Thursday, 26 May 2016

A baker's reply to 'Why do we create?'

Introducing Debra of The Divine Peach (click here)

Like so many crafters that I have come to know, Debra is a woman of great talents and versatility!  

'I've been baking and decorating cakes since I was a teenager.  I have four kids so over the years made a lot of birthday cakes!  I also made wedding cakes for my sister and friends and next month I'm making my eldest son's wedding cake. 

The hardest part is not the hours a cake takes from start to finish, but sometimes having to turn down cakes because of my 'day job'!

Finding good but affordable equipment has always been difficult and still can be, even now with the internet, so when I found a supplier that was cheap enough for me to sell at a reasonable price while making a small profit - my Etsy shop was born!  

Debra trained as a beauty therapist twelve years ago and worked in a salon for over six years; she has since been mobile for five and a half years.  

Last year, she graduated with a BA(Hons) in Humanities (Art History and Classical Studies) through the Open University - a fantastic seven year commitment while working.  As an OU graduate myself, I completely understand the dedication and time management needed to achieve this and Debra should be applauded!  

Robert Hook building at Open University Campus Milton Keynes

I've always loved making things, knitting and sewing etc, not only cakes - so now I'm venturing into a new project of making flower crowns, after making one for my soon-to-be daughter-in-law to wear on her upcoming hen night!

(This picture is an intriguing hint of what lovely things are to come....)

Why do I create?  

I try to create beautiful cakes that will make the recipient smile and, by selling tools via Etsy, I hope I'm helping others make something that will put a smile on people's faces.  My new venture into making flower crowns has been wonderful and I've loved getting hands-on with something unrelated to cake and gardening!  I'm hoping the flower crowns I make will make people smile as much as my cakes do!

Debra with her gorgeous hubby!

How beautiful is this!

Product photos have been drawn from Debra's shop with her permission

Come and visit us too at DunnCrafting (click here)

The photo of the Robert Hook Building is by Chmee2 (from WikiCommons images)

Photo by Chmee2 via WikiComons

Monday, 23 May 2016

Why do we create? Introducing Lelia Valois .....

Lelia Valois is a needle felter - a skill I am intrigued by as it produces fantastic things from unpromising bits of wool!  Lelia says : 'Needle felting is a great process.  You start off with a lump of wool and use a special barbed needle to stab it all into the shapes you want.  The best part?  No sewing skills required!'

Lelia's Etsy shop is Valois Felts - (click here)                                                                   She describes the start of her crafting journey:  'When I was in lower school, my Mum and I would enter the annual egg decorating competitions every Easter.  There would be a theme (dinosaurs, fairy tales etc) and your job was to decorate a standard egg in any way you chose.  This was a serious business, and we would spend weeks working on both our entries for the parent and pupil categories.  I'm proud to say we both won First Prize every year!

'I came across needle felting the way people come across most things - searching for cute animal pictures on the internet. There were realistic images of every animal on the planet, all made out of wool.  

I first wanted to try it so I could make sculptures of my pets, but I soon discovered so much more to be made as well.  I love the wool being a natural fibre, but it combines so well with other mediums and is great for experimenting.  You don't need patterns or instructions, and it's great to just stab away and see where things lead!  

I'm inspired by the books, theatre and television that I love, as well as mythology, magic and the beautiful wildlife that surrounds us.

(I love Lelia's take on Van Gogh's 'Starry Night' - a needle felted art brooch!  
How clever is that!)

My two other main loves are writing, and hunting down pretty and unusual vintage objects.  Needle felting fits perfectly with both, and since I've started my creative side has expanded to learning so many other things.

Why do I create?  

I create because I've always loved fantasy worlds, and always try to add a bit of magic to everyday life

All the pictures are from Lelia's Etsy shop - with her permission

Come and visit us at DunnCrafting too - click here

Monday, 16 May 2016

An artist's response to 'Why do we create?'

Katy Galbraith is an amazing mosaic artist - her Etsy shop is RecyclemeMosaics (click here) - the clue is in the name!  

'Recycled materials stimulate many of my ideas in mosaic pieces that I have done, and as a consequence my "bothy in the garden" is now filling up fast with china, glass and decorative ceramic ornaments and overspilling into the garden.' (I had to look up 'bothy' and found that it is a 'basic shelter .... or accommodation' - pictures on Google are of delightful little stone buildings - and Katy has one in her garden!  How great is that!) 

'Working in my dry-stone lined bothy in the garden, with views over the hills, I am frequently inspired by this lanscape which is reflected in my mosiacs.  Flowers in abundance feature in this majority of my exhibition pieces, as well as in private commissions. 
While many of my pieces are considered 'decorative art', I also  enjoy making mosaics with a more practical purpose such as mirrors, table tops and garden items.'  

I am a compulsive recycler - and just about anything goes at times ... so watch out for the quirky!  In my mosaics, I use a lot of wine bottle glass, reclaimed mirror and tile, crockery, remnants from a stained glass artist and junk jewellry - and the finished piece often depends upon what is in my stash of goodies in my studio.'

Why do I create? 

'Working with mosaics is an evolving process for me, as I explore working with new materials and themes.  I never stay static for long!  I aim to be true to myself and my interest in recycling and sustainability by incorporating many recycled materials, including those representing me and my home town of Crieff, Perthshire.. or pieces donated to me by friends and family similar to a traditional patchwork concept.'

