Shihar: I am fortunate to be designing & creating clothes since 2001. Originally a sculptress and a performance artist trained in Fine Arts in London ( Camberwell college of art & design), through the experimental multimedia art in Jerusalem (School of visual theatre)
I am inspired by architecture, nature, origami, Zinas, folklore costumes merging eastern lines with modern cuts, An internal hybrid of my English and Mediterranean culture.
A trip to India revealed to me the magical world of fabric. Initially by sketching locals munks and nuns, discovering the rich nature of fabric, with It’s folds drapes and crinkles.
From there on I started designing my personal clothes, and shortly after, on demand from my surroundings, I began creating for other wonderful women.
Today has been a long time coming, and I really couldn’t be more excited to introduce the first of several(!) new contributors to Try Handmade.
Leah Peterson is a master interviewer, and she has graciously agreed to join the team and work her magic on the finest makers around. Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes in the workshop of your favorite artist? Leah will deliver the goods to you every week in the first new Try Handmade column: “Focus on Makers with Leah Peterson”
Join me in welcoming her, and please make her feel at home :)
Erin Bruce at Kitty Empire creates the most lovely purses, wristlets, wallets and messenger bags, which are sturdy enough to hold a laptop. Her products are all 100% vegan. Continue reading to find out where she gets her ideas and what she eats for breakfast. Don’t forget to check out her items on sale!
What are vegan products? Why is that important to you?
Vegan products are made without using any animal products (wool, leather, etc). Animal rights are hugely important to me and I try to focus on that with this business. I also donate 5% of my sales each month to a different animal charity.
Do you have pets?
3 cats named Sebastian, Belvedere and Smokey.
How long have you been sewing? Why do you sew?
I’ve been sewing on and off since I was a teenager. I find it to be a great creative outlet and also very calming (despite the occasional frustration).
Can you explain your process?
I come up with a design idea then draw out the stencils and the bag pattern. Then I usually make a prototype that I can give to a friend and get feedback. If all goes well, I start production.
Your designs are so fun and whimsical! Where do you get your ideas?
I can get ideas from anything really. Fairy tales, art, my ceramic animal collection and just random ideas that pop into my head.
Do you have a favorite piece you’ve created?
Hmmm. Maybe the Red Ridinghood messenger bag. My favourites change.
Do you do any other types of crafts/art?
I make some pillows, mobiles and sometimes stuffed animals, but mostly only as gifts for friends.
Do you sell your products in stores?
I sell at a few local stores, but I don’t have time for crafts shows. This is my little side business, my full time job takes up the rest of my time.
What were you like as a kid?
I was a bit shy, but very creative. I’ve always had very creative friends and my mom is extremely artistic so there was always some sort of art project on the go.
Tell me more about you…?
My favourite color is green. I don’t drink soda, but my favourite drink is a vodka tonic. I drink berry smoothies instead of cereal for breakfast.
So, you’ve taken a pledge to give only handmade gifts this Christmas. Your ornaments and decorations are all one-of-a-kind creations gathered from the local craft fair and visitors to your home are going to be treated to local artisan cheeses and breads before being sent home with homemade fudge and gingerbread from your own kitchen. It sounds like you’ve got the bases covered…but you’re not planning to use boring old store-bought wrapping paper, are you? Of course you’re not!
I have always been a proponent of the fabric gift bag. Not only do they look so cute under the Christmas tree, they are almost infinitely reusable. Considering the cost (and waste!) of paper wrapping and plastic ribbon, fabric bags will pay for themselves within just a couple uses. These colourful, reversible gift bags by Pidoodle are doubly-good for the environment because the fabric used to create them was repurposed from thrifted garments. A dedicated thriftier and “fickle crafter”, Carissa seeks out used (and sometimes damaged) pieces at charity shops and gives them a second life by dying, silk-screening and sewing them into gift bags. She even includes a piece of tulle to replace expensive and fragile tissue paper. How clever!
I just love lazy Sunday afternoons. I usually sleep in just a little bit later than usual, treat myself to a healthy breakfast, and lounge around in my pajamas reading a book, singing along to Hawaiian music on the radio or catching up on my favorite blogs. It always feels so indulgent to set aside my chores, and just let the rest of the world continue on its busy way.
A cute (and comfortable!) pair of pajamas always make my lazy Sunday afternoons that much more enjoyable. This ruffled chemise from Sandmaiden Sleepwear is made with an organic cotton/rayon blend that has just a little bit of stretch to it, the perfect fabric for lounging around. You can customize your chemise by choosing from twelve fabric colors and six lace colors. I think the rose colored fabric with navy blue lace would be just beautiful, although I really love the ochre color featured on the model for fall.
If you prefer to lounge in pajama pants, Lorigami creates cute and comfortable cropped pajama bottoms from vintage material. I just love the cheery yellow gingham fabric and satin trim on this pair. Add your favorite worn-in t-shirt and settle in for some relaxation.
Sometimes a girl needs to treat herself to a little bit of lace. This blue lace sleepwear set from Little Sister Lucy is sexy enough to make you feel special, but comfortable enough to lounge in all day. I just love pink velvet trim and the little sprinkling of sequins around the neckline, what a beautiful touch!
Well, I know what I’m going to be doing this weekend. I hope you too will take the time to treat yourself to a relaxing afternoon, and some cute pajamas!
**Created by tastes orangey, the beautiful image featured at the top of this post is a print of an original painting and features a stitched border.**
Recycled by Hyena: My work is infused with my ethic and each of my creations is the result of passion and dedication. My clothes are made from scratch but not from new materials. They are made with fabric from clothes I purchased in Goodwill stores and non-profit thrift stores.
I “believe” in the craft revolution and I think it is our future. The handmade and eco-friendly life is the only alternative to the consumerism destroying our planet and the living beings surrounding us.