Monday, April 29

Montage Maker interview - Nicole from Tall Rabbit

Tall Rabbit popped to life in 2009. 

My first market stall was at the November 2008 Made on the Left market and I didn’t have the Tall Rabbit name then. I was selling four products - badges, screenprinted cushions, framed pictures and hollow-form felted toys. From then on, my aim was to have at least one new item for each market I did. Since then I have made over 35 different product lines! The main ones I sell at the moment are lasercut jewellery, greeting cards, magnets, badges, framed prints and notebooks.

I studied Illustration and Design at uni which I really enjoyed. Perth is not the best place to find work as a full time illustrator and I prefer to draw for myself anyway. That way I can make everything cute! I work as a graphic designer which is quite a creative job. I enjoy the problem solving aspect - finding the best way to communicate using visual elements - it’s not just about ‘making things look pretty’! With my Tall Rabbit work, I have the opportunity to be really creative but in a different way. I get to invent characters, draw, make things with my hands, paint, play around with fonts and colours on the computer, experiment and have a lot of fun! I also get the satisfaction of seeing something that I have created go from start to finish and know it is every single bit my work.

Even before I started making things I always appreciated handmade. Whenever I travelled to somewhere new one of my favourite places to check out would be the local handmade markets – the things there are always so unique and original and really feel special. They mean so much more than a cheap, mass produced trinket. It also feels good to be supporting another creative person.

Producing handmade items means that I can make sure that all my products have a consistent high quality and that every item will have to meet my standards. I can be a perfectionist at times and if something is not quite right I won’t sell it. That way I can always be proud of what I produce

I get inspiration from everywhere. I try to keep a sketch book and camera with me at all times in case I need to record something I see or think of. The internet is also a great source of inspiration and research but it is also a great time waster! It is so easy to start looking up something then suddenly it’s 2 hours later and you have 50 windows open, each with potentially interesting or useful information or pictures that you just have to look at!

It is always a challenge to find enough time and space to do everything I want. Even if I had an enormous studio space and every minute of the day, I still think it wouldn’t be enough for all the ideas I have! I often dream of having a big studio with separate areas for printmaking, my computer, a sewing area and a crafting area. I would also have a ‘cute area’ for my collection of cute things I have gathered throughout the years (I have a lot!).

I was involved in the very first Montage in Fremantle in January 2011. I love being part of the Montage Collective as it has allowed us to do something together that we wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise and I have met lots of people through it. It is a rare opportunity to have your products in a retail environment as well as being part of running the shop and interacting with customers. I have never worked in retail before and it’s a good chance to learn about merchandising and marketing as well. I look forward to each pop-up shop we do. Even though it can be quite stressful and a lot of hard work it is also fun and rewarding. I’m really proud of what we have done together.