Todays Meet The Maker brings some incredibly talented and wonderful creatives who we think will be very popular at this years Etsy Made Local. Our first creative is the fashionable Erin Maddocks of Madog Millinery; bringing this traditional trade back onto centre stage to entice us with contemporary headwear.
Let’s start it off easy. Tell us a little about yourself and your business.
Originally from Ffestiniog in North Wales, I’ve now made Cardiff my home. I started making hats two years ago. Since graduating in 2010 I’ve worked in the theatre industry in costume departments, making and designing for lots of different companies. I always wanted to specialise in a certain part of the costume world and was fascinated by the work of the milliners I worked with. When I found a millinery course ran by Pinewood studios, I grabbed the chance to learn more and that’s how it all began!
With Erin’s background in the theatre industry, it’s no wonder we can imagine her work featured in front of the camera and even the top fashion magazines. We wanted to know a little more about the creative process behind making hats and this is what Erin had to say:
“Hatmaking techniques, which takes a bit of strength blocking the wool into shape! There’s a lot of hand sewing involved too, and there are always new techniques to learn in the millinery world.”
What inspires your creativity or craft?
The landscape, mountains, beaches and forests. Travelling and days full of adventure, road trips, and campfires. I’ve had periods of living abroad twice in the last few years, first in the rocky mountains of Canada, then a stint in Japan and this definitely inspires the style of fedoras.
The floral pillbox hats are inspired by my Nain. I love looking at photos of her and her friends all dressed up in the 40s and 50s so these headpieces are made in the vintage shapes of this period.
We love that Erin gets her inspiration from exploring the world both in person or through reminiscing vintage family photos. Her passion for creativity and design go hand in hand with her ability to capture such precious moments in her life; making what we think to have to be some of THE best bespoke hats in South Wales.
It’s always great to hear about our local maker’s recent goals and achievements, one of Madog Millinery’s proudest moments was having a stall at the National Eisteddfod in August! We are sure her products were very popular and won’t disappoint those wanting to try her wears at EML this year.
What is your favourite thing about EML?
This will be my first Etsy Made Local event and I can’t wait to meet lots of other local makers, and the people of Cardiff who love and support handmade businesses. I’m hoping to get some of my Christmas shopping done there too!
We’re pretty certain Erin will find some lovely gifts for others; that is if she isn’t hunting out gifts for herself from Matico Studio or Stiwdio Mwclai, two other stallholders that made it on her wishlist.
Considering all of Erin’s hats are so lovely we were curious which was her favourite to make and here’s her response:
“Difficult question! I do like making the floral pillboxes as each one is slightly different so I can play around with the style a little more”
My favourite place to relax and unwind is…
Anywhere that’s in the middle of nowhere! I love being by the coast and looking out at the ocean, or in a good cosy country pub with a big glass of red…
We have to agree with Erin that this is by far one of the best ways to relax and unwind after a busy day. For more wonderful creations head over to Madog Millinerys Etsy page, or scroll over to Facebook and Instagram for more behind the scenes insights into Madog Millinery.
Jodie Neale Ceramics
Our second maker is incredibly talented and what we can only assume patient Jodie of Jodie Neale Ceramics. Her tactile and subdued creations make us want to nestle away with a good cup of coffee and enjoy the winter months indoors.
“I have a small home studio where I either work on a pottery wheel, or indulge my time making ceramic sculptures and jewellery. I received a BA (hons) in Fine Art Sculpture from Coleg Sir Gar in 2007, and a short time afterwards I qualified as a nurse.
A couple of years ago my yearning for all things creative led me to participate in an evening pottery course, where I could once again release my artistic side.”
Jodie makes a variety of ceramics from pottery, sculptures and ceramic jewellery. We are in love with her tealight holders and wonderful tiki vessels and just love how we can imagine her pieces tucked away in each corner of our homes.
What inspires your creativity or craft?
I love highly detailed work and can spend hours creating just piece. I put my heart into everything I make, as I can imagine how much the owner will cherish it.
I find pottery very satisfying, if at times unforgiving. There is always another skill to learn, whether it be making a lid or spout, pulling a handle, or mixing up a new glaze combinations. My work has themes such as, ‘Bohemian’, and ‘British Wildlife’. I want to challenge myself to make fine pottery, which is comfortable and practical. Though I mostly want to create engaging pieces that will conjure up a sense of happiness for the owner.
It’s so very clear that Jodie loves her craft and gets a lot out of the process of making them. We are sure that the same level of enjoyment comes to each customer who purchases one of her wonderful creations.
What skills or techniques do you need to create your products?
Skills required to make a mug:
- Weighing and wedging the clay.
- Throwing the body on a pottery wheel.
- Turning the foot ring on the pottery wheel when leather hard.
- Pulling the handles by hand and attaching.
- Carving the designs, known as sgraffito.
- Initial firing to 1000 degrees celsius, known as bisque firing.
- Dipping and brushing three or more layers of glaze.
- Glaze firing to 1200 degrees celsius.
- Sanding the bottoms of the mugs so no scratched tables
I love that there are so many steps to making the humble mug.
It’s nice to see Jodies passion and obsession for detail comes out in her work. We think she is being modest when it comes to talking about her technique and style as there’s a lot of love and design that goes into each one of her mugs.
Where did it all begin and where do you see yourself going?
I have always been artistic, ever since I was a child. I would spend hours and hours making gifts for my friends and family, and still do to this day. It brings me a lot of joy. I would like to keep creating, keep evolving as an artist, and develop my pottery skills along the way.
We wanted to know what Jodie has been up to on the run-up to Etsy Made Local and what were her greatest milestones we were so excited when she told us:
“This year I developed my own range of glazes which I am very proud of. It took a lot of experimenting and failures, but I am so pleased that I can say that my work is truly unique and one of a kind.”
What wonderful news to hear that Jodie now has her own selection of glazes to work with to truly make her designs bespoke to her brand. We love her choice of colour and finishing. We can understand now why “The humble mug” is one of her favourite makes.
Away from the kiln and studio, Jodie loves to relax in the pool. Simply enjoying the lack of noise and distraction for pure relaxation.
What is your favourite thing about EML?
It gives local people the opportunity to meet the maker’s and ask questions about their craft. And for the maker, it gives them the opportunity to show the people the creations that they have spent countless hours designing and making. It is a very proud moment when a person likes your work.
At the top of Jodies Etsy wish list is the lovely Higgs Ceramics, we have to agree that Helen’s work is awe-inspiring and certainly something we’ll be adding to our own wishlist.
For more wonderful product browsing head over to Jodie Neale Ceramics Etsy store, or why not join us in scrolling through Jodies Instagram and Facebook pages for more wonderful creations and inspiration.
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 Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages and show your interest on our Facebook event page.