I love to play and doodle and create
whimsical hand built, thrown, and figurative items in Stoneware. My
inspirations are generally drawn from the natural world around us, plants,
trees, the seaside, vintage fabrics and antiques.
I delight in rummaging through junk
shops and discovering old bric-a-brac objects that I can use in my work,
crochet lace table mats, doylies, brocades, and wooden printing blocks.
Some of the objects I make are
functional, some are purely decorative. To build up colour on my work, I use a
variety of oxides and slips, with Sgraffito, stamps and sprigs for texture and
decoration. I see my work as a three- dimensional scrap book that is constantly
How did you get in to making?
I have always drawn, painted and made
crafts, and from an early age I knew I was drawn to a career in the Arts. After
Secondary School, I went to Art College and studied an Art Foundation Year.
After specializing in Fashion, I went on to study a Fashion/Textile Degree at
Nottingham Trent University, After graduating, I worked as a Menswear Designer
for many of the High Street Stores.
In 2003 I was reintroduced to Ceramics
again by chance, when I did an intensive Ceramic Summer School at Edinburgh
College Of Art. I spent two wonderful weeks making and experimenting with
colour and surface pattern, and since then I have been well and truly hooked on
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
have been fortunate enough to have participated in numerous weekend workshops
and evening classes, and In 2009 went to Newcastle Art College and studied a
part- time Foundation Degree in Contemporary Ceramics.
I have met many talented and generous people
who have passed on their skills and knowledge at various stages along the way,
and remain influential in my practice.
What is your favourite music and food?
I like a wide range of music, ranging
from Mumford and Sons to Frank Sinatra, however at the moment I have been
listening rather a lot to Texas “The Conversation”.
My favorite food is Peanuts Butter and
Banana on Toast.
When you are not making - what do you like to do?
I like to run, cycle and spend many
happy hours beachcombing for sand washed items.
I also work part-time as an Endoscopy Nurse
at MacMurray Digestive Clinic in Remuera.
Meet Angela from Ms Amelia's Cabinet. Purveyor of quirky t-shirts!
When did you begin
making and what was your inspiration?
I have probably wanted to do this forever. I began playing
with creating images on tee shirts in my late teens but it was a lightweight
fancy at the time. Then I got more serious about life and involved myself in a
series of more conservative preoccupations. Luckily, the sojourn into the
mundane didn’t last overly long and here I am, back to my creative self.
I began designing tee shirts for Ms Amelia’s Cabinet, in
earnest, mid-way through this year and I am glad I did. A friend rang me and
told me to look at some of the tee shirts at AS Colour. I bought some and it
all flowed from there.
I guess the designs are a certain taste. I get a real kick
out of watching the people who like them, smile and light up when they see them
for the first time. That is what being in a market like the Devonport Craft
Market facilitates. You are up close and personal, not sitting behind a murky
web browser somewhere.
With regard to inspiration … I have a proclivity towards
mixing retro and nostalgic elements with slightly off-beat or surreal ideas.
The manufacture of nonsense and randomly associated ideas seems to be, to all
extent and purposes, a serious business.
Where did your brand
name come from?
"Oddly, the name “Ms Amelia’s Cabinet (of Fabulous
Things) is derived from an amalgam of ideas. Ms Amelia, herself, is a
children’s fictional character who has been nesting inside my head for the past
few years. Amelia has yet to make her debut into the public realm but when she
does, it will be in the form of an illustrated children’s book.
The second element relating to the invention of the name,
heralds back to a time when I was considering establishing a range of
fashionable and quirky coats. At that time, my idea was centred around a
playful character named Mr Friskee who owned a magical cupboard of marvelous
things where he would find new and interesting things to wear and engage with.
I guess playfulness is the key. I hope that doesn’t sound
Who has been the most
influential in your craft?
They say that no art evolves out of a vacuum and that is
true. I am influenced all the time by things around me – ideas, colours,
shapes. Half of what I pick up on I am not even conscious of, very often, until
after I have designed something.
As far as a love of craft, I definitely inherited that from
my grandmother and my mother. My grandmother, in her younger days, taught
handcrafts locally. I fondly remember a magnificent dark room in which she kept
all manner of fabrics and cane and googley animal eyes (plastic of course). It
was the embodiment of my imaginative childhood Mecca.
My mother, also innately creative, was in turn, inaugurated
by my paternal grandmother into the ‘womanly arts’ of leathercraft and handcrafts
in general. Some of my happiest memories are of all three of us (as well as my
brother) sitting together knitting, crocheting, or making furry toys, which we
affectionately called ‘gonks’, for some reason.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by a lot of things: courage – people who are
just out there doing it; giving their ideas a go.
-Narrative – experiencing stories that make us realise
something about our own humanity.
