Hootchie Mama manufactures oilcloth & fabric lifestyle accessories for adult and children. Our range goes from dribble bibs for babies to mobile cases for adults. We are based in a workshop in Redruth and I work part-time presently as I have a 3 year old & 4 year old. I have a lady who works for me one day a week in the workshop and another who works from home making the fabric covered button products. We have about 19 stockists currently so when we’re not busy making wholesale orders, we prepare for fairs we do throughout the year such as the Royal Cornwall Show.
What influences / inspires your work?
With 2 small children I need products that are practical, durable but that look nice. My oilcloth products for adults I feel fit this profile & I often get repeat customers who want to add to their Hootchie Mama accessories with the whole range (mobile case, make-up bag & purses).
For the kids ranges, for me the dribble bibs were all about the fabrics. I steer away from the normal ginghams & baby fabrics and go for bold & retro prints from the American design houses. I then wanted to design a range of things for kids that were practical and fun such as the crayon bags and cutlery rolls.
I also quite often get suggestions from my customers or stockists of things they’d like to see. When we can, we work with them to develop new products.
Tell us about your favourite piece of work.
My favourite things to make at the moment are the Crayon Bags for kids. We recently bought 4 rolls of slicker fabric from Robert Kaufman fabrics & it’s such an interesting material to work with. It’s much thinner than our oilcloth but the principle is the same; pvc coating on cotton fabric. It’s so pliable and also washable which is a great feature when making products for kids. I’m currently making some cutlery rolls with it too & have just received the cutlery to go inside so I’m like a kid at Christmas!
How has your work evolved?
Over time you become more confident in your ability to sew without a doubt! We still have some of the products we made in the very beginning such as the oilcloth purses but we add new lines to it every year and experiment with new products to see how the public react to them. Some never make it to the range but others take off in ways we never thought possible. An example would be the kids pocket money purses. I love the fabrics we use for the bibs but we get quite a bit of wastage. As the fabrics we use are top quality quilting fabrics, it’s not easy to make products such as purses with them as they’re too flimsy. So I started experimenting using pvc myself. Unable to coat the fabric to make oilcloth (that uses big expensive machines!) I sandwiched the fabric between normal pvc & sewed it into purses. It’s hard to work with but we had made our biggest selling product using up our scraps!
I am a highly dedicated professional artist, I work predominantly in ceramics using porcelain and stoneware clays. The Artworks that I have been producing recently centre around the use of organic forms as inspiration to develop pieces which are naturalistic, abstract, delicate and that which take elements of the past, using fragments of various disciplines and traditions throughout art history.
Zen has been a philosophy which has inspired me recently, particularly its involvement in the use of minimalism and classical naturalism as within the balancing of forms and space: such as the dynamic between the void: negative space, and the positive space, of the actual material form in the artwork.
Chinese and Japanese, contemporary and traditional artwork have also pushed through into the development of both the forms of my sculpture/artwork/jewellery. Particularly my interest in and the use of blue can be seen to reflect the presence of the willow pattern, itself evident throughout Western and Eastern ceramic evolution, forming a symbol of classicism against which and within which my work evolves.
Sea life has also been thrown into the mix, as it is almost impossible to escape the powerful beauty of Cornwall's direct relationship with the sea, and I have no wish to escape this inspiration.
Equally the landscape of rural Cornwall fills my conciousness with a deep need to reflect upon the spirituality of nature. My emotional responses to this experience fuel my creativity.
The work most recently developed and on show is porcelain vases and teapots with birds, which has evolved from the zen aesthetic as touched upon above.These are the artworks shown in the images included.
I have been working with glass for about 15 years, learning the art of copper foiled (Tiffany) stained glass at an Adult Education class. Since then I have attended various weekend courses to learn new and different techniques and also about glass fusing.
I generally make panels to hang in windows and smaller Christmas tree decorations but also make a range of jewellery with buttons and fused dichroic glass.
One of my favourite pieces is the Rainbow Square which is made up of 54 different pieces of glass and nuggets. I love the movement of colour in this piece, and colour and texture is generally what inspires me in my work.
It always fascinates me to see how glass can change its colour and quality depending on the intensity and type of light coming through a window at different times of the day and year.
I like to develop my work by adding different materials such as agate, fused dichroic glass, nuggets and shells.
I also enjoy acid etching and have recently developed the technique of adding images and patterns into glass.
The Cornish coastline and countryside is always inspirational as these small panels featuring a silhouette engine house show.
I love working with glass due to the fantastic range of colours and textures available and I still love the thrill of holding a finished piece of work into the window to see exactly what it looks like as the light shines through.
The third person for you to meet from Fourseven is Holly Jackson, from Kelynn Pottery. Here she tells us about her background.
My first employment from leaving school (1977/78) was as apprentice decorator at the now famous Troika Pottery in Newlyn.
I use the same H.J. monogram to mark my main pieces today that I did all those years ago.
My career was put on hold while I raised my three children and only after many years was it practical to follow the desire to learn ceramics.
I embarked on an evening class at the local Art School run by Christine Feiler and learned basic hand building and throwing techniques and then went on further to gain an AS level at Penwith College. The rest is self-taught and continually so.
I love experimenting with different techniques and styles which keeps my work varied and unique and now I create at home in The Shed, in the back garden of our little terraced house in Penzance.
Most of my inspiration comes from the beautiful and rugged local scenery and beautiful wildlife of West Cornwall, which I'm out and about in most days with my 2 dogs Marmite and Minnie, Patterdale X Mother and Daughter team.
Because I so love the area in which we live I decided to call my pottery Kelynn, which is the literal Cornish translation for Holly.
In the second of our interviews Textile Artist Brenda Fox tells us about her work, what inspires her, and what she enjoys most about her art.
I have always been interested in crafts and at the moment I most enjoy working with textiles.
I attended Camborne college for 2 years to experiment with mixed media. This included silk paper making, art, weaving and many more things.
I get my inspiration mainly from books and magazines.
My favourite piece is this picture which was one of my final pieces for college.
It combines three of the techniques that I learnt, being machine embroidery,felt and paper making.It is all designed and made on the paper.
I really love creating from recycled and found objects, and cannot sit still for one minuite at home as I am thinking about the next project again!
I love being part of the Fourseven Collective at Heartlands with like-minded people who also enjoy their passions.