September 02, 2014

Pay it forward - Vintage Mosaics

Hi I'm Amber from Vintage Mosaics. I have been dabbling in the vast expanse of mosaic art for fifteen years now, and have worked with every different type of mixed media available and have fallen in love with china. I work the direct mosaic method and I have a collection of vintage china mirrors available. 

After the earthquakes I was able to offer an alternative to throwing away the broken bits - offering to make something from them. This is how my workshops were born. 

For the month of September purchase any workshop and bring a friend for free as part of the 'Pay It Forward' designer of the month promotion.

You are actively involved with Pay It Forward, what do you enjoy most about being involved with this project? I have been a part of Pay It Forward for six months, I have met some really lovely creative people and I enjoy being part of this project evolving into something amazing for our community.  It isn't until you immerse yourself into something like this that you realise how many truly talented people there are.

What does an average day look like to you? My average day begins early with the school run, then back home to tie up any lose ends so I can start with a blank slate.

If I have orders I will always be working on these but any new designs are always ticking away as I work. I don't pre-draw or anything, the work just flows and develops as I go and sometimes the end result can be totally different to when you started.  

What does your creative look like? Do you keep sketch/recipe books? Have an online journal? I keep a photo record of pieces I have made in case a customer has seen a particular piece and wants it matched as close as possible. Other than the co-op I sell on-line and have pieces for sale in cafes & galleries in Central Otago where I come from.

My workshops are held at home usually during the day but generally worked around the student, the best part seems to be the smashing of china, they love it!

I enjoy passing on my knowledge and watching the students create their own masterpiece and everyone's personality comes out in their work, then they go home and they have the mosaic bug, it's great to see.

My goal is to continue to teach  & grow my workshops so others can create, it's a lot of fun and I am meeting some very interesting people along the way.  Christchurch has a very intertwined artistic community, and with our city becoming a very unique landscape this community has a great launch pad.

August 25, 2014

KIWI TUNES - Thomston

"Dysfunctional in every way/we drive all night, and sleep all day" - as Thomston says 'a doomed group of misfit friends questioning why they have ended up together.'

Loving this tune! It may just be this moment in my life that I'm living, but it resonates with me. It also has me dreaming of long, long nights followed by long days in the Summer sun... 

Thomston, an Auckland based musical magician, I'm sure we will be hearing more of this musical litany beating from our radios in the not too distant future. 

P.S. If you liked this tune you may also like 'School Night' - just saying x

Images care of Thomston's Facebook page. 

August 23, 2014

Love and inspiration

From the land of the blogs I've discovered a few fabulous reads for you this week...

I recently read #Girlboss and absolutely LOVED it, it is one of the few non-fiction books I have read cover to cover in (almost) one sitting! Sophia shows you the journey Nasty Gal has taken to reach it's magnitude proportions. All the hard work that she put into her business and the pay off that it has had as a result. As a small business owner watching the growth and development of Hazed, it has provided some much needed enthusiasm to just put in the work to 'make it happen'. 

I really enjoyed A Beautiful Mess's discussion on the topic, it is encouraging to know that the book had the same impact on other readers too! 

Likewise this post from Creative Women's Circle 'When is it giving up? And when is it finding your true north?' has had an impact on Hazel Loves Design, last year I put too many fingers into too many pies and as a result found that a couple of those fingers got burnt, and I got burnt too, as in burnt out. It meant I needed to walk away from some of those projects, and even some projects I really, truly enjoyed participating in. It was disappointing, it was hard, but guess what... I now have even MORE focus to pull off the things that I am really good at! So it was worth the sadness that let that happen. 

Vanessa from The Bubbalino Kitchen brings forth an interesting argument about the world of social media and the glorification that instagram brings to the seemingly perfect, it has been left in my thoughts for the balance of the week after reading them. BONUS of this post is the Ginger Roulade recipe she shares with us at the same time... YUMMO guys, YUMMO!!

