Monday, 15 July 2013

profile imelda ryan - maker & merchant.

cecelia and imelda ryan of maker & merchant
Today I am very excited to profile Maker & Merchant, a new Brisbane based homewares studio established by sisters Imelda, Cecelia and Sonia Ryan. With a shared passion for art, design, craft and fashion the trio have combined their talents to create beautiful cushions, tea towels, quilts and accessories which feature hand drawn and screen printed designs on natural fabrics and leather. As both makers and merchants of their lovely wares the collection is imbued with a personal touch, which makes the pieces all the more special. Chic, sophisticated and very on trend with pops of neon and contrast piping, their cushions would happily sit on any couch. You can checkout the entire covetable collection here.

How would you describe yourself?
Happy, resilient, optimistic, easily distracted, busy.

What was your childhood dream?
I was a pretty weird child and being a twin didn’t really distract much from that. So in celebration of weirdness, I wanted to be Beatrix Potter and live in the English countryside with talking rabbits! I was so obsessed with Ms Potter that my mother had to ask the local librarian to hide her books when we visited or I wouldn’t read anything else.

What led you down your current path?
I’ve always loved textiles and used to buy things just for the fabric. After finishing a Fine Art degree at Queensland College of Art I swanned around for a while looking for what next.  Eventually I took a strange turn and went back to Uni and became a Librarian. Just before Christmas 2012, life threw me the opportunity to reconsider where I was and I took another turn back to creative endeavors and started hand drawing fabrics, which is surprisingly cathartic. So it’s been more of a circular journey.

What do you love most about what you do?
Seeing what starts as a ‘maybe I should try this’ turning into a bespoke quilt or hand drawn cushion that someone covets, and chooses to put in their space. That’s pretty satisfying.

Where do feel most inspired?
I generally feel inspired, I can easily distract myself from the process of resolving one design, by the next, sometimes it backfires and both are not great! I think best sitting on the back deck in the morning sun, with a cup of tea, and piles of magazines throwing a ball to one of my crazy dogs.

Who do you admire?
People who can dust themselves off and get on with the job in the face of obstacles and challenges, it’s easy to achieve in a perfect environment, it’s the setbacks which make it special.

What challenges have you had to overcome?
I have no formal training in sewing, pattern making or textile design, so transferring the creative skills which were based on pure art to be able to create accessible homewares.

What's been a 'pinch yourself' moment?
Being featured in the web watch section of Canadian Style at Home magazine! Maker & Merchant’s first real press.

What are your top resources for inspiration?
  • Magazines -Inside out, Real living, Belle, Vogue Living, Home Beautiful, Adore magazine.
  • Art, visiting galleries and trying not to buy!
  • The design files

Do you have a dream creative project?
I’m doing it. After too many years in the corporate world what I do now, working from home is heaven.

What are you currently coveting in the world of design?
So much! I’m totally in love with the new Gorman mohair throws, a couple of Stanley copper pendants for over my kitchen bench, a Klassik sofa in grey velvet….

What's next?
Who knows?

When the weekend rolls around what do you love to:
Read – The actual newspaper – not online, travel books, cook books.
Watch- All the programs I haven’t had a chance to watch through the week!
Cook- Italian. My little sister calls me an Italian Mama.
Create- A clean house.
Listen to- What my sisters call daggy granddad rock, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, the list goes on.
Dream about- Building a giant shed in the garden so I can move my studio out of all the concealed and unconcealed spaces of the house!
Look forward to- Sitting down on Sunday night with a gin and tonic mixed with coriander and lime.