A Week Of Australian Fabric Design – Profile – Carly Schwerdt of Umbrella Prints

October 16, 2008

You’re designing some lovely fabric and crafty things now, but what were you doing before this crafty life? I am a graphic designer, so directly before the craft thing (which is incidentally, just before my first daughter was born) I was lecturing design at Uni SA and doing a teaching degree.

Do you come from a long line of crafty people? Have you always made things? I wouldn’t say a long line of crafty people but definitely people who make. My aunt is an art teacher and my opa did everything from his own sewing to making brass and wooden sculptures for the home. I love to make and draw.

What other jobs have you had? Mmm, well aside from the good old checkout chick during uni student days, I have been an accounts manager, teacher, designer and retail assistant (I once worked at Lincraft… come to think of it, I started my cotton thread collection way back then!)

Is fabric design your crafty dream come true – or did you arrive at it unexpectedly? Very much unexpected… going from corporate identity design to toy making is definitely an unexpected but welcome change.

How much time do you spend on your craft? How do you manage the craft/life balance? I have moments of inspiration where by I am glued to my sewing machine but then a month can go by and I haven’t managed to sew anything, due to life having other things on offer or the inspiration is simply not there. There are times when I don’t manage the craft/work/life balance very well at all but I would like to think I am learning.

What do your family and friends think about your crafty life, your blog and your work? I don’t think they take much notice really. My husband thinks it is wonderful that I enjoy myself and that my blog has taken me to many wonderful places. I might catch him reading my blog every now and again. And my girlfriends interstate, I think, read my blog to catch up on what I am up to.

Who inspires you? Crafty or otherwise, and why? Blogland in general is very inspiring, sometimes it can also be overwhelming. My family are my biggest inspiration though.

What will you be working on in the coming twelve months? Is there something you really want to do – or an area of your work you want to improve or learn more about? I am working on being a good mum, having just had a baby! Plenty of crafting I hope, more textile design with Umbrella Prints and a top secret project that I am itching to blab!!! All in good time!

What do you find difficult about this craft life? And what is the best part? There isn’t really anything difficult… Oh, wait .. when people steal… yes that bugs me. The best part is that feeling of accomplishment when you have finished a project and the smile on the face of your child when you give it to them.

Do you find it difficult to balance the creative with the commercial when you are designing? Not really, I usually just design what I like but I must admit as things progress along, and you are designing many products for commercial value, it can be hard at times to understand why people like what they like…. or buy what they buy rather. Trends can be frustrating if you are trying out new ideas.

Do you have time to make things for yourself? Not usually. I think i have made myself one bag. Oh how sad. I must make myself something one of these days! I really do love making for my girls though.

What’s your view on the Australian Craft Movement – there seems to be a lot of people following both Contemporary and Traditional craft here. In your opinion, is it different to the US Craft Scene? Yes and No. There are lots of different things going on. Mummy bloggy crafters seem to be on the same page but there are also some amazing original works being made which are by their very nature different. Having said that the internet does make new ideas travel fast. I just think it is great that people everywhere are making and doing it for themselves.

Carly Schwerdt

Umbrella Prints

Nest Studio Blog

Umbrella Prints Store

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