Sunday, November 25, 2012

Buy Handmade vol 35

We head to Montreal, Canada for today's talent..

Name: Sarah Hepworth

Age:   37
Occupation:  Designer / Re-maker
Etsy Shop:

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Sarah, I’m 37 years old and I was born in London, England, a place that I will always love. I have a husband who totally ‘gets me’ (essential) and 2 beautiful under-fives that have helped me fully understand the true value of my time, energy and creative-compulsive nature. We recently moved to the beautiful city of Montreal. I design & make for anyone who has space in their life for a little well-considered whimsy & I truly believe that there’s very little that can’t be remade-beautiful.

When did you start creating?

Exactly ‘when’ I started making things would be hard to put my finger on I think.

We moved out to the country when I was young, to a small-holding with some livestock & a huge vegetable garden. It was here that I spent much of my childhood, lost in thought amongst the chickens and the runner-beans. As a result I list goat-milking as one of my core skills & I can still leap a 4ft fence in a single bound (well almost).  From as far back as I can remember, when I wasn’t surrounded by goats and chickens, I spent my time drawing, painting, crafting and sewing.

Those years spawned in me an appreciation for thrifty re-use in all its forms & an understanding that each task had its product and its remnants. The key was to waste nothing, but instead to feed everything back into the process. Everything had its value. 

The ‘make-do & mend’ mentality of the British is possibly genetic I think, and seemed to pass down from mother to daughter in our family. Throughout my formative years I was regaled with countless stories of thrifty-creative-genius, stretching back to my great grandmother and beyond. These women were my creative heroes as a child & their exploits and ingenuity as compelling as any fictional crusader. I was never left in any doubt that I too would be a maker and a do-er.

As I got older I studied Fine Art & Photography, received a degree in Furniture Design and worked for myself as an Interior Designer, before becoming a mother five years ago. This reignited a sense that we are all part of an inescapable creative tradition, one that I wanted to engage with and actively pass on. Life had become cluttered and noisy, full of tiring distractions and unnecessary commitments...... I wanted to make something again, something that had a story, something that made people smile.

Has your Etsy shop become your full time job? If not, would you like it to be?

I made the conscious decision with my husband to stop work when our children were born so we could be around as much as possible while they were small. I’m still passionate about the time I can spend with them while they are growing and discovering the world. I’ve had my Etsy shop for about 18 months now but I primarily set it up on the back of things I was making with and for my own children and home. I’m gradually making more time to commit to it which is really paying off (it’s a bit too busy at the moment really but I’d rather it was that way round!). I would love to be able to work on theRemakerie full-time, as soon as my children are both in school. ‘Working’ is currently confined to the times I have to myself (pre-K hours/after bedtime etc). It’s an unwritten rule in our house that if the girls are home, mommy’s not working on her Etsy shop – everyone’s happier that way! 

How did you come up with your business name, is there any special meaning behind it?

‘The Remakerie’ is basically how I describe my life and it was the only real choice for the new shop. Every item I make is about ‘re-use’ in some form or another. It’s basically the starting point for everything I’m thinking about and doing. Textiles are an obvious favourite for the shop, and at home, but I love to extend up-cycling to all elements of my life, and having a busy family and young children means there are often endless opportunities to re-make, re-purpose and re-love all manner of objects and materials on a daily basis. At its most basic level, re-making is about saving personal time, energy and money, quite apart from the obvious benefits to the environment as a whole. I love the creative challenges it poses as a designer and crafter, and the unexpected inspirations it offers up. When you really start to look, pretty much EVERYTHING can be re-made beautiful.

Do you also sell your work at craft shows? 

I can’t commit to craft shows at the moment as the Etsy shop keeps me too busy as it is and time is VERY limited!

What is your most cherished handmade item?

I attach a huge amount of sentimental value to the pieces of vintage handmade crochet and lace passed down from my Grandmother and Great Grandmothers. I am completely in awe of the level of detail, skill and commitment involved in the creation of some of these very beautiful and functional pieces and I’m constantly thinking of ways in which I can re-purpose and re-love these beautiful family pieces. I really feel that your home should be filled with things that speak to you, about your past, your present and your future. I love to use things every day which have a story and a positive impact on my creative process and my life as a whole.

Apart from creating things, what do you like to do?

This might sound a bit dysfunctional but I do find that everything I do involves ‘creating’ in some form. Even a walk in the woods with the kids finds my mind wandering to re-making something. I wish I had more time to play with, but I’d probably just spend it making things!!!!!! I love listening to music with a cup of tea in front of the fire (Christmas is my favourite time of year for that of course). We used to travel a lot before we had the kids. It’s such an amazing creative-injection to step into another culture or environment for a few days and soak up everything it has to offer. I’d love to think we could do that again soon.

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be and why?

I’m not sure I could cope if I didn’t have some kind of creative outlet. If it wasn’t making then maybe it could be writing? – but let’s be honest, I’d probably be writing about what other people were making!

Five years from now you will be…

Hopefully sleeping through the night (or at least my 2 year old will be sleeping through the night! - I am convinced that this will be the answer to most of my prayers), who knows where in the world we’ll be living but hopefully it will be with my successful, Etsy-based business opening up creative opportunities that I can’t even imagine right now (I love a new challenge!).

Describe yourself in five words:

I’d like to think I am:

Carrying on with the five theme, if I were to turn on your iPod, what five artists/songs would I see on your recently played list?

Henry Manchini – Loujon
Nina Simone – I’ve Got it Bad

The Beatles – Here, There & Everywhere
Flight of the Conchords – Most Beautiful Girl (always makes me giggle)
Basement Jaxx – Do your Thing
(plus, this time of year, the ‘Christmas’ playlist is already on constant repeat!)

Lastly, do you have any advice for anyone thinking about opening their own shop or participating in craft shows?

I’d say DO IT.

Keep costs and commitments LOW.
Don’t be afraid to fail – you’ve only failed if you stop trying, so don’t stop.
Be consistent; know what you want, make a plan and stick to it.
Learn how to take and edit great photos.
Be flexible, passionate about what you do and always open to new advice and opportunities.
And don’t forget why you set up in the first place – ENJOY IT J