Friday, 14 February 2014

Materials and Techniques - 'It's My Room!'

Back on the Blog after a pleasant summer maternity break. I'm kicking things off with a Materials and Techniques interview. This is a fortnightly series of posts with other creative types, who talk about how they make their creations.

This week I am chatting to Michelle from Melbourne. Michelle makes wooden children's decor, which she sells in her store It's My Room! She is a fellow member of Handmade Cooperative.

Please tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a mum of two (a boy and a girl) and founded It's My Room! After struggling to find a quality name set for my firstborn, so I proceeded to make one myself. I currently live in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne and have a background in real estate but a bloodline in craft. I have a very supportive husband and family who never once suggested I return to my ‘day’ job and because of that I am progressively building my network and business.

What materials and techniques do you like to use?

My main materials are timber, paper and paint. It’s a tough choice, but I have to say working with paper may be my favourite material. The timber is generally a bare and the base piece so it’s also satisfying seeing it all come together. I own a linisher cutter/belt, jigsaw cutter and various cutting tools that help me get the smooth edges and finishes I need.


What challenges have you faced in the creative process?

Apart from the usual challenges of having to work around a family, I would say just getting the pieces to work and ensure they of great quality. When I first started making the name sets, I hand painted them which was time consuming and left them with a rougher, not so professional finish. I also found that although purchased direct from the wholesaler, the letters varied in size and I needed to file them down so that they were even. After a bit of experimenting, I purchased a hobby spray gun and found the finish to be smooth and even and now as my items have expanded, I also own a larger scale spray gun as well as other tools. I’ve also had to experiment with glues, varnish finishes and tape and have learned to stick with what works best.

What drives you to create? 

I think the drive is within and the constant positive feedback helps too. There are moments where I am overwhelmed and think - ‘What am I doing?  What should I do with all this stock?’ but they are short lived. My mind is in constant creating form and I just have to follow my instinct. I know what works and what doesn’t, so as much as I may love creating a particular item, I need to step back and concentrate on what works and making that better. My children are also a source of inspiration and are the testers as such. I’ve also found of late, that customers and fellow sellers have also been wonderful in suggesting items for me to make.

What is coming up next?

I have three new items that I’m in the midst of putting together before I test them out with the general market. I’m also trying to branch out a little more by adding another store and my own website. All in all though, I just want to keep doing what I’m doing so long as it continues to be enjoyable.

All images have been provided by Michelle of It's My Room.

I'm really interested in learning about the different skills that people use in their crafts. Visit the entire Materials and Techniques series. If you'd like to share your techniques, please do let me know.

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