Featured Designer: Martha Jean

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FK chats to Ana of fabulous jewellery and accessories label Martha Jean.  Add Martha Jean to your list of must see designers, at the up coming Melbourne SS14 Market!  (Full line up to be announced soon!)

Tell us a bit about Martha Jean and what products we can expect to discover?
I like to think of Martha Jean as multi disciplinary studio operating within the fields of art and design.  Our current range is a contemporary mix of jewellery, scarves and handbags with a strong focus on shape, pattern and colour.

Martha Jean was my grandmother, I have always wished I had met her.  I have been told many stories about her and her sisters’ industrious business adventures so it only seemed fitting to name my label after her.

What is your creative background and how did it lead you to where you are today?
Since an early age I have always enjoyed doing anything that involves paints, pens, scissors and colour.  I set out to be a painter and completed a diploma in visual art (painting) after high school, I continued doing odd jobs and was looking for a career that I could do with passion and still be creative.  I love pattern and colour theory, so I continued my studies into textile design.  After working for a couple of years in the textile industry, I realised that I was still looking for something more.  Although I enjoy the work, what I really craved was the freedom to create on my own terms.  Having a baby gave me the opportunity to focus on my own creative pursuits and thus Martha Jean began.


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What inspires you daily?
I am constantly inspired by so many things!  Books, magazines, the great out doors but I would say that my daily dose comes from instagram.  I love that it allows everyone to share their work that otherwise might go unseen.
At the moment I am currently in love with artworks that play with colour and pattern.  A few of my favourites are Lisa Lapointe, Rowena Martinich and Belinda Marshall.

What is your workspace like and what is your creative process?
My work space in one word would be ‘messy’.  I like to think the messiness I make is generally athletically pleasing.  I am fortunate enough to have a large space to work in.  I have 2 desks, one with all my technology related things and my ‘create and make’ desk, which is where all my jewellery and paint work is done.

My creative process starts with little sketches.  I like drawing out my ideas on paper first, I then go to painting and/or make paper samples (depending on the product) .  I also use CAD to refine the design, put in repeat or adjust colours.  All my textile patterns start with hand painting.  I get my ‘flow’ from painting, and I love that each mark is unique to me.

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What challenges have you faced starting your own label, and what are some things you love about it?
My biggest challenge is managing two small children and Martha Jean.  It has been a slow process!  I started Martha Jean after the birth of my son, who is now 4!  I was probably a little naive.  I thought that having a new baby was like having a new puppy that you just carried it around in a nice bag and got on with your life.  What I have learnt is that it’s all about finding the right balance.  I have a limited number of hours per week to work on my business.  I do my best to be super organised and productive in those times, so that when I’m working I can give it 100%.  The past couple of years have been about slowly developing a range of products, with this being the first year where Martha Jean is getting out and about to show everyone what we have been working on.

What can we expect to see from Martha Jean at the upcoming Melbourne Finders Keepers Markets?
Glitter, shapes and colour!  I’ll have new jewellery which plays with texture and colour.  Scarves that are created from my original art works and locally made handbags.


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