Who are Thread & Rock?
Thread & Rock is the home-grown venture of two sisters, Borscha and Bristy. We create handmade bracelets which cater to petite wrists.
What inspired you both to became makers?
Having inherited the petite frame from our Asian parents, there are two things we’ve always struggled with: (1) reaching for things on high shelves and (2) finding bracelets that don’t slide off our hands! Whilst there are many solutions to our first problem (e.g. a stepladder); for ages the only solution to our second problem was to avoid wearing bracelets altogether! That is, however, until we stumbled upon the wonderful world of Etsy!
We have always been amazed by the craftsmanship of our fellow Etsy sellers, and their stories have encouraged us to create our own bracelets. Our pieces are inspired by all things colourful and sparkly! We put every effort into our craft, from the design process, to the making and finally to the packaging of our little bracelets!
What is it like owning your own business and juggling life?
Our little business provides both a creative and therapeutic outlet from daily life. When we’re not making bracelets, Borscha works in Mental Health research and Bristy is in her second year at university studying BA Graphic Design.
Thank you very much Borscha and Bristy. Before you wrap up, can you leave us with some inspiring words?
“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it” – Maya Angelou
Thread & Rock
Please tell us a little about yourself?
I’m Leah Nicholls, founder and owner of Sleeping Beauties and Dreaming the Wild.
Can you please tell us what inspired you to became a maker?
I have been a fashion designer to the UK high street for the last 10 years, specifically working with printed clothing from India. Unfortunately I was made redundant from my Design Manager role last year and I saw this as a sign to start something of my own. I always look forward to all the UK festivals in summer and enjoy European glamping holidays with friends. A beautifully printed cotton sleeping bag just clicked in my head when I really thought about what it was that I wanted to do, so I set up “Sleeping Beauties”. These sleeping bags are made in India and since I design my own prints, I wanted to make my own products myself too. Therefore, my Etsy shop “Dreaming the Wild” is the platform for all my hand-made throws, tote bags and bunting. I will also be making dream catchers and sleepwear. Watch this space!
I tried to see myself in 20 years time and whether I still wanted to be in the same job. The thought of still being in the same fashion career filled me with dread so working for myself, developing my own ideas for my own brand is definitely the end-game.
What is it like owning two businesses and juggling life?
Owning your own business is both liberating and terrifying! You realise that however experienced you are in your field, there is still so much you don’t know…everything is a learning curve. This is both good and bad and can be overwhelming at times. However, if starting your own business was easy, then everyone would do it! At the beginning of summer I took a part time job in my local haberdashery to help with bills and dare I say it, debt! This has been great as it helps me plan my time better to fit around fixed working hours and I get to use the sewing machines and overlockers in the studio at the shop! 🙂
Thank you very much Leah for joining us. Might you have some words of wisdom to inspire?
Don’t forget to give yourself a break…you’re the only one who can!
Dreaming the Wild
Who is Afro-Puff Ltd?
Afro-puff Ltd is a UK based African inspired children’s clothing line which captures the beauty of African printed fabrics. My handmade range brings together the vibrancy of African textiles with unique playful elements and meticulous craftsmanship.
What inspired you to become a maker?
I have always loved to sew and have very early memories of having great fun making clothes for my dolls when I was little. I studied pattern-cutting for a while and then gave up the course to do a more professional degree. Whilst I don’t believe you should have regrets because everything in life happens for a reason, I can acknowledge that I always missed having a creative element in my life.
I can’t really pinpoint the exact moment I decided make children’s clothing because I feel as if the idea had been in my mind for a long time without me even being conscious of it. I wouldn’t say I’m a procrastinator, but I do have it in me to put things off until all the conditions are perfect! The decision to use African fabric was inevitable, I had always been in awe of wax print, the colours, the textures the significance of it, was a pull I couldn’t resist.
About a year ago, we had a death in the family and at the funeral, I learned about all the things this person had achieved and experienced by the time they were my age and it was just like a switch for me; stop pussy-footing around and just get on with it Tamika!
Within a few weeks, I had registered my company, made some clothes and put them on Etsy! From then on, I have just continued to make clothes and I’ve been enjoying every moment of it.
I find the making process relaxing. I put some music on and I’m in my element.
How is it owning your own business and juggling life?
Owning my own business is exhilarating, scary and fun. I have a full-time job and two children so at times it’s a bit manic. Let’s just say there’s always frozen pizza in the fridge so the family won’t starve when the muse takes me!
Thanks you very and do you have any parting word?
My favourite words of wisdom are by Susan Jeffers, “Feel the fear and do it anyway”
Sometimes we are our own worst critic and when we put ourselves out there and succeed, the rewards are amazing.
Who is Geo Fun Design?
My name is Neja and I’ve recently started my own brand of polymer clay jewellery called Geo Fun Design, inspired by geometric designs that combine unique features with a dash of quirkiness and elegance. My studio is based in London, but I am originally from Slovenia and have been living in the UK for the past 4 years.
What inspired you to become a maker and please describe the making/designing process?
