Tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Kim and I am 33 years old and a craftoholic!
I am a Kiwi living with my Aussie husband and dog in Ashgrove, Brisbane.
I work fulltime as a wedding invitation designer and fit my compulsive crafting in around my day job.
Can you explain your craft/art and the material you like to use? I have my fingers in many pies when it comes to craft and I make a wide range of items utilising lots of different materials. Everything I create has a bit of a retro vibe to it with the occasional mix of shabby chic. Buttons, softies, stitching and stationery are my main passions at the moment. I am quite obsessed with vintage paper doll books and love turning their adorable faces into buttons and making them designer outfits or ‘itsy bitsy couture’ as I like to call it. Flying ducks and deer are also taking my fancy and I am about to embark into some lino cutting and printing with these themes. I am a bit of a magpie and love to collect fabric, ribbon, buttons and doilies!
Where do you get your inspiration and what is your creative process? Anything retro or vintage inspires me especially fabric, wallpaper and vintage ads and magazines. I collect ideas from all over the place and have about 5 wee sketches books I randomly scribble in when inspired. Quite honestly some of the best ideas come to me in the middle of the night where I literally just wake up with an idea and hope I can remember it in the morning!
Generally my creative process involves getting very excited about some ‘brilliant’ idea and launching straight into it – no planning, no sketching just leap head long in! So this means I always have at least 5 projects on the go and am always starting something new before completing the last project.
How long have you been creating and how did you get into craft/art? If you ask my mother she will say I have been cutting up pieces of paper and making a mess since she can remember. I was always the kid in class with the most highly decorated school project – all essays had elaborately doodled borders. I studied art all through high school and then went to University and completed design & art history degrees. What really got me crafting was when I worked in a ‘old school’ craft shop for a while - we sold everything from paper tole kits, wax moulds, smocking machines and all manner of obscure craft items which would be hard to find these days.
While there I really got into tapestry but most of the designs were very twee so I started designing my own patterns. Using vintage fabric patterns as a starting point I designed repeating retro patterns and then used wool and stitched on large canvas to make wall hangings. I still manage to make about one wall hanging a year as they take many hundreds of hours to complete. Since then I think I have tried every craft under the sun as well as having creative day jobs including being a florist and a fascinator designer along the way. The only craft I am yet to master is crochet....but there is still plenty of time yet.
How did you come up with your business name? I used to be a florist (among other things) and years ago I had visions of one day opening a combined florist and art gallery to be called wallflower – not only referencing the flower itself but art as ‘flowers for your wall”.
Anyway that didn’t eventuate but I still liked the name so it stuck
What resources 'have or do you' use to help your creative pursuits (i.e. groups, classes, shops, websites etc)?
I love the internet for sourcing great materials especially for those great vintage finds. I have all my favourite sites where I buy all my little bows and bits. I like to check out crafty blogs and have a wee snoop to see what other crafters are up to.
I love a good old fashioned Op shop - especially in smaller towns where you can still come across some good stuff!
What's your best advice for someone starting up? Have a go! Sites like Made it are a great starting point. Take some great photos and put your stuff out there. Be patient too, there is a lot of craft on show so it may take a little while for your fans to discover your creative talent. Keep updating your items and sites so people will keep checking in.
Look out for local craft markets or craft groups to join.
Do you have any advertising/promotion tips for sellers to be successful? Be consistent and create a brand and items that people instantly recognise as you. Have a few great items instead of lots of unrelated things – advice I need to take onboard myself!
Can you share any lessons that you have learned the hard way? 1.Don’t sew in bed as when your husband rolls over in the middle of the night and impales himself on a pin he won’t be happy!
2.Don’t spread yourself thin over too many websites/blogs etc unless you have time to update them all. Better to have a good presence and build up a customer base on a couple of sites
What do you like to do besides creating? Jigsaws & crossword puzzles, reading and the occasional bit of baking.