Blue Pumpkin Corsetry: I’ve been making corsets professionally for three years now. I was studying the construction techniques and pattern manufacture for two, previous to that.
I really do believe that a good quality corset is comfortable and wearable. I also believe that a corset can be made for any occasion, not just formal or bedroom occasions.
I have made corsets for clients all over the World and for all manner of reasons. From underwear, to office wear and day-to-night corsets.
I design and create jewelry and accessories by hand – using a variety of different techniques (lost wax casting, cutting and piercing metal and wire-wrapping). I work mostly in sterling silver, brass and gold vermeil – I also use freshwater pearls and other gemstones in my work.
How did you get started? Have you worked in other creative areas before the kind of work you’re doing now?
Well, my work as a jewelry designer began after a New Year’s resolution at the end of 2008. I’m usually not a sucker for New Year’s resolutions but I was very bored and uninspired by my day job in media (the industry was dying and I felt that I was plateauing) – I live in NYC so I decided to drop by FIT one day and check out the course offerings they have in the evening. Jewelry was the first thing that struck me (and it makes sense because my Dad has worked in the business for 30+ years on the sales side). I started taking classes in January 2009 (stringing, jewelry 101, etc.) and have been going strong since! I love the dynamic of being in a learning environment while creating new pieces. I have met some wonderful jewelers through this as well.
Is there a story behind the name of your shop?
Nope – for now it’s just my name…I couldn’t imagine another name and another line of designs just yet. That would require leaving my day job for sure!
Do you work alone? With a team? Do you engage your family or friends in the work? What is your process? How do you ensure you get your work done yet still have a life?
I certainly do not “work” alone – I have a WONDERFUL boyfriend, Ben, who happens to be in law school, runs two successful blogs and doesn’t get too mad when I cart over to his apartment all the beads for whatever project I am working on at the moment. Ben helps me keep my books and he’s been busy building my website from scratch (launch is set for the end of March!). My Dad is also the other man in my life who’s in the business with me. He’s a vet in the fine jewelry world and has a creative eye. Sometimes I’ll work on something and he’ll add input to change it for the better. Also, being a native NY-er, I don’t have a car – and he does, so he helps me out when it comes to going to a show where I need to drive! As someone who has a full-time job, I have the mantra that I MUST make 1 new piece a day and I usually stick to that goal and sometimes double and triple it around the holidays.
Where do you sell your work? Which venues are your favorites? Do you prefer selling online or in person? Do you attend shows or fairs? Is your work in a gallery or brick-and-mortar store?
I sell my work online at Etsy. I do find that I LOVE to sell in person. I mainly do shows in the NYC-area, including the Brooklyn Lyceum’s big spring and holiday shows, Artists and Fleas and even my local church’s holiday fair.
Do you have any favorite handmade shops or sellers you’d like to recommend?
I love handmade notebooks and books and boxes is one of my favorite sellers.
What inspires and motivates you?
A lot of times fashion and what I’ll see in magazines inspire me – but living in NYC and all of the different people and places really do inspire me. I also get inspired by broken jewelry – I rework a lot of pieces into something new.
Thanks Kim. And if you would like to be interviewed next, just head over to DIY Interview.
Check out these sweet fabric pendants by Mademoiselle d’Ange.
I was unable to choose just a few, so you get to overdose on them!
As an artist, Mademoiselle d’Ange paints, sticks, cuts, sculpts. One day, seeing her grandmother, needlewoman of profession, and her mother, to handle the magic sewing machine, Mademoiselle decides to steal in the workshop of these Ladies some ends of cloth…an angel passes!
Tish Maguire of Artish has no pets, which is understandable when you learn she has two girls, Poppy and Daisy, four and two respectively. Plus! By not having pets, she eliminates a whole aisle at the supermarket! Tish and her husband, Nigel, live in Hunter Valley, in New South Wales, Australia.
