Tell us a bit about yourself (name, location, affiliations, personal stuff).
My name is Tabitha Patterson I’m 21 and I live in Sydney Australia, which is where I have lived all my life.
I have always been a creative person but was never sure of what creative path to take until I discovered textiles at High School, I loved it so much, that I decided that that was what I wanted to do, and went on to study fashion design.
I graduated from the Whitehouse Institute of Design last year with an Advanced Diploma in Fashion Design and Textiles.
I worked at Hot! Clothing as a design assistant at the beginning of the year and I am now in search of full time work. Luckily I came across Etsy so now I have something to keep me busy while searching for work; I’m loving it, and learning an awful lot! It’s like getting paid to be educated.
I live at home with my parents (oh and my Mum also sells on etsy- http://mulberrymuse.etsy.com) and younger brother Ben and our 2 very fluffy cats (Portia and Raffles). I also work part time at an ice cream shop, called Mr Whippy.
What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it?
Its hard to remember as I have grown up in a very creative family. My mum is an artist, so we were always encouraged to create things. We grew up painting, making paper mache, making things from old cardboard boxes, cooking, sewing, and many other crafty adventures. I do remember the first thing I sewed though. Mum taught me how to use the sewing machine and I made a pin cushion as it was the simplest thing to sew. Looking back its amazing how much I have learnt since then.
What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?
I’m mostly inspired by other peoples amazing work, seeing what great talent other people have spurs me on to try develop my own style and skills. I do a lot of research on the internet, read magazines and just generally keeping an eye out at the things in the world around me. I guess it’s the culmination of all the things I see throughout the day that come together to form ideas, and I often suddenly think of things in the middle of the night and have to quickly jot them down.
My children’s bags actually started as a major work I did in High School. The ideas came from childhood memories. After discovery Etsy I decided to make more bags and expand the range and sell them.
What are your favorite materials?
I love fabric!! And I horde a lot of it, I also love paper and little trinkets, things like buttons, beads and other notions. I love collecting random little bits and pieces, especially vintage or rare pieces. I hate throwing things out, as I am sure I will one day find a use for them.
What have been the most valuable lessons learned from other artists on Etsy?
I have learnt an awful lot about business from Etsy. It has taught me a lot more than reading about business in a text book. I have learnt the importance of promotion (or no one will know who you are no matter how good your product is), how to package things well, the importance of customer relations and how to use paypal.
Seeing all of the amazing work on Etsy and the huge number of creative talented people making hand made goods, has really encouraged me to keep at it and keep evolving my skills.
Why should people buy handmade?
To support independent designers, there is far too much junk in commercial shops that are poorly made. Buying from independent designers will keep them alive, increasing individuality and choice in the things we can buy. Independent designers are often the trend setters, so if you want to be cool and ahead buy handmade!!! You never know one day an independent designer you buy from will become famous and you will own one of their original pieces.
What features/services would you most like to see on Etsy?
I’d like a wish list, or some way of organising favourites, because I heart items for many different reasons and It would be great if there was a way of sorting them, like ‘ideas for birthday presents’, ‘things I want’, and ‘thing that inspire me’.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
Well creating things is a very big part of me. But I also work part time at Mr. Whippy and I have been searching for a full time job. I do a bit of baking, but I guess that is creating things too. I watch TV, read books, play games, shop etc.
Read any good books lately?
I’ve been reading the last Harry Potter book! And I’m also part way through reading A life by Design by Siobhan O’Brien, which is about Florence Broadhurst, a very talented and crazy designer who was murdered.
I have also been reading plenty of blogs and IdN magazines.
In ten years I’d like to be…
Famous! haha. Whatever happens I want to be doing something creative because I really can’t imagine doing anything else. I’d like to have a proper job as well as being able to keep up my own business. It’d be great if when I have children I could work from home on my own thing.