05 December 2011

{ A handmade Christmas }

This past Saturday I went to a Christmas Party (The first of the season) and it was wonderful. The company was lovely (as always) the treats were delicious, the Christmas Carols beautiful and the laughter plentiful! Every year us ladies get together and have a good old fashioned secret santa gift exchange, this year we thought it would be fun to give handmade gifts and it was! I didn't really know what to make so I hopped on Pinterest and and found a fabulous tutorial from Etsy for a ruffled decorative pillow. Although the process was quite labour intensive, I finished the pillow and was very happy with the results! I hope to make some additional handmade gifts this year, I just hope I have time. Are you making any handmade gifts this year?

01 December 2011

{ Interview with Johanna Chaytor of Charlotte and Stewart }

Do I have a treat for you today! With anticipation of the Collective Show
happening December 8-19 (which I think we all should go to, help support fellow creatives and get something handmade for someone special), I am delighted to share with you an interview with one extremely talented artist being featured in the show, the lovely Ms. Johanna Chaytor the brains and heart behind Charlotte and Stewart!

When I first saw the dollies created by Johanna Chaytor (Charlotte and Stewart) I instantaneously fell head over heels for them. Not only are they incredibly unique but are made with the utmost care and attention to detail. Dollies are available in two sizes and can be customized! Amazing! For more information check out Charlotte and Stewart. Wouldn't these make a darling Holiday gift? For interview please scroll down.

Interview with Johanna Chaytor

1) Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m Johanna but everybody just calls me joh. I’m a graphic designer by day and a dolly maker by night. I was born and raised in Toronto where I still live. I share my little apartment with a grey cat, a black cat, a turtle and a boy who builds motorcycles. I really like coffee.

2) Other than crafting what do you do?

When I’m not working or being crafty, I love to travel. I’ll go pretty much anywhere. I really enjoy people watching. Sometimes I’ll even visit a new neighbourhood here in Toronto and pretend I’m on a one day vacation.

3) How was Charlotte and Stewart born? Is there an interesting story behind the name Charlotte and Stewart?

Before I started making the dollies, I was doing these tiny 4”x4” oil paintings of hollow eyed little kids. I had the urge to try something more three dimensional, so I made a doll in the same style for my sister as a birthday gift. She loved it, and I loved making it, so I guess the whole dolly making thing grew from there.

The name comes from the street intersection of my first apartment away from home. I lived in Ottawa at the time and my place was at the corner of Charlotte & Stewart. I just always liked how it sounded and I made up stories in my head about Charlotte & Stewart and the names just stuck.

4) Where does your inspiration come from? What inspires you?

A lot of my inspiration comes from other crafty designers and bloggers. I love discovering random new blogs and seeing what others are up to and in to. I also look at a lot of Japanese books and magazines. I adore the simple yet sophisticated styling and I’m fascinated by the some of the crazy trends and street style.

5) Can you tell us a bit about your creative process?

My process is pretty traditional. I usually start with a sketch and then I’ll pull fabrics and findings from my stash (or if I’m lucky I’ll go shopping). After that it’s just good old cut & sew fun. When I’m making a custom doll for somebody the whole process can become really fun and collaborative.

6) As a fellow crafter/designer I sometimes get in little ruts. Do you have creative ruts and if so how do you overcome them?

I totally get into ruts. I try not to force it though. If it’s not a time sensitive project, I’ll let it percolate in my brain for a while. Brainstorming with other people helps too...and sketching, lots of sketching. Sometimes there’s an idea in there, but I just haven’t found it yet. If I’m really in a rut, I’ll start organizing my fabrics and buttons and trims, just mixing and matching things can be inspiring.

7) What is the one thing in your studio that you couldn't live without?

Other than the tools of the trade, I’d have to say my television. I watch a lot of television, especially terrible reality shows that are tragic and hilarious.

8) If there was one crafter/designer/creative you would like to meet who would it be?

That’s tough. I think right now it would be Mandy Sutcliffe the creator of Belle & Boo. I love her illustrative style and she has the greatest little collection of clothes for girls. www.belleandboo.com

Thank you Johanna so very much for taking the time to answer my questions, your answers were thoughtful and a joy to read! I hope others enjoy learning a bit about a fellow creative as much as I did! Also a thank you to Elaine Stam for introducing me to Charlotte and Stewart!