Sunday, September 2, 2012

New Stockist

I am really excited to announce that Otter and Wombat is now being stocked at Cinnamon Homewares & Gifts in Blackmans Bay! Thank you to the lovely Fiona for your interest in handmade and supporting Tasmanian artists.

I have sent down a variety of clocks, three sets of flying ducks and a selection of jewellery. I wonder where their homes will be!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Back into the workforce.....

Approximately 5 weeks ago I gingerly re-entered the workforce! I'd been looking at positions vacant for a couple of months, had loads of rejection letters but also some lovely offers too. It took longer than I thought to come up with the right mix of employment that fits my family and myself, and in the end I now have two part time jobs that make up 3 days a week. Both roles are temporary, but none the less it has been great to get my feet wet in the world of the working again!

The kids have relished the chance to have more social time at their various schools, after school care and day care. My eldest was telling anyone who'd listen that "Mum had to get a job so I can go to After School Care!" Bless him. I've found my youngest has been happier going to childcare for 3 days a week than his previous 1 day a week - must feel more comfortable there.

Even my husband has coped! He has never placed any pressure on me to return to work, in fact he has always said that we could survive financially without me working. But I feel more confident and better in myself if Im working and have a purpose.

We will see how it all pans out!

Im also thinking of alittle reinvention of Otter and Wombat.......stay tuned!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Mumma Needs Coffee: The Italian Pantry - Trattoria Friday Night

A lovely post reviewing a friend's business -   The Italian Pantry. A gorgeous place to visit, coffee, eat or just to soak up the atmosphere of Italy in Nth Hobart!

Mumma Needs Coffee: The Italian Pantry - Trattoria Friday Night: Location:  27 - 29 Federal St, North Hobart Phone:  (03) 6231 2788 Website:  The Italian Pantry Facebook Page Opening hours:  Mon...

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sharing the Owl Love.......

Here is a lovely little moment in an owl's life, shared through I Wish I Had a Little Shop

i wish i had a little shop: owl's that?: Have you ever wondered where owls come from? Well, wonder no more. Cat Rabbit and Isobel Knowles have the answer....

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I Hate Copycats.....

This post has been whirling in my mind for a couple of months now. I have never known whether to voice my concerns, or be silent on the issue. I have commented on other people's Facebook posts on copycats, but it has happened to me so many times of late that I feel I can no longer ignore it.

While I wont name names, Im hoping that people out there who kindly follow and even purchase my work will be able to distinguish between my work that has been made with love, attention and quality, and the work of other people that has been copied.

I first experienced copycat makers a few years ago when someone I met through markets began doing some work that was very similar. Silently I was peeved but didnt ever say anything. How could I prove that my work was done before hers? I carried on regardless but kept an eye on her work from afar.

Late last year there was an occasion when something was made that closely resembled an item I had made and sold - again I wondered if my work was the original or if it was simply a coincidence that we'd produced very similar items.

Last month I stumbled across a direct copy of one of my music necklaces at a shop - actually copied by someone who was having a stall next to mine a few weeks previously...The sad thing is though, the necklace was made poorly with bubbles and dodgy materials, and yet the price tag was double what my necklaces sell for retail! I was actually physcially shocked when I made the discovery, and had trouble carrying on my conversation with my stockist. I still cant believe the audacity of someone who so openly copies another artist's work - do they think we are stupid? Do they think we wont notice?

I have spent hundreds of hours researching my glues, findings, wood and suppliers. I have made things but rejected them because of quality and because I want to ensure my work is going to last. I have given away pieces for free to people so they can test their quality and longevity before I sell them. I dont charge very much for my work because I want it to be affordable. Each time I sell a piece I get a thrill because people like it enough to part with their hard earned money. I build relationships with my suppliers and in turn my stockists...

Some pieces I love so much that when a person buys it I want to chat to them about the history of the piece, where I got the image from, and maybe how they could even keep in touch so I can follow the progress and development of my piece (of course I dont, people would think Im totally loopy! But sometimes it feels like a child who has left home!).

Anyhow, today I feel totally bewildered by yet another copy - a person using vintage illustrations and making brooches and necklaces. At first I thought it was scrapbook paper, but I now recognise an illustrator's work and know for certain that the image is vintage. It makes me sad on one hand to know that person is unable to create their own ideas, but angry that they continue to copy. It isnt as if we live in another country from each other.

I'd heard on the grapevine that this was happening when a stranger found out I was the being behind Otter and Wombat, and congratulated me on my beautiful work at this particular shop...I was polite and told her that wasnt actually my work, and that I stocked in a shop across the road from there, but thank you anyhow. What I should have said was that the work she complimented was a copy of mine and that I was being under-cut!

I dont know I hang up my files and give it all away? Do I fight for my craft and speak to  my stockists and retailers about what is happening? Or do I develop my work into something even more unique and await the next wave of copies? At the moment it makes me all very sad...... sniff.

Hanky required...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

I was recently invited to spend a whole afternoon in the glorious sunshine with a group of women sipping tea and nibbling on wee little sandwiches. The occasion was a fundraising high tea for an orphanage, the location was a country residence in NW Tasmania,  and the dress was vintage. The only requirement was to bring along our own teacup.

Look at these divine teacups! I know some were precious family heirlooms....mine was actually a Noritake coffee cup and saucer from the 70's (?) that I bought recently as part of a set of 6, but it might become a family heirloom from now on.....who knows.

I must ask the hostess how she was able to secure the cup to the saucer as I intend on pinching this idea for sure! And btw, those custard quiche thingies were to die for.

Wee little bottles with genuine iced tea....chicken and walnut sandwiches. Yummy!

And in the background, a collection of food, jewellery and stationery items that were used in a silent auction to raise more money for the orphanage.

In the week leading up to the event I decided to dust off my sewing machine and make my own 50's inspired was one of those experiences in life where things just come together....where all the moons were aligned and working for me not against me...... I cant explain it, but I am very grateful! 

I didn't have a sewing pattern to guide me. I made the bodice from calico first, then unpicked it to form a basic pattern. The skirt section of the dress was done by trial and error. Although I bought 5m of netting to poof the skirt out in true 50's style, it appears my hips were able to do the job just fine. Netting anyone?

When my dear Nan passed away I was lucky enough to be given some of her jewellery. It has alot of sentimental value to me, although very little monetary value I would assume. In her collection was a pretend diamond bracelet and pair of drop earrings. I've not had an occasion to wear them before  now, and the fact that the bracelet went around my chubby wrist perfectly was another "wow" moment.

Here is the completed dress. The material came from Spotlight - a gorgeous sateen stretch cotton.  As you can see I was going for something sophisticated like the women in MAD MEN. However, with my curvy bits to consider, the waist-line was elevated to and under-the-bust line. (Im sure Im not the only one to look at a photo and be surprised by my appearance - ie who the heck is that person and when did she get so round?)

I had a ball sewing the dress and wearing it with pride to the high tea. Thank you to our special hostess for having us and thank you to my lucky stars for ensuring the kids left me alone, the sewing machine didn't have her usual tension problem, and the lack of pattern didn't seem to be an issue! Thank you also to Nora Jones for relaxing me with her lovely voice - maybe the dress should be called Mrs Jones?