One of the great pleasures of The Simple Things is that we find inspiration everywhere! In this case, while looking for unique Christmas gifts at the Frome Flea and St Catherine's Artisan Market the other Sunday, we happened upon a stall selling the most amazing range of lasercut wooden and perspex jewellery at the bottom of Catherine Street.
Joanna's eclectic taste means that her ever-expanding range of jewellery boasts a brilliant spread of design aesthetics – from the bright and breezy pinups, through the club-friendly perspex designs to the atmospheric bat and Mexican-influenced items. However, Joanna also works in textiles – her similarly eclectic, 100% handmade cushions and pillows utilise Eco Kunin Felt which, mind-bogglingly, is made from recycled plastic bottles! Now that's what we call eco-friendly!
Following our chance encounter with Joanna, she was kind enough to answer a few questions, to shed a little more light on here inspirations and plans for Red Bird Makes...
How did you start Red Bird Makes?
I have always collected and kept garments and fabrics for my interest in textiles. My making was actually sparked after a favourite pair of fabric covered button earrings I had bought in a high street shop were starting to look a bit old and sad for themselves. I found out how to make them myself and have never looked back. Obviously I started on a very small scale just making things for gifts and myself. I was really interested in the upcycling of fabrics and would create shopper bags from old and new fabrics, purses and brooches. From the fabric off-cuts I even started making small colourful birds which were stuffed with fabric remnants so that absolutely nothing was wasted!
Can you tell us about your design inspirations?
I get my inspiration from life, nature, colour & all things vintage. I love to travel when I can. To me that is one of my biggest inspirations because it opens my eyes and mind to the colourful world we live in. I love the smells, colours and creativity of other cultures that you just wouldn't experience being sat on sofa in front of the TV all day. Saying that, I am addicted to reading creative peoples' blogs for ideas and inspiration too. I have a very fun and quirky approach when making, rather than being too serious. I guess I just love to see the reaction on people faces when they see my makes & perhaps I am in denial about having to grow up!
What's your best-selling / own personal favourite of your items?
For me, it has to be my vintage inspired, lasercut wood jewellery. I have my own personal collection at home, consisting of the glamourous pin-ups necklaces and moustaches brooches. It's great getting a reaction out of people when they see what I'm wearing.
Plans for Red Bird Makes in 2013?
World domination... no, only kidding! The last few months have been crazy busy so I am hoping that things may slow down a little come the New Year, to give me a chance to make all of my stock available to purchase online as well as in the shops. One New Year's resolution will be to keep on top of my blog and perhaps launch my own website. I love having worked in three businesses co-operatively owned by artists so this is something that I'd like to continue with. It's great working with like-minded people from all kinds of creative backgrounds. I am like a sponge for soaking up ideas, so watch this space...
Finally, what's your simple thing?
Taking a walk in the sunshine no matter whether it's Summer or Winter. The feeling of the warm sun on my face is always exhilarating.
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