Today we catch up with Liz Doust – Colour Box Studio volunteer/Workshop Facilitator/Designer at ambette
Liz is running a workshop on March 16/17th as part of our Fashion Program. For more details on the workshop and to register, CLICK HERE
Tell us a bit about your arts practice
I’m the owner/designer/maker at ambette. I produce a range of bright, colourful cases for gadgets (MacBooks, iPads, Kindles, iPhones etc) from 100% wool felt, from my home studio in Richmond. I also do quite a bit of experimenting with screenprinting, which I’m currently trying to incorporate more into the business.
I just love the satisfaction of creating something tangible – having an idea and then turning that idea into an actual useful object. I’m inspired by shapes and colours, and I like making things that are both functional and nice to look at.
Why is it important to you to share you skills through workshops?
I love learning new skills, and always feel inspired and invigorated after attending a creative workshop. I really enjoy sharing my skills with others, and seeing the excitement it generates, I guess because I’ve experienced the same thing myself so many times. I also love seeing other people’s creativity in action and it’s always really interesting to me to see what other people come up with – everyone is so different, creatively. Often people surprise you by coming up with something that just never occurred to you, so I love that element of teaching. It’s just great being around other people creating things, and being able to help people turn their own ideas into reality!
There are a number of workshops out there where people can learn to screen-print, or learn to sew, but I haven’t come across any that combines both. I thought it would be great to take people through the process of creating a purse that is totally unique to them. I think the other great thing about my workshop is that participants will learn so many things that they can also apply to other projects. Once they’ve learnt to do screen-printing, those skills can then be transferred to basically anything (t-shirts, tea-towels, fabric) – not just a purse. Also once students have mastered sewing a basic lined-zippered purse, they then have the skills to go on and make a number of other things like pencil cases, basic bags, gadgets cases etc, by simply adjusting the size. I’ll be showing students how they can adjust the pattern to make different sizes, which then opens up a whole range of new possibilities.
Why is the Sustainable Ethical Local Fashion theme important to you and your practice
It’s important to me to know what’s going into my products and how they’re made. I do try to make sure my products are as ethical and sustainable as possible. I use wool felt for the gadget cases, which is renewable and biodegradable, and the inks I use for screen-printing are water-based and environmentally friendly. Because I produce everything myself (apart from the felt, which is made in Germany), I know it’s not exploiting anyone (except myself!). In this day and age, I just think it’s important to be mindful of the topic wherever possible.
I participated in their Pop Up Shop that ran before Christmas last year. When I came in to pick up my stock, I got chatting to Amie and was inspired to get involved further. I’m now working for Colour Box Studio on a volunteer basis as a ‘projects manager’ – that’s my official title, although I also tend to do a lot of other things, and just generally help Amie out where she needs it. At the moment lots of work is going into getting the Fashion Program ready for our launch on the 27th – exciting! I’m really enjoying my time with Colour Box Studio – I wish it was my full-time job. I would be so happy if it was!