Featured Seller: Katherine Bertram of Firecracker Studio

Craft2.0:  Tell us what you make.

I have an obsession with postage stamps. Beautiful, miniature artworks that have a special history of mysterious travel. I make them into cuff links, earrings and even a special tui tea towel. I also love freehand machine embroidery, which I do on New Zealand wool to make cushions. I also freehand embroider lovely purses and use vintage linen to make evening bags and special earrings. Everything I make has a special history before it was made making it all the more special.


Craft2.0:  What element of your craft do you feel most passionate about?

I love my textile work. This is where I make items that are unique to me. I embroider New Zealand motifs by drawing with my sewing machine. Each image is different as it is a handmade item. I like to think of them as artworks with functionality.

Embroidered Purses

Craft2.0:  What makes you different from other makers?

I think my textile work is unique. It has taken me several years to develop the skills to freehand embroider my cushions and purses. I have also worked hard at making sure my postage stamp jewellery is of the highest quality. My cuff links are also made to the highest standard. I have the findings specially made to be strong, durable and beautiful and my earrings are all hypo-allergenic and silver plated. I love making items that will be enjoyed for a lifetime.


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Craft2.0:  Why do you craft or create and how does this affect your lifestyle?

My daughter India often says, ” Mum, I just need to draw now.” It is a compulsion to create and it is part of who she is; if she doesn’t draw everyday she feels at a loose end. I realise that this is what I am. I have a compulsion to create. I relax by making. I have dreams and ideas and just want to lurch into the new project. I have four children, all little; creativity is what keeps me grounded, sane and happy. I want to make new things from old and discover new ways of putting art into functional objects.


Craft2.0:  How does your creative process start and where does it end? What detours happen along the way?

I trained as a printmaker and painter, but having a young family forced me to stop the toxic and lengthy process of printmaking and look at other creative outlets. I began to sew, developed my skills in freehand machine embroidery, and even went back to my love of prints by making jewellery from the beautifully etched images of New Zealand found on the 1935 stamp pictorials. I owe the impetus to turn my crafting and art into a business to Libby Butcher who several years ago asked me to share a table at a market. The rest is history.


Craft2.0:  What is something you’ve learned along the way that has helped you in particular?

Do what you love, try new things and don’t be limited by an initial failure.

Tea or Coffee?

At heart I am a tea girl. I love fine china and ridiculous drinking vessels. However hard times call for coffee, just the cheap instant mix, mind you. The real stuff is still too potent.

Cats or dogs?

I’ve got kids! No room for a pet. But I’m a cat girl. One day we will have two haughty Siamese, slinking around the house.

Anyone that has been especially supportive of your crafting journey you’d like to recognise?

Matthew my husband. No one person could be more supportive of the chaos.

Find Firecracker Studio works on Pinterest before Craft2.0 on 7 December, 2013 and on the day at Chaffers Apartments, 22 Herd Street, Wellington.

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