Friday, September 14, 2012

Meet the Maker - Sakurako, Kat & Bee, Minkie Baby

This week we are introducing you to the extremely talented Leigh. I have admired Leigh's creativity and high quality work for a number of years, have a look at her work and you'll see why!

Tell us a little about yourself?

I’m Leigh, married to Elliot and mother of two boys, Oliver is 4.5 and Henry is almost 2. Our third child is due in November.  I make quilts – mostly baby/children’s quilts – under my Sakurako brand and I also make beaded jewellery and other accessories which I sell with my sister Karah under the Kat & Bee brand.

Other than sewing, what do you do?

I’m trained in fine art – printmaking, and have exhibited, but its very difficult to work with acid etching, oil based inks and turps with small children underfoot which is why I now focus on other creative endeavours.  I also enjoy baking, general crafts and the odd stamping/cardmaking social night with friends. I run Minkie Baby selling cloth nappies of my own design. I used to sew these myself but couldn’t keep up with demand so they are now manufactured offshore.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I’m a very visual person so pin a lot of images and blog posts of quilts I like on Pinterest – either design wise or fabric wise. When planning out a quilt I often start a new Pinterest board and pin fabrics I think will co-ordinate in order to see them together. My style is quite modern – I use a lot of white (and if I don’t use white then I will use another solid), I like my quilt designs to be simple/not fussy, and I really don’t do batiks, blenders or ditzy florals. I like to let the fabric designs shine and I feel that quite often the individual fabrics are lost with traditional fussy quilting styles.

What does sewing, crafting and handmade mean to you?

For me it’s very much a creative outlet. I make things because I enjoy making them, and I like to use fabrics I find aesthetically pleasing. I get a great deal of satisfaction out of making high quality items by hand.

Who is your favourite fabric or pattern designer?

I buy a lot of Riley Blake, for children especially they have a lot of lovely fabrics which aren’t twee or washed out. I follow Elizabeth Hartman’s blog (Oh Frannson!) and have her books, her guide to quilting is an excellent resource.

Who has been your greatest influence?

Probably my mother, and both my grandmothers. Mum sewed a lot when we were young, and made a lot of our clothing. She’s had a crack at almost any craft you can think of. She also makes quilts (though she gets me to stipple them for her!).  My Omi could sew and crochet and my Nana enjoyed knitting. So I grew up surrounded by women who created and crafted.

Where would you like to be in five years?

In a bigger house with an organised creative space! (I’m just about to lose my study/sewing room so #3 has somewhere to sleep). I’d like for Minkie Baby nappies to be stocked by other retailers, and I’d like for Sakurako to be plugging along. I’m happy for Sakurako to stay at hobby-level – the enjoyment I get from it I suspect would be greatly diminished if I had to work to tight deadlines or be entirely dictated by the customer. I do plan on introducing semi-custom slots once #3 is out of the newborn phase and things have settled down – by that I mean that I liaise with the customer to design and create a quilt which both they and I are pleased with aesthetically. But we will see how we go.

What handmade possession do you love most?

Well… I’m quite proud of the single bed quilt I made for Oliver, which he adores. But in terms of things made by others, I have a crocheted baby shawl from when I was very small which is very carefully packed away. I also have a little cardigan knitted by my Nana which both boys have worn, its quite special because my aunty kept it aside after Nana passed away for when I had children of my own.

I have a beautiful necklace and handbag I got give in last years TSS Kris Kringle which I love and use all the time. 

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