Maplemist is a shop filled with wonderfully decorative handbags, clutches, purses and pincushions lovingly made by Deb in her studio in Mapleton on the Sunshine Coast where as she states she is “surrounded by birdsong, the special light and stillness.”
Drawn into Deb’s surroundings and of course the bags, Iced Vovo found out more:
A: My mother and grandmother never had empty hands and were always trying out new crafts, which they willingly shared with me along with endless doses of patience. Despite their best intentions, I am hopeless at crocheting.
I started hand embroidery and knitting from the age of 8 and learned to use a sewing machine when I was 12. I made dolls’ clothes and knitted for my young cousins, progressing to sewing for myself and later my own family.
When my grandmother died she left me some small pieces of jewellery inside a much loved vintage purse. You can imagine how precious these are to me and always will be. It was that simple purse that set me on my journey into making handbags and purses.
Q: I know that finding the right fabrics is important to your designs – what do you look for when sourcing your fabrics?
A: Texture is so important; the more detailed and interesting to touch the better. I’m drawn to the natural fibres of linen, cotton, wool and silk above all else. Of course colour and pattern play a part but the chemistry created by combining plain or striped fabrics with a small remnant of retro brightness or Scandinavian style is magic!
Q: I loved the way you described the making of each piece as the creating of a story where you imagine the woman who might own the end product – do you also name each piece accordingly or is it more an imaginative/visual picture you get?
A: I’m an avid people watcher and this fuels my imagination for new styles and uses for my bags and purses. My customers also share with me novel ways they use my products. My day job brings me into contact with students, office workers, mums with bubs and professional women. Whilst I don’t name my pieces for the person they are aimed at, they always start with a visual picture of the person who will use it. For example, in my mind my messenger bag is across the shoulders of a woman who likes a compact accessory that has her own unique style, and she’s delving into the bag whilst strolling around some open air markets.
Q: Tell us a little about what is in your collection and how the designs have evolved?
A: Right now I have messenger bags, lots of little kisslock purses, foldover clutches, pleated wedding/formal clutches and some sweet little pincushions. I’ve just introduced some large tote bags that will carry everything and feel so great over your shoulder.
Q: Can customers come to you with special requests or is it what you see is what’s available?
A: I’m always open to special requests and custom orders, in fact I find that by designing with the customer it opens my eyes to other possibilities and it stretches me to be more creative next time. If I don’t have the right fabric in stock I’m more than happy to source it!
Q: Have you ever made something that you couldn’t part with? If so why?
A: Some have been a bit of a wrench but then getting the feedback that people are happy with them makes me feel like they’ve gone to a good home. It’s more a case of having fabrics that are so precious to me as a collector that I could not bear to part with them! I’m thinking especially of a rare vintage Liberty of London linen given to me by a friend as thanks for helping with a school craft stall…it is exquisite and bold, well don’t get me started…..
Q: Where am I heading with my designs?
A: More embroidery and embellishments, sequins and pearls are definitely on the agenda as I produce more evening/formal clutches. Some bigger kisslock purses in silk with bold flowers on them are also in the wings.
For my wedding range I have some beautiful ecru linen with modern rose shapes on it that I can’t wait to put together into a modern wedding clutch. I’ll be keeping and expanding on my popular ‘beach wedding’ range as well.
I’m really excited about some new fabrics I picked up in France and England late last year, including magnificent toiles and tapestries, ticking and tweeds. Right now I’m daydreaming about the best way to showcase these beautiful finds in functional, stylish accessories.
Q: Is your Etsy shop the only place customers can find your accessories?
A: Although I do a few markets a year, my Etsy shop is the best place to find my items or to ask me about a custom order. I’ll always respond quickly and look forward to meeting your needs.
To look at all in Deb’s collection follow the link here to the Maplemist Etsy site and explore.