By Roslyn Russell I'm excited to welcome Mandy Wood to the CWC blog today as our featured member. She is a girl after my own heart - inspired by the needle and thread. Mandy's creativity and skills in the area of sewing and design has led to cushion range, olive thread, and she is currently developing and almost ready to launch her online store at Blue Caravan.
What do you create? I design and hand make the cushion range - olive thread.
Have you done training in your creative field or has it come about informally? I have always loved creating and sewing and although I have done a few short sewing courses and am hoping to do a more in-depth design course soon - my sewing skills have developed mainly through the help and guidance of my mum and grandmas who are all really good sewers. My learning process is definitely a bit more hit and miss as I am willing to give anything a go - for example teaching myself to insert invisible zippers by hand (that was fun!)... it might take a few goes to get everything to exactly how I want it but the final outcome always makes it worthwhile!
What are your main creative inspirations? My main inspirations would have would have to be fabric and colour! I am obsessed and I love finding new fabrics that I have to work with because they are just so fabulous. The latest - olive thread BRIGHTS - is a perfect example of this as I had the cream/tan fabric for about 6 months before I decided the tigerlilly cotton fabric would work perfectly with it for this collection (see the cushion line up for the final product). It is also fantastic to have access to so many other creative inspirations and creative people through blogs, magazines, facebook, instagram, pinterest and networking groups like CWC. I am constantly inspired and impressed by the countless talented creatives and get my daily blog fix through personal favourites like The Daily Imprint, The Design Files, Decor 8 and Absolutely Beautiful Things to name a few. If I am ever stuck or feeling in need of a spruce, these are my go to places which often leads to me getting lost in the online world and discovering new exciting people and their work/projects.
How do you balance your creative projects with the administration aspect of creative work? I find I do get really excited and just want to keep designing and sewing ... but at the same time I do like doing the admin side. Call me crazy but I think it has something to do with a long term obsession with paper and stationery :] I am also a big fan of the trusty excel spreadsheet and I am never without a notebook (containing the current to-do list) of some size. As olive thread is a new business I try to spend a considerable amount of time profile building and linking with other like minded people in order to learn, grow and establish the brand. It is exciting because olive thread keeps evolving and building and my administration/research plays a large role in this.
What do you do when you experience a creative block? Step away from the project that I am working on. I know myself and my creative process well enough that I cannot force it... the answer or idea will come to me and quite often at the most unexpected time and places. This is especially helpful as I often get overwhelmed from so many ideas that I need to clear my head and prioritise. As much as I would like to, I can't do everything at once and anything worth doing takes time. I also find public transport/commuting a space where I have the time to let the thoughts come ... on a train/tram with a notebook is where most of my current plans have developed. So I just jump on a train and see where I end up (which is usually at work :}).
What future goals do you have for your creative pursuits? My future goals are to grow my customer base and open up avenues into the home decor marketplace. It is such an exciting time for olive thread and I would love to be able to make an income off it but mostly I love seeing when people connect with my cushions - everyone has their favourites, it is so individualistic! I also plan to establish a base of stockists and thinking big I would love to develop an olive thread home wares range... lots to do - I love it :} If you want to keep up to date with olive thread 'like' the facebook page or follow me on Instagram olive_thread or Pinterest. Blue Caravan online store coming very soon but feel free to email with any enquiries or just to say hello firstname.lastname@example.org :}
Thank you so much Mandy for sharing your creativity on the CWC blog today.
Roslyn Russell is a sewist, blogger and teacher. Her blog, Sew Delicious, is where she showcases her latest projects, designs and sewing tutorials. Roslyn also enjoys cake baking and decorating, exploring Melbourne cafes and restaurants, and hunting through op-shops for vintage sewing and kitchen treasures.