Friday, November 15, 2013

Meet the Seller: Ruth Bramble from Ruth Bramble Ceramics

What is your craft?
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 evolving.

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 clay.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I 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.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Meet the Seller: Angela from Ms Amelias Cabinet

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 too mad!
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 wonderful friends.
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 favourite book?
Milan Kundera’s ‘Immortality’

And your favourite food?
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 / websites?

Listening to comedians such as Bill Bailey.

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 under construction.

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.

What handmade possession do you most treasure?
A beaded, crocheted rectangular shawl that my grandmother made for my mother. It is exceptionally elegant.

Apart from 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

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

Special Offer!
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.

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.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Meet Sandy (and Husband!) from Devonport Astrophotography

When did you begin making and where did you get your inspiration

My husband has been taking these photographs for the last four or five years. The purchase of his first telescope quickly led to him combining astronomy with his existing hobby of photography and has led to astrophotography captivating him and his gorgeous art captivating me :-)

I had one of his early moon photos put on to a canvas (semi-sneakily) as a present for his birthday. It was so gorgeous and admired by many visitors to the house, that we thought others might like them too.

What do you make

My husband takes the stunning photographs of the moon and deep space - hours and hours in the cold and dark followed by the hours and hours of processing done after the fact - layering image upon image upon image, colour adjusting, noise reducing and lots of other technical stuff. Hours and hours in front of the computer. (He estimates about 20+ person hours for each finished image of processing and that's not even including the time outside actually taking the photos).

I then have the photos printed onto canvas, t-shirts, notebooks, ceramic pendants and fabric (which I then make into cushions).

What inspires you?

The beauty of the night sky is what inspires us. The moon is a real place - looking through a telescope and seeing moon craters or the rings of Saturn for the first time is breath-taking - it is actually real and out there - and can be photographed! Then when you start to see the photographs of the deep space nebula - it justs blows me away!

What is your favourite book

I'm not sure I actually have one favourite - I love the books I can't put down. I do love the children's book The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams.

and your favourite Food?

My Mum's cottage pie - not my own - I don't get it the same!

Where do you get your online inspiration from?

I like to watch Aotearoa Astrophotography and the Stardome websites. In my quilting life I tend to hang out on quilting and fabric websites as well.

When you are not at the Devonport Craft Market, where can people find your work?
I have a website at and I'm on Facebook at I also sell online on

What handmade possession do you treasure the most?
For me it's the two gorgeous cross stitch birth samplers that my dear girlfriend made for each of my sons when they were born.

My husband says the astronomy quilt I made him to use while outside in the cold and dark is his favourite (it contains his own photos printed onto fabric interspersed with commercial astronomy fabric).

What music do you have on high rotate on your ipod at the moment?

The only place I usually get to listen to music is the car and at the moment it's playing Bad Jelly (or maybe it's "Cars" - the movie - not the band) - sad but true.