Beyond the mist of Mapleton is a maker of magical bags

Brick red textured linen clutch purse embroidered flowers winter autumn rustic naive natural rust
Brick red textured linen clutch purse embroidered flowers winter autumn rustic naive natural rust
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:

Q: I read where you were inspired to create by your mother and grandmother but I’m interested to know what you started learning first and how that transpired, or developed into handbags and purses?

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.

Pumpkin leaf pincushion
Pumpkin leaf pincushion

China blue flowers on natural linen clutch purse oatmeal sand rustic country toile indigo navy ink botanical carnation vine
China blue flowers on natural linen clutch purse oatmeal sand rustic country toile indigo navy ink botanical carnation vine

Pink paisley brown clutch purse chocolate summer young fresh Laura Ashley kisslock teen girl gift candy retro musk
Pink paisley brown clutch purse chocolate summer young fresh Laura Ashley kisslock teen girl gift candy retro musk

Lavender lilac formal prom wedding clutch spring linen cream ivory white leaves purple pastel floral romantic pastel soft bridesmaid gift
Lavender lilac formal prom wedding clutch spring linen cream ivory white leaves purple pastel floral romantic pastel soft bridesmaid gift

Black and white floral linen cotton clutch pleats monochrome dots spots night evening retro accessory
Black and white floral linen cotton clutch pleats monochrome dots spots night evening retro accessory

Tribal black and white ochre foldover clutch stripes zebra primitive lines gold caramel leaves diamonds fits iPad
Tribal black and white ochre foldover clutch stripes zebra primitive lines gold caramel leaves diamonds fits iPad

Pink coral flower power handbag shoulder bag floral citrus summer frangipani watermelon retro orange peach lipstick red scarlet beach
Pink coral flower power handbag shoulder bag floral citrus summer frangipani watermelon retro orange peach lipstick red scarlet beach

Homestead farm landscape tree messenger bag country bush crossbody yellow pink blue green outback leaves sky linen suede OOAK dust Australia
Homestead farm landscape tree messenger bag country bush crossbody yellow pink blue green outback leaves sky linen suede OOAK dust Australia

Yellow bird large tote flowers linen stripes green pink tropical summer gold mustard branch tree jungle botanical spring citrus
Yellow bird large tote flowers linen stripes green pink tropical summer gold mustard branch tree jungle botanical spring citrus

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.

One thought on “Beyond the mist of Mapleton is a maker of magical bags

  1. Oh, how wonderful to read more about Deb! I have a Maplemist purse, and I just adore it. I love that so many of us creative types have been inspired by our parents and grandparents – it’s so nice to think of that particular joy that comes from creativity being handed down through the generations!

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