I was really fortunate this year to attend New Zealand's first Handmade 2011 at Te Papa in Wellington. It was pricey and a friend loaned me some money to pay for me upfront. I'm a mama with a family so I had to budget it all in. My husband urged me out the door knowing how happy I get when I'm making. I had an agenda. I wanted to meet this woman. (Apology in advance, this was snapped on my bat phone and at the end of a long day. You're a good sport Melissa. x).
Tiny Happy & Ahipara Girl
I've loved and followed Melissa's blog for the longest time. She's a fellow kiwi who recently returned with her family from Norway where her husband was working. She stitches, journals, makes, and writes while raising children full time as well. Her blog is one of my favourites. I was determined to meet Melissa and spend a precious few hours learning a few things from her.
There's no hype. Just a simple, uncomplicated person who selflessly shared her self-styled makings and skills with our small class. As a rather boisterous kind of person myself, I felt a bit clumsy around her because she's softly spoken and rather gracious. She kept thanking me each time I complimented her. I was a bit star struck. She competently guided us along on our wee projects with a quiet authority.
Go check out her blog Tiny Happy or her images gallery on Flickr . She makes me want to draw, stitch and make. She also has two adorable children that I feel I know in part. She sews, repurposes and knits their clothes, bags and things around her home. That is a good thing. I drooled over her embroidery gallery today. And I will direct you to her Tiny Happy etsy shop but warn you that her things sell as fast as she makes them. She is a success story as a blogger/crafter and earns enough to supplement their income. She's definitely in the same arena I'd like to be a part of also.
Melissa appears in the latest issue (August 2011) of Your Home and Garden. Here's some snaps of my copy I purchased.
We both have yellow couches.
A covetable stash of vintage fabrics in her sewing room.
Books, handmade toys and prints: LOVE
Melissa's signature baby shoes made from vintage embroideries.
Pared back Scandinavian influence is evident. Uncluttered, clean lines, raw materials.
She has a yellow couch too!
That floor to ceiling window, the light that streams in, the vintage couch, the wooden floors, the Crown Lynn above the fire place and the prints on the wall ... I love it all. As different as our tastes are in some ways, I appreciate her aesthetics and relate to her love of natural resources like linen, wool, wood; her love for New Zealand which like me is reflected in her craft and she loves handmade and op shopping also just like me.
I know I'm gushing somewhat but its always nice to meet someone else, a fellow kindred spirit, who actually gets things in some of the same ways I do.
Anyway, I was pleased for Melissa who appeared in the latest August Issue of Your Home & Garden. Her home is lovely and really is an extension of all her makings. I'm a huge fan still and now we're friends of the making kind as well.
As an aside, I met lots of wonderful people @ Handmade 2011, especially in the stitch lounge and the makers event. I will definitely be back next year. New Zealand has its own vibe and although we've been influenced by overseas makers, we still retain our own sense of style and integrity when it comes to crafting and making. I spotted in the crowd lots of famous faces from the arts and crafts movement in New Zealand.
I do think its expensive and although I understand the need for people to be valued and the cost of venues etc (Te Papa is a wonderful venue being an incredible museum/gallery as well), I was aware I was a minority as a Pacific woman. I'm sure other women who have families have trouble raising that kind of moolah as well. Which is why I'm keen to run smaller, inexpensive courses in my community.
I've forwarded a rough proposal, and I'm hoping they might consider me for a teaching spot as well next year. I chickened out this year when asked but having attended, I feel a lot more confident about my own capacity and abilities. I think. ;)