Tuesday, 5 October 2010

INTERVIEW: Sarah Norman-Brown (AKA Enid Twiglet)

I first met Sarah when I was 10 years old and entered the same class as her at Primary school. We sat on the same table and shared the same friends. At first I was terrified and I am pretty sure she hated my guts. But, before long we were chums sharing the same bunk bed on school trips and ended the school year with a rap we had made up (also about leaving school) in assembly, complete with a Casio keyboard demo track.

Fortunately, we've grown up and hopefully have got a tiny bit cooler. Take a peep at Sarah's handiwork - I'm lucky enough to own one of her Macramé owl brooches...!

Tell us a bit about Enid Twiglet and Audrey Dynamite - how did it all begin?

I met Audrey (Emily Wilson) whilst doing my diploma in Jewellery & Object design.  We somehow managed to spend a whole year doing the same classes before we spoke to one another!  It was like finding my creative other half and we pretty much decided straight away that we wanted to work together.  Enid Twiglet & Audrey Dynamite came to life after Emily drew the picture that is now our label.  The names we choose are our craft super hero names.

We weren’t happy with the course we were doing and decided to do a Degree in Fine Art, which we started in 2009.   We aren’t really “art school” types and find the course frustrating but it’s given us the opportunity to learn new skills which we can incorporate into our Enid & Audrey work.  We work as an artistic collaboration at university as well as on our label.

We worked hard over the Christmas break 2009 to make enough stuff to launch ourselves this year.  It was hard finding a foot in the door and it took  us until June before we got a space at a  local vintage market.

Do you have a creative background?

I did Art GCSE and A-level and always intended to do my degree in fine art at Brighton University after my gap year.  But I ended up taking an 8 year gap year!  I stopped creating completely  for a few years, I travelled and moved around a lot after college then  I got married and emigrated to Australia in 2004, it took a while to find somewhere that felt like home,  where I was comfortable to start creating again.

What is your favourite piece that you have made? What is the most popular with your customers?

I really enjoy making the macramé owls,  I always get excited by traditional crafts and had a great time teaching myself how to do it.  But my favourite would have to be the embroidery pieces,  most of my animal pieces are free hand embroidery, I like the freedom hand sewing gives you, if it goes wrong you can just unpick a few stitches!

There is such a difference in what’s popular from one market to the next.  Emily’s earrings are always a big hit as well as her aprons (they are super cute) and the one off embroidered pieces seem to do well, I think it’s because each one is completely unique.  Also the macramé owl pins seem to go fast.

You have made so many nice pieces all in different mediums - do you have a favourite way of working? ie, the macramé

I like the macramé,  its relatively easy as its just repeating the same knots and I can do it without having to think too much, and I have recently got into silk screen printing which is an awesome way to get work done quickly. But I get the most enjoyment from the embroidered work, although the pieces take a really long time it’s my preferred way of working.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Birds -  I was lucky to spend a lot of time with my grandparents when I was little, they had a small free range poultry farm so I spent most of my childhood surrounded by chooks!  Now I live with 3 cockatiels and I am interested in ornithology in general.  I like looking at old Victorian plates of poultry and Australia’s native birds’ interest me.

Children’s books – we use a lot of vintage children’s books in our designs.

Traditional craft techniques – it’s important to us to embrace traditional techniques that are slowly disappearing and to use them in our work.  We hope to run small classes in the future where we can pass these traditional techniques on to the next generation.

70’s craft books – we use traditional 70’s patterns for our soft toys, things just looked better back then!

Do you have a day job? How do you juggle that with starting up a creative business? (Do you have a routine you could share?)

I work in the university library 15 hours a week, study full time and we have a market every 6 weeks.  I wish I did have a routine, I am working on being more organised but it’s difficult.  Ideally I would like to just concentrate on Enid & Audrey stuff but uni work often gets in the way.  Next year I would like to drop down to doing 1 unit a semester and work at getting a permanent weekly market stall.

I find most of my creative work happens late at night, often the night before market day!

Who are your favourite artists and makers?

My husband is a fantastic furniture designer so I guess I should mention him!  Anyone trying to get out there and do their own thing gets a cheer from me, its so difficult trying to get things off the ground and I think it’s important to support and help out other like minded creative people whenever possible.  I’m also a massive Magasin fan and try and promote you whenever I can!  My all time favourite artist is Francis Bacon, closely followed by Louise Bourgeois and Tracey Emin.  I also love the ornithological  work by Audubon and John Gould.

What other hobbies do you have?

Drinking tea, I also like collecting tea pots and tea paraphernalia from my local op shops.  Op shopping in general gets me excited.  Eating cake.  Eating chocolate. Eating in general is pretty good.  Reading.  Watching movies.  Music.  I try and get out to see gigs when my finances allow it. I spend most of my free time making things; I tend to feel guilty if I’m doing anything else.

What are your favourite books / tv shows / films / websites to browse?

Books – ohhh there is too many to mention but some of my favs would have to be:  Haruki Murakami, Miranda July, Carson McCullers, Jonathon Franzen and penguin classics

Films – David Lynch is my hero,  my happy place is watching any of his creations, Harold and  Maud, The Station Agent, Me, You and Everyone We Know,  Dark Horse, Wes Anderson films the list is endless....

TV shows – TWIN PEAKS, Battlestar Gallatica, Dexter, True Blood, Rome, Californication, The Kingdom (Lars Von Trier)

Websites – Etsy, Ebay – trying to ween myself off, the adrenalin rush in those final seconds is pretty addictive

Where can we find your work online?

Well we do have an Etsy store but its empty at the moment, we find it hard juggling the hours during semester to get things listed but please keep checking as we hope to get on to it ASAP!


also if you feel that way inclined become a fan on facebook:   

Enid Twiglet and Audrey Dynamite Present...

1 comment:

  1. I know I'm predictable but i really like the image of the stitched bird brooch - Swift? I've eye-spied it on facebook must have been via lady Magasin in the first place. Yay for ornithology and the urges to replicate in stitch.


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