These dames love design

31 Aug, 2011 02:00 AM
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The two crafty dames - Carly Ennor (left) and Paula Fletcher said there had been a resurgence in the popularity of handmade crafts and the idea of the domestic goddess.
The two crafty dames - Carly Ennor (left) and Paula Fletcher said there had been a resurgence in the popularity of handmade crafts and the idea of the domestic goddess.

IT'S still early days for Two Crafty Dames from Kalgoorlie but their repertoire so far gives an indication of bountiful and beautiful things to come.

An abundance of crafty enthusiasm and ideas has spilt over from an online business to a new shop, Fossick Handmade, due to open this Saturday where people can enjoy the retail experience without having to delay any gratification.

After graduating from school in 2001, graphic designer Paula Fletcher started her own freelance design business, Calypso Designs, about three years ago.

"Two Crafty Dames came along because I wanted to focus on that crafty side of me that needs to create things with my hands and not look at a computer screen all day," Paula said.

"I love graphic design but doing it constantly was starting to take its toll a bit ergonomically, and it can be a bit draining creatively as well."

When Paula and her best friend since high school, Carly Ennor, decided they both wanted to create crafts, they made it official.

Paula's design background came in handy in marketing their creations and setting up the necessary online presence.

No slouch in the design field - she won the Kalgoorlie Boulder Chamber of Commerce and Industry's Goldfields Young Achiever of the Year in the Business Awards last year - Paula designed the logo and the crafty dames had it hand-lettered by a calligrapher.

Paula said there had been a resurgence in the popularity of handmade crafts and the idea of the domestic goddess.

"People are wanting to make things themselves or be a bit house-proud I suppose, baking and going back to those gentler arts," she said.

"It's become more mainstream again and people who haven't traditionally thought they could do creative things are now exploring that side of themselves."

Paula said Carly's focus was on sewing garments and her aprons were very popular.

The pair also made a variety of jewellery ranging from Carly's small colourful cabachon earrings to Paula's more intricate wire work.

"I try to use semi-precious stones and beads in my design as well as Swarovski crystal and vintage beads or findings," Paula said.

Vintage millinery items and flowers and materials sourced from Europe, America and Japan are also desirable.

"We make these beautiful fabric blossoms out of different types of fabric and those blossom brooches are very popular," Paula said.

"The fascinators are very popular as well because they're quite different to the usual raceday wear that you find in other boutiques.

"They've definitely got that handmade touch about them and they're a bit more contemporary in that they've got cute details and different colour combinations.

"I try to bring in illustration and I've been doing prints as well.

"I really want to focus on my jewellery making and different belts and headwear and see how it goes."

Paula said they liked to use old garments that would otherwise be thrown out.

"When you go vintage shopping and find a beautiful garment, it's just such a treat to look at how it's been finished and how things were made to last," Paula said.

"I just think they got a few things right in the beautiful styles of the 1950s, 30s and 40s and there's just a beautiful attention to detail in the accessories and garments you find from those eras that you don't get so much now.

"So it is nice to go back to that and take pride in the item that you're making and design something to last."

Besides the aesthetics of vintage materials, Paula said people needed to become aware of their consumption and start recycling.

"We're not a planet of infinite resources and you just can't keep using and consuming without paying a consequence at the end," Paula said.

The pair has just completed their first offering of a series of sewing classes at the Curtin Vocational and Technical Centre (VTEC).

"We taught them how to do a little eco-shopping bag, a little café-style apron and matching pot holder to go with it and some fabric headbands with fabric flowers on them," Paula said.

With things being a little crazy with the imminent opening of their shop, they have decided not to join them for spring courses.

Paula said it was important for everyone to nurture their creative side.

"It's very easy to get stuck in the grind and then you're not actively making things or exploring other sides of your person," she said.

"And I think it can contribute to a lot of things like depression and despondency in our current society.

"I think keeping your hands busy and your mind busy is just such a great way to nurture yourself."

Paula said there was no such thing as someone who was not creative.

"You just need to find something that you enjoy and you'll get better at every practice," she said.

"We want to encourage that by doing lots of workshops and things to encourage people who normally wouldn't give it a go."

Paula said they had a wide cross-section of customers mostly from Perth or Kalgoorlie but also from America.

"It's focused on girls just out of high school through to women who have young families but we do have a sprinkling of ladies who are a bit older," she said.

"Most of the empty-nesters can make things themselves so they are not necessarily buying our products, but are coming along to workshops and showing us a thing or two."

She said once the shop was launched, they would be able to extend their range.

"We would love to hear from anyone in WA who is a craftsperson or artist and would like to have an avenue to sell their wares," Paula said.

"We're trying to focus on the creative people in the Goldfields and WA but we do have stuff from interstate and New Zealand as well.

"When we get to the financial rewards it'll be lovely, but definitely we do it for the love of it rather than any high profits."

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