More of Katy's wonderful work can be found here:

All images have been taken from Katy's website and Etsy shop with her permission

Come and visit us too at DunnCrafting (click here)

Monday, 9 May 2016

Why do we Create? This from Jennie Saunders....

Introducing Jennie from Annie Laurie Bridal on Etsy (click here) - a stunning showcase for her wonderful gifts as a designer and creator of beautiful things!

Jennie started out as a florist in the 1980s while her sister, Annie, was designing floral head pieces - they decided to join forces and their partnership is still going strong!


The natural progression into bridal floristry soon followed including bouquets, floral arrangements and head-pieces.  In those days, the floral circlet was high in fashion but Jennie soon started to design with components other than flowers, including Swarovski crystal, freshwater pearls and diamante.  By 1987, the business moved to a unit into the first shop which soon doubled in size, allowing the venture into all aspects of bridal and they established themselves as 'Annie Laurie', a nickname given to Anne by her father. 

Why do we create?  

'Because I love designing beautiful, bespoke headpieces for a bride's special day. I never get tired of working with precious and semi-precious stones and am always on the look out for stones with that little extra to make and design something really different.'

Such beautiful work!

Come and visit us too at DunnCrafting! (click here)

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Why do we create? Morena Fiona gives her answer ......

Introducing Morena who has wonderful vibrant items in her Etsy shop KodesAccessories - click here 

Morena is a web designer with a passion for African fabrics - and she explains why.....

'I have always been interested in bright patterns and I found in African fabric just the perfect expression of my explosive personality and my taste.

I live in London and worked in Brixton for two years.  Brixton is such an explosion of colour with all the graffiti and the African shops selling the best African fabrics in the city.  Brixton highly influenced me and that's where I go to buy the gorgeous prints I use for my necklaces.  Every time I have to go there fabric shopping, it's like going to Wonderland for me.

Brixton Village Market

Photo: Robinson

How did Morena's crafting start?

'I've never been that much interested in jewellery and I seemed to always wear mine only a few times, and, most of all, I never really had an interest in crafts or any skills whatsoever - I'm not very patient and I expect to learn something quickly or I'll drop it!

But then one day, I decided I wanted to buy a yellow/mustard necklace and realised, looking on Etsy, I could probably make the ones I was looking at myself!

So I bought the fabric I wanted and a few beads - but after making my necklace I had plenty f fabric left over so I thought .... why not make more and sell them on Etsy?

This is how my accessories range called Kodes started.....

Why do we create?

My journey into jewellery making has only just started and it's more a journey through discovering what I can learn how to make, what I fall in love with, what I can achieve.  My upcoming projects are going to be 60s jewellery remakes in polymer clay, bow ties and an app/website to make your own customised necklace!

All photos have been taken from Morena's Etsy shop with her permission

Come and visit us at DunnCrafting too (click here)

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Why do we create? Fiona Duddy replies....

Fiona is an amazing and talented designer, owner of Etsy shop MadebyFeFiFo (click here)

She hails from Erdington, Birmingham where she lives with her fiance.  

She says 'I often joke that I can be found working on every vertical and horizontal surface going in my partner's home'

Like so many crafters I have come to know, Fiona's love of creativity is rooted in her family:

My love for being creative has been instilled in me by a number of beloved family members and through their own individual talents and passions for the arts.  Though, it was when I chose to study textiles in art and design at college, and then at university to study surface pattern and textiles, that my creative personality expanded and truly blossomed.

With my own creative style I find I have a passion for all-over pattern, the mixing of all shapes and colours, as many overlapping and jarring liner lines or rhythmical forms as possible.

Why do we create?

I suppose personally it's a form of displaying how my mind thinks and works, and I love to get stuck in the messy process of stamping or screen printing new projects.  I think I'm a messy artist at heart!

Stages in Fiona's creation of her own floral stamps - and the wonderful colourful results

The wedding cards and invitations I currently sell and have recently just launched on Etsy among my cushions and accessories, all have a handmade rawness to the detail.  This is something I feel is becoming more and more desired in a world of digital downloads and increasing virtual platforms.  

I think the importance of the visual vibrancy, texture and tactility of an object, made by one person and to be held in the hands of another, is as important as its own functionality.

Fiona's work can also be seen here.  

Pay her shop a visit - you won't be disappointed!

Come and visit us too at DunnCrafting

Daisy, daisy ....

My recent blog 'Sunshine and Flowers' was about a gerbera daisy pomander I made for a custom order. Well, I rather fancied experimenting with a video of the process - plus making another pomander mixing the yellow and orange gerbera daisies with white ones.

My first attempt was pretty good (I thought) except that a friend kept buzzing me on Whatsapp - and as I was recording with my mobile phone, the playback was punctuated unexpectedly with a very loud ring tone. So I had to do it all again (several times) frustrated by curious cats, more Whatsapp chat - but I cracked it in the end.  

Incidentally, I used a dinky little tripod for mobiles that I discovered on Ebay - it's no more than 4 inches high but great for hands-free table top photos - and (woohoo) videos!

So here goes - this is my first ever video so bear with me!  The muttering in the background is not me - I had the radio on!  Note to self......


and this is the pomander finished and ready to be listed....

Not too shabby ;)