-Feeling connected to my community and sharing time with my
These things refuel me.
Along artistic lines, I have a surrealist bent. Surrealist
painting that isn’t too dark in its emotional tone and German abstract
expressionism excites me. Rene Magritte is a favourite.
I also take great pleasure in absurdism.
What is your
Milan Kundera’s ‘Immortality’
And your favourite
I love big helpings of home-made vegetable soup and French
bread in the winter.
In summer, I love crumbed calamari on salad. I have to also
confess to possessing a fondness for moussaka too. I think I my love of
moussaka is an inherited gene – my great grandparents were Greek.
Where do you find your online inspiration? Favourite blogs /
For inspiration in in real life – Life Coach Natalie Bryce …
I totally recommend her. Ask me, if you want her number - her website is still
I also recently listened to a speech by Mexican author and
screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga that blew my socks off. Don’t ask me how that
relates to tee shirts but it was inspirational, none the less.
What music is on ‘high rotate’ on your stereo or ipod?
Oooh – Confessions!I
guess it would have to be Adele (21) and the movie sound track to Baz
Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby.
possession do you most treasure?
A beaded, crocheted rectangular shawl that my grandmother
made for my mother. It is exceptionally elegant.
making/creating, what do you do?
Luckily for me, I get to do a lot of creating. Outside of Ms
Amelia’s Cabinet, I work as a photographer. I also like to read, play tennis
and go to the gym when I get the chance. Having enough time, on top of that, to
play golf would be a dream.
When you are not at
the Devonport Craft Market, Where do people find your work?
"When I am not at Devonport Craft Market or the
Crafternoon Tea Market (Kingsland) I can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/msameliascabinet
My new shopping website is expected to be up and running by
the end of November – just in time for Christmas. The address, when the site is completed, will be
Everyone who comes to my upstairs stall at the Devonport
Craft Market on Sunday November 17th and tells me that they read this blog will
receive a 10% discount on any purchase that they make on the day at the Ms
Amelias Cabinet stall.
I'm getting better at
this now.... I specialise in freehand machine embroidered textiles. Cushions,
cosies, cases, cards, pictures......umm Whatnots!! My range is constantly
evolving but throughout it all is the drawing with the sewing machine on lovely
did you begin making and what was your inspiration?
As with most people who
create I started young, one of my first school reports said I had a strong
interest in the crafts. I've been making ever since. After moving to New
Zealand I began making gifts to send back to family and friends. The turning
point came when I realised I was about to send a third tea cosy to the same
friend, maybe I should try selling.
did your brand name come from?
It took me far too long
to decide on a name, months not days!! I've always made things and when asked
what I make I'd come up with something vague, often relying on 'you know
whatnots and stuff'. After lots of lists and 'help' from friends and getting nowhere
Whatnots surfaced. It seems to suit me and my products.
has been the most influential in your craft?
Not really influential
in my sewing but in being creative it's probably my Dad. If he has an idea and
wants to make it he can usually pull it off, eventually. I've inherited that
from him, things don't always work first time or how you expected but often
they are better for it. 'Happy accidents' are what we call them at school.
So many things, colours,
a walk on the beach, a piece of fabric, a picture in a magazine. At art college
we kept inspiration sketch books and while I don't have one going now I have
notebooks full of ideas, sketches and notes, I refer to them all the time.
do you find your online inspiration? Favourite Blogs/ websites?
The first blog I ever
found was Tiny Happy after reading about Melissa in one of the NZ home
magazines, it opened a whole world to me. I pop in on a few blogs now but it's
Pinterest I have to limit my time on. As with so many people I can lose hours
handmade possession do you most treasure?
A few years ago when my
daughter was 12 or 13 she made me a foot stall. She collected fallen branches
and striped the bark off with a penknife (she sat outside in the sun for hours
doing it) then made it using the greenwood technique (I think that's the
correct term). The seat is made from jute string. I treasure it not only
because my daughter made it but also because it really is a beautiful piece of
furniture. Despite much encouragement she hasn't made me more!
from making/creating, what do you do?
I'm a year 7-8
technology teacher aide in our local school. At the moment I have 120 students
making paper mache animal heads, as you can imagine it can be great fun seeing
their creations (I can't wait to see the slug finished!).
music is on 'high rotate' on your stereo or iPod at the moment?
I have an 18 year old
son who plays the guitar, that's about the only thing I listen to.
is your favorite book & food?
Favorite children's book
has to be the Secret Garden, I'd love a walled garden and my favourite food
would have to be strawberries.
you are not at the Devonport Craft Market - where can people find your work?
Online you can find me
on Felt or Facebook. I try and get to Crafternoon Tea and Frankly Crafty too.
else you would like to add?
There's a little gift
for all customers that mention they have read this profile and buy from me at
October's Devonport Craft Market.