Sunday, November 23, 2008

Not quite here

I am completely zoned out in the living room tonight. My brain is only half working. I'm flicking through my 157 unread craft blog feed items. Cruising cute overload, cake wrecks, fail blog and facebook - a veritable feast of geeky-ness for the half-asleep brain. Avoiding my inbox overflowing with unreplied emails.

I think it's partially the cold weather, partially hitting the wall after burning the candle at both ends. I'm allowing myself a couple of days respite before gearing up again for the big market next weekend.

Here's some pics from the Kensi market though :)

Looking a bit 'brrrrr'.

The day went really well, we learnt heaps and got some great new ideas already :)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Winter in November

Well, Melbourne really turned on the weather for our market today. It was probably one of the coldest, rainiest November days on record, and although we were inside a hall we were rugged up with scarves, gloves, boots, jackets and tights. And other stall holders were jealous of our hot water bottles which we kept refilling from the kettle in the old kitchen :)

But all in all the market went really well, thanks to those who braved the weather and came to say hello :)

We took heaps of pics, but they're on Bee's camera, so will post some tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I've just done a little update to the shop where you can now find the lovely new Acacia in Charcoal:

Acacia in Charcoal on natural cotton/linen

Yay :)

Letterpress cards from Satsuma Press

Eeeeee! I loooooove letterpress. Especially when it's a collaboration between myself and the extremely talented Lynn of Satsuma Press. Lynn did such an amazing job of these cards. I can't believe the fine detail you can get from this medium. When I first sent her the artwork I thought the acacia was too fine but it turned out beautifully:

Acacia in Plum A6 letterpress cards

And of course, the ever beloved Birch, in a new Eucalyptus colour. I love how this turned out too!

Birch in Eucalyptus A6 letterpress cards

Both are available in sets of three in the shop right now. US/Canadian customers - please purchase from the Satsuma Press shop to save on postage (and carbon miles!!!) :)

P.S. - Lynn from Satsuma Press does amazing work, so check out her shop for other great letterpress items :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Market 3031

I didn't think I'd get to bed before midnight tonight, but if I get off this laptop in the next couple of minutes there's still a chance!

We've been working crazy long hours preparing for our upcoming markets, with the Kensington 3031 market happening tomorrow! So I just wanted to write a quick post to say please come and visit us and say hello!

Hope to see you there :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Eat. Sleep. Make.

It's kind of ironic how the more your craft becomes your 'real' work, the less time you have to blog about it. And there's been plenty of craftiness to blog about as we get ready for the Kensington 3031 market (this Saturday!!) and the Melbourne Design Market (Sunday 30th).

There's been a bit of this:

And a bit of this...

(gotta love these two old wooden ladders we scored off ebay for $30)

Plenty of this...

And this...

And also, very excitingly... a new collaboration with Satsuma Press. OMG I love how the acacia looks letterpressed!!

Mmm lovely deep impressions. Lynn did an amazing job.

All will be available at the markets, and then in the Ink & Spindle shop afterwards :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Umm, WTF??

I am very fortunate to have lots of 'angels' out there keeping an eye out for any ripoffs of my work. Usually it's something that looks quite similar but not enough to do anything about.

This time however was a completely different kettle of fish:

COMPLETELY UNAUTHORIZED use of my reindeer print on some keds on

Here's the original version of my reindeer pattern on flickr.

I have contacted the relevant parties so hopefully this will be GONE very soon. Even though I must admit they do look cute.

Thank god I have some very 'pattern savvy' people out there who know my work and can alert me about these sorts of things. Thanks again (you know who you are) :)

UPDATE: Keds isn't actually at fault here. This is a shoe created through that allows people to customise products with their own designs. So it's the user who submitted it that's in the wrong.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

10 (Potentially Controversial) Tips for Starting a Small Craft/Design Business

I've had this list half written on my desktop for ages, and thought now would be a good time to post it! Especially given how slack I've been in terms of giving back to the blog community of late. Enjoy!

1) Start somewhere, anywhere. Create and output as much as possible. Creativity is a skill that requires practice and more practice. That guy you know who's a fantastic drawer - he's been drawing and doodling since the age of three. Same with that girl who's a fantastic pianist. Practice.

2) Start a blog. This is fantastic for feedback and support, and also helps to motivate you to make/draw/design stuff to appear on it.

3) Do a short course to build up basic technical skills. Eg for my medium: Illustrator is always handy, or Photoshop. So long as you have the basics you can build your skills on the go. And/or google something if you don't know how to do it :)

4) Do lots of research. Keep a folder of inspiring things. Try imitating the things you like - it's not copying because you'll change it with your own unique style (however if it does end up too similar make sure you credit the original and don't try to make money off it!)

5) Talk to other creative folk. Don't interpret 'thinky' or shy as standoffish. Some creative folk can seem hard to approach because they seem all 'too cool for school'. More likely they're just off wandering in their minds somewhere and are actually really nice people. Although there are some wankers not-so-nice peeps out there, they're probably insecure and wont want to share anything with you anyway.

6) Drink lots of water! (well, not too much). It's good for the brain. I freak out if I leave the house without my water bottle as much as when I forget my lip balm ;)

7) Don't eat crap. Eat a balanced diet that includes protein and good fats - these are just as important as eating your veggies! There's nothing worse than sugar highs and lows to ruin your productivity and put you in a grumpy mood.

8) Take small, measured risks to get where you want to go. If you can find a way to make small batch units of something, that's always good. Then you can build up from there.

9) Surround yourself with supportive people. Don't go showing your early artwork to that person you're desperate to impress but you know doesn't appreciate creative things. It'll only discourage you and grow those seeds of doubt like "oh but I'm just NOT a creative person!". You are!

10) Don't undersell yourself (or your peers!) when it comes to pricing! A good rule is to always make sure your product is wholesaleable. You must be able to divide your retail price in half and still make a profit! Here's a good simple formula:

(Labour + Materials) + 100% markup = Wholesale Price*
Wholesale Price + 100% markup = Retail Price.**

* - because you still need to make some profit even if you outsource your 'making'.
** - because retailers almost always want to mark things up by 100%

It's therefore good to retail for a similar price to your (potential) wholesale customers, so you're not undercutting them.

The end! Would love to hear thoughts, feedback and additions to the list :)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

New Ink & Spindle online shop

Lately I've been waking up in the morning with a to-do list in my head as long as my arm. Soooo much to get done in time for the Market (and also the Kensington 3031 market the week before!).

I find that it's not the actual making of product that takes very long, but getting all necessary ducks in a row to be able to actually make something. All the logistics and supplies and packaging etc.

One big issue we've been trying to tackle over at Ink & Spindle is what to do about online sales. Bianca and I had online shops already, but Tegan didn't... and etsy is a whole lot of hassle at the moment with exchange rate issues.

Sooooo, I decided to do the most logical thing, and completely rebrand my online shop to an Ink & Spindle shop! It's now located at but you can still access it from All the customer information is retained so if you had an account & login with my old shop it will still work in the new shop!

New Ink & Spindle shop

It mainly has my product in it right now but Bianca is adding hers as we speak and Tegan's will be added soon :)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

mmmm charcoal

I love how colour can change the feel of a print completely:

Acacia in Charcoal.

Off to be heat set and hopefully in the shop soon :)

I'm starting to really LOVE printing, now that things are going so smoothly :) It's such a satisfying process ... creative yet technical. A perfect balance between the two.