(want the transcripts? scroll to the bottom of the page)
You’ve just put in another 11 hour day at the studio, rushing in to add some padding here, or attach a tail there, poised to help Chewbacca to the loo or fix a broken seam at the drop of a hat…but mostly waiting and chatting with your coworkers and drinking bottomless lattes. Sounds exotic and fun to this homebody, but day after day after day of long hours and little family time seems wearing.
And they were to my guest Emma Brassfield. She loved, mostly, her career doing costumes and special effects for film and tv, but after she had her eldest child, the hours and uncertainty of the next gig began to wear.
So, she took her creative juices to her own business, Studio 7t7! She started out selling toys she had hand crafted and soon discovered the production of sewing for resale didn’t suit. BUT, that road led to another…folks kept asking her for patterns for her creations and a new path was born. The 7t7 club is her pattern membership and its feeling just right.
I love how life flows along like that, especially if you have the gumption to follow it. Do what your passionate about, discover what’s not working, make a change…continually adjusting to fit the person you are now and the wished you have today.
Have a listen!
Based in Surrey, UK, Emma Brassfield creates all of the Studio 7t7 items and patterns.
After having her eldest daughter, Emma wanted to find unique gifts and items that you would be proud to give and equally thrilled to receive. After finding a distinct lack of affordable, beautiful and well made items, Studio 7t7 as you see it was born.
Since 2001 she has been creating magical creatures and wonderful characters for film and TV. Her credits include The Batsuit for Batman Begins, Mythical creatures for Harry Potter, Chewbacca for Star Wars, The Flash for Justice League and her most favourite creation: Iggle Piggle for In The Night Garden.
In 2020, Emma started a Youtube Channel to teach others to sew and to make their own gorgeous gifts via sewing patterns and free tutorials.
Pull up a chair, grab a cuppa and browse the Studio for gorgeous gifts, sewing patterns, tutorials and classes.
Have you ever dreamed about coming to a sewing retreat? Gathering with other women, talking, laughing, getting deep, and soaking in the spa pool…all while getting creative, learning a thing or two and working with your hands?
I have just the thing for you! This October (2023) we’re meeting for our semi-annual clothing sewing retreat on Mackinac Island in Michigan, US.
Today. We have the pleasure of talking to Emma Brasfield. Emma Brassfield is the owner of a business out of the UK called Studio 7t7. Studio 7t7 also has what’s called the 7t7 club. The 7t7 club is a membership site where you can get different patterns from her every month.
In our conversations today, we talked quite a bit about her making journey and how she got to be. The mastermind. Designer and business owner behind studio 7t7. But before she started studio 7t7, and this is coming directly from her website, you should check it out on her about section. She began creating magical creatures and wonderful characters for film and TV. Her credits include the bat suit for Batman begins mythical creatures for Harry Potter Chewbacca for star wars, the flash for justice league and her most favorite creation.
Iggle Piggle for the In N ight garden.
All of that became a little bit too much. So when we talk a lot about what it looks like to be onsite is quite fascinating. Something that I had no experience with whatsoever. So it was fascinating to hear what being on set, looked like and felt like. But once I’m a head, her eldest child, it became really challenging to continue to work for the studios and have a family life.
And so that prompted her to begin sewing toys for children and selling them. And then. As that progressed. And as she tried to bring in more and more of a joy filled life, That would fulfill her need to be both a present parent. And a creative human and have a little time to breathe. She began her business studio 7 97.
She does sewing patterns, back patterns and kits, and lots of tutorials on YouTube. So. All of her links are going to be in the show notes. So without further ado, let’s chat with Emma.
You are listening to the in kinship podcast, a podcast for makers, makers who crave a joy filled vibrant life on their own terms. And I am your host, Tina VanDenburg. Let’s get started.
Today’s episode is sponsored by kinship. Handwork. Yeah. I get to do that again. Here’s why you need to know something. I have just a couple of spots available for the fall retreat on Mackinaw island. This October, we’re going to sew knit pants. And then we’re gonna take those pants and we’re gonna make another version, maybe a different pockets or different kinds of fabric, different kinds of cuts, different kinds of ways behind whatever you’re going to want to do.
You get to be the designer of those second pair of pants. We’re going to get the fit down and then we’re going to create something from your own dreaming brain.
