A Murder of Ravens

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Rodney and Banjo the donkeys

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Quinton the mouse

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Albert the donkey

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Chester the cheeky llama

Meet English-expat-cum-Melbournite Katie Wakefield and her friend Chester, the cheeky llama .
Chester likes eating socks and collecting watches, Katie likes collage, textile design and taxidermy.

What bought these two buddies together?  A Murder of Ravens – Katie’s new homewares and design label.

Katie studied fashion and textile design, spending two years travelling the world before she fell in love with Melbourne and decided to stay awhile. She soon found herself in country Victoria, living her dream of learning taxidermy with from Gippsland local David Luxford.

Katie’s whimsical and intensely detailed cushions, tea towels and illustrations are surely the prettiest incarnation of taxidermy I’ve ever seen. Each animal character featured has a unique story,  set amongst a world of colour, sparkles and quirkiness. All creations are hand stitched, illustrated, embellished and embroided by Katie.

Katie has just launched her online emporium and Etsy store, with more local markets on the calendar soon.

August is Victorian Small Business Month ~ there are a bunch of free workshops (in Melbourne, regional centres and online) and events. Find out more here
 
If you like what you see, keep in touch with Small Talk & Co. updates by liking us on facebook here
Machine and hand stitched details

Machine and hand stitched details

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Meet the flock

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Tea towel

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The Raven

Excitement | Etsy Craft Entrepreneurship Program

Rockford Etsy Team Captain Kari McDonald, Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson, Mayor Larry Morrissey, and Rockford Housing Authority CEO Ron Clewer join forces.

Rockford Etsy Team Captain Kari McDonald, Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson, Mayor Larry Morrissey, and Rockford Housing Authority CEO Ron Clewer join forces – image via Etsy.com

Bill, 66, has been a woodworker in Rockford for most of his life - image via Etsy.com

Bill, 66, has been a woodworker in Rockford for most of his life. Click through to check out Bill’s creations. – image via Etsy.com

I’m super excited to share the news that Etsy’s Craft Entrepreneurship program has now gone global! Turning the tables to a focus on innovation through diversification, enabling new communities to unlock the potential of their craft and artisan manufacturing skills in a supportive environment.

I’ve long been a big fan of Etsy’s pioneering spirit in creating a marketplace for independent artists and designers to test the marketability of creative ideas. Unfortunately the flip side is that like many other creative industries, this consumer driven model creates a mass of swirling creativity, whereby the majority clusters in the centre, following a certain ‘fashion’ or trend, whilst the outliers spark brave new ideas on the edges of what is considered marketable or tasteful. In an effort to counteract this the Etsy blog has long taken a heartwarming, ‘behind the scenes’ approach to uncovering the processes of entrepreneurial minds, by asking each featured seller to write their own interviews. By the nature of a consumer market, those featured tend to be creatives whose brilliant idea often sets these trends for the time to come. This ‘chicken and egg’ cycle of trend maker / trend driver can lead to stagnation, if not for the odd outlier whose idea smashes through collective consciousness to reinvent the future of craft entrepreneurship.

The program is taught in six modules, by an experienced local Etsy seller over the course of two to six weeks, ensuring ensures information shared is both locally and globally relevant. Perhaps the program’s most brilliant aspect is the way the local and global elements work together to create a supportive environment for to break down of barriers to online success, such as hands on practice at running a .com shop and strategies for sucess over multiple platforms. As well as a local ‘teacher’/leader, each program is linked in with a local Etsy team, immediately creating a supportive network of familiar faces for feedback and advice after the program itself ends.

The Craft Entrepreneurship program is now running pilot programs in six cities in the US and UK, with inquiries open for educational programming and entrepreneurship training providers worldwide to join in the fun (get behind it Australia!).

The good news for all of us is that Etsy is staying true to it’s open source foundations, with all curriculum content and learnings from the pilot programs to be shared online with the world!

Hanako Kajiya is lucky

Hanako at work!

Hanako at work in her studio

In her own words, Hanako K puts her successes down to luck. But Hanako.K is more than just lucky. Because luck implies her successes are devoid of effort or responsibility. Hanako.K is a hard worker, a self-made (wo)man, who has an almost unbelievable string of work and life experiences have lead her current mix of occupations; founder of her own accessories label, shop girl extraordinaire, small business enthusiast, community radio stalwart and all-round style icon. And you know the best bit? In Hanako’s own words, ‘I sleep in most days’.

Small Talk & Co. sat down with Hanako recently to chat craft, community and what it means to be a ‘designer’. This post runs a little longer than Small Talk & Co.’s usual, but believe me it’s worth it!

 

Fast facts 

Business:  Hanako.K
| Location:  Etsy.com and Lady Petrova , Melbourne, Victoria

 

What do you do/how did you get there?

I started crafting when I was 14, really young – from memory my grandma’s were really crafty, so that influenced me and I started knitting, sewing and learning from them what was possible. I taught myself how to crochet in primary school, I think I was just bored!

I was born in Japan and came here to Melbourne when I was about nine, so language was an obvious barrier at first –  I didn’t get out too much, stayed home and kept myself busy with craft projects. That’s how I taught myself how to crochet, I started doing Nuigurumi, the Japanese soft toys, which was really good practice and actually ended up being my label’s first product.

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Barbara Chung is a designer

Barbara in action

 

NannaB.x Concept Store is the creation of graduate architect and maker of things, Barbara Chung. A self confessed paradoxical ‘sleepy insomniac’, Barbara’s day job is at small architecture firm allows her to spend late nights working with polymer clay, timber and leather to create eye catching jewelery pieces. The NannaB.x concept store is evolving from its genesis in polymer clay necklaces to provide an outlet for various ‘handmade experiments’, testing and refining material possibilities.

 

Fast facts
Business:  NannaB.x
| Location:  Online – Melbourne, Victoria

 

What is NannaB.x to you?

NannaB.x began as a hobby, a way of testing creative ideas. I started with fashion accessories because they are of a small scale that tests very easily.

At the moment it is evolving as a platform, because I really enjoy making things, creating and sharing ideas beyond polymer clay. I love having the freedom of just doing whatever you want creatively, the flexibility of testing and rejecting or refining new ideas.

I started NannaB.x working in with my personality, I’m a bit of a homebody, I have a large amount of small creative ideas, and I created NannaB.x as an outlet for all those random ideas that keep me up at night!

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