After six years of selling beautiful locally handcrafted products in Mairehau, the time has come for us to move. The Neighbourhood Trust will be needing the space for a different community project in the coming year, so we will be taking the next step in our journey. We would like to say a huge thank you to all our customers who have visited us in our little shop in Mairehau. You've supported our growing creative community, and we couldn't have done it without you. We've loved getting to know you, and hope you will come and visit us in our new space. Our last day in Nancy Ave will be the 1st November. We will open a pop-up store in the CBD, with the opening date to be confirmed very soon.
With this change, we thought it was the perfect time to review our name. The pop-up store will be opening as The Kowhai Collective. Everything else will be the same - we'll still be run by the designers and have amazing locally made products. We will be running craft classes, and have a maker space where you can see our clever creatives in action. We are looking forward to it, and hope you can come and visit us there!
Without you, our customers, we wouldn't have a shop – we'd just be a bunch of creatives making awesome things! In order to make our shop the best it can be, we've put together a short 10 minute survey thanks to SoGoSurvey. Your answers will help us to identify what we are doing well, and what we can do better. We'd love it if you could take the time to complete it for us, and to say thank you, we are giving away a $50 gift voucher to one lucky participant. Don't forget to share with your friends, we'd love to hear what they think too!
We have popped-up at Exchange Christchurch! We have a selection of locally made products from our store there until the 24th May at 376 Wilsons Road North. It will be open from 9am- 4pm Monday - Saturday, and of course we will be open at 49 Nancy Ave with our usual hours.
If you haven't been to XCHC before, it's well worth checking out! There is an onsite cafe with great coffee, and it's a great spot to take a few hours to get some work done, or you can get your creative on! They have a co-working space where creatives can rent studio space and be inspired by one another. They also hold lots of great events, and like us, are champions of supporting local creatives.
I hope you’ve having a lovely autumn, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably starting to wonder where you stored your winter woollies from last year - or thinking it’s a good time for something new. I’ve got my eye on a gorgeous scarf down at Pay it Forward that might just be my Mothers Day pressie to myself!
We have a great range of craft classes coming up in Term 2. Nine classes are scheduled so far and tickets are available for the May classes.
Tickets for June classes won’t be available until May 1st and these classes can’t be booked online or in-store until then.
The new classes are:
We also have a shopping night coming up – just in time to get a present for Mum for Mothers Day. There will be bubbles, nibbles, you’ll be able to meet some of our makers and have a nice relaxed shopping experience. This year we also have some craft beers for the blokes who need to buy for the Mum in their life. The shopping night is on Wednesday May 2nd and we will be extending our normal hours until 8pm. See the image below :)
Take care and hope to see you soon!
My name is Kirstee Griffiths, and my title to the outside world is often along the lines of 'Upcycling Extraordinaire' or 'Creative Genius'.
Truth be told, I am a stay at home Mama of ten years to two beautiful souls who graced us with their presence 10 and 3 years ago.
And I am a rebel.
With a gargantuan cause.
I regularly don my Super Hero Save the Planet cape in my 'me' moments, and it's at these times that I can feed my creative soul and nurture our planet with the care and respect it so rightfully deserves. Call me a hippy (many do), but in today's forced commercialised society, I am the revolutionary who will never give up creating for her cause.
I have, if you like, a fairly hefty beef with society as a whole in the 21st century. Between the in your face advertising (it's everywhere isn't it?!), and commercialism dictating our growth toward 'throw away-ism', there often isn't much room for us, nor our children (you know, the ones who will be caring for our future planet), to just, breathe.
This, coupled by my insane attraction to fabric and the extraordinary magic it holds (coupled again with my non ability to form any kind of relationship with a sewing machine), led to my business, Hibiscus, to be born.
Hibiscus encompasses my vision of the future, whilst utilising relics of the past, and created within my work shop walls are wondrous pieces filled with history and love, whilst revealing a new and improved modernism, which can fit in with the most eclectic or subdued decors. I use a lot of fabric decoupage on furniture, create real working bird houses out of vintage books and have recently turned my hand to the creation of stunning clocks using long ago listened to LP's as a base.
I have taught my up-cycle skills at amazing conferences, such as Handmade in Wellington, to four year olds at my son's kindy, and places in between.
I see knowledge as the utmost power, and speading mine, sprinkled with my creative genius, equals food that nourishes souls...
So, in a nutshell, that is me.
I am Christchurch born and raised and moved to Auckland as a teenager to attend AUT. Halfway through my studies I became interested in leather while doing an essay on leather jackets. I was told about the ‘leather lady’ who had a workshop nearby and thought I should stop by with my CV.
Kerrie (the ‘leather lady’) offered me a job and I decided to leave university to take up the opportunity to follow my passion. Kerrie allowed me to spend my spare time in her workshop and it’s there that I made my first leather handbag, from scraps of leather. It’s the most cherished bag I have ever made. She taught me much of what I know about working with leather and I worked for her until I returned to Christchurch after the earthquakes in 2011.
I started The Little Leather Co from a spare bedroom in early 2013 and now have a workshop at home in Kaiapoi, where I’ve been for two years. It’s a constant struggle trying to keep it neat and tidy because I spread things from one end to the other when I’m working.
Working with leather is very different from using fabric, both the equipment and techniques. I have a variety of tools and machinery but I tend to just use just a select few. It’s important to keep the tools sharp and the machines well-oiled to do a good job.
