Makers Corner: Roomamakes

We have only a few days until our Spring Makers Market this 2 & 3 March at The Beehive Pub, N17 9BQ and still so many makers to introduce! Let’s go!

Hello. Who is Roomamakes?

Roomamakes is Rooma, mum of three boys with a background in the arts, including a degree specialising in printed textiles, and who went on to work in the fashion industry for a number of years.  However, although i veered off the creative track and into production, my love of creating and making was always there.

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We are intrigued to know, where do you get your inspiration from?

This was probably down to my mum who taught me how to sew,  knit and crochet at a very young age.  So once my boys were settled in school, I decided to take the plunge and do what I always loved. My mum was a machinist in the old Simpson’s factory in Hackney.  In her spare time she would make us outfits,  knit without the use of patterns and still manage to create amazing things. Her love of embroidery carried on with needlepoint in her retirement . She was very much a multi-tasker in the world of creating.

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After a long day creating, what do you find to be your go-to for relaxing and switching off?

I usually relax after the boys are tucked into bed… with a few catch up episodes of the current BBC drama!

I try to switch off from everything, but there is always some thing well within reach. A notebook to doodle in acts like therapy and I fall into a little bubble of my own!

Before you go, can you impart some words of wisdom for those starting out?

Life is short and if you never try, you never know!

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Makers Corner: Aisling van der Walt

Today is ‘Super Monday’ because you get to hear from not one, but TWO of our fantastic makers in the lead up to Etsy Made Local Tottenham!!

Our second maker today is the lovely Aisling van der Walt.

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What inspired you to became a maker?

Since I was young I’ve always loved drawing and creating. My poor sister has vivid memories of me as a 10year-old sketching her portrait in the car while she was sulking just to wind her up #sisterlove.

After years of remaining hidden in my dusty art box, my paintbrushes came out again when my husband bought me art classes for my birthday. My homemade cards got a serious facelift when I started to teach myself modern calligraphy and brush lettering. With encouragement from friends and family to sell some of my work, I gradually started turning my hobby into a business. I set up an Instagram page, started selling on Etsy, teaching Wine and Modern Calligraphy workshops, and now I’m delighted to be selling at an Etsy Made Local Christmas Market!

Please can you share the making and designing process?

If I am creating just for myself, I go straight to my watercolours and use nature to inspire me. I’m drawn to abstract forms of colour and subtle tonal variations, aiming to achieve a painterly, whimsical effect.

If I am creating a commissioned lettering piece for a customer I often mock-up a design using my iPad pencil which is a quick and effective way to play around with composition, colour and design. Once I have agreed a final design with the client, I lightly mark out the design with pencil and paper to ensure correct alignment, then I apply paint using high quality watercolours. When everything is good and dry I hand letter the quote/ lettering on top of the paint.

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What is it like owning your own business or like many, juggling multiple jobs?

I have learned a lot about juggling since starting my art business! I work as an occupational therapist in the NHS which I love, but when you work in healthcare you put all your time and energy into other people and for me, art and calligraphy is the perfect way to recharge my batteries. Running my own business has been a steep learning curve because it involves so much more than just painting. I needed to learn marketing, photography, printing, stock management, Photoshop, DPIs, PPIs, TIFFS – things I had no clue about before I started! Even when it is crazy busy with orders and commissions, I feel so lucky to be able to run a business around something I love so I wouldn’t change it….but maybe ask me again in the Christmas rush!

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Can you impart a quote or words of wisdom to inspire?

“Done is better than perfect” – being able to say this has been a huge learning curve for me! My perfectionistic tendencies definitely come out in my artwork and in many ways, they help me produce high quality pieces. But when it comes to deciding to put yourself out there and open an Etsy shop, or share your work on social media, or run a workshop, or sell at a market, sometimes you need to just take the plunge even if you think you’re not ‘there yet’. I could wait my whole life to get ‘there’ and meanwhile nothing would have happened. Take the leap and who knows, you might be more ‘there’ than you thought you were!

Thank you so much for speaking with us. You can find the lovely Aisling on Day 1 of Etsy Made Local Tottenham (Tottenham Town Hall) along with many other talented local makers and don’t forget, this is a two-day bumper handmade only market! Find us on Day 2 at The Beehive Pub on 2 December. See you then!!

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Makers Corner: Victoria Tojeiro of Victoria Draws

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WHO IS THE LADY BEHIND THE ILLUSTRATIONS? 

Hi. I am Victoria Tojeiro of VictoriaDraws.

CAN YOU EXPLAIN YOUR DESIGN PROCESS, OR WHERE YOU TAKE YOUR INSPIRATION FROM?

Since I’ve been old enough to hold a pencil I’ve drawn. My infant sketchbooks are full of horses, unicorns, fish and even the odd princess, as well as scraps of stories inspired by my favourite books. I remember announcing to the family that when I grew up I wanted to “write stories and draw the pictures.” Bar the princesses and unicorns, my current sketchbooks aren’t too different, filled with sketches and stories of animals doing silly things.
My ambition remains the same, but having no formal art qualifications, I found myself floundering a couple of years ago and so started VictoriaDraws as a way to showcase my illustrations and to give me a sense of drive.
I’ve found the experience surprising, frustrating and totally exhilarating. I realise that I really enjoy creating artwork for people’s homes, and since starting the business, I have even been asked to design wedding invitations and create pet portraits; things I never would have seen myself doing a few years ago. My confidence has had a massive boost, and I find myself more energised and more determined than ever.
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WHAT IS IT LIKE OWNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS AND JUGGLING LIFE?

I work full time as a primary school teacher so there is a lot of juggling that goes on in my life! During the week I tend to stick to creating content for social media and my blog, as well as sketching out new ideas on the commute. I save the real work for the weekends and holidays, where I can be mostly found in our box room either painting or frowning at photoshop. I paint everything by hand, and then clean things up on photoshop, which I’ve had to teach myself to do but I’m getting there!

THANK YOU, VICTORIA, FOR TELLING US ABOUT YOURSELF. CAN YOU IMPART WORDS OF WISDOM TO INSPIRE THOSE STARTING OUT?

One of my favourite quotes (which appears as a print and is the feature image on this post- I love it so much!) is by Maya Angelou, and I find it in equal parts inspiring and also a motto to live by; “Nothing will work unless you do.”
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Makers Corner: Stella Salumaa of Burglar Cat

Who is Burglar Cat? 

Burglar Cat is a one-woman undertaking and is based in East London, UK. But originally I am from beautiful Estonia.
I was drawing cats being naughty burglars for my very first attempt  screen printing and that is when Burglar Cat was born.
It is now developed into hand painted tote bags, prints, comic books, playing cards etc.
I love anything silly and that is how I like to draw and illustrate.

Can you tell us what inspired you to became a maker and please describe the making process?

As far as I can remember, I have always loved making and drawing things. I usually just draw something and I get ideas from around me.

What is it like owning your own business or like many, juggling multiple jobs?

I work full time as an animator and I do my own artwork on the side. It can be difficult and tiring, but it’s definitely worth it and makes me happy.

Can you impart a quote or words of wisdom to inspire?

Always do something . Draw, paint or whatever medium it is that you like. It might not always come out perfect. But keep at it until you do something you love, then it’s all good.

Shop the Burglar Cat collection.