Creative Chats: Handmade by Holchester

Welcome to a new feature on the blog, Creative Chats! The creating community has so much talent that I wanted to showcase some of it here on my blog. Creative Chats are an insight into the lives of my favourite creatives.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll probably be familiar with my crafty partner-in-crime, the lovely Rachel from Handmade from Holchester. We met two years ago at a local craft group, and have been firm friends ever since. I’m so pleased that she said yes when I asked her to be my first interview!

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  1. What inspires you?

I find pattern and texture both really inspiring.  If you’d asked a year ago I’d have said colour, but more recently I’ve realised it’s more how colours are mixed and arranged and what responses those get from me. I love how patterns and textures are all around us and also how they can be appreciated at any age, which is something my toddler has taught me!

  1. Who are your favourite bloggers?

I love scrolling through Instagram, Pinterest and reading other people’s blogs and I find them so inspiring. The blogs I tend to read are usually more lifestyle or dressmaking focused and I’m particularly partial to a home makeover/interiors tour. Design*Sponge is one of my favourites, although as its updated quite a few times through the day I can be hard to keep up with so I tend to follow just the interiors posts on my Bloglovin’ app.  I also love a scroll through Print & Pattern too which is surface pattern design focused, the colours in their posts never fail to make me smile.  Another fave is LiveIt.Loveit.MakeIt which I came across years ago, before I started my own thing, I’ve always really enjoyed the variety on there as well as the behind the scenes peeks of their day jobs.

  1. What does a typical day at Handmade by Holchester look like?

There isn’t a typical day as such, mainly as I juggle business with looking after my little girl Thea who’s 2.5 going on thirteen.  For the past few months she’s been in nursery 2 days a week and they have been brilliant for giving me time to really push on with things. On those days I’m usually hiding away as much as a possible in my sewing room where I do everything. I also do bits at the evenings and weekends, depending on what else we have on, so I can keep on top of things.

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  1. What’s your favourite social media channel?

It has to be Instagram, although I’m still a bit bitter about the algorithm changes that stopped it being chronological.  I’m a very visual person so it appeals for obvious reasons but I also find it easier to branch out and find new things and people on Instagram, which you just can’t do on Facebook.  Facebook can be great for friends but it so actively keeps you in your bubble, which I’m not altogether comfortable with.  I also love Pinterest, although I never quite think of it in the same bracket as the other social media channels.

  1. How did Handmade by Holchester start?

I’ve always been creative and I’m lucky that my parents have always encouraged that. I did Art History and then Art Gallery and Museum Studies at Uni with the hope that I could eventually work on art/design exhibitions, but I graduated as the financial crisis took hold which meant getting a job in the industry was even harder than normal. I ended up taking a side step into HR, which I did enjoy, but when I had Thea going back just didn’t feel right.  Setting up on my own had always been a dream of mine, but it was actually my husband that really saw it as my opportunity and who gave me the supportive shove in the right direction.

  1. What’s your favourite Handmade by Holchester product, and why?

That’s a mean question! Without sounding too clichéd all my designs do have some sort of story behind them, but my favourite has to be my Elephant Cushion as I just love how tactile it is as well as being quite ‘me’ in its style.  I originally made one as a gift for a friend’s son to go in his bedroom and when it got such lovely comments and I had enough leftovers, I made another to go in my Etsy shop, which sold really quickly.  It’s easily the design that gets the most comments.  I’m also really excited about the stationery range that I’m designing at the moment too, some of which includes fabric I’ve designed, as it really feels like my two main creative sides are coming together.

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  1. What’s your fuel of choice when making?

In the morning it’s a milky coffee (with some honey in to sweeten it), in the afternoon it’s green or camomile tea. If I’m still going in the evening, then a well-timed hot chocolate is always welcome!

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  1. What three things would you take to a desert island?

IPod with all my music and podcasts, my kindle, and my sketchbook and drawing pens (I’m counting those as one thing).  I’m taking quite a relaxed attitude to the island aren’t I? I’m a little bit ashamed that 2/3 are tech based too, but at least once stuff’s downloaded on to them they can be disconnected and I’d be 100% ok with that!

  1. If you could only follow 3 accounts on Instagram, who would you pick?

Other than the ones I mentioned above, I think I’d have to say you to keep me up to date with crafty things, as well as other random and important stuff that’s going on. Kayti Peschke/Caboodle magazine because they’re so colourful and playful and that’s what I’d want my feed to be full of. And finally Tiff Manuell, again because of colour and energy and the pieces are total accessory goals in my opinion.

  1. What do you do to relax/in your spare time?

To be honest there isn’t usually much of a distinction between work and spare time as what I do for both blurs between them – it’s not uncommon that I can be doodling for fun, often with Thea, which will spark an idea for a design.  If I get an evening to sit down with hubby with a good book and listen to some music then I’ll definitely be relaxed. Especially if I’ve remembered to put my mobile into airplane mode.  I do have to work at stopping and re-setting every so often (like pretty much every creative person I know!) but the benefits are instantly noticeable.

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If you’d like to find out more about Rachel and her work, check out what she does via the links below:

Website / Instagram / Etsy Shop / Pinterest

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