Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Emma Walsh Designs on How to Balance Creative Pursuits with Schooling

Leila Vintage Gold Lace on Silver Chain

Emma Walsh transforms found and vintage beads, lace and other interesting ephemera into accessories and home wares, with a gauzy, dream-like sensibility. Just looking through her shop—her necklaces, like the one above, are my favorite—is like a little escape from the everyday. Here's Emma to tell you how she's balancing her schooling with her creative pursuits.

Name: Emma Walsh

Where do you live?
I live in a beautiful little house right by beach in a sleepy little town called Waihi Beach in New Zealand.
Creme Brulee Cream Knit Clutch Purse
How did you start making your line?
I’ve always loved to do things with my hands. And as a self-confessed magpie I absolutely love hunting around emporiums, vintage clothing shops, quirky boutiques, antique markets and thrift stores for hidden gems which seems to fulfill my inquisitive nature. I was struggling to find a more hands on creative outlet while I was studying Architecture... I got frustrated being stuck in front of a computer all day and was positively exploding with inspiration for smaller scale design - home wares, jewellery, fashion and artworks that I wanted to create! So I finished up with Architecture in June last year and moved up to the beautiful Waihi Beach and transformed the garage into my studio and the downstairs areas into display rooms and got creating. One thing led to another and before long I was selling online. I love every minute of every day - every morning I wake up knowing that this day will bring something new and exciting.

Grace- Gold Rose on Chain
Where do you find your supplies and why do you like to use vintage and found objects?
Absolutely everywhere! I love sifting through vintage and antique stores, and go to flea markets and garage sales most weekends... All the beautiful vintage fabrics, laces and beads... I love wondering who might have owned it before me, and imagining some elaborate story behind it... There's something quite magical about vintage things... its as if they soak up all the environments and characters of their past owners or something, that time worn patina is truly special, there's nothing like it!...  Quite often i have no idea what I'm going to do with what I buy - I just admire a certain quality in it and before long, I'll find a perfect use for it!

Ephemera- White Lace Votive
How does making these items help or balance your studies?
I'm doing a diploma in Interior Design at the moment, which I'm absolutely loving, but the hands on creating and working with people is a nice creative outlet to give me a break from the reading and essay writing. But it all feeds in together, they compliment each other nicely I think... I've really seen the aesthetic of my work evolve the past year and that has to be the product of my jewellery and homewares design filtering through into my interiors work. People often comment on the very limited colour palette of my work, and that I mustn't like colour much, but I think its more that I'm into exploring the effects of form, shape, light and texture in my work and colour just detracts from all of that.
Cinnamon Sugar Gold Lace Applique Bib Necklace
What sets your work apart?
I think its safe to say you wont find anything else like it out there! Simply because most of my pieces are reworked vintage fabrics, beads, chains, brooches, lace, doilies and various different knick knacks I've found in my travels, so most pieces are one off designs, I also love to work with a client to create a certain piece that's perfect for them - often they see something I've made and combine it with their own ideas or a different colour so it's just right. My work is very feminine and romantic... so it's definitely suited for brides looking for a special piece, but its also about costume jewellery, pieces to add the finishing touch to a lovely outfit, or even  for everyday wear or to just add a touch of glam and elegance to a tee and jeans!

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