What was the starting point of your creativity? I’ve always loved creating. For as long as I can remember I was colouring, sketching, painting … always making something. My sister and I would spend our pocket money on things we could restore from trash-and-treasure markets. I think that’s where my love of all things vintage started and my ability to see the beauty and potential in things, not always obvious at first sight. Dad was a great illustrator and did beautiful needlework; perhaps I got the love for needlework from him. Mum is brilliant at crochet, but I think that skill must have skipped a generation as I just can’t seem to get it. But I won’t give up trying.
How did you develop your skills? It wasn’t until I had my first child that I really took an interest in sewing. Prior to that, I think I was scarred from high school textiles - that unfinished ’80s apricot-coloured skirt and the big fat D+ I received. In later years, I joined a local community group with the intention of learning to sew clothes for Ella. However, it turned out that our first project was a cloth doll. “What am I doing here?” I’d thought to myself. But, within minutes of being there and meeting a group of gorgeous, talented women, I was hooked and have never looked back.
Have you tried lots of different crafts? I’ve dabbled in painting, mosaics and furniture re-upholstery, but my true loves are definitely patchwork, stitching, scrapbooking and mixed media.
What does this craft mean to you? Craft’s not just about the final product. It’s so much more – it’s about friendships, inspiring others, extending myself, learning new things, and giving back. My life is so busy with the family and business commitments, and crafting gives me a chance to actually stop and enjoy some peace. More than anything, though, it’s what crafting teaches my children that matters most. I want them to see that their lives can be fulfilling if they do what they love and share that with others.
Is your crafting a passion or a spare-time-filler? Craft is not only a passion for me, but my career now. The business side of things sometimes takes up so much of my time that I don’t have as much time as I would like to just sit and sew. An important part of my business is finding new, young upcoming designers and helping them get their name out there. Young designers have an amazing, fun and fresh outlook on their designs and I’m always so surprised to see what they come up with.
Do you teach your skills to others? In addition to running classes and workshops at shows, my workshop space at home doubles as a classroom. I love teaching children - their imagination and enthusiasm is contagious. I’ve also done volunteer work, teaching craft to underprivileged Cambodian children overseas - an amazing experience.
Marie Kellett, Mercier