Likewise Gala Darling shares an interesting thought on her post 'I woke up like this: On flawlessness and admitting the effort required', another interesting piece on the world we project. As gala says:  

"Blake Lively and Kim Kardashian spend the same amount of time in the make-up artist's chair, but only Black Lively acts as if she doesn't. The natural look is fine, but no one wakes up like that. It seems to me that women spend an inordinate amount of time trying to look "effortless": effortless appearance, effortless career, effortless relationship. 

Let's be straight-up: "effortless" is bullshit. Every woman I know is working herself to the bone..." 

I find Gala's posts the best to read for those 'self check' moments, those moments you need to have a look within yourself to comprehend the world outside yourself with fresh eyes.

And last but not least 'Weigh in: Are personal blogs and business blogs really that different?' by Problogger. For me, my blog attempts to follow a niche, that of 'Kiwi indie design', but it is also about the people who write the blog, our fabulous contributors and myself, so of course it tends to have an edge of fabulousness personal elements built into it as well. I hope that we at Hazel Loves Design are carving out a space where you all enjoy coming to visit from time time. 

So my lovelies, those were some of my favourites this week, obviously a whole lot of reading and not nearly enough visual inspiration, but that is the point, sometimes we need the fabulousness to be in our minds and not in our eyes for the growth and development of our worlds!

August 18, 2014

KIWI TUNES - Luke Thompson

I discovered Luke Thompson through Little Lot - a great application that you should download, not only is it supporting some fabulous charities but it is absolutely FANTASTIC in its ability to unleash kiwi talent to your screens on a daily basis! 

So anyways, for this weeks Kiwi Tunes I thought I would share this fabulous tune by the fabulous Luke Thompson, I find it an intensely relaxing melody. One Youtube comment calls it 'hauntingly beautiful', I can't help but agree! 

If you like what you hear, you can download the album for free from Luke's website (say WHAT! Awesome), but even better you can donate all you wish towards Luke's journey on his website. 

Thank you Luke, your music makes me feel something. A beautiful tune, a harmony which provides harmony in my soul. Thank you.

August 14, 2014

Pay It Forward

I’m Ginny, the Manager and New Projects Worker for Neighbourhood Trust (NHT), a charitable trust set up in 1999. The whole idea of Pay It Forward had been whispering to me for a long time – around 18 months before doing much about it. It was a concept of having a range of activities operating from one site that would increase the well-being of the community, as well as foster a sense of generosity and encourage creativity.

The start was a combination of factors. I’d done quite a bit of research around social enterprise – businesses set up with a social purpose and there were lots of vacant shops in the Mairehau area attracting graffiti and starting to look really run-down. Being faith-based, I felt it was a God nudge to have a base in the heart of Mairehau, but didn’t have a clue what form that would take. One of the shops had once been a second-hand book store, owned by an older man and when he fell ill, he just closed it down.  People in the community had missed it, so second-hand books and promoting a love of learning was the start point. But I knew there was much more to the project.

I noticed all the craft markets going on and the lack of a base for Canterbury crafts people with the Arts Centre not able to be used. It was natural to talk with Hazel about the possibility of creating a hub and retail outlet for artisans. From there it kind of snow-balled as the first query put on her website had a host of replies and lots of enthusiasm for the idea.

As well as the retail side of things, there was a need to rebuild the sense of community in this suburb, which had been torn apart by the earthquakes and school closures. I saw Pay It Forward as becoming a meeting place for people, where they could browse at leisure, use the shop as a base for walking groups, learn new crafts, have discussion groups on special interest areas and be a place to swap resources and skills.

At the same time Council had recognised the lack of community meeting places in Mairehau and supported the project with a grant from their Endowment Fund. This gave the confidence to look at purchasing one of the shops. We took out a lease on a corner shop, with SeniorNet (who teach new technologies to older adults) coming on board as partners and using the back part of the shop, while we set up a pilot project shop in the front part. There is also a children’s books swap box out front and it is delightful to see children stop and take a book and the surprise from their parents that they are free. We’d love some more donations into the box as they disappear quite quickly.

