What inspired you to start your work?
Ultimately I want to see people happy. I love seeing that look of delight on people’s faces when I’ve created something they really love, or repaired a treasure of theirs. I’ve always loved to design, create and make things since I can remember. As a child I always made presents for others by painting pots, creating bookmarks or notepads, making cards and sewing clothes, though I didn’t try jewellery making until adulthood. Before I became a mum in 2008, I was an Environmental Planner + Ecologist. I’ve always loved the New Zealand flora and fauna and have spent a bit of time studying it out in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf. The colours of NZ bush and the beautiful birds that live within are quite different from elsewhere in the world, and a lot of my inspiration comes from these unique habitats. I am immensely aware of the needs to look after our unique environments and wanted to include a sense of sustainability through the use of recycled materials (or re-creating new designs from customers own treasures) and local sources – where possible – in my business. Probably my first foray into Jewellery design was in 2002 when I couldn’t find the engagement ring I wanted, so I designed my own and had it made. Same with my wedding dress, bridesmaid dresses and Jewellery gifts for my bridesmaids.
I also designed and created all the wedding ‘favours’ – a name/ photo holder made from resin with bits of paua shell ‘floating’ within! In 2010, when my daughter was 2, my husband bought me a one-on-one jewellery making tutorial for my birthday – an awesome present! That one lesson got me hooked. I didn’t really do any other courses, apart from reading books or some internet tutorials, I just came up with ideas in my head (often in the middle of the night) then just tried them out – and would give Jewellery as gifts to anyone I could. After a year or two I started wrapping stones without pre-drilled holes – particularly off-cuts of NZ Greenstone and Paua shell, and was given many compliments on my work and a few suggestions that I should start a business. As so much of my work is focused on wrapping, spirals and flourishes I wanted a name that was a bit different and not just my name. A ‘curlicue’ is a double ended spiral or flourish, and the NZ is for our amazing NZ native bush. So at the end of 2013, Curlicue NZ Jewellery was born with the aim of providing affordable sustainably elegant Jewellery for every day wear and special occasions.
Describe your creative space, where you bring to life your work?
I started off – as many people do – on our kitchen table. Until my stuff was taking over our space to eat! We have a lovely downstairs lounge that looks out onto our garden and faces north so gets plenty of light. I cleared my old desk and art stuff and set up my studio there. It’s a quiet and restful place to go and easy to get into ‘my zone’ when there. I generally do most of my work during the day when my daughter is at school, though I’ll easily work into the night when required. It is also a space where I can work, and my daughter can play or read next to me – or ‘help’ me out sometimes too!
What do you love most about your handmade business?
I’m an introvert and happy to work in solitude, I’m my most creative when alone with some music. But that doesn’t mean I’m not social – just in smaller doses! I love that I get to combine two of my passions: having the space to be creative and to make other people happy. I love being my own boss and planning things out. I also enjoy learning the different facets of running a business, although I do recognise I can’t do everything myself – sometimes we all need some help! Most of all though, I love that I’m still able to put my daughter first and be a full time mum when needed. Sometimes I need to do work when she’s there, but I’m happy in the knowledge that I’m teaching her about passions and dreams and making them happen.
What are you most looking forward to about being at the Auckland Fair?
This will be my first Auckland Fair and I’m super-excited (and also nervous) for the big day! This will be a fantastic opportunity to widen my audience and show my products to a huge number of new customers – and shops too. I’m looking forward to seeing what the actual day will bring, but also getting on to people’s radars. Jewellery is not usually an impulse buy. People often need to see items several times over, so I know having flyers or business cards or information that people can take away with them, is very important too.
What has been your biggest triumph to date?
Getting into this Auckland Fair! I had assumed I wouldn’t get in – not because I didn’t believe I was good enough, but because I’m in the midst of many changes, including building a new website, so I thought it might look messy. I nearly had a heart attack when I got Jess’ email to say I was in!
But I’m really excited and so looking forward to showcasing my existing products along with a few new ones. I was also very proud to be part of the ‘Summer Lovin’ exhibition in the Titirangi upstairs gallery and have a selection of items in the shop there now, and also to be part of Art West at Kelston Girls College for the last 2 years.
Jewellery & Accessories