Nuts and Bolts with Melbourne Creative Kirri-Mae Sampson
Kirri-mae Sampson is an inspiring Melbourne Creative who works with resin and textiles, often utilising reclaimed materials to create hand crafted and unique pieces in “a happy assembly of sugar and spice” for her label Kirri-MaDe. With a Masters Degree in Fashion and Textiles she puts a contemporary spin on Macramé to create necklaces, plant hangers and wall hangings.
We recently caught up with Kirri-mae for a video interview in collaboration with filmmaker Sarah Elizabeth Harney. Enjoy the video and Q&A below!
Can you please provide a brief overview of what you do and your creative business?
The nuts and bolts is that I design, make and sell things. I retail, wholesale and take on commission work, collaborations and other creative projects. So far my work has included homewares, jewellery and full scale garment work. It’s really varied which keeps it interesting and challenging in all the right ways.
What was the last thing you made and who was it for?
The last thing I made was a pair of macrame earrings that are going to be featured in a Macrame tutorial book that will be published late next year (exciting right!?).
What is the best handmade gift you’ve ever received and/or given?
My aunty is a casual sculptural artist and she made a series of figures she calls “dollops”. She gifted me one for Christmas last year and it sits proudly outside on my workshop table. I dig it in a big way.
Where did you grow up and has it influenced your creative practice?
I grew up in Queensland. Maybe that’s why now, even though I’m here in Melbourne, I hold on to the colourful sensitivities from the north. I’m sure being surrounded by creative people all my life has also contributed to the fact that I chose a creative path myself. My Dad used to screen print and his work covered entire walls in some rooms of the house. One brother loved to draw, and the other has amazing design skills and now works in architecture. My Mumsy was always occupying her minimal free time with crafty endeavours reflective of the 80’s and 90’s, like folk art painting, weaving, beading, even lead-lighting. It was a nice environment for fostering creativity, that’s for sure.
What do you love/ find rewarding about your current work? Is there a particular job/ project that you’ve enjoyed?
Most rewarding is when you actually follow a distant idea through to completion and you’re happy with the way it all worked out. Haha there’s a lot of key points in that… actually starting on an idea, following through, finishing it, and being proud of the result. Those stars don’t always align, so it’s really a beautiful thing when they do. Most recently this happened with a collaboration I worked on. I’d always wanted to take the macrame into full scale garment work and it just took enough interested parties to motivate the project to actually happen. I worked with a good friend and fashion designer, Ellie Meyer, to create a garment in response to a brief for an editorial photo shoot. So far we’ve done the test shoot and it was really great just to have that push to actually make it, finish it, work along side someone who’s work you respect, and yes…be happy with the end result. Win win.
What lessons have you learnt the hard way in terms of your work or your creative business?
Pricing. No question. That hardest part is pricing. I think if you start out the way that I did, with this little hobby that slowly gains momentum, you’re not thinking long term and you’re most certainly undervaluing your work when you randomly whack a price on it. That doesn’t necessarily come back to bite you until you start wholesaling and realise the pricing structures in this world are outrageous, haha. But you have to work all of that out and then really stick by your worth if you actually want to be able to continue. It’s a toughy, I grapple with it on the regular. But as you grow, you start to recognise and appreciate the value of what you’re creating, hopefully what you’re creating is also growing and improving, and if people around you see that too, then it’s all fine and dandy. If not, it might be time to rethink what you’re doing, and how you might be able to push it to the next level.
Whose work are you digging at the moment?
My latest partner in crime, Ellie Meyer, seriously check out her stuff; http://elliemeyer.blogspot.com.au/. It’s dark and delicious. You can really sink your teeth into it. Oh and also, Bhalo, http://www.bhaloshop.com/. It’s not often that you find labels like this. Super wearable and super conscious in their practices.I also realise that these two examples could not be further from each other, aesthetically. I stand by my choices. Ha.
What inspires your ideas for creative works?
Many things…colours and textures for sure. I like making things that feeeeel nice. But aesthetically, it can be just growing what’s in front of me, experimenting and seeing what works. You might be surprised how full my “oh, no no no.” box is, because a lot of things don’t work. But that’s how you get better.
Where can we find out more about you/ where you work?
Ask me. That’s probably the safest bet. I usually have three or four things on the go at any given time. But also check out this great social enterprise I’ve been involved with for a couple of years, http://www.greencollect.org/. 🙂
Check out Kirri-MaDe on Etsy here. Above feature image by Kristina Arnott.