Michelle, the designer and maker from Me We, is fortunate to have access to beautiful, raw materials that allow her to express creative ideas. She uses sparks of inspiration to inform her creative practice, and as a result has created a dynamic, forever evolving art and textiles label. Read on her to learn more about this creative process.
Tell us a bit about Me We and what products we can expect to discover?
Me We is one of the shortest poems ever written, by Muhammad Ali, and I came across it many years ago at a point of my life when I decided to make a change and do what makes me happy; to create. Me We felt an appropriate fit in expressing me and since I create diverse pieces, not to lock me in to anything in particular. My current range includes ‘Happy Block’ Artworks, Polymer Clay Ring Stands and Linen screen-printed handbags.
What is your creative background and how did it lead you to where you are today?
I was originally a graphic designer, designing wedding stationery and children’s party invitations on the side. That led to family tree artworks, which are hand cut, sewn and personalised on acrylic paper, as well as screen printing and designing my own fabric panels to create bags, cases and cushions. I make small runs of each design, as I like the idea of everyone not having the same thing. Many of my products evolve by accident, for example my ring stands were meant to display my polymer clay rings as I wanted a colourful way to showcase them and as it would be I was asked if my ring stands (the display) were for sale! I’ve always liked painting but kept that to myself until friends or customers would visit my studio and were drawn towards my artworks, the one thing that wasn’t for sale! My ‘Happy Block’ paintings are painted on off-cut Tasmanian Oak and Red Gum solid wood blocks, which a carpenter friend has no use for.
What do you love about working with mixed mediums of textiles and art? What keeps you creatively motivated?
It’s the whole process of being immersed in my ideas to bring a piece to life using multiple mediums. For me, I love working with my hands and keeping it simple. All my pieces are unique, just like my clients and me. Motivation is often a tricky part of being a designer, but ultimately I do what I do because I love it and at the end of the day it gives me joy.
What is your workspace like? What is your creative process?
I have been very fortunate to rent a small studio space for the past few years around the corner from home. It has allowed me, through trial and error, to develop a mindset of focusing and prioritising my workflow from initial concepts, through production and then onto marketing.
What challenges have you faced starting your own label, and what are some things you love about it?
A major challenge I found was going through the ups and downs of retail. There were times when I couldn’t keep up with demand and others where it was slow going. I have streamlined my products and produce small runs, which drives me to keep creating and always thinking about what will come next. The part I love the most are my clients comments and feedback, it truly gives me a sense of purpose when I hear how much someone else enjoys one of my pieces.
What aspirations do you have for your label in the future?
I’d like to explore other mediums, like print productions from large-scale artworks and working with different materials, which I have not yet had the opportunity to focus on. Also, I’m blessed to be surrounded by talented and supportive creative people from our community and would hope to have future opportunities to collaborate with them.