FK chats to Melbourne based Michelle Harvey from her label Crayon Chick
Tell us about what we can expect to find under your label and the story behind the name?
Colour and texture is the first thing you notice, then you’ll want to touch everything. Crayon Chick accessories and homewares are contemporary designs with a nostalgic background – old crafts + new tricks. There’s a lot of crochet, beautiful papers, and colourful fabrics. I’m mad for brooches and necklaces, garlands for your home, a little jazzing up an everyday object, and desk accessories because I spend more time than I’d like sitting at a desk and it’s nice to have a beautiful object at hand to keep you organised. Crayon Chick had a very organic, unplanned start as a spin-off from my first label, Kids With Crayons – customising kids drawings into artwork. My local postman used to call out “I’ve got a parcel for you Crayons” and the name stuck. I became the chick from Kids With Crayons.
Your label is in its sixth year! Can you tell us about how it all began and why you started it?
I know, 6 years! It started as a spare-time hobby when Kids With Crayons became an extension to my artwork. I’d already had a few exhibitions and really enjoy the process of making art and got so much joy working with kid’s drawings I took the concept to markets where it took off. This gave me the platform to introduce my handmade crafts. I eventually joined the modern era and started a blog called Crayon Chick which is a major part of my creative process and the products have become a part of that process.
You sound as if you’ve always been creative! Tell us about your background and how its lead to where you are today?
You’re right, I have always been creative, making do with what was on hand and wanting to know how things are made. I had the light bulb moment at art school when I realised once you knew the techniques you could then adapt them to make anything you wanted. It’s all about the joy of experimenting and play, exploring unexpected materials and asking why have something ordinary and mass produced when you can have something fabulous and unique.
What do you love about working with craft?
You can use Nanna’s patterns with modern materials to make something contemporary and modern. I love that I know crafts. I love that I grew up with crafts. It took me a while to realise that not everyone grew up with them. Previously I never felt my little handmade habits were anything special and it’s taken years to feel my crafts are a solid, adult project that I can share. There’s such a fabulous craft movement at the moment and I’m really excited to be part of it. Craft is so accessible and I love that. There’s rarely a big outlay required and most crafts are quite mobile which has found me crocheting in trams and stitching at hairdressers. I especially love the link I have with memories of my mum, aunties and grandmothers – all the women before me who have passed down skills and techniques from one generation to the next.
Where do you go for inspiration?
Inspiration hits at unexpected moments and you just have to be open it them. Beautiful fabric combos just happen when I ferret around in my fabric stash, or unexpected colours come together when rooting around in my mountain of yarn. I’m an avid fan of the visual diary and always have one on the go. My blog is part of this visual diary process. I’m mad for photography. The action of framing a scene in my mind, noticing the shapes and light, is pretty much how I view most things, as little compositions. Interior and design magazines are a given with piles of them stacked in my workroom. And memories are good inspiration, nostaligia is a strong force.
What new skills would you like to learn or new ways would you like to grow Crayon Chick?
Business skills! I have a creative business, which sadly means most of my time and energy is spent on running a business, doing the admin, sourcing, refining processes, applications and submissions, PR and marketing, *big breath*, the list goes on. When I do get away from the computer I’ve either got a million things that have to be made immediately or I just have no room left in my head to be creative. I didn’t sit down one day deciding to start a business, I just happened to find an outlet for my creativity and the business came with the territory.