What are your favourite styles of projects to make? Always bags, and I love a challenge – sometimes something will catch my eye, it might be a magazine cover, a book or an envelope and then it's a question of how can I make it into a bag? Ideas percolate away for months; sometimes, it just takes the right fabric to be spotted or a source of inspiration to make it all click. That's one of my favourite parts of coming up with ideas.
What’s your signature crafting style, do you think? That's a good question. I think it's the mix of natural linen, hand embroidery and appliqué combined with my sewing techniques that are often very slow and detailed. That's the comment I get the most; people seem to really like and appreciate how I put a lot of heart into every piece I make. It's taken years of patient sewing to develop my style. I feel I'm just getting into my stride now!
If you ever travelled to Egypt, what would be ‘must-sees’ on your itinerary? Definitely the Pyramids. I can't believe how perfect they are; the skill required to build them is phenomenal. I remember when I was younger, going to the Egyptology department of the British Museum and gazing at all the treasures, especially the Rosetta Stone, which unlocked all of the secrets of the Egyptians. The Valley of the Kings would be the other place on my list - there's so much there to see. The hieroglyphics in the tombs and palaces would be amazing.
What are the three most iconic Egyptian things you can think of? The pyramids, the Great Sphinx of Giza and the golden tomb of Tutankhamun – that’s where I got the inspiration for the colours I used for my square pyramid bag – gold, turquoise and black.
Was the pyramid bag difficult to design and make? Yes! It was at times very difficult when I was designing it. I wanted to make sure that it utilised fairly easily available fabrics and notions and could be sewn on a domestic sewing machine. Working out how it would open and where the strap would be were the hardest decisions so I made some prototypes and realised that a shoulder strap would make it tilt inwards. The solution was to make it a wristlet clutch bag. I always work out tricky shapes in paper first; if I can construct it in paper, I can sew it in fabric!
Where do you live? I live in the wonderful art-deco city of Napier, which is on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand. I arrived in New Zealand eight years ago from Brighton and I love its quirkiness and creativity. There are a lot of amazing designers, crafters and artists in Hawkes Bay. Napier has an amazing art-deco festival every February - quite mind blowing in its scale - and you get to see rare vintage clothing and amazing home-sewn reproductions made by avid fans.
Estelle of Brighton