Friday, 18 July 2014

Materials and Techniques: Dainty and Divine and Cheeky Moose Co.

The materials and techniques series is a fortnightly collection of interviews with artists who talk about the ins and outs of their creation process. Today I am talking to Melanie who makes christening and wedding accessories for her two labels, Dainty and Divine and Cheeky Moose Co. Melanie is based in Melbourne, Victoria and is a fellow member of Handmade Cooperative.

Please tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Melanie, I live in Melbourne with my husband and two young children and am the designer behind the Cheeky Moose Co. label and the new christening e-boutique Dainty and Divine. The creative force behind the hand crafted heirloom quality accessories comes from a rich tradition of design, pattern making and bridal couture creation across three generations. A career break after the birth of my second daughter afforded me the time to further develop my millinery skills and to work full time on designing and hand crafting special occasion accessories. Originally Cheeky Moose Co., was born out of the interest that I was receiving for the hand crafted hair clips and head bands that I was making my two daughters, I began to take orders, many wanting bespoke pieces to match particular outfits for special occasions such as weddings and christening.

What materials and techniques do you like to use?

I love working with dupion silk, satin and lace most of all. I mostly create for christenings and bridal so I mainly work in white and ivory tones although I think that I stock every colour of satin in the rainbow. I hand craft each flower myself starting with quality fabric. Each petal is hand cut and shaped and meticulously hand sewn together and hand beaded using pearls and swarovski crystals.

What challenges have you faced in the creative process?

When I started out with Cheeky Moose Co. I found that I was getting lost in the saturated category of hair accessories. I needed to find my point of difference and sell that to my customer. For me my point of difference was that I make my own fabric flowers from scratch and therefore could create bespoke pieces for special occasions in any colour, design or size. My advise to others is to sit down and think about what makes you, your product or process unique and the find ways to show the customer why that is the reason that they should choose you.

What drives you to create?

My creative process begins with the fabric, It allows me to have full control of my pieces. I am a bit of a fabric hoarder, when I see a fabric that I love I NEED to buy it. My hand crafted flowers are inspired by nature, each piece is my creative interpretation and artistic representation of flora whether it be a poppy, a carnation, hydrangea or peony. Most of my new designs come from a customer request, it allows me to truly use my imagination and come up with something that is unique that will serve as a memento from a special occasion in a persons life be it a wedding, christening or babies first birthday.

What is coming up next?

My future plans include re-branding my Cheeky Moose Co. label to tie in with Dainty and Divine and expand into bridal accessories, I am currently working on a range of ring bearer pillows, garters and guest books. My plans also include expanding the Dainty and Divine e- boutique to make it a one stop shop for everything christening related. Exciting times ahead!

All images provided by Melanie of Dainty and Divine and Cheeky Moose Co. Photography by Katherine Gabrielle Photography.

Read up on more materials and techniques interviews. Want to share your story? Let me know.

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