Our second “Meet The Maker” post features two wonderful ladies who balance vibrant colours with modern design, throwing traditional crafts into the contemporary limelight. Our first maker is Natacha of Coconutacha; a graphic designer inspired by all things vibrant and retro:
“I’m a graphic designer and illustrator from Ystrad Mynach, South Wales. I specialise in printed design, from art prints and greeting cards to calendars and enamel pins…At the moment I’m really inspired by 90s patterns, pastels and retro themed goodness!”
What skills or techniques do you need to create your products?
I graduated in 2015 with a degree in Graphic Communication and couldn’t work without my design software (Affinity Designer and Photo), my wacom tablet and my printers!
We are in love with Natacha’s style and ability to create such fresh and alluring designs. All of her hard work and effort has certainly paid off as shes explains her latest achievements and ambitions:
“I’ve recently booked my first trade show for next year and I’m super excited! I’ve learnt a lot already about exhibiting and hope to make some great connections. My ultimate goal is to see my designs in shops across the UK.”
Where did it all begin and where do you see yourself going?
It all began when I was in university and wanted to open a small shop on the side to help with studying expenses. With a little push from friends and family, I opened my Etsy shop. I then graduated and got myself a full-time job as a Designer in Penarth. After two years, I managed to grow my Etsy shop enough to be able to go full-time freelance! Since then, I’ve been working on expanding my product line and hope to start selling wholesale next year.
As this is Coconutacha’s first EML we are certain she will be a favourite for any stationery lover or avid pin collector. We were curious as to what she looks forward to most about Etsy Made Local:
“I can’t wait to meet other vendors and like-minded people. It will be so nice to be able to talk to customers face to face instead of from behind a computer screen as well!”
Favourite place to relax and unwind is…
I actually find my studio super relaxing, haha! I recently painted it pink and it’s definitely my favourite room in my house. But nothing beats a cup of tea, a biscuit and snuggling down with a great Nintendo game.
At the top of her wish list (and ours to be honest) is jewellery by the wonderful Baked By Lou another Cardiff local maker.
Her favourite make is one that we could all do with on a daily basis and we are so glad she’s chosen to feature it:
“At the moment, it has to be my desk calendars! They are completely blank so you can start at any time of the year and fill in the dates. And each pad has 50 pages so is sure to last you a long time.”
We are pretty certain that Natacha’s designs will catch the eyes of everyone who passes by but if you can’t wait until the end of November to see for yourself then head over to her Etsy store for more colourful wonders. In the meantime, Natacha will no doubt be chilling in her studio drinking copious amounts of tea.
Classic Stitch Up
Our second maker is Katie Saunders of Classic Stitch Up who patiently makes modern cross stitch designs find inspiration from unconventional places such as protest posters, R&B lyrics.
Lets start it off easy. Tell us a little about yourself and your business.
Hi! I’m Katie a nurse from Australia I’m taking a 2-year sabbatical with my husband and we are exploring the UK and Europe. I still like to keep busy though so design and make cross stitches, I’ve been cross-stitching for 3/4 years now 🙂
“Cross stitching is easy to learn, but it is very time-consuming so you need to be patient. I guess designing the patterns requires some artistic skills such as composition.”
Katie’s attention to detail and love for cross stitching comes across in every product she makes, but especially in her custom portraits that make for an ideal anniversary or wedding gifts.
One of Classic Stitch Ups main goals this year was to focus on its branding. Like every indie business, spending time developing a specific style or brand can be one of the most enjoyable but stressful tasks to accomplish. We think Katie’s got it spot on.
“This year I’ve really focused on improving the image of classic Stitch up. I’ve had logos designed and I’ve dramatically improved my product photos. While there’s always room to improve, I’m happy with the progress I’ve made and I feel more presentable now.”
Where did it all begin and where do you see yourself going?
I began stitching 3/4 years ago. Mainly buying patterns off Etsy to keep myself busy. I then made a portrait for a friends engagement and from that I had other people enquirer about portraits and it grew from there. I hope I can expand and start selling more patterns/DIY kits, as well as embroidery tools, and hopefully hosting classes/workshops. There’s only so many cross stitches I can make so hopefully these things will help my business grow.
We are so excited to hear that Katie is looking to develop her business into DIY Kits and classes, particularly as cross stitching is having a bit of a comeback. We’re sure she will be kept busy running classes and showcasing her skills.
What is your favourite thing about EML?
Finding new artists I didn’t know of. It’s so nice finding new artists and seeing what they create. It’s also lovely seeing people doing what they love, it’s inspiring and just makes me happy!
I’m sure she can be found taking a cheeky break at EML this year meeting Cosmina and seeing what other lovely products she has for sale.
Favourite Product to make:
Oooohhhh that’s a hard one! I feel like there’s two parts to classic Stitch Up. Portraits and sayings. I don’t think I could pick one or the other. I love the freedom of making sayings, but I love making people happy by creating little stitch versions of their families.
As the winter months roll in, and after a hectic day of countless amounts of stitches Katie loves to unwind at home with the hubby on the sofa.
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.