Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Meet the Seller - Johanna from Whatnots

What do you make?
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 linen fabrics.

When 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.

Where 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.

Who 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.

What inspires you?
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.

Where 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 there.

What 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!

Apart 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!).

What 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.

What 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.

When 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.

Anything 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.