Friday, March 29

Montage Maker interview - Niina of eeva margita

My name is Niina Aoki and I design, illustrate and make a variety of things for my business, “eeva margita”. I live in a leafy inner city suburb of Perth, WA with my partner Aaron and our Exotic Shorthair cat baby, Panko.

“eeva margita” started in 2010 after I was dissatisfied with my previous business venture centered on creating illustrations for children. I initially had my inspiration to create a new business when I was looking through old albums of my mother in her 20's. It was the 1970's and her clothes were beautiful and had such clean lines and a casual flair that really spoke to me. I decided to form my brand based upon this imagery and by combining my middle name and one of my mother's middle names, “eeva margita” was born. The business has now evolved into using my Finnish-Japanese background for inspiration and creating colourful, folksy jewellery, accessories, and paper goods.

Ever since I was able to hold a pencil, I've always been creative one way or another. In school I was always the go to person for drawings (especially bubble font!), I went to the library to find books about craft projects, and my mother taught me to sew. I even had a business orientated mind back then – my friend and I made little plush dolls and glittery stationery to sell at flea markets (although I don't remember selling any!). So it seems inevitable that I ended up where I am today. Even my day job is close to what I do. I work for a North Perth business called “Future Shelter”. They have a shopfront on Angove st where they make and sell homewares and bits and pieces for the lovely people in your life. When I'm at work I manage the shop front and help in the production and packaging of their products.

I've been a part of Montage Collective since it's conception and it's been fantastic to see it grow. When we first started out we didn't know what we were doing really and just went with the flow to have fun. It is still just as much fun but we've learned how to manage ourselves better and how to be a better shop every time we pop up somewhere. I love being a part of Montage as it helps satisfy my small dream of owning my own store and it's a great way of meeting Perth creative people.

A part of the creative process that comes easily is coming up with the initial idea. It's the execution that I sometimes struggle with. I'm a real perfectionist and when I come up with an idea I have a set image in my head of how it should look. So when my result doesn't match up, it can be frustrating. I usually find the best way to deal with it is to just leave it be and come back to it another day.

Inspiration is another part of the process which is both easy and difficult at the same time. In our computer orientated world, it's so easy to see beautiful pictures on the internet. Anything you could want to see, is right there at your finger tips. But sometimes it can be overkill and too stimulating to the point where my head feels so full of images that none of it is inspiring. To combat this problem I try to narrow my inspiration for a new product to a single theme such as cats or flowers. This way my brain can focus on the one thing and not get too overwhelmed.

I think handmade is really important, especially now as our society has become such throw away experts. Go into a chain store and it's full of mass produced things at bargain bin prices. There's no love or originality there. I'm not saying I don't ever buy from chain stores, but when I want something that's a little bit more special or I want to get somebody something that is truly unique, I look for handmade goods by small businesses. It lets the recipient know that you think they're really special and it's great to support small businesses who love what they do. 


Tuesday, March 26

Montage Maker interview - Annie from Osmosis

Hi there, I’m Annie and am the face behind osmosis designs.

I design a variety of ‘things’ to be cut and sometimes engraved by laser out of either coloured acrylic or bamboo ply. Each piece is assembled and finished by hand. My designs are mostly for jewellery, but I also make bamboo display trees, trinket boxes and clocks. Another line is a series of cut shapes with a grid of holes, which are used for cross-stitch. I sell these both ready made and as DIY kits.

I’ve been selling my work for 15 years, the last 5 as osmosis. Before that I was doing freehand machine embroidery, which I used to embellish a variety of gift items.

My creative endeavors are a huge part of my life as they focus on my longtime passion for making. All work and no play makes Annie a dull girl, but that’s OK as I have many other loves, including cinema, the natural world (I once worked at London’s natural History Museum), an eclectic musical taste, my iPad and, how can I not mention, my beloved Bedlington terrier, Arrow.

I’ve been a part of Montage from day one in our Fremantle store and it’s been great to watch it develop and grow! I love the opportunity to work in a team with every Montage shop we run. It is such change from designing and making which can be very solitary. It’s also a chance to spread the word of buying local hand made as opposed to mass produced imports. I’m passionate about this and try to do so myself whenever I can.

I think making is in my DNA! Even before I sold my work seriously, I tried my hand at many creative endeavors, from painting (with the occasional sale) to stage costumes, knitting and many textile & mixed media techniques. 

The hardest thing about working for myself is self-discipline & to be honest, I’m still hopeless at that!! I always want to work on the next project before I’ve finished what I’m doing. As for doing the paperwork – don’t ask!! 

