Monday, 15 December 2014

Pip & The Sea

Yikes! My 2 year old has discovered that he can get out of bed, and is making good use of the house when he is supposed to be sleeping. We are also replacing windows which we were surprised to be told could be installed before Christmas and in 2 - 3 days no less (we were willing to wait until New Year). Of course it hasn't gone according to plan, we have boards where a window should be, and the hole was made last Wednesday. Anyway, we have been told it will all be done tomorrow, and remain optimistic.

Meanwhile, I have been trying to get together my Christmas bits and bobs. One of which is my handmade Christmas Crackers, which I will feature on another post, however firstly, I would like to share with you the handmade adventure of Nicola from Pip & The Sea who designed these gorgeous Christmas delights.

What a Cracker!

How & when did Pip and the Sea come about?
Stunning Resin Bracelets
I have always had an interest in jewellery making and have previously dabbled in silver-smithing and other mediums. A few years ago I enrolled in a resin jewellery workshop, and really loved it. For Christmas 2012 I designed and made my mother a resin bracelet as a gift. I had embedded photos of her grandchildren in it. Friends began to inquire about purchasing them, and after a few custom orders, I decided to set up an Etsy store. Since then I have expanded to many other products, and have specialised in using eco-resin, which is a plant-based resin that uses the by products of paper pulp and bio-fuel.

Is Pip and the Sea your day job?

I am currently a full-time mum, and mostly make jewellery in the evenings, once my two young kids are in bed. It is a hobby business that I do for enjoyment and the love of creative expression. I also enjoy the social nature of interacting with my customers and all of the Pip and the Sea Instagram and Facebook followers. The support that I have received from friends and strangers from all over the world can be really uplifting.

Do you attend markets?

Tomato Red Earrings

I occasionally sell at markets, but have decided to focus more on selling my designs online. I have found that markets can be quite flooded with jewellery sellers, and selling online gives me more control over the hours that I work on my hobby business, freeing up weekends for time with my family.

How do you come up with your designs?

I’m constantly researching, reading and experimenting with resin and trying out different techniques and tools. I often get ideas for designs from things that I see in nature. I designed a honey-comb shaped pendant after my family got a hive of native bees for our garden in Sydney. I’ve made pendants using found objects, such as insect wings that I have stumbled across on the ground. New designs happen organically. 

I’ve recently started to develop a line of paper goods such as cards, gift tags and crackers after I took a workshop on gold-foiling. I’m led by whatever interests me. New products are always a bit of a risk as I need to invest in materials and equipment before I know if they will be successful, but that is part of the fun.

Where do you work from?

Black Seaweed Pendant
I have a work bench set up in the corner of a room in my house. I can be a bit untidy when I am getting creative, so I needed a space that was separate to the rest of the house.

What do you love most about what you do?

I love having a creative outlet, and something to focus on. It’s rewarding when people are purchasing and placing value on an item that I have made with my hands. I feel proud that I have built a small business from scratch and have sold items to people all around the world. It’s really lovely to receive so much support from so many people.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I can find inspiration anywhere. I’ll will often notice a shape or a colour combination somewhere during my daily activities and I’ll take a picture and see if I can come up with something for a new design. Sometimes I have custom requests from people which will lead to a new design.

What is your ambition for Pip and the Sea?

I would like to continue to work on improving my products and customer service, and creating new designs. I have felt proud as I’ve witnessed my business slowly grow and I hope to continue with the work I have put in for as long as it suits our family’s lifestyle. When I return to full-time work it may take a back seat, but that is the nature of a hobby business. It can be flexible, which is part of the attraction.

Be sure to take a look at all of Nicola's other amazing pieces. I think I will be dropping a not so subtle hint for an eco-resin jewel for my birthday in March!

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