Friday, 2 August 2013

Materials and Techniques - 'All That Jazz'

I have invited a series of guests to talk about their work, techniques and materials. A great way to learn about other crafts and skills and perhaps find some great troubleshooting ideas.

Here today to share her art with us is the talented Helen, a milliner based in Melbourne, whose online store is All That Jazz.

Please tell us a little about yourself.

Hello! My name is Helen and I started All That Jazz in 2010, after studying Millinery at Melbourne School of Fashion. I love sewing clothes for myself - it gives me the ability to have my own style, especially when so many retail stores look like copies of each other.

In terms of my store, I love sewing clutches/bags as they are my favourite accessory, and it allows me to share with others the type of bags that I like. I love creating hats/fascinators as millinery is one of the most creative fields - there are no limits! 

What materials and techniques do you like to use?

I use a range of materials - leather is used for my larger art deco inspired handbag, upholstery is used for my long vintage clutch, and upcycled kimono silk for my kimono clutches. I use leather, silk and sinamay for my hats. My favourite material would most likely be lace (for both bags and hats).

What challenges have you faced in the creative process?

When I first started making bags, I was having problems working out the best way to create a firm foundation, they were just too flimsy for a curved bag. I tried a number of different foundation materials - pellon was lovely and firm until it was ironed and then it thinned out, plastic bag foundations could leave sharp corners, and it kept springing back. I had left a bag out when my boyfriend came for dinner one night, and he asked me how I was going. I explained my problem, and he suggested heat - heat melts plastic, allowing the plastic to curve. Sometimes, you can find solutions to problems in the most unusual places - talk to those around you.

What drives you to create?

I love wearing unique pieces that are not mass produced, which is why I create for myself, but I create accessories for women because its a rewarding process - making it, seeing the finished product, and seeing customer's reactions to my creations. I'm inspired by the past - mainly art deco, as I see that time as being about strength: strong lines, women becoming independent and strong. It's how I like to see the women who are my customers.

What is coming up next? 

I'm constantly looking at ways to expand my range of bags. At the moment I collaborate with a badge maker, who makes plaques for some of my clutches. I'm currently looking for an artist to paint images on my bags - I've approached a few in the search for the right one.

All images have been provided by Helen of All That Jazz.

If you are interested in sharing your materials and techniques on this Blog, please do get in contact.

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