Meet The Maker – Handmade Costume Shop and The Mistress of Making

 

Todays Meet The Maker features two wonderful creatives who recently joined us last year. We were so excited to see them re-apply this year and thought it’s best to write up about both of them together. Our first maker is the very playful and imaginative Kathy of Handmade Costume Shop.

 

Handmade Costume Shop

Creating a variety of costumes for kids, big and small (that means us right?) to enjoy. With a variety of different costumes from the classic dragon wings to mysterious finds of the deep sea, we’re sure everyone will soon find their favourite. 

 

IMG_7303 - Kathy ClarkLets start it off easy. Tell us a little about yourself and your business. 

I’m a mum to three lovely boys who all love costumes, but not as much as me!!

Kathy is incredibly talented as she designs and makes all her own costumes, meaning not only does she get to enjoy the creative idea process but can execute it with such precision and passion. We can’t get over how well made her work is, we’re a little curious about the inspiration behind her business: 

“My boys really inspire a lot of the costumes I make and they make great product testers too!  Seeing kids and their parents get excitement and joy from the things I make is really why I do what I do.”

IMG_6475 - Kathy ClarkIt means a lot to us creatives to see customers enjoying the value of our hard work and time, so no wonder the happiness is the main motivator to Kathy. Alongside running her business Kathy has also gained a lot of personal achievements since the last time we saw her, some even showcasing just how much the happiness of others truly means to her: 

 

 

 

“My personal achievement of the year would have to be running the Cardiff Half Marathon whilst raising money for NSPCC.  It was such a fantastic event, the support from the spectators was absolutely amazing! In terms of the Handmade Costume Shop, I would have to say getting all of my Halloween orders out on time whilst juggling everything else in my life – its a real privilege to see parents posting pictures of their super happy kids in my costumes.”

IMG_9088 - Kathy ClarkWhere did it all begin and where do you see yourself going?

It all began with a costume for my eldest son’s nursery play…..little did I know I would actually be turning that into a small business. 

It’s great to hear that this impressive business sprouted from such a humble beginning and we can only imagine the kids school costumes have only improved since then too!

 

 

What is your favourite thing about EML? 

It is great to see people’s reactions to my costumes – selling online doesn’t have the same feedback! But also seeing all of the amazing products on sale at the event.  There are lots of really talented people involved.

IMG_7576 - Kathy ClarkKathy’s favourite make has to be the ever so popular Kids Dragon wings. We’re only hoping that they’ll be a few larger wings for us bigger kids too. 

At the top of Kathy’s wish list is a wonderful Bee Box from the very talented Basically Wooden

 

When Kathy isn’t busy finishing off all her orders or thinking up new designs she likes to unwind with the kids at home. In the meantime if you want to browse for some wonderful gift ideas (or for yourself) then head over to Handmade Costume Shop’s Etsy Page; why not fly over to her Facebook or Instagram page for more creative insights.

 

The Mistress of Making

Our second maker is the incredibly patient and original Natalie of The Mistress of Making. We adore the level of detail and love that goes into each and every one of her trinkets and pieces, so without hesitation let’s jump straight to it!.

raven - The Mistress of Making

“I’m Natalie, the sole creator behind The Mistress of Making. I create hand-embroidered jewellery, accessories and hoop art utilising vintage finds and fabrics sourced from discarded fashion. I use a variety of traditional techniques to create texture and sculptural effects within the majority of my pieces that are inspired both by the natural world and popular culture. I am fascinated by the history of the fabrics that I work with, imagining the lives that the previous owners or wearers led, the stories or memories attached to them which are then transformed, to be enjoyed once more.”

 

It’s hard to believe just how much skill and work goes into these wonderful creations. When we look closer we’re filled with admiration for Natalie’s ability to bring a new lease of life into pre-loved finds. 

 

What inspires your creativity or craft? 

Slow fashion, preserving traditional skills together with nature and popular culture.

It’s so refreshing to hear that Natalie is bringing this traditional craft back into fashion through her desire to encourage slow and sustainable fashion choices. We wanted to know a little more about the scope of techniques needed to produce her wonderful collections: 

“Knowledge of hand embroidery stitches, stump-work embroidery and soft sculpture construction. Hand dying techniques and knowledge of wire jewellery making.”

Natalie sticks true to form when it comes to using traditional techniques of creating her precious items; this is only proven further when we asked about her recent achievements:

raven 2 - The Mistress of Making“I was approached via Etsy by a dressmaker specialising in 18th century costume for weddings and re-enactments with regards to collaborating within the New year. This will mean hand embroidering on a much larger scale but I am truly excited to be a part of recreating such beautiful, traditional garments.”

What a great opportunity to take part in such a large scale project. We’re certain Natalie will do wonders and hope this recent development helps showcase her skills as a maker further!

 

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

I had studied contemporary textiles as a mature student before completing my degree in Artist, Designer, Maker at Cardiff Metropolitan University. I had been struggling behind the scenes with varying illnesses and in 2017 when I was diagnosed with a long term illness which left me disabled, I needed to find a creative outlet once I had become bedridden. I quickly turned to stitch as a form of therapy and meditation, it was small, portable and easier to control as I could no longer paint or sculpt like I used to. I started to challenge myself to “paint” with the thread and began with miniature illustrations using embroidery. Despite a distressing time, I still maintained a sense of humour and although I do enjoy stitching flowers and botanicals, my first piece was a miniature full English breakfast which sold the day I added it to Etsy! This gave me confidence that I had a purpose once more. I plan to expand my range of accessories in the future together with promoting the benefits of stitch as therapy.

iris 1 - The Mistress of Making

 

It really is fantastic to hear such influencing and motivating stories as to why people get into starting a creative business. To see Natalie maintain and harness such a passion for her art during a difficult time is truly life-affirming. 

 

 

What is your favourite thing about EML? 

I love the sense of community that EML provides and to be able to come together to sell our wares in a venue instead of our homes or studios for the day is such a welcome change. It also gives me a chance to talk in-depth about my pieces to any customer who visits my stall which is always a pleasure.

locket - The Mistress of MakingWe can’t wait to spend some time at Natalie’s stall, idolising her skill and ability to create such intricate and wonderful creations. At the top of Natalie’s wish list is a fellow Etsy Made Local stallholder, Lydia Niziblian. It’s almost certain that these two will hit it off and enjoy sharing their creative interests. 

 

Natalie’s favourite – and one of ours to be honest – is her upcycled vintage lockets. The level of texture and quality of stitching pulls us in like jewellery magpies!

 

When The Mistress of Making isn’t busy creating marvellous pieces she can be found relaxing at home with her family. In the meantime, if you’d like to stare in amazement at her brooches and other ware head over to The Mistress Of Making’s Etsy store, or head over to her Facebook and Instagram accounts to see what other events or projects she’s working on. 

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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