Tish traveled around a fair bit growing up; living in Papua New Guinea, the USA, and London, and visiting lots of other places. She lives in the country, about an hour or two north of Sydney. She likes being close to the vineyards and the mountains, not far from a myriad of beautiful beaches, and close to the city.
When/how/why did you start crocheting?
My mother taught me to crochet (and knit) a long time ago – but I didn’t ever really do anything with it for quite a while. My mother and I now live in different countries – so when I became interested in fiber again, I bought a book to refresh my memory. I’ve been making scarves and beanies randomly over the last 10 years, but mostly just for myself to wear – because I could never find what I wanted in shops, and because I like fashion to be personal, not mass produced. Then friends and family started asking me to make things for them, and I started giving my creations as gifts because the house was getting too crowded.
Aside from these reasons, I also had two babies, and needed something that was indoor-friendly and didn’t need to be put too far out of reach of little hands.
How do you figure out the color combinations?
My process is fairly random, and often accidental. When I do have a plan, it usually starts with an idea that requires hunting for the right fiber to create it. But most of the time I start with one ball of yarn that I love and then add colours or textures that just look or feel ‘right’ to me. If I find I can’t create anything and have Knitters Block, I will generally start with two yarns that I think DON’T go together, and I’m often pleasantly surprised by the results.
Where do you find your yarn?
My yarn comes from everywhere! Local shops, on the internet, on Etsy, from friends (I’ve even recently been offered the wool from a friend who has become the owner of a sheep!), and from re-purposed items that I unravel and reuse. I love the internet, and could (in fact, I probably do!) spend hours on there browsing yarn stores.
Do you have a favorite kind of yarn?
Not really. They each have their pros and cons. And it varies from season to season, and it depends on what I want to use it for.
Is this your day job or your side job?
This is my day job now. It started off as a hobby since I have two girls aged 2 and 4, who keep me very busy. It’s now become quite consuming, and is fast on it’s way to being a full time job.
Do you do other kinds of arts/crafts?
My first loves are painting and drawing. I found it difficult to paint when my girls were born, so I started turning to other creative things that I could do indoors, and could leave out without it being a hazard for the girls. Now it seems to have taken over, but I would like to get back to my art one day. I also love to sew, take photos, and play around with web design.
What is your best selling item?
Scarves are absolutely the best sellers. They are so versatile, and appeal to women, men, and children. After scarves, I’d have to say that wrist warmers are the biggest sellers.
Do you have a workspace or workroom? What does it look like?
I have a workroom. It is not ideal! It’s too dark and too small. It consists of some lovely square pigeon-hole-type shelving for my wool, and a desk where my sewing machine and other various bits and bobs live. I also have some shelves and big rectangular tubs for storage of completed and abandoned
projects. My scarves all hang on racks. Every now and then I am inspired to give it a thorough Spring Clean…. then it slowly ends up in chaos again as I create things!
Living simply is not just a nice idea on a piece of paper; it is a realistic and achievable goal.
People make the choice to live simply for all kinds of environmental, financial and ethical reasons and I think in mine and my husband’s quest to adopt a less “stuff” obsessed way of life we’ve come to realise that all reasons of living simply seem to tie themselves up together.
When I was first married over two years ago me and my now husband, B, decided that we’d live without a TV set in our new place – and ultimately set the goal that wherever we went we’d live without a TV set.
We hadn’t lived together before we were married so there was no dry run; we went into things without any prior knowledge of how things would be since we both were used to having a TV and had grown up in a culture so steeped in entertainment in the form of television programmes and the understanding of the World around us from news programmes – and the bias that comes with these programmes.
Plus there was an added expense (and luxury) of owning a TV set. In the UK you are required by law to purchase and own an up to date TV Licence. On top of owning a TV Licence there was the cost of a cable subscription and the running costs of a TV; we just didn’t see the point. We carefully budgeted for what we needed; food, clothes, our bills and rent paid and worked out what we could live without in order that we could save up our money for when we ran into a brick wall and needed funds to fall back on.