So there are only a couple of spots left. Mackinac island is a magical place where there are no cars allowed only horses and bikes. And it’s really quite sweet. You have to register though, before. August 8th in order to join the retreat. So jump on the website. Kinship handwork.com and check out Richards.
I would love to have you there.
And then on tour show.
Tina: Today on our podcast, I have Emma Brassfield. Emma, thanks for being here.
Emma: Thank you so much for having me.
Tina: Emma, I love to start out by asking my guests. If they identify as a maker, and if they do, if you can share with me who inspired you to become a maker and maybe, uh, the story of where you began and where you are now.
Emma: Okay, so that is not an easy, easy question. I definitely identify as a maker. I’ve been a maker all my life ever since I can remember. Um, I think my earliest memory was, um, we have a show over here called Blue Peter. I don’t know if you have that over there, but it’s, it’s kind of an all round show.
But, um, they also have a segment where they show you how to make something, or they used to when I was a kid. And, um, do they have that over, do you have it in states?
Tina: No. Not that I’m aware of.
Emma: it sounds like a weird name now I say it out loud, but it’s called Blue Peter. Um, and, uh, yeah, so they had a part of that show and they showed you how to make something.
It was always out of like toilet rolls and sticky tape and all this kind of stuff. So I, my earliest memory of making is pretending to be a Blue Peter presenter and you know, with the camera in front of me and all of that. And I just made stuff up out for anything. I get my hands off around the house. So that’s my earliest kind of memories.
Um, my earliest memories of sewing cause I am a sewist. is, um, being, somehow getting my hands on a sewing machine. I must have been about eight or nine. I remember being on my way, I must have had a manual or something, um, and just working my way through to make a pillowcase. Very, very straightforward.
Plain white cotton pillowcase and I thought it was amazing, but I didn’t have any other help. So that’s it just kind of ended there um cut to always making and being creative all my life and then I Um was an exchange student in the states in illinois And then I came back and everyone had kind of chosen what they were going to do at college.
So we do school until you’re 16, and then we have, um, optional college between 16 and 18 years, and then we have a university, which I think is what you guys would call college as well, maybe. Which is after that, which is when you do the degree. Um, so everybody had chosen what they were doing for their, um, A levels for their college.
So I sort of was a bit late, because I’ve been in the States, walked into textiles and just absolutely fell in love with it. I was like, that’s what I want to do. Um, so I ended up doing that and
that Um, and then I went on to do a degree at London College of Fashion doing, um, costume and special effects for films and TV. So I did that.
Emma: Yeah, so that was a three year degree at university. And then after that I applied to, um, be a trainee on Harry Potter, the third Harry Potter. And I got that. And then I, my career just kind of snowballed from there because it’s all kind of who you know. Um, and went on to do lots of different films. And I did that. for, well, I’m kind of still doing it a bit, still have one toe in there. Um, but then, uh, had my kids, I’ve got two kids and the hours and films as wonderful as it is, it’s just crazy and it doesn’t work with family life.
So, um, yeah, so I quote unquote left the film industry in 2015 and was like, I’m going to make a go of my side hustle, which was making children’s toys. sewing toys, and they were personalized and I had to do like CE process of testing them to be okay for kids and da da da. And um, yeah, I did that full time and then people were asking me about my patterns and if they could make what I was making.
And then finally, and I’d wanted to for ages, in 2020, and I know it’s a little bit cliche because a lot of people did this, but I started my YouTube channel and, um, that kind of took off. And then at the end of 2021, I brought out my first pattern and then, um, March last year. I started my pattern membership. Um, so yeah, that’s a kind of concise. Right? Yeah.
Tina: Whoa. All right. I have lots of questions in there. So let’s go back to, um, I think it was when you were in college and you said you like to do surface design, I believe.
Emma: Yeah, yeah,
Tina: Tell us what that was like,
Emma: So that was kind of, we had the best teacher, her name was Nikki, she was amazing, and it was all like, go to the, the dump and get, um, get some rusty old pans and then paint what they look like. You know, it was very arty, but with a textile take, so we’d paint it all and we’d, you know, crumple up paper and chuck different bits of threads and fibres on it, and then we’d…
Chuck it all through the sewing machine and we’d stitch into it and it was just so much fun. I remember when I went to get a machine, uh, for myself, my very first sewing machine, which I’ve still got. And I went, you know, we were told, oh, this is a good shop to go to.
