A few months back, my folks visited Tasmania. They went to the Salamanca Markets which are amazing (my husband and I went on our honeymoon). At the markets, my mum stumbled across a lady making the most stunning little dolls and had to bring one back to the mainland for our Sophie.
|Sophie's Doll - Pansy, Fern & April|
After Sophie had received her doll, I was so impressed that I got in touch Jenny, the talent that is Pansy, Fern & April, and asked about her Handmade Adventure. Without further ado, in Jenny's own words;
My Mum and I started the business in 2001 after we had moved to Tassie (Tasmania) from Adelaide. We lived in a lovely old farmhouse with a brilliant separate studio and made lots of lovely things including embroidered handbags and cushions, ceramic buttons for embroiderers, embroidery kits, painted cloth dolls and doll house dolls (among other things!) We sold them at craft fairs around Tassie, mostly at Salamanca Markets in Hobart.
In 2005 I became ill with chronic fatigue syndrome and couldn’t really do
much for a couple of years. Mum and Dad looked after me and it was good
having the crafty things to do as I could make something when I had the energy. This kept me going, and gradually I got back into things.
Over the years, the little dolls became our biggest seller, so we concentrated on them and developed lots of different ones. I use lots of different techniques to make them, some from my background in embroidery design (I worked as a teacher and project designer for ‘Inspirations’ embroidery magazine before we left Adelaide) and some from my background in drawing and painting.
|They're off to see the Wizard!|
Mum retired from the business a few years ago when she became ill, so now I am all three- Pansy, Fern & April! Split personality! I think I must be a bit mad to make so many of these things but people love them.
I make the dolls full time. Selling them at Salamanca Market in Hobart on Saturdays. This is the best outdoor market in Australia and well worth a visit. I also sell online via Etsy and to shops in Tassie and on the mainland. Being at the market every week is handy though, as I get lots of customer feedback - from my little customers too. I remember once being told by a small boy that my Santa was too skinny... he was right!
The doll designs just appear in my head- as soon as I think of a new one, there it is! I have a separate room in the house to work in. It’s
amazing how much stuff you need to make something so small. I love being my own boss- never was very good at taking
suggestions. I also love the little dolls- they all have their own character,
no matter how many I make. And this can be a great many, especially just before