FK chats to Nuria about her wonderful journey to crocheting and creation of her fun label Chompa Handmde!
Tell us about your label Chompa Handmade and what the concept is behind it?
The concept is very easy. Make things and work in something that makes me and my family happy. “Chompa” just a mix of English and Spanish – to take a big bite. We started to say that word when my son was a baby and we wanted him to eat. It is a fun word he uses quite a lot, fun enough that he has no idea it is the name of my business. Chomp! Chompa!
The Handmade is self explanatory but important for me to communicate items are not machine made.
What is your creative background and how did it lead you to where you are today?
I am a graphic designer with ten year experience in different studios and companies in Barcelona. I loved every moment until I started to feel I was needing a life change (10 year itch?). I left my job around 7 years ago and took some sabbatic time to Australia where I travelled and worked as volunteer in conservation. I met my husband, got married and went back to Barcelona. We lived there for two years, had our son and then came to Australia with many projects in mind and always keeping an eye on the trends in Barcelona.
One of our passions are markets. We try to always visit local markets when travelling around. In 2011 after visiting our local handmade market in Newcastle I realised nobody was crocheting so I decided to ask my aunty, who was visiting us, to teach me how to make a granny square. From there I’ve been teaching myself. It has been a very interesting journey which is now evolving to the importation of TRAP-ART fabric yarn and cotton rope made in Barcelona and not available anywhere else in Australia. This is also beginning to lead to more lines of goods for handmade products..
What do you love crocheting and what keeps you creatively motivated?
I love making items I would love to buy or have for myself. Nowadays I love making baskets with fabric yarn and rope. Straight lines, simple shapes, plain bold colours and useful items is what i like. I also like trying new materials and mix them. Lately I love dying my own fabric yarn that makes every piece unique.
Instagram keeps me motivated! It is wonderful! It’s like travelling and seeing everything you are interested in and suddenly finding something amazing that makes your mind start. I like op-shops and handmade/DIY blogs. There’s always something in a vintage magazine you can give a twist to.
What is your workspace like and what is your creative process?
Chaos! My table is always an organised mess. My work space is a side room at home with 3 doors and lots of through traffic. Computer is a must, phone, table full of half-way projects, magazines, patterns, notebooks, hooks, needles, shelving for 500 cones of yarn… I’d love to be more organised but I don’t think its my style. Funny, my creativity is chaos but the rest of my life is super organised. I am a very visual type of person so I have the need to be surrounded by my things.
I would describe my creative process as “an ever-evolving”. I love making new things all the time. I don’t want to keep making the same thing over and over so each of my crochet items are unique. The shape and/or the colour are never the same unless I have an specific order or requirement.
How do you go about sourcing materials for your range and are their challenges in doing so?
It has been a challenge. I have to constantly look overseas to see what’s happening and what materials are trendy in different areas. I found it very difficult to source what I needed in Australia. A few months ago I started, with my husband, to import the materials to make my own designs and also to set up an online shop where everybody in Australia can buy them. I sell wholesale to Australian shops and have had an amazing response to these new products. As with my crocheting, this business will be an ever evolving experience as we continue to find new materials to import.
What aspirations do you have for your label in the future?
I’d love to have my own shop-workshop-showroom. My ideal space would be a warehouse with heaps of shelves full of materials. Tables where people would be able to come and use them to make their own creations (sewing, crochet, knitting, painting,etc …). I also would like to keep finding new materials and importing them. I find Australia a very creative country but with very little resources/materials.