Why this particular craft? Oh, my goodness! Asking me why I sew is like asking me why I breathe. I just love creating things that make me happy, and I love nothing more than bringing smiles to people when they see what I’ve created. I feel at my most peaceful and ‘together’ when I’m in creation mode, with my favourite music blaring in the background – my own little heaven.
Who taught you your skills? I think subliminally I must have learned from my mum, who always sewed a lot of our clothes while we were growing up. I know I tried to get into sewing at a young age, but I never really took to it or learned properly until my gorgeous sis, Rosie (Rosalie Quinlan), convinced me to start sewing about 10 years ago. No formal training; just a lot of self-learning, guessing and heaps of helpful guidance from Rosie.
Is it hard to find time for your crafting? Melly & me is my full-time job, but it still seems to be hard to find as much time as I’d like for sewing and design. There just seem to be so many other areas of the business that need attention. But I adore those days when I can close myself into my studio, doing what I love and somehow calling it ‘work’.
Where do you live and work? Late in 2012, we moved into a new family home in a lovely community on the outskirts of Melbourne. We live in such a creative area, and I love being surrounded by so much beauty and creativity. And the icing on the cake is that this new home had a very large downstairs workshop, which was just begging to be transformed into an amazing studio. We bought the house with this definite goal. Four months and a lot of renovations later, and I feel like a pig in mud! My creative zone is bigger and better than I could ever have dreamed of. That said, I’ve also run this full-time business out of a laundry for two years, so I know both sides of the spectrum.
What’s your advice for beginners? Just follow your instincts. I learned most of my skills by just doing what I thought would work and what made me happy. I think we should all approach sewing this way, rather than as a rules-based hobby. Yes, you want good results, but you also want something that makes YOU or your loved ones smile. Sometimes, following your own logic makes for a much more pleasant experience. You’ll always learn from your mistakes, and I think you become a better stitcher through trying things your own way and mastering from there.