So we went into the shop, obviously this is before the internet. And, um, And, uh, yeah, and went into the shop and they were like, Oh yeah, I know that course. You need to be, like, putting metal and stuff through this machine, don’t you? Yeah, give me the strongest machine you’ve got. Um, yeah, so it was lots of fun, lots, uh, very arty, very kind of, um, very creative. No, no construction though. There was no, we didn’t make any clay. I, I did for my final piece, but only because I wanted to make the surface turn into a thing, But ultimately we weren’t taught any of that, um, until I went to university.
Tina: Wow. Okay. So now let’s move forward a little bit. And tell us, if you will, like paint a picture of a day on a film, any film, doesn’t matter. You pick whatever we want to pick, but paint the picture of what your day look like and what you actually did throughout the day.
Emma: Okay. So, uh, well, there’s kind of two sides. to the job. So you either are on set or you’re in the work room. And I, what I do is, is creature effects. So it’s all like the crazy big costumes and animatronics, um, big hairy characters, lots of body padding, very technical. Um, some people call it like soft sculpture, um, but it’s also inside of that.
And within the Creature Effects department, there are many, many departments, so you’ve got like the animatronics people that do all the mechanics, and then you have us, the fabrication is cool, we’re called fabricators, and we obviously do all the fabric side of it, but we also do the, the soft understructure, the paddings, the foam, um, you know, imagine sometimes there’s, um, a mechanic that, that needs to have soft edges, things like that.
So it could be something as basic as just making like a little lump out of foam to make the then skin. glide nicely over that bit of, you know, it can be something as small as that, or it can be completely fabricated where the whole thing is soft foams, um, fabrics, crinoline, you know, structures and stuff.
Let’s do a 50 50. So, If you’re on set, you would be there early, so normally you’d need to be on camera for eight. So you’d be there at anything, depending on the creature. but if you’re dressing someone, you might need to be there an hour, an hour and a half before.
Um, if they’ve been in makeup, sometimes you have to get there. too often, but sometimes you have to get there before they go into makeup to give them their undergarments, to then go into makeup maybe for three, four hours. Then they come to you, they’ve got just their head down, then you put on their body, it’s things like, there’s all different variables.
So it’s like, they always say hurry up and wait, so you’ll kind of, it’s like oh go, oh go, oh go, get them onto set, and then they’re not ready for you, even though they tell you, you need to be ready for eight, there’s different things going on, the lighting setup hasn’t been done, or there’s something else happening first, so then sometimes you just literally, sit and wait.
There’s a lot of waiting around when you’re working on set. And then when you are, actually, when your character is in front of the camera, then it’s busy, busy, busy, because you’re checking that everything looks right, if they’ve got hair, that there’s not any hair out of place. Although that’s, technically could be another department as well.
Um, so yeah, there’s lots of variables and then, um, yeah, you’re just making sure that the performer inside is okay as well. Lots of looking after, sort of like caring for them, if you like. Caring is the wrong word because they’re obviously completely able, but, um, you know, often they don’t have any access to their hands.
it’s. Yeah, so it’s things like giving them water, um, coordinating with them if they, they need a loo break or something, with the assistant directors, things like that, lots of things like that go on. Fixing things, obviously things break, sometimes things break in between a take and it’s like, you have to fix it before anybody realizes because you don’t want to be the one holding up a massive crew because it’s like.
You know, tens of thousands of pounds every minute, millisecond, or whatever it is. So, um, that can be stressful. You know, you could be sitting around literally for hours. You could be waiting all day and, uh, been in since like six o’clock, waiting all day, and then finally you go on set at 5 PM and then something breaks and it’s like, Oh, you know,
Emma: Um, but then, in contrast to that, if you’re in the workroom, again, every day is different. It’s one of those jobs that you never have the same day. Um, but you might be doing some R& D, you might, you know, on a different structure to how to make the thing that you’re making work. Um, you might just be sewing on poppers all day, depending on what, you know, what’s needed.
Um, then you might have a fitting, you might have the costume designer liaise with you if there’s a costume to go with the creature, you know. So, yeah, and then, um, it’s usually 11 hour day, so work room you normally start at 8, finish at 7, 6, 7, something like that. So it’s a long day, and then obviously you have to travel home.
Tina: Right. Right.
Emma: but yeah. Yes.