I’ve enjoyed creative projects and getting my hands messy ever since I was a teenager, when I would buy clothes and jewellery in high-street shops and add my own personal stamp by adding handmade elements or entirely transforming what, in my opinion, were items that lacked that special ‘je ne sais quoi’. Designing and making jewellery using a variety of media became a more pronounced passion of mine during my 20s, but it wasn’t until very recently that I decided to take my hobby to the next level and start my own business. At the moment I only sell on Etsy, but hopefully I will make my jewellery available on other platforms in the future as well.
Colour is key in all my designs – I mix all the colours myself and, unlike many polymer clay artists, I condition the clay using my hands, twisting and shaping it in a number of different ways to achieve unique and quirky colourful patterns. I also believe that while streamlining the creative process is necessary for brand development, leaving some room for experimentation and allowing oneself to just go with the flow while on a creative streak actually yields the best (and most unexpected) results. This is why all my designs are truly one of a kind and can not be replicated.
What is it like owning your own business or like many, juggling multiple jobs?
Although extremely challenging and exhausting at times, I do feel that being able to unleash my creativity is vital for me as it enables me to balance out my day job, which can be quite intellectually challenging and tiring. This is why, after a long day’s work, I like to just get my hands on clay and let my mind unwind.
Can you impart a quote or words of wisdom to inspire?
“The creative act is a letting down of the net of human imagination into the ocean of chaos on which we are suspended, and the attempt to bring out of it ideas.” (Terence McKenna)
Who is Ivie London?
Ivie London is a homeware brand, started up by two sisters with a love for all things creative. We are the makers of handmade home decor items.
What inspired you to became a maker and please explain the process?
We both work in creative industries, so it was a natural transition to start a business in the field.
Our products are carefully hand crafted from beautifully marbled concrete. As are our candles, all hand poured and made from natural Soy wax. Each item is unique and has its own design.
What is it like owning your own business or like many, juggling multiple jobs?
It is busy! No two days are the same which is exciting, however downtime is a rarity. Also one of us is a mother of two under 5, so that is tough. But working on something that is your own is worth the reward.
Thank you, Ivie London. Before you leave us, can you impart a quote, or words of wisdom to inspire?
Your gut feeling is something you should never ignore- if you feel strongly for a product or idea, run with it. It could be the best decision you ever made!
We have been catching up the talented members of the Crafty North Londoner Etsy Team and today we have the pleasure of introducing the talented potter, Noriko Nagaoka of Noriko Nagaoka Ceramic
Who is the talent behind the ceramic?
I am a potter who was born in Osaka, but have lived in London for 15 years.
What inspired you to became a maker of pottery?
When I was in Japan, I always wanted to make pottery, but it would not happen until three years ago in London, when I started taking evening ceramic courses. Another one of my inspirations is Japanese Master Potter Mr. Shoji Hamada. His spontaneous designs and clean shapes are what I strive to.
….And the design process?
I have been making ceramics part time, slowly becoming more and more full-time. In May 2017 I joined the Turning Earth Studio and since the end of August I have become a full-time potter.
Can you impart a quote or words of wisdom to inspire other makers and designers?
I love nature and most of my items are inspired by it. Trees, ocean scenery, the mountains, waterfalls, and animals all inspirations to me. I love food, so when I make my ceramics, I always think about how I can make food look better in my plates or bowls. Every day I explore finding better shapes, sizes, weight or better colours on the items that I make.
We have been catching up with the makers, crafters and shakers of the Crafty North Londoner Etsy Team, and today we bring you the very talented illustrator, Lucia Soto of Fandangle London.
Tell us, who is Lucia Soto from Fandangle London?
I’m an illustrator and graduate of Design and Plastic Arts. After a few years working as a Graphic Designer and Art Director in advertising (and although being paid for thinking is rather cool!), I decided what I really wanted to do was drawing! So I set up my studio and now I am so lucky to spend my time drawing all those things that are half nonsense and half all sense, the stuff that makes my life silly and beautiful.
I live near Regent’s Park with my boyfriend and a tiny apple tree. I love Julie London, drinking tea in the afternoon in my patio, overdressing and walking everywhere. I’m afraid of pigeons and I get really angry at broken leads in colour pencils.
What inspired and drove your passion for illustration?
I’m inspired by everyday life. Experiences, things I read about, people, places, even the change of the seasons! There’s always something beautiful around to draw!
What is it like owning your own business?
It’s the greatest. It’s really hard work but it’s the most rewarding I’ve ever done. I would only like to have more hours in my days to be able to do more!
Thank you for stopping by, Lucia. Any final words you would like to share?
“If you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”- Conan O’Brien
Very well said! To see Lucia’s full collection. please visit Fandangle London.
Crafty North Londoner is a very young group in the creative world of makers and designers.
There are many situations which can motivate an individual or group to embark on an adventure, and for Crafty North Londoner, it was the need to provide a platform for local makers in north London, specifically Tottenham.
Since the creation of Crafty North Londoner, it has become apparent there’s a whole community of Tottenham makers and designers beavering away behind a workstation, or knee deep in scraps of fabric, wood and a whole variety of ‘other’! The more we learn of others such as ourselves each day, the more excited we become because we’re not alone.
Over the coming weeks and months, we will be bringing you those very people who make up the Crafty North Londoner. Stay tuned for our Makers’ Corner series.