is something that I love and I always enjoy finding other designer/makers who share that enjoyment too. In today’s consumer driven madness, it is totally refreshing to see design embracing the ‘recycle, re-invent, remake’ philosophy, such as Ingrid Jansen from Wood and Wool Stool in the Netherlands.
>>> Her beautiful homewares are made lovingly from secondhand crochet blankets and reclaimed wood. She turns them into cushions, stools and picture frames which fit so well in a variety of interior spaces. I love the eclectic mix of patterns and colours and the homespun and handcrafted look of the finished products, they are truly lovely objects to use and admire.
>>> Being a trained weaver I am always on the lookout for interesting uses and applications of woven design. When I was studying at university my degree collection encorporated some fabrics made like a rag rug with reclaimed strips of fabric and ribbon woven into the cloth, creating a new fabric out of old pieces of fabric. I still like rag rugs today so I guess I was attracted to the above woven chair as it uses the same ideas and techniques to create a strikingly modern design which I think also follows the ‘recycle, re-invent, remake’ philosophy and retains a real sense of fun!
>>> I’ve also been learning to do a bit of crochet recently and I came across images of crocheted pebbles which I think are great. Although it is possible to crochet around the pebble to create a unique handmade object, it would be lovely to recycle existing crocheted fabric and remodel this around the stones therefore giving old textiles a new lease of life.
>>> I really hope more people come to realise that we don’t need to throw away as much as we do. With a bit of imagination and some time, old and unwanted textiles can become beautiful objects we can learn to love all over again.