Well, I’ve had the delightful opportunity to be the recipient to not one, but two of Maeve’s lovely creations – her whimsical plush monster toy (you’ll spot him in one of my earlier blogpost here) and her felt shamrock brooches (that travelled across sea and land to many St. Patrick’s Day revellers – see image below)…..so I just knew I had to interview her! :) Maeve Murphy is not only a lovely mutual friend of ours but also the creative brains behind Handmade by Maeve. After graduating in Textiles from GMIT, Galway she went on to study a masters in Cultural Policy & Arts Management at UCD, Dublin and like several of us, she busied herself in making textile creations on the side, many of them being personalised gifts for friends and family. Having received a lot of praise and interest in her work, she finally went about setting up Handmade by Maeve and began selling her wonderful and fun creations across the globe; from Bunting to Yoga Mat Bags to bespoke plush critters! So anyway, here’s what she had to say………..
- Tell us a little about yourself and what drew you into becoming a designer-maker? Growing up in the West of Ireland I wanted to be everything, from a Pathologist to a Musician. My Mother was very creative and let me use her sewing machine from a very young age. She also painted so I think I got the creative bug from her.
- How did you come about setting up Handmade by Maeve? I did textiles in College so I was always creating things. My boyfriend saw the little creatures I was making for friends and family and encouraged me to start making more and selling to strangers.
- What five words best describe you and your style of work? Quirky, electric, caring, genuine, and bright!
- I’m a huge fan of your whimsical little creatures (proud owner of one!) so, what’s the main source of inspiration for these creations? I literally tap into the inner child in me and let that come to the surface when I start sketching. My last creature (Theodore the Moon Bug) was inspired from lyrics of a Sufjan Stevens song where he mentioned the word space.
- How would you describe your design process and what part of it do you like the most? I like brainstorming in my notebook. I love looking back at all my scribbles, they can sometimes inspire new ideas if I look at them at a later stage. It’s nearly like a visual diary of the creative chaos that goes on inside my head!
- Is there any craft/art medium besides sewing that you haven’t tried but want to? And why? Having attended Art College I was lucky enough to taste all the disciplines. But I’d love to bring more print into my work.
- There’s been a huge boom in craft and design in the last few years. Would you say it’s been difficult breaking into this competitive world? I’m still working full-time in the Music Industry while working on Handmade by Maeve on the side, so to be honest, I feel I’m still threading on the side of this competitive world!
- What do you like most about your business? And is this a full-time 9-5 business? With a full-time day job, Handmade by Maeve work is usually done during my evenings and weekends. All the pieces I make, I love. I love how there are parts of me, something I’ve created that’s dotted around the world and that people like them enough to buy them.
- Of your current range of work, what piece would you say is your favourite? Everything I make, I love and I’m proud to put my name to it. I’d say my Cloud range – I think they speak a thousand words just sitting there on a shelf. I feel they are a gift for any occasion be it for new babies, girlfriends or just friends.
- What would be your ‘top three tips’ for like-minded creative individuals who would like to one day set up a business themselves in this field? I honestly don’t feel like I can answer this question yet. I feel it’s early days for me and I’m not really in a position to be giving people advise just yet if that make sense? I would however say that you have to be pretty hard-working, willing to put in the hours and only make and sell products you’re proud to carry your name on them.
- When you’re not in ‘designer-maker’ mode, what else do you enjoy doing? My boyfriend, myself and our miniature Jack Russell, Winne have a VW Camper Van called Amadeus. I’ve made everything from curtains to cushions for it and we try to take it out whenever we can….. rain, hail or shine……mainly rain in this Irish weather!
- What are your favourite book/s or blog/s at the moment? I’m not reading any books at the moment but I do usually read fantasy. Blogs wise, my favourite ones are yours (Made by Molu) and Bazaar.
- Are there any designer-makers out there that you find inspirational or are ones to keep an eye out for – if so, who? I find Aisling, the magic fingers behind Bazaar really inspiring (you can find her on Facebook too). I love following her progress as she carves out a new life for herself in establishing Bazaar in another country.
- What would we expect from Handmade by Maeve in the future? I’ve got SO many ideas in the pipeline, I just don’t have the time at the moment. But I hope to have more time in the future so definitely keep an eye on my Facebook page or twitter for news and updates.
- Finally, where can we find more of your wonderful creations? Will you be at any craft + design markets or events this year? I’ve nothing lined up at the moment but if I’m appearing at anything I always keep my followers updated on my Facebook page or twitter, otherwise you’ll find all my work on my Etsy shop!
A HUGE ‘thank you’ to Maeve for taking the time out to answer all my questions and for providing me with lots of lovely photos to pick from! There’s a bright future for this talented gal from County Mayo and I for one cannot wait to keep an eye out for that! Good luck missus and I look forward to many more of your creations!! :) xx