Meet The Maker – Eastern Sapphire and Cosmic Design Studios


Our final Meet The Maker of the year brings a brilliant duo of crafters with a selection of quirky gifts for all of the family. Our first maker is the very talented and bubbly Rachel of Eastern Sapphire Designs who makes wonderful pyrography (wood burning to the average Joe) wall hangings, coaters, sculptures and generally all things lovely out of wood! 

Eastern Sapphire Designs

IMG_20190617_111915_585 - Rachel Smith“I’m a Norfolk gal who now lives in Llantwit major. I create lovely wooden handmade decor using a technique called pyrography. This involves using a small handheld hot tool to burn designs into wood. I create all of my creations in my little craft room and I’m usually enjoying a cup of tea whilst making.”

Any craft that provides the opportunity to drink our body weight in tea or coffee is a winner in our book and we can’t get over how lovely her latest collection of products are. 

What inspires your creativity or craft? 

IMG_20191030_202240_305 - Rachel SmithI find inspiration in the environment around me, forests, landscapes and botanicals. If I am struggling to find my creativity, I usually head out for a walk on the beach and get out into the fresh air.

Like a lot of our makers this year, nature plays a very crucial role as a source of inspiration and salvation from a stressful day in the studio. We love that Rachel’s products are not only made by nature but are so heavily influenced by the world around her. 

Seeing as we don’t know much about Pyrography we wanted to know a little more about the skills and techniques Rachel uses to create her pieces: 

“Pyrography can be a very delicate process. Depending on the style of work you are doing or the machine you are using. So a steady hand always helps. I always find that having a scrap of wood nearby to practice always helps. But every piece I create is a learning curve for me.”

IMG_20191103_185245_120 - Rachel Smith

We adore the idea that Eastern Sapphire is seen as a continuously developing outlet for Rachel’s creativity and over the past few years we can see all her hard work and effort has paid off. We were overwhelmed to hear that she also applied this same approach to her personal life as one of her greatest personal achievements this year was running the Cardiff Half Marathon for Alzheimers Society. 

Alongside Rachels commitment to helping others and pushing the boundaries of her own ability, she’s started learning how to scroll saw, meaning we can all look forward to even more beautiful gifts and products. 

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

It all began at about 5 and a half years ago. I discovered pyrography via Instagram and have been hooked ever since. In the future, I would like to launch a line of wooden nursery decor and wooden toys.

IMG_20190912_140147_717 - Rachel SmithIt’s so lovely to hear that Rachel is wanting to branch into making children’s toys and nursery decor as this is a great way to encourage young families to think and shop a little more plastic-free. We love her little wooden creatures and can’t wait to see them in person at Ety Made Local. 

What is your favourite thing about EML? 

I love meeting all the different makers. It’s almost as if we are all on the same wavelength and it’s quite comforting to be around creative like-minded people. I also love meeting customers face to face and receiving feedback and learning from each event.

IMG_20190209_185543_286 - Rachel SmithRachel’s favourite makes are her newly launched wooden whales as well as her wooden ring boxes and keepsake boxes. We think these will be very popular with all those boho style weddings and make for an extra special touch to someone’s day. 

At the top of Rachael’s Etsy wish list, this year are the wonderfully simple and elegant prints from The Print Studios. Whilst Rachael’s browsing their Etsy page she loves to relax and unwind on the sofa chocolate and cosy cuppa in hand and her rescue dog Snowy by her side. 

If you fancy browsing more of Rachel’s products head over to her Etsy store for more wonderful treats. Equally, hop over to her Instagram, or Facebook accounts for more wonderful insights and inspiration. 

Cosmic Design Studio

Our final maker is the very hard working and forever positive Cosmina of Cosmic Design Studios. As well as designing our poster and online graphics for this years event Cosmina creates incredible beautifully detailed illustrations and Christmas decorations. 

2insta - Cosmina GhergheLet’s start it off easy. Tell us a little about yourself and your business.