We love the name 'Pay It Forward', we're all aware of the concept, but why this name for the store? The idea for the name came from the sense of a place where people would share what they had to offer with others, a place of warmth and welcome. A place where crafts people learn from each other, with knowledge and expertise shared. A place where others can learn new skills and pass them on to others. A place to give in to (children’s books, produce) - to experience the ‘buzz’ of giving without expecting something back. 

Each of us have people in our lives who have given to us freely – of time, money, resources, gifts that made us feel good when we were down. We may never be able to pay them back but know that they would be happy that we had passed on this good fortune to others. That we are prepared to listen to the story of someone who needs to be heard; to share a book with a child who might not otherwise have books; to share knowledge and expertise and pass on the love of making something ourselves.

It’s a statement against our ‘me first’ world of consumerism and is a reminder that we live in a community and each of us are affected by the acts of others.

How does the store work? The store is a co-operative that houses 21 artisans, with currently 19 inquiries from potential new crafters. Each brings skills and expertise in different areas with them, so there is an amazing buzz in the room when meetings are held. Commission is charged on sales and this helps to pay the bills and bring resources into the shop. The commission is based on the number of hours the person contributes into the running of the project, whether it is working in the shop or helping with advertising, Facebook page, delivering flyers, processing new artisans or doing displays. The project remains under the Neighbourhood Trust umbrella, so any surplus goes back into the community.

How can artisans get involved with the store? As we have a large number of people already involved, the group decided to set up a curator’s panel, which meets every couple of months or so. We have an application form that newcomers can fill out and then we ask them to bring in a few samples of their work for the curators to view. There is a matrix of criteria and a rating system to try to maintain a fair process. The current shop is small and even when we move we won’t have heaps of room, so the curators have to be discerning around what fits in with the style of the shop and what will complement the current items on offer, as well as having got a feel for what sells best through this outlet. If they give a ‘no’ it therefore doesn’t reflect on quality or even attractiveness of the product. Having said this, we love to see new creations and welcome newcomers. You can pick up an application form from Pay It Forward (cnr Nancy Ave and Weston Road), or email or inquire through the website

Because the store is a co-operative, the artisans have the opportunity to make decisions around every element of the store. It’s their place, but without the huge overheads that normally apply to running a shop. And they have support from day one from their peers.  If they have questions around for example, tax law, they can ask another crafter who is also a chartered accountant. If they have questions around branding, one of the crafters is a graphic designer. There’s also a mix of people who have been creating their craft for a long time and have developed it into a substantial business and those who are just starting out. There’s a generosity in those who have worked through different issues that come up when you are creating objects for sale, being willing to pass on what they have learned, so there is a coaching element. It can be as simple as where’s the best place to purchase boxes for packaging.

We have a ‘secret’ Facebook page for discussions, questions and formulating policies and ways of working together.

It’s exciting because it’s still in the formative stage. Artisans have the ability to feed in ideas about how the new shop might look and what services it might provide. And they know they are backed 100% by NHT. It’s also stimulating, as this is a new concept – having social services alongside a retail outlet, so we are all learning as we go.

Where to next for Pay It Forward? Earlier this year, we purchased a bigger shop two doors down from the current pilot project, but didn’t immediately have the resources to be able to develop it. A grant from The Canterbury Community Trust Social Enterprise Fund has made it possible to set in place plans to turn this into both a larger retail outlet and a meeting/learning place. There’ll also be computers set up with internet access and assistance for those who need it, a mail-drop box for people in transitional accommodation and an automated coffee and hot chocolate machine. We believe it will become a destination shop, where people will hang around for a bit and enjoy the atmosphere. We’re excited to be at the stage where work will begin on alterations and Pay It Forward can expand.

We also spoke with a couple of the artisans themselves about Pay It Forward, this is what they had to say. 

Kirstee from Hibiscus, why did you decide to get involved in Pay It Forward? When I answered the call for Pay It Forward applications, I was fairly new to the Christchurch indie design scene, and I was really focused on getting feet in doors and fingers in pies, so to speak. I pretty much jumped on into anything that came my way, and the results of the frightfully busy six months that followed have catapulted me into 2014 with great gusto and a gargantuan appetite for more.