My main problem is that I have ideas galore and can never decide which is the best idea so I’m inclined to chop and change too often. The ideas come all the time without me trying. I see a new medium or technique and before I know it, I’m thinking of ways to incorporate it in my projects. I love a wide variety of styles and creative media and I’m never happier than when thinking of a way to incorporate things in new ways – for example, being able to design things in wood or acrylic that can be embroidered into by including holes in the surface… mixing the hard and smooth with the soft flexible stitching is very exciting for me. Stitching also allows me to introduce a range of colours into the laser cut objects. Colour is yet another passion of mine.
My favorite part of the making process has to be the designing. I’ve always loved doodling and many of my designs originate from simple sketches. I think it is my design ideas that keep my work original.

The proudest moment for me was the very first time I sold something I had created. It was a small painting and the customer wanted it enough to part with her own money to own it. I was blown away by what that meant. I still feel that amazement with every sale I make. I guess this is the best and nicest gauge of success, though money is useful too!!


Friday, March 22

Montage Maker interview - Louise from Simonette

Hello my name is Louise Simonette and I am a ceramicist from North Perth, Western Australia. 

I have been working with porcelain for a number of years now and I still find myself more and more drawn to its beauty and possibilities.

My work began well over ten years ago in the medium of glass from the kitchen of our home after the kids went to bed! The call to ceramics was strong and I have spent much time in short courses, doing experiments and learning from anyone who would answer my questions. All these years later I work out of my much-loved studio in the backyard of our home, which I share with my hubby, two busy kids and of course our beloved dogs.

My work is made with much passion, and time spent out of my studio are days of frustration. I am inspired by a simple life, pretty shapes and form which work so beautifully with the pure whiteness of porcelain. Blue and white are a recurring theme for me, as are vintage floral designs. I aim to make pieces which bring some delight.
My greatest challenge as a maker is the time spent away from making. The necessary paperwork and time spent organising the practical side of what I do is what I find the most difficult. My best tip for others starting out is to remain flexible and never be afraid to make changes.

One of the favourite aspects of my work is taking my wares to market. Market folk are the most joyous people on the planet which is reflected in the wonderful atmosphere I love to be a part of on market day.

My aims for 2013 include making a pretty porcelain homewares range with beautiful shapes and patterns. I would love also to find time to begin the process of sculpting the images which I dream of daily.

In a business sense, success of a craft-based business must be judged on the sales and money made. However what we do is much more than business- it is a need and an outlet for creativity, and personal satisfaction will not necessarily coincide with the day's takings. A creative person's success will be judged by their own sense of achievement after a period of making.

PH: 424205440  

Monday, March 18

Montage Maker interview - Kathy from Lamonster

My name is Kathy Lamont and I am the creator of Lamonster Handmade Clothing. I make dresses, tunics and bloomer sets, pantaloons, rompers and suspender rompers in sizes newborn to size four. I sell mainly through Etsy and also at various market stalls around Perth.

Overwhelmed by the lack of sleep and the all consuming needs of a newborn, I taught myself to sew after the birth of my daughter in October 2010 as a way of finding a little outlet for myself.   I immediately loved the process of sewing and soon progressed from simple things like pillow cases/baby toys to clothing for myself and my daughter.

A few months later, I entered a picture of myself and my daughter wearing matching dresses that I had made into a Spotlight competition and won the first prize!

After the competition I received a lot of great feedback. In particular people loved the little vintage inspired outfits that I was making for my daughter and soon received orders for children’s clothing from family and friends. 

My little label has been in operation for just over one year, and it’s been a great year! 

The highlights have been receiving pictures of children in their outfits and also being featured in some of my favorite magazines such as Frankie, Peppermint, Tickle the Imagination, Kid Magazine and Kid Independent. I also won a market stall for a year in Fremantle.

I am inspired by so many things but mainly my daughter (my favorite outfit for her is her Beatrix Potter suspender romper), fabrics, vintage children’s fashion and pattern books, the sewing community and meeting like-minded local creative people.

I work part time as a legal assistant in a busy law firm in the CBD. That as well as caring for my now two year old daughter and finding time to sew keeps me very busy, and is perhaps my biggest challenge.  Luckily I have the support of my amazing husband who helps with my promotional photography and all graphic design tasks.

Making garments by hand is a time consuming process: all fabric must be pre-washed, and then you cut the fabric, then assemble the clothing – which includes hand-stitching buttons etc and lots of pressing.  Also there is work to do to get the garments into the Etsy shop (such as photos) and marketing – so people know that I exist!

