How I fell in love with creating

The headline is actually a trick question – I have always loved creating! I don't remember a time before that, because I was too young to remember anything. As a child I enjoyed making things. Empty weet-bix boxes were an endless source of inspiration, I made many creations of that cardboard, it was the perfect weight to create with. As time went by they started to print on the inside of the box which I wasn't too impressed with.

My mother is very crafty, and when I was a child I learned how to knit, sew, spin and weave. She also taught me how to crochet, but I didn't pick that up so easily. As an adult I had to ask her to teach me again! My school's annual field day was the highlight of the year. When the schedule came out, I would go through it seeing what categories there were, and deciding what to make for each one. My classmates' enthusiasm for handcrafts didn't quite match mine, so it wasn't uncommon for me to be the sole entrant in a category! I also had a (very) little side hustle going on while I was at school, which you can read about here.

My prize haul from one year's field day. The two embroideries were made at school.
As I got older I focussed more on art, and studied it throughout high school. Due to attending a small country school I had to do 6th and 7th form art by correspondence which I wasn't well suited to. A month after finishing a painting you would get the feedback from your teacher in Wellington. You can't replace having a teacher behind you as you're working, giving you feedback you can implement straight away.

Half of my fifth form art folio – the year I did have an onsite teacher to guide me.
Upon leaving school I studied graphic design and spent a few years working in the art department of a screen printing company. Around that time I decided to start making candles again, a hobby I'd started in high school. I made quite a few and wondered what I was going to do with them, so set up a  stall at Craft World. This was cut short when I left to go to London for a year.

Mt first efforts at putting my candles out in the world.
After my return from London, I wanted to get in touch with my creative side again, so joined a local painting class. I learned lots of watercolour techniques during this time, and participated in several group exhibitions. I was also quite keen to get back into some craft again, so rekindled my candle business, took up knitting again and properly learned to crochet. Conveniently there was a resurgence in craft, it was a lot cooler than it had been in my youth. I went to some local markets, joined Felt and made some new friends!

'Mists of Maruia'
The painting on the left of Lyttelton Harbour is mine
Five years ago when my son was a baby I wasn't sure what direction to go in next, and then along came StickyTiki! The first job I'd had at the screen printing company had some digital printing machines which I used to operate. One of them could print and cut, and was an earlier (and much lower quality) model of the one we use to print StickyTiki decals. I'd always quite fancied it, so couldn't turn down the chance to own a much better one! I was also thinking it would be a good chance use and grow my art skills.

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I had to dig quite deep into the archives for some of the photos to illustrate this post. My aunt gave me a camera when I was 8, which means I have a good photographic record of my childhood. It was a film camera with a little cartridge you put in that had the film in it. It was pretty foolproof!


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