What is the best bit about being involved in the co-op? I've said this before, and I'll say it again. It's the gathering together. Gathering of amazing talent and fruitful minds, all focused on one, ultimate goal. By each individual bringing independent dreams, significance and ideas and by releasing them into the encompassing support of the Pay It Forward pot, the soup which has evolved in these last seven months is one of spirit, zest and soul. Pay It Forward is not only a gorgeous little shop on a quiet suburban corner in Christchurch, it is that courage, inspiration and love of the thirty four faces behind it. Co operative. It's an outrageously uplifting place to be.

Koral from Handled with Care, why did you decide to get involved in Pay It Forward? I decided to get involved as I had a window of opportunity whilst on maternity leave. It allowed me space to be more creative, and this also provided a good artistic outlet whilst juggling my gorgeous baby boy.

What is the best bit about being involved in the co-op? As a new addition to the group, I am learning the benefits of being part of the Pay It Forward co-op as I go! It was great to attend my first committee meeting last week and put a number of faces to the names I was aware of, and see the amazing insight and vision that the group has for expanding the brand. This is the first time I have sold products I've made, and it is great volunteering hours at the shop to meet your potential customers. I'm immensely enjoying it!

August 12, 2014

The value of chocolate: Part II

Eek! Seriously the person who invents a machine to slow down time will make an insane amount of money. Part I of my chocolate posts was published on March 16 and I had meant to follow up with this one a fortnight later. Before I know it is half way through May! At this rate I better start planning for Christmas.

So back to chocolate. Part I on this went through basic chocolate labelling and some brands that are readily available in New Zealand. This post will cover the basics of chocolate production and the cacao beans. Hopefully it will help you understand on a second level the differences in chocolate that is available to you.

The cacao plant - Like most plants the cacao plant is broken up into several subspecies. These are, Criollo, Forastero and Trinitario.

The Criollo bean represents 5% of the total crop produced. The chocolate made from this bean is expensive and DELICIOUS. It is native to South America and is very temperature sensitive. It grows very close to the equator and is incredibly sensitive to its surroundings making it quite temperamental. It has a lower yield than other cacao plants as well. These factors combined mean that it is not suited to the large scale commercial use that big chocolate companies require. It is generally grown and processed by smaller boutique companies and comes with a higher price tag.

My Criollo recommendation: If you ever get the chance to try Amedei's 'Chuao' go for it. They are a small Italian chocolate house. The beans for their Chuao come from a small island off the coast of Venezuela. The Chuao has notes of 'cigars and raspberries'

The Forastero is most likely native to a similiar region in South America. It is however a very hardy plant and thus easier to introduce to other areas. The African crop is entirely Forastero. It has high yield with easy care making it the most suitable for large scale commercial use. It can withstand a wider range of temperatures and so can grow in a wider variety of places, not just right on the equator. The majority of chocolate that you eat is Forestero.

The Trinitario bean is a natural hybrid of the Criollo and Forastero plant. It is not as widespread as the Forastero but is easier to produce the the Criollo. Within the Trinitario there is both high and low grade plants with each going to respectively produce boutique and larger scale chocolates.

August 10, 2014

Kiwi Tunes - The Response

I have long been a fan of Andy and Victoria from The Response and often have their tunes thumping from my car stereo, I just find the tunes so darn relaxing and Sunday Afternoon-like, perfect when you're stuck in Monday night traffic and wishing for your thoughts to be a million miles away!

This new tune, No Way Out, is from their new album 'North of Nowhere', and given how much I genuinely love this duo I thought it would be the perfect way to start my new series of posts on Kiwi artists, it seems unjust that I would write a blog dedicated to New Zealand's artisans and omit our fabulous song writers! Stay tuned for more hip beats from a wild genre of artists!

P.S. Would love to know who your favourite kiwi artists are!! x