1. Hello! Tell us a little about yourself.
I come from a graphic design / film industry creative background. A while after my daughter was born I realised I just couldn't keep up the hectic hours that the film industry demands, and there is something about having kids that makes you want to do something that feels more authentic and worthy. I have a lifelong interest in handmade stuff, and since the craft movement has had such a revival I started a small but very beautiful handmade goods market (once per month) in Stellenbosch called The Treasury Market (it ran for 2 years but I now only do pop-up markets). I met so many wonderful people through the market, and was itching to do something myself and so Ménagerie was born.
2. How / why Menagerie?
Ménagerie is an English word that was used to describe any collection of exotic animals that pre-dated the existence of zoos. It is now also used to describe an odd or eclectic assortment of things, which I thought was quite apt for my animal cushions. I like the name because it is derived from the French word 'ménage' meaning household, and mine is very important to me. Not to be confused with 'ménage à trois' though ;)
3. What do you love?
My kids, aged 5 and 2, inspire me every day. They are so unselfconsciously creative, and prove that it is still possible to do original things, something one often forgets in our pinterest/internet dominated world. I also just love living in Cape Town, visiting our many excellent markets (like the Milnerton market for finding aged treasures) and making use of our easy access to nature. I have a love/hate relationship with the interweb, I love keeping up to date with shifting trends but I feel one has to cut yourself off too so you are not too influenced by it. I am also very inspired by some local makers who have managed to build up some beautiful brands!
4. Can you tell us about the wonderful things Menagerie makes?
Menagerie makes a range of cushions that are silkscreened by hand on natural cotton. For the animal cushions I start with a photo that has some charm (for which I buy an extended license so I can use it for items for resale) and then I do some extensive photoshopping on it to enhance the charm and change it into a modern looking bitmap image. I am now starting to bring out some more colourful items and am especially excited about a screen printed doll I am designing.
5. Tell us something unusual about you / your trade / etc that people generally don't know.
Once my daughter, aged 4, snuck upstairs into my studio, where she is not really allowed in office hours, and this conversation happened:
She: "Mommy, what are you doooiiing?"
Me: "I am sewing."
Me (a bit irritated since I was trying to finish something): "So I can make money so we can buy things."
She (looking at me dumbfounded): "But mommy, you aren't making money, you're making cushions!"
Lol, until I figure out how to just make the money, I will just have to keep making cushions!