I am a very excited lady today. I have several talented friends who make beautiful things and I thought it would be fun to share them with you. So... this is the first in an occasional series of Meet the Maker posts.
First up is Julie Lockie at Hide and Tweed. You can find Julie's work online at her Etsy shop, or in her home town of Berwick upon Tweed where she is one of over 20 artisans who sell their wares through a charming high street shop: Serendipity.
Julie works from her home studio with fabric, leather and paper to create wonderful notebooks, photo albums, and handbags. She also takes orders for bespoke items. I went for a nosy around Julie's studio and asked her about her work.
How did you begin working with leather?
I did an Accessories Design course at the London College of Fashion where I was taught by a very skilled leather craftsman. From the first session on the course I loved working with leather.
The combination of masculine leather and feminine liberty prints is very striking. Where does the inspiration for your pieces come from?
My family and I spend a huge amount of time outdoors walking and cycling in the Scottish Borders and Northumberland countryside and I've found that I've naturally gravitated towards the colours I see, both in the leather and tweed I use. I've always been a huge fan of Liberty prints and think they make a stunning contrast to the more masculine leather.
Can you talk me through your creative process? Do you have the finished article in your mind’s eye or are you led by the materials?
A bit of both really. The two main materials I use are leather and tweed/wool, hence the business name of Hide and Tweed! I then often use Liberty print fabric and silk (usually tartan) for highlights and detail. My main focus for products is books and handbags so the combination of the materials and products drive the creative process. There is never a shortage of ideas popping up in my mind but the hardest part is finding time to develop and bring them to fruition.
Having a studio at home is many budding crafter's dream. How do find working from home?
Mostly, I love it. It’s the most efficient way for me to maximise my creative time around being mum to my four year old son. I am usually extremely disciplined and work the whole time he is at school but it can be very easy to get distracted by phone calls, the computer etc. I also feel torn when I want to be in the studio creating but can see the kitchen floor needs washed or the whole house dusted.
What is your favourite piece to make?
My favourite process is easy – stitching my leather books. I’ll have decided which style to make, cut out the covers and ties, spent a long time cutting hundreds of pages of paper, selected the linen threads and stitching design and then the real treat comes - sitting in peace and quiet stitching together a batch of books. Making bags is a much more lengthy, complicated process and because many of my bags are unique I never quite know how they’ll turn out. It’s very satisfying when you complete a bag and the finished product makes you smile.
Do you have plans to add your handbags to your Etsy shop?
Yes. I’ve been very pleased with how well they’ve sold in Serendipity but I’ve still been refining the style and design. My immediate focus is building up my stock of books for Christmas but I hope to have time to make bags for my Etsy shop.
If you enjoyed meeting Julie pop over to her Esty shop. I am sure you won't be disappointed!