Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Local Loveliness - Interview with Laura Eaglesfield from Ava and Arthur

When I visited the MK Handmade and Vintage Extravaganza at Centre MK in March I purchased this rather lovely phone case from Ava and Arthur. Laura who runs the business very kindly agreed to do an interview and tell us more about her work and passion for fabric....

Tell us a bit more about yourself!

I live in Newport Pagnell with my husband Phil, Ava my daughter and Arthur the cat- hence the name. I am very much a people person and love taking my wares to market and meeting the customers. 

What led you to set up Ava and Arthur?

Ava and Arthur came about when I was on maternity leave and I started to get itchy fingers about doing something creative with my time at home, so I dusted off my sewing machine, bought pattern books to give me some inspiration and met up with a sewing friend to discuss ideas. I started to show my baby buddies what I had made and one of them asked me if I would make a nursery/ toy bag. I found a bag pattern that fitted the criteria and the rest is history as they say..

When I saw your stall at MK Handmade and Vintage I was blown away by the bright colours and sense of fun. Tell us more about your relationship with colour.

As soon as I went to Art College my eyes just opened up to so many creative people and possibilities, it had a huge influence on me.  Not having the corporate constraints anymore of uniform dressing and thinking really has allowed me to free up my passion in life, which is colour and fabrics.

Do you have a favourite product? If so why?

I don’t really have a favourite product as it is down to the fabric at the time of making. I am however very proud of the more complex items I make as I can’t quite believe I have actually made it! Especially if I have had to work it out for myself.

What’s special about fabric?

Fabric, textures, yarns, threads, buttons, beads! All haberdashery excites me.
I actually majored in knitwear design at college but I can’t knit for toffee anymore!
Using fabric is much more gratifying when you only have small bursts of time to achieve anything.

What is your favourite part of the creative process?

BUYING! This has to be the best bit. I love browsing, finding and thinking about where and how I am going to use the fabric. I love unusual colour combinations and I’d say that is my USP.

Can you name three major influences on your products?

Having had Ava I would say she is largely responsible for my children friendly products. Toy bags, mummy pouches, headband’s, lavender bags, wash bags, little children’s book bags, tooth fairy bags!

Friends, family and customers are very influential to the products.

Fashion and home magazines lead my creative thoughts to seasonal fabric buying.

Tell us more about your sewing bee course.

The “Sewing Bee” idea came about from a group of girls I teach at the moment. It’s really fun, sociable and a relaxed way of learning a little to hopefully go a long way.
I teach very basic techniques on the sewing machines and the rest is confidence building so that you can undertake small projects around the home or make gifts for friends and relatives.
It’s time out of a hectic life to catch up with friends whilst learning a new skill.

What can we look forward to from you in 2012?

I hopefully will be attending all the Vintage and Handmade fairs in the city centre this year.

I have already started to collaborate with a few out lets as to stocking my product, one being the Wollaston Garden and Home gift shop. Please find on Facebook , they are fantastic ambassadors of handmade items and deal with over 40 in the shop alone.

The next obvious step is a website or at least setting up a “shop” on Etsy or Folksy. But until I can focus on it 100% I will be doing an injustice to myself and the product by rushing into something I can’t maintain.
I am gaining valuable feedback by doing craft fairs big and small, and I have started a Facebook page that is in development as we speak. I plan to have my products on there for all to see, browse, comment or buy!

Find Ava and Arthur on Facebook!/AvaAndArthur

Find out more about MK Handmade and Vintage Extravaganza here:

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