Hello and welcome to "Five Minutes With...", our meet the maker blog feature. In each post, we'll be having a brief chat with one of our marvellous suppliers... about life, the universe, and everything. By which I mean craft and travel, obvs.
We work with a huge range of clever and creative maker-types, who craft all sorts of beautiful products, from ceramics, candles and cushions; through prints, pouches and planters; to soap, stationery and... some other great things. Join us for a glimpse behind the curtain and see what makes them tick.
This month, we'll be talking to the very lovely Jenny Baker: doodler and pouch-maker-extraordinaire behind Grizzli Bear. We've collaborated with Jenny on a series of exclusive monochrome zip pouches, and we are delighted with the results. Check them out here.
Jenny first started printing pouches in 2015 and she has designed a wonderful and varied range since then. We can't wait to see what she comes up with next.
Ok, let's skip to it:
Jenny, can you tell us a bit about your design and production process?
I make zip pouches, intended as nappy pouches or changing bag organisers for mums and dads, nannies, childminders, anyone who knows what it is to have an overflowing changing bag and still be left with no wipes when you need them.
As to the process, I sew some of the pouches, choosing the fabric and zips myself, and they tend to stay plain and gorgeous without printing on, unless someone has a special order for me. The printed ones come in already made and blank and I just print straight onto them. I'm switching all my printed pouches from cotton to organic cotton this year, and am so excited about it! The designs are cut and heat-pressed onto the pouches in coloured, flock vinyl.
When I'm not looking after my kids, I'm mostly found with a cup of coffee, a plate of ginger biscuits and my pencil case, doodling (much to everyone's annoyance). I draw, doodle and letter everything.
I make notes on podcasts, talks and training courses by lettering and drawing the main points, phrases, bible verses and gorgeous quotes, and draw plants and flowers in my garden so I don't forget what they look like at their best.
Designing for Grizzli Bear and my pouches is definitely my favourite part of the process. I do all my designing with pen and paper, before editing them on our ancient laptop and using a flipping marvellous cutting machine to cut the designs out of the vinyl.
My other piece of big kit is my heat press, which I use to press all my sewn pouches, and to press all the designs onto the blank ones. I could do all my designing on the computer but I love pen and paper too much!
It's fantastic to get such an insight into your process. How marvellous that you draw your designs by hand, it makes them so much more special. And of course we are delighted you're switching to organic cotton - that's music to our ears! Ok, next question... which is your favourite corner of your home (or studio), and why?
Well, our flat is pretty small, so I don't have a studio (yet!). My favourite space is our big kitchen-come-dining table. It's the hub of our home; it's where we eat, play, draw, paint, chat, play games, and where I do most of my work.
It's in the window at the front of our flat and is bathed in light most of the day. It is the perfect, blank (when it's not covered in cheerios and crumbs) space to sit and work.
I love the idea of your table as the heart of your home. Though working in amongst the clutter of family life must be challenging sometimes! Still I think it's important to acknowledge that for so many makers, the dining table is the only option for their workspace - the juggle is real! Love your geometric plant shelf by the way - gorgeous!
Now here's a question close to our hearts... can you share with us a White, Black or Grey item from your life and tell us about it?
Hmm, I have quite a few! I don't know what to choose! Ok, this is probably the weirdest answer you're going to get for this question ever, but I'm going to choose my toilet roll! We've had loo roll delivered from Who Gives a Crap for well over a year now, and we love it. Each roll is individually wrapped in really funky monochrome paper, and is 100% recycled. They send half of their profits to charities who build toilets for people around the world who don't have access to one! And they make my bathroom look nice too.
Haha! That is the weirdest and best answer ever. I've been thinking about using this company for a while now, so it's great to have a recommendation from someone we know. Fab ethos and of course we LOVE the packaging design. I'm not sure how to segue from loo roll to travel, so I'll just jump right to the next question... If time and money were no object, where would you take your dream holiday?
Probably somewhere very far north where you can sit and watch the Northern Lights. I've always wanted to see them! But then if time and money were no object I'd take a cruise ship down to some tropical island to warm up again!
Ahh, our last Five Minutes With... interviewee, Lu from Tinyppl, chose the Northern Lights too! Such an awesome sight, I'd love to see them. Heading somewhere tropical to warm up afterwards is a fab idea, very sensible! Ok, last question... could you tell us about another creative whose work you love?
There are so many! I've always loved Liz Mosley's design work. We used to go to the same church and met nearly a decade ago, and I got to see her set up her own little business, find her own style and make some of the most beautiful prints, cards and notebooks.
She's been such an inspiration and I still love looking at her prints that I have on my wall and around my flat. She uses brushes and ink for most of her work and I just absolutely love the shapes and lines she gets from using them.
She moved away to Wales a few years ago but we've stayed in touch mainly through Instagram and she's been so encouraging as I've started Grizzli Bear. I've asked her so many questions and she's even let me use one of her designs for a pouch! She's on maternity leave at the mo and I'm not sure she's going to re-open her online shop (sob!), but she'll be doing freelance design work so go check her out!
Ahh, such beautiful work! I happen to know Liz personally as well - small world! She's super talented and completely lovely.
OK, tea break over. Thanks for your time Jenny, this has been delightful. We're off to order some loo roll!
We hope you enjoyed this feature. Do feel free to comment with any thoughts... perhaps your own dream holiday destinations, beloved monochrome items, or favourite makers - go on, share the love.