I use a variety of leathers but use only New Zealand fur. I am also introducing some leather with wool bags to the range for the upcoming fete’s in Culverden, Geraldine and Winton.
Each handbag is designed and made by me, from the first cut to the last stitch, and I get a real pleasure from making quality, functional bags. I love the patternmaking too, it’s the important step that transforms the idea into reality and is often the longest part of the process as it involves a lot of problem solving.
Little Leather handbags are not made in huge quantities; usually a customer will pick a style and colour and I’ll make it to order just for them. A lot of time goes into each piece and it’s satisfying to craft handbags which will last for many years.
Lee began Pretty Birds four years ago as a way of having some "me" time in the midst of being a stay at home mum to her three children, who are now 10, 8 and 6.
She is also one of the founding designers of Pay it Forward, having been involved from it's beginning.
At present Pretty Birds is in hiatus as Lee and her husband Dennis take the family on a 6 month long trip to Laos. They have friends who run a not-for-profit English language and vocational school in the southern town of Pakse and they are volunteering their time to teach English to youth and young adults.
"It's an exciting trip for us and really different to how we live life in New Zealand. There's lots of adjusting going on as we adjust to the heat, the humidity, and the lifestyle. Definitely simpler in many ways and less convenient in many others. For instance, all fresh food shopping is done in open air markets, rather than a supermarket, and bargaining is all part of the experience.
A few years ago, we, along with a group of our friends, sponsored a vocational scholarship at the school for a student called Si. Si was from a hill village where education is scarce and job opportunities are lacking - and she wanted to learn! Through the vocational course Si now has a job in the bakery cafe attached to the school and is learning English. It's been so nice to meet her and get to know her and know we did something to help her have more choices in her life.
Laos is a beautiful country. Last weekend we had the opportunity to take a trip to swim at a waterfall on the Bolaven Plateau and to visit a coffee plantation. The plantation is part of a coffee co-op growing organic, fair-trade coffee. It reminded me so much of the ethos of Pay it Forward - supporting and buying local, from owner-operated, small business people. I'm not a coffee drinker, but according to Dennis the coffee was
excellent (he had two!)"
Lee and her family get back in January and Pretty Birds will re-open in February, in the mean-time, we have plenty of Pretty Birds stock at Pay it Forward. If you would like to read more about their Laos adventures you can find their blog at thearthursadventures.blogspot.co.nz
I think I've always had the making bug; my lovely mum was always trying different crafts and loved passing those skills on, so I suspect my creative side comes from her!
Pepin Design only really got off the ground because I have two gorgeous friends who took me under their wings at one of their craft markets and let me share their stall at one of the first Shop Me Pretty evenings in Christchurch. I became hooked on the market vibe and have since become a bit of a regular on the market scene in Christchurch.
I'm a part time teacher, so Pepin Design is juggled around the days I don’t work. If I’m not teaching, I start the day by dropping kids to school, making a good coffee, and then cranking up the music while I work. I have a very patient husband and two gorgeous children who make fantastic Pepin packaging employees when needed during the busier times of the year.
Tricoter, pronounced (tree co tay) is French meaning 'to knit'. I have always enjoyed crafting, in particular knitting. I started knitting when I was 9, learning from my Mother as well as friends' mothers during the winter months.
My Grandmother was an amazing knitter and I was fortunate to inherit all her knitting needles, patterns and wool. Unfortunately she was never able to teach me as I was only seven when she passed away, but I have memories of her always busy working on projects. I enjoy using bright colours and various wool types including natural wool, possum, merino, alpaca, acrylic, bamboo and cotton blends to create clothing and accessories for babies and children.
My product range also includes toys, tea cosies and adult fashion accessories such as infinity scarves. Shopping for wool is always fun, trying to find a bargain and imagining what will be created from it. When I was young, I have memories of shopping with Mum at 'Mrs Popes' in central Christchurch, it was a haberdashery and wool shop which has since disappeared in the early 1990's. We would look in the bargain bins for balls of wool for small projects such as toys. Nowadays, when visiting other towns and cities in New Zealand and overseas, local wool shops are always on my itinerary. It is great to see knitting having a revival and no longer considered an 'old fashioned' hobby.
I’ve always loved creating and making things. I have good memories as a child spending time with my Dad in his garage helping build all kinds of things including furniture for my dolls house, then learning to sew with my Mum and making dolls clothes.
That love of sewing led me to complete a diploma in fashion and design and then I spent a few years in the fashion industry as a pattern maker. 3 children later and my creativity turned to making kids clothes, bedding and furnishings. I always love the challenge of something new and enjoy trying different creative techniques.
After the earthquakes we had no power and water for a few months, we also had a houseful of family and relatives. I took up knitting in earnest as a peaceful pastime for my mind in the midst of the chaos. I started with scarves then after trying to buy a chunky knit blanket I decided to knit my own. Many unravelled meters of knitting later and I had perfected the pattern. Family and friends started requesting them and I started selling them, originally as a fundraiser to send my girls overseas for dance competitions and it has since grown from there.
I’m currently taking painting lessons which has unlocked a past passion that I gave up while child rearing. I love the process of creating, making something from nothing, making some thing beautiful and whole out of bits and pieces. The opportunity to work with like minded people at PIF and work in the beautiful shop is definitely uplifting and inspiring.