Hey! Maker

Today we have a special interview feature with one of our newest Full Members, Belinda Smith. She is one fifth of a NSW-based collective called Hey! Maker who are currently fundraising via Pozible to maintain a much-needed creative spark in their small town. Read on to learn more about how you can support their quest!

Can you tell us a little about each of your creative backgrounds and how the four of you met? Hey! Maker is a collective if 5 creative women who live in and around Murwillumbah. We are mothers of young children and we share the hope that we can continue to live and raise our children in our beautiful pocket of the world and be sustained by our creativity. The nexus was forged out of our concern for our town and its ever increasing vacant number of vacant shops. Inspired by Renew Newcastle, we wanted to do something positive to renew our own town.

Belinda Smith is an artist and designer working mainly in the public art field. She is particularly interested in how a wide range of craft practices can influence and inform her artwork.

Ellie Beck is a maker of bespoke and screen printed textiles drawing inspiration from her rainforest home environment. She stitches, crochets, knits, dyes and sews to make beautiful apparel and ornamental pieces.

Jo Olive is the co-founder of Olive and the Volcano with her partner. With their Heidelberg press and Jo’s fine book binding and treasure finding skills they make books and stationary from the heart.

Kathy Egan is the founder of Oiko handmade hemp textiles. With a background in costume design, she uses striking batik designs with a nature inspired colour pallet to create sustainable and ethical apparel and homewares.

Christy McLeod is the creator of Creative Village, a brand new website that connects creative people with their community through online portfolios, exhibition and workshop calendars and material suppliers. Using a Google map feature it is a hub for everything creative in our area.\

What is Murwillumbah like to live in as a small town, and what is the creative community like there?  Murwillumbah, 1.5 hours from Brisbane and 45minutes from Byron Bay, is nestled between the Border Ranges and beautiful beaches. It is a town endowed with art deco architecture and an old time country feel yet has long been a drawcard for people seeking an alternative lifestyle in the subtropical rainforests of the Tweed Valley. Its community is starting to get an urban feel with many city ‘folk’ (like me) moving here too, because we love the low key attitude. We have a highly respected Regional Gallery and a population of creatives that range from artists, designers, craftspeople, musicians, architects and landscape architects, animators and children’s book illustrators.

What is the best thing about living and working as creative women in Murwillumbah? Many, many of the creative people we have connected with are women. We bond through the learning and sharing of new skills or at market stalls where we covet each other’s creations. We squeeze in our work around our growing children and understand each other’s challenges in doing so. Life still seems pretty hectic with kids and creative projects to nurture but appreciate that we don’t have some of the pressures of life in the city. There’s a bit of extra time, I suppose. Time to stare at the mountains out the window!

Hey Maker!'s dream is of retail renewal and promotion of Murwillumbah as a destination of creativity and craft. How do you hope to achieve this? Renewal is a slow process. We hope that by drawing visitors to our workshops and events from nearby centres like Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Byron Bay people will start to see Murwillumbah as we do. We would love to host artist residencies bringing artists on the national stage to our town. We imagine craft workshops and holiday programmes that draw holiday makers and visitors from the vacation hotspots to the north and south of us. We hope that with a hum of activity local businesses will benefit, new businesses will come and our town will thrive.

You're currently fundraising through Pozible, which is a relatively new online fundraising concept - can you explain a bit about Pozible, what drew you to this method of fundraising? Pozible is a website for creative projects and ideas to raise their funding from a worldwide audience. If anyone likes the idea or project they can pledge their support and receive a reward for their pledge. A project will only be successful in receiving their funds if they meet their goal amount.

Like many creatives we love our work and profession but we don’t make buckets from it, we wanted to work without a bank loan or relying on advertising to get us off the ground. We live in a community where large sponsorship is hard to come by but there is tonnes of enthusiasm for the free workshops we have done so far. We decided upon a crowdfunding style of fundraising as we felt that it was a way of mustering support from our followers and community.

Your goal is to raise $11,700 by 22 July. How will this money be spent if you reach your goal? The money will be used to roll out a programme of creative workshops for children and adults in our town and surrounding villages. We need funds to pay for insurance, temporary leases and hall hire, artist residencies, and developing our online presence.

How can we support your cause? Watch our cute video and pledge what you can through www.pozible.com/heymaker

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