This is why I love handmade – the process.  A handmade item has had someone’s valuable time and care and is unique and one of a kind. I believe that supporting handmade is a way of connecting with the community and encourages individuality by being able to customise garments for the customer. 

It’s for this reason I am so excited to be a part of Montage!
This is my first Montage collaboration and the opportunity to be surrounded by so many creative and talented people is mind blowing! 
I think the idea of a group of artists creating their own pop up shop is so resourceful – what a fantastic way to get some exposure for our products.
I definitely have big plans for Lamonster and hope 2013 bring lots of great opportunities.

ph: 0421 160 605   

Saturday, March 16

Drum Roll Please...

Montage 7 Pop-up Shop opening soon!

Yes, it's true, we are back for our first shop in 2013!

GRAND OPENING: Thurs 4th April - Sat 4th May, 2013.
224a William Street Northbridge (between Francis & James St)

We are so pleased to have a home in Northbridge again for a whole month! 

Previous Montage artists will be joined by some new faces as well as a different guest artist each week.

Montage 7 Artists:

Lasercut jewellery and cross stitch kits 

Stylish aprons, photo cards, nursing covers, coin purses and key fobs

Letterpress cards, coaster, gift tags and stationery 

Tall Rabbit  
Cute lasercut jewellery, greeting cards, badges, magnets and framed prints 

eeva margita  
Jewellery & accessories 

Women's fashion 

Anna Hadwin Crochet Toys 
Crochet and knitted toys, hats and other fun stuff  

Little Mo and Friends 
Art, illustrated jewellery and stationery 

Major Mitchell 
T-shirts, caps, beanies,


Introducing new Montage artists:

Porcelain jewellery and homewares 

Lamonster Handmade Clothing 
Children's clothing 

Ella & Lilly  
Bags & accessories 

After Many Years   
Lighting and Mobiles 

Paper Plane
Map journals

Week-long guest artists:

Beau est Mien 

Recycling products from tetra, vinyl and innertubes

Sylvia Shrewsbury
Ceramics and zines 

Samantha Hughes 

Wednesday, March 13

Montage maker interview - Davina from Fluid Ink Letterpress

Davina with 'The Admiral' and 'Mavis'

My Name is Davina and I’m a letterpress printer.  

I have been the designer and printer at Fluid Ink Fine Letterpress of Australia for 4 years. I have also operated Mini Ink Custom Cards for Kids and Mini Ink Fingerprints for 7 years. I’m a mum, a wife and a singer with WASO.

To my absolute delight, I joined Montage in September 2012. Being involved with a group of like-minded crafters has given me inspiration and a community to call home. I love being in a store that I can call ‘mine’. I get a chance to chat to customers as well as hang out and learn from fellow Montage makers. I really enjoy that we work towards a common purpose of sharing the love of products that are designed and hand made right here in Perth Western Australia.

I print letterpress coasters, greeting cards, gift tags, invitations and wedding stationery onto 100% cotton paper and recycled card stock using photopolymer plates, vintage illustrated blocks and moveable wood & metal type.

Flid Ink Studio
Fluid Ink was born out of my urge to 'unplug' from my regular desk job in front of the computer. Working with letterpress forces me to be slow, accurate, work only with what equipment and tools I have and there is no 'undo' button! It’s a dinosaur’s approach, to be sure, born out of nostalgia and a desire to unplug from my overly digitized existence. The appeal is being hands on, messy and sometimes quite physical.

I print on an 1892 Chandler and Price Old Style (the main work horse 'The Admiral') and an 1893 Golding Pearl Old style #3 (the precious little lady 'Mavis').

It’s important to me that my work is seen and liked. I like to create pieces that are contemporary, current and fashionable. Its not art for arts sake, my letterpress items are meant to be used as purposeful stationery and paper goods.

My favorite items are the conversational coasters. I love it when customers pick up or point and laugh at the humor in one of my prints or read the questions on the coasters out to one another in store.

Staying connected on Facebook, blogs, following other like minded makers, joining forums and online teams have all helped me grow and appreciate what an enormous network of generous makers we have at our disposal. Sure, being 'un-plugged' is one of the things that appeals to me with letterpress  printing but staying connected to real life people is my bloodline and its how I drive my business forward.

Letterpress is the graphic design equivalent of slow food - incredibly labour intensive and demanding of skill and patience. When you discover a letterpress piece, there’s something different about it. It was touched by human hands, it is tactile, you can see and feel the indentation the letters and ink leave in the paper and you will fall in love with its quality, and if you do, drop me a line, I love printing bespoke requests and custom wedding invitations.

m: 0408 936 031