Meet The Maker – Joey Bananas and Lark Design Make

Joey Bananas


FAD4C61F-D039-4C0F-943B-0683350FBB09 - Joey BananasIt is with great excitement and pleasure that we get to talk about two up and coming and very creative businesses. We’ll dive straight into this one and introduce you to Joanna of Joey Bananas; one half of the very imaginative couple who have come on leaps and bounds since last years Etsy Made Local.




“We’re based in the Vale of Glamorgan and make Welsh and English wooden toys, prints, notebooks, storybooks and bags. Our products are all our own designs, handmade and eco-friendly. Our trademark design is the unique ‘bwci-bo’ monster (pronounced ‘bookie-boh’-which means scary creature in Welsh). Our ethos is to amuse and entertain the eye with bright, feel-good stuff.”

6D5EBC67-37CA-4543-ABFC-AD91C8D1BD7C - Joey BananasTheir screen printing business is motivated through a desire to encourage children to learn welsh in a fun and interactive way; either by playing with wooden blocks or reading their newly self-published book. When asked what inspires them most we were delighted to hear: 


“Classic and inspiring designs from Lichenstein’s Pop Art to Tove Jansson’s Moomins”


What skills or techniques do you need to create your products? 

Screenprinting, design, sewing, woodworking and creative writing.

With such a strong portfolio of skills and ideas, it’s no wonder these guys have had an incredibly busy year. Thankfully, all that work has paid off as they explain their most recent achievements. 


678171E3-68CE-4801-824D-875D711EEA2C - Joey Bananas“Publishing our first storybook in Welsh and English, ‘The Bwci-Bo!’ which has been really successful. We are now self-publishing our next book, the Bwci-Bo counting book and showcasing it at the Christmas Etsy Made Local event.”





Where did it all begin and where do you see yourself going?

We are a husband and wife team and only started Joey Bananas in June 2018 so we’re still new. One of us is a designer by trade and has always loved making things. The other is a writer, so we decided to work together. We hope eventually to be able to focus full time on the venture, but it takes time to get established.

At the very top of Joanna’s wish list, this year is some of the wonderful jewellery made by local creative Rhian Kate Makes; we’re all hoping that a certain husband is taking this not so subtle hint and spends some time at Rhian’s stall during this years Etsy Made Local. 


What is your favourite thing about EML? 

43BDE41F-3550-4E62-8188-10C7948CFCD3 - Joey BananasThe great crew of organisers who are really encouraging and give their time voluntarily to organise the event and promote Cardiff artisans.

Joey bananas favourite make is there wonderfully fun and interactive wooden stacking and swap toys; what a great addition to the nursery or children’s room that has the extra benefit of being a sustainable gift choice. 



After a busy day of work, Joanna spends her evenings cwtching up with the cat and the iPad whilst enjoying a well-deserved glass of gin. If you can’t wait until the 30th of November to catch their books or other items why not head over to their Etsy store or to get a little more insight into their daily events head over to their Instagram or Facebook. 


Lark Design Make


il_340x270.2008842211_j5t9 - Gemma FordeOur second maker of the day is the wonderfully crafty Gemma of Lark Design Make; a workshop queen who’s always on the go running various classes across South Wales and makes lovely leather craft items during her down time or breaks in between classes. 



Lets start it off easy. Tell us a little about yourself and your business.

I established Lark last year to bring the enjoyment and the love of crafts to as many people as possible, there is now a full schedule of workshops including leather crafting, macrame, soap-making, sewing & crochet. There are also lots of great options for parties and private events.

il_340x270.1948060228_6hmy - Gemma FordeWe absolutely love the passion and commitment that Gemma brings to her business and it’s clear to see it’s one of the main inspirations behind her creativity:

“I enjoy teaching people skills and solving problems, I enjoy seeing where they take the skills learnt in a workshop, many customers now sell their items on Etsy and teach craft workshops themselves.”


What skills or techniques do you need to create your products?

I consider myself a jack of all craft trades, I find many craft techniques are interchangeable and therefore much of my making is a mixture of skills and every making session is different – the only continuous is good music and lots of cups of tea!

il_340x270.2059450795_epdc - Gemma FordeOne of Gemma’s favourite makes has to be her leather earrings that utilise her scraps. We love a little resourcefulness when it comes to crafting and anything that helps recycle or reduce waste is a winner in our books.

As a relatively young business that seems to be hitting the ground running we were over the moon to hear about her exciting recent achievements:


“I will soon be on a major TV show demonstrating my favourite crafts, I can’t say too much at the moment but it’s up there with all-time achievements EVER!”


Where did it all begin and where do you see yourself going?

I left my design teaching job in Shanghai last year to return to my home town of Cardiff, I had decided it was time to leave teaching and I have thought about having a craft studio since I visited a fab one in New Zealand in 2005 and I thought ‘it’s now or never’. It’s been a crazy first year but I’ve met so many brilliant and supportive people and found a lovely studio space in Roath. The studio is the base for all things ‘Lark’ including a small shop space but I also have a van named ‘larky’ which I use to offer workshops across South Wales. My future plan changes all the time but my focus at the moment is to have a studio which is super welcoming and inspires creativity, in time I would like the doors to be open all the time by connecting with other creatives who could offer a range of different creative workshops for all interests, ages and abilities.


il_340x270.1959012816_90d5 - Gemma FordeWe have to admit we love all things local here at CaVEtsy HQ so to hear that Gemma is wanting to open up a studio space that she can run her workshops and shop from is fantastic news. We just hope she sells some of her lovely leather jewellery there too. 


What is your favourite thing about EML? 

This will be my first Etsy Market, I’m hoping it will be a great opportunity to connect with my customers and other local makers.

At the top of Gemma’s wishlist are some lovely macrame earrings by The Tribal Sisters

When Gemma isn’t busy running her workshops, making earrings or scrolling through Etsy she loves to relax and unwind with friends in nearby coffee shops enjoying the odd slice of cake. 

If you like to see more of Gemma’s items for sale head over to her Etsy store, but if you’d like to get a little more insight in her workshops or business then why not scroll over to her facebook or Instagram page.


Come join us on the 30th of November, 10 am-5 pm at Cardiff City Hall for Cardiff and Valleys  Creatives 5th Etsy Made Local. For more information head over to our team’s FacebookInstagram and Twitter pages and show your interest on our Facebook event page.

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