Well, I said I'd do some blog interviews with other designer-makers, so here's my first one, with the lovely Gemma from Sugar & Rhubarb.
Gemma makes lovely fabric homewares and accessories, such as Iphone cases, cosies and doorstops, as well as the beloved Ninja Kitties
I asked Gemma a few questions, and here's what she had to say....
What inspired you to get started with this?
I always wanted to learn how to sew, there’d be those moments in shops when I’d look at something and think ‘oh why didn’t they do it like this.’ So I just bit the bullet so to speak and started making my own things rather than buying something that I wasn’t 100% happy with from the High Street. When I first started sewing I used to give the end products to my friends and family. It was with their coaxing that I began selling a few items. I am totally addicted to buying homeware, my mum’s downfall is lipsticks and mine is cosies, so I thought there must be others out there like me – looking for something cute but not wanting the same design that hundreds of other houses are filled with.
What do you think about the level of British craft & design talent around at the moment?
I love everything British and handmade. To me it feels extra special to buy something that’s not only been crafted in this country but that one or only a handful of people have been involved in making. People like Poppy Treffry are major inspirations that your ideas and designs can actually become a marketable product.
What are your hopes for 2010? Is there a specific goal you want to reach?
I’d love for Sugar&Rhubarb to keep on growing and ideally start being stocked in local craft/gift shops. I know it’s going to be hard to stand out from the crowd but there’s nothing like a giant cup of coffee and sheer determination to keep you motivated!
Do you get out and about to craft fairs? What do you think to the general standard of fairs at the moment?
I love going to a craft fair, it’s a proper day out in my books, and I’d recommend it to anyone. There’s so many great designers out there and there are more and more showing that it’s fab to see what others are making and share a few of your own stories.
What do you think is the best / worst / most unusual thing you have ever made?
I am most proud of my appliqué cosies and, of course, Ninja Kitty. The cosies take a lot of time and patience to create but I’m cuffed with each and every one of them. And Ninja Kitty…. Well he’s a once figment of my humoured imagination that’s become a world dominating reality. There have been many an odd looking kitty coming out of my sewing machine, but I tend not to photograph them – instead they get chucked across the room in an artistic rage!
One of Gemma's cute applique cosies
Which other designer-makers work do you admire?
I adore The Warren for her gorgeous sock bunnies, Bold & Noble for their screenprints, MollyMoo Designs for her cards, Alex Monroe for his jewellery and Poppy Treffry for her cosies.
Do you have any pets? If so what are they, and what are they called?
I have two cats, both of which are banned from the sewing room (aka S&R HQ) I know what they’re like and if they even get a sniff of wadding they’d be on it in a flash. One is called Tiggy and he’s refined and beautiful and the other is called MiuMiu – he came to me as a little girl kitten called Milly and then we soon realized he was a boy so I called him by the mini Prada brand name, which is ironic because he’s bug-eyed, crazy and the least refined thing I have ever seen.
Do you listen to music when you're working, and if so, what kind of music do you like?
It’s funny but I have different types of music for different products. When I’m starting a new design I’m usually listening to Florence & the machine, Yeasayer, Mumford and sons etc But when I’m struggling to keep going on a repetitive design it’s Britney all the way.
A big thanks to Gemma for answering all of the questions I fired at her!! I love her work, and think the Ninja Kitties are just fab - I'll have to treat myself to one soon.
Here are a few more photos of Gemma's work, and some links to her online shops
Sugar & Rhubarb also have a Facebook fan page
Springtime iPhone Cover
Green Horses Doorstop
Coffee to Go cup covers - so much prettier than those cardboard ones from the coffee shop :-)
If you'd be interested in being interviewed for my blog - please drop me a line!