My name is Cosmina, I am a designer and illustrator based in Cardiff and I am the owner of Cosmic Design Studio. Working full time as a software designer, I started my business as a way for me to release some of my wilder creative ideas. I create fun products for a young and vibrant audience and try to use my ideas to tackle topics that I value while putting a smile on people’s faces.

We love how Cosmina has always got some new and quirky print or design on the go we are in love with her latest Christmas card designs and look forward to seeing more of her work this year. 

What inspires your creativity or craft?

I often find inspiration in pop culture & music and combine it with my strong belief system in an effort to fight issues I feel very passionate about, such as environmental issues, animal cruelty or any kind of discrimination.

IMG_2617 - Cosmina GhergheIt’s great to hear that Cosminas work has a strong baseline for knowing what pop culture references can be used to push the more serious undertones of her work; making them both visually effective whilst also reaching to a new and younger audience. 

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

My products are created by combining my skills in traditional art (drawing, painting and clay modelling) and the digital skills for digital pieces.

Last year Cosmic Design Studio was one of our newcomers to Etsy Made Local and we are so glad to hear that she is settling in well. We wanted to know what she’s been up to in the last year and if she had any major developments: 

“I am very happy to say that this year’s Christmas collection is 100% eco-friendly!

 I was able to avoid using any type of material that would be bad for the environment. So all the new Christmas cards, decorations and prints are produced with the planet in mind and are free from any plastics or non-biodegradable materials. This hasn’t necessarily been easy to achieve but I am more than happy to put the extra bit of effort in if it means I can help the planet.”

IMG_20191014_071210_263 - Cosmina GhergheWhere did it all begin and where do you see yourself going?

It began with me wanting to create some fun designs “just for the sake of it” for people like myself. I wanted to make things that would put a smile on people’s faces and represent my creative self more accurately than my job did at that time. 

Now I am feeling more and more inclined to be vocal and militant in the messaging I use for my designs and I feel the need to communicate my values with everyone that connects with my work. I am hoping to create more products that reflect this in hopes that it will reach many people as it can. I would love to become stocked in a few places over the next couple of months but I’d also like to attend trade shows and be stocked by bigger retailers. I’d love the chance to collaborate with Cardiff based, female-owned businesses in the near future as well!

It’s so motivating to hear that Cosmina has pushed her design business to a new level and is starting to make environmental choices to help promote her kind-hearted and strong-minded idealisms. We’re certain she will be able to achieve all of this next year as we are so proud to see how far she has already come. 

What is your favourite thing about EML? C1F5E55D-AD77-4328-8B31-347F96E19B8E - Cosmina Gherghe

I love many things about this event, but one of my favourites is the chance to see the people that like my products in person. I think it’s something so special in seeing someone that believes in your business and supports it in person and shake their hand. This is a lot harder over a digital platform where sometimes things can seem mechanical. I love being able to thank people in person.

If you have ever met Comins you will know just how genuinely happy she is when she connects to all of her supportive and like-minded customers. Like many of us, shes does indeed do a little happy sales dance. At the top of her Etsy wish list is the wonderfully local and quirky Fizz Goes Pop, we’ve all been eye-balling her earrings and can honestly agree that Cosmina has made a good choice. 

Favourite Product to make:

IMG_2638 - Cosmina GhergheThis year my no1 favourite thing to make have been the dinosaur Christmas tree decorations. They take approximately 2h each from start to finish but boi they are so damn cute it’s worth it!

When Cosmina isn’t rushed off her feet between or day job and creating wonderful gifts and illustrations loves nothing better than cwtching on the sofas with George and Pebbles (her cat fur babies) with a “cup of tea big enough to swim in”.

If you fancy having a browse at her latest creations head over to Cosmic Design Studio’s Etsy Store. Or for even more insight (and the odd kitty photo) follow her on Facebook and Instagram. 

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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