Recently, whilst poking about on the net looking for new treasures, I stumbled across Frankie & Ray and fell in love with her funky designs many integrating gorgeous Liberty prints. An email later I had ordered one of her lovely 3/4 sleeve tees and coaxed Jo (Frankie & Ray) into answering a few questions.
Q: How did Frankie & Ray start?
A: Frankie & Ray began almost 8 years ago when a friend who knew my love of crafting things suggested we try a market stall together. My little label began as a very part time venture, and has grown organically over time. A couple of years ago I realised that the reason I began Frankie & Ray is that I love to be the person that makes everything behind the label, and that has pretty much decided the future for me. I am very content to continue as I have been – making as much as I am comfortable producing, and selling through a few select and wonderful retailers, at markets, and a little online. I especially love the direct interaction I have with the customer for my products that markets provide. Being reasonably small means that I can be really flexible with my range – if I have a great idea for something new, I can get onto producing it and adding it to my range straight away. Likewise, if something’s not finding an audience, than I can quickly stop producing it too, and not have to deal with too much unsold stock!
Q: Where does the inspiration for the designs come from?
A: I gain inspiration for my designs from all over the place! I would say the biggest influence on me is colour and pattern in fabric design. I often say I am a frustrated quilter – I love to look at images of patchwork – and I have finally made a start on a quilt of my own (put on hold for now until time permits me to work on it a bit more). I do love to combine different patterns and colours. This has come out in the new little Liberty shirts I’ve been making – all have been pretty much one of a kind as I work out the combinations of fabrics from what I have to work with, and what appeals to me on the day!
The other most important inspiration has been what I want for myself. A casual knee length a-line skirt with pockets, a scarf that was not so big that it got in the way, and that could easily be stashed in my handbag, a t-shirt with a bit of interest to wear everyday with jeans (my unofficial uniform!), and lately, a cotton shirt that can be easily worn dressed up or down, under a cardigan or on it’s own….
I am also very partial to a vintage souvenir tea towel! I love the bright colours, the fonts, and the images. Living in a coastal town, I think they add a special kind of nostalgic touch to a beach house, and the cushions I make from them I sell exclusively at the market here in Apollo Bay, where they’ve found a strong following.
I also make a kind of shopping tote bag from tea towels as supply and time permits. Again, these came from something I wanted for myself – a practical bag for my knitting with a strap long enough to wear across my body. I am always carrying too many things, and love a bag that leaves my hands free!
Q: I noticed that you have new stock on the way – what can we expect?
A: New things for the online shop will dribble in over the next couple of months. I’m busy getting ready for the Finders Keepers market in Melbourne in October, and need to ‘hoard’ a bit of stock until after that’s over 😉
I’m also using the tea towels to make feature pockets on a organic cotton and hemp a-line skirt for this Summer. I love the idea that they will all be entirely one of a kind – and a little bit quirky!
Q: What do you love about crafting?
A: I have been a sewer and a knitter for most of my life – my grandmother taught me the basics when I was a child, and I went from there. I’ve always loved to be able to create something when I haven’t been able to find exactly what I’ve been wanting for myself. I don’t think I do ‘fashion’, but rather create things that I’d like to wear or use – practical, and of beautiful quality to last more than one season. Personally I get very attached to my favourite garments!
The satisfaction of creating something is enormous – and the actual process of making is often quite meditative and calming in a busy world.
Buy Frankie & Ray online at frankieandray.blogspot.com.au
PS. Thanks to Frankie & Ray for supplying the pictures featured.