Monday, 8 July 2013

Monday Maker- ME!!

Name:Anna Matthews
Year of birth:1979
Current City:Guildford. (Closest city)
Significant others:Ida Lillian Rosalie, age 3 (AKA BIG Naughty & Smiley Sue) & Samson Allan Grey, 22 months (AKA LITTLE naughty & Sam Sam)

Company name: u-ni-k gifts

U-ni-k gifts - A bespoke gift website established by two crafty mums, who were astounded when their daughters were infants, by the lack of bespoke, traditional infant gifts that last generations. Inspired by the gorgeous gifts hand made by talented friends and family that they will treasure forever an idea was born. Over a cup of tea and coffee, these two mums had a brain wave to make a trove of all things wonderful especially for infants. Delving from their past professions and skills and imputing them into a new project. 
U-ni-k gifts, named after their first Born's and their new project (a totally unique one!)
I am one half of u-ni-k gifts

How would you describe a typical Sunday?
I am a Mum of two toddlers so most days are much the same. Busy and with an early start. Luckily I love the mornings, especially where I currently live. Most mornings the beautiful dawn chorus normally wakes me before my naughties do. 
The day depends on whether my other half is working on restoring the house we bought 2 years ago and currently live in as we renovate it or working in the office or free to play! 
If I'm on my lonesome with the naughties we bake cakes, water the garden, play on the slide and swings, paint, read books and then wind down with a film till Daddy gets home. If he's available we do something fun away from home. I am lucky enough to live in a very beautiful area with wonderful out door amenities for little ones. So we normally head to Farnham Park, Alice Holt or Frensham Ponds. 
When the little ones are tucked up it's wine time and feet up with my laptop working through my emails or conjuring up some new idea I have had whittling through my mind with fabric, paint or paper. That's if the other half allows me!

And here a quite obvious question: How did you become a talented crafts person / designer? What inspired you to do this?
My Mum was always at her sewing machine when I was a child. Making wonderful creations for parties or the school disco. Although I didn't appreciate it at the time it definitely made me who I am today. 
I was constantly with a pen, paper, paint or some type of Art shop equipment to hand. At birthdays or Christmas I would ask for Dryad Craft making kits or paper. A parcel of pretty papers is my idea of heaven! Of an evening you would often find me happily scribbling, designing or making lists......Nothing much has changed!
My biggest learning curve was at secondary school whilst sat drawing in class one day. I watched  a girl who is now a very dear friend, swooshing paint, mixing, making it sludgy and being quite free. I was in total awe. I loved the end result and the look of fun she had creating her picture. On that day I vowed that I would no longer stunt myself by trying to forever paint the perfect picture. I wanted to "play" and enjoy my pictures. Making an expression rather than a flat picture is far more fun!  
I went onto study Fashion at University which I know to many intellectuals sounds like a cop out. But learning to research, design, cut, sew and market a collection was much more than pretty pictures. It was about having a vision, justifying the vision, creating and marketing it! I was lucky enough to have my collection shown on the catwalk at London Fashion week, not a bad accomplishment for a girl who didn't know how to sew till she started her degree. I was known more for my ability to break a sewing machine than sew with it! My degree certainly made me thick holistically and wholly about a creation rather than just the pretty physical drawing. Perhaps a perfect insight to running a business too!
My love of creating from fabrics comes very much from my mum. Even today she makes beautiful dresses for my daughter......much prettier than anything you'd find in the shops.
My love of collecting beautiful things comes from my Nan. She worked in a charity shop where we often hung out. To a child it is like a massive fancy dress shop! Heaven. Rows of beads and pretty fabrics. These two people certainly had the biggest creative impact on my life.

Its Fill-in-the-blanks time. So, please fill in the blanks:

I love the early mornings with my dawn chorus  because it is a moment of still, contemplation
and beauty before the chaos of my life wakes! 

If I could live anywhere I'd live in Farnham where I am now. But my house
would be finished, decorated and beautiful. And I would have a cleaner to tidy up after my three messy

If I weren’t a designer / maker , I would be a Witchy potion maker. 
Picking my herbs, flowers, spices, and medicinal plants while the sun rises and making potions and poultices as the moon sparkles!
People who like Treasure shopping & Charity shopping (and Magpies!) will like my creations.

* I am currently in the process of making something new for unik.
Hopefully by week 4 of this series of maker blogs it will be finished and I will be able to
share it with you!

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