Whether you want to cut back on funds, want to save up for something special or you want to live simply, here are a few of my own personal tips:
Always, always write out a shopping list.
This means no impulse buying, (if you have the will power to not succumb to impulse spending, of course) no frivolous spending and if you commit to your list and don’t deviate from it then it allows for budgeting. If you make calculated spends then you know the outcome of the spend; no shocks at the cash register and no shocks when you check your bank balance.
Make a weekly meal plan.
(Image: Good enough to eat but might have you burping bubbles, Dirty Ass Soaps.)
By writing out a weekly plan of what you’re going to eat that week you’re planning ahead and are less likely to be indecisive and pick up the phone to order pizza or any other take away food. It will also save you on the one thing we’re all saying we don’t have enough of: time.
Making a weekly plan also goes hand in hand with writing out a detailed shopping list; a well stocked kitchen with everything you need for the week is a lot less stress and hard work than dashing out to buy food every day and humming and hawing come dinner time. Decide on what you want to eat and plan accordingly. Look through cook books and on-line cooking forums for inspiration!
Host a book/clothes swap
The clothes swap seems to be sweeping the World over; we have convinced ourselves that shopping is therapy (‘retail therapy’, I rest my case) and in turn have accumulated clothes we don’t wear, need or will never work up the courage to wear – or perhaps you’re just bored with the same look.
Don’t go on another clothes spending spree in order to spruce up your wardrobe, organise a clothes swap. The rules of this are pretty simple: you, your home, your old clothes, your friends and their old clothes. Everyone must bring round suitable (not tatty/worn out/out of style) clothes they don’t have a problem giving away. You go through each other’s clothes and take out what you want; win/win all round as you get to have a clear-out and gain a new wardrobe (or at least a few added pieces to the wardrobe) in the process.
A book swap is similar but instead of clothes, you swap books. I have yet to trial either of these ideas but I’m really liking the idea of a book swap – not only because my bookshelves are heaving at the weight of my book collection but because I would get new books in the process of it all!
Join a local library.
I love to read and I know I’m not alone in this feeling. However, by joining a local library, you’re not being disloyal to your favourite author. Authors still receive money when you check out a library book. Libraries also sell off their stock at below average prices – be on the look out for a corner dedicated to selling books or notices for stock that is going up for sale.
Libraries are also a great source of information; notice boards displaying free services, groups and even garage sales in the local area. Most libraries also offer free computer, Internet and WiFi – in fact me and B used the library computers for a whole year until we cracked and signed up for our Broadband.
Children also love libraries; most children’s sections have easily accessible book shelves, reading areas and are generally kitted out for children. They also have a plethora of DVDs and CDs to keep children (and adults) amused.
Have a vegetarian (or vegan) day once a week.
In Once A Week Vegan six friends are on a journey to attempt going Vegan one day a week for a year and have lots of inspiring food ideas. Or pick up some tips on going Vegetarian for a day a week from Ask Men (UK.)
We’re a Vegan family so going vegan for a day isn’t a hardship however the savings we make on our shopping are noticeable from our meat-eating counterparts. Lentils are cheaper than steak, after all.
Gone are the days of pre-soaking foods over night for veggies and vegans and hello are the days of mock meats, tasty treats and all kinds of choice. Having a day once a week where you don’t eat meat is not only good for the bank balance, but good for the body. I know of a few families who have trialled this and have success with it.
Still not convinced? You could try having one vegetarian/vegan meal once a week and see how that works out for you.
By making small changes (and it’s always best to start small and realistically) you’ll notice that you’ll save time, money and sanity when it comes to living simply. So keep it simple, make a few realistic and achievable sacrifices (not everyone wants to live without their TV) and make room for adjustments when you’ve made changes – not everything has to stick and you’ll work out what you can and can’t live with or without over time.