Tina: Right. I have questions within this. It’s like, this is so fascinating because it’s, it is. Miles away from my own existence. And so I think this is. So interesting. Um, and I can’t wait to get to what you’re doing now, too, because I think that following your own path is also a, that I can relate to better than I can relate to film, but all right, so I’m trying to picture what you’re talking about.
So I’m picturing you waiting around. What do you do with your time when you’re waiting? Do you do anything? Are you knitting? Are you sewing? Are you reading? Are you just sitting and watching the show?
Emma: Well, normally you’re, so even if you’re on a set, obviously you can watch the filming, you can either watch it depending on the set. If you’re outside, then you can pretty much watch it. If you’re inside and it’s like quite a small enclosed set, you can’t obviously be next to the action, but you can be watching a monitor usually, not always.
depending on how many monitors they have. But you can watch a little bit of what’s going on. Um, but obviously they do a lot of takes, so that can be a little bit monotonous sometimes. Um, yeah, people read. Most people just look at their phones nowadays. But, yeah, people read. You do see people doing, yeah, knitting , or just chatting really, um, going to craft services, which is like a free Starbucks, yeah, anything you want, which is lethal, um, or, you know, or doing repairs, there might be repairs to be done, there might be ongoing, you know, sometimes you’re on set in between being in the workroom, so you might take some stuff from the workroom onto set in case you’re standing by.
Tina: And I would imagine, and I could be completely wrong on this, because again, this is a world that I know nothing about. I would imagine that a lot of the work that, that you just described gets replaced by computer generated imagery. Is that true or not? Yeah.
Emma: but it depends what it is, and it depends on the director and their vision and their kind of relationship with CGI. Um, Yeah, I mean, some things I’ve done, absolutely. So, uh, the first Harry Potter that I did was, uh, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and there’s a werewolf in that, as you probably know if you’ve seen it, and it, we spent months and months making a real werewolf with, um, three guys in their hours and hours, weeks, not hours, weeks and months of training.
And the mechanics made these amazing stilts that made them look like they had these dog legs and very clever. Um, and the actual film, it’s completely CG.
Emma: Um, but If you go on the tour in London, you can see the original suit, uh, for him. But yeah, it’s all CG in the film. So yeah, it just depends,
Tina: Wow. That is
Emma: know. Tootsie it.
Tina: That is amazing. So I can completely understand how that would not fit family life all that well. But do you miss that kind of work or are you happy to have had that experience and now moving on?
Emma: Yeah, I’m happy to have had that experience and moving on, and I’m sure I will dip my toe in every now and then. I mean, most people know that I’ve kind of unquote quit the industry and they know that I’m super busy doing this, so they don’t ask. Um, but, I did really enjoy it.
The people were really lovely. I made some really lovely friends. Um, But it is quite cut throat as well, you know, because it’s freelance, you could literally lose your job at any time, really, because, it’s one of those industries that everybody wants to do so, um, That kind of paranoia and everything.
I don’t miss that at all. Not one bit. And obviously it’s not employed. It’s freelance. And obviously I’m still doing that. So you might think you’re on a job for, for like the next few months. And then it’s like, oh no, everyone’s going next week. And then you have to sort of ring round again and you do sort of fall into that pattern because you meet so many people that your ears are low to the ground and you can jump from job to job pretty easily.
Um, but it can be stressful, especially in the early years. It was quite, it was quite stressful. Um, but yeah.
Tina: I can imagine. So there are two things that came to mind for me. So one is that my dad built houses as a carpenter when he was in his working years, right? And so every time we would drive anywhere, if there was a house that he had built, we’d have to stop, and we’d have to look at the house, right?
And he’d have to have a story about the house. And so I wonder if, when you watch a film, if you’re like, Woo! Pause the film! I did this werewolf right there. See this? Like, does that happen to you?
Tina: It should! It should happen.
Emma: Part of your life, you know, and especially, um, Harry Potter, that first Harry Potter, I mean, that was my first big film, everything was super exciting, um, you know, we went through, and also Harry Potter, because it stayed in that one place for like 10 years. And so they had all the sets there. Um, so, you know, you’d literally walk around through the sets to your lunch, um, to the lunch hall, you know, so you’d just wonder, oh, there’s this new set being built, oh, that’s cool, that’s whatever, you know, great hall or whatever, and you’d just go and have a little mooch, um, which you can’t do as much nowadays because the security is much tighter.
Tina: Yeah. I have a really good friend who 10 years ago left, I live in Michigan, and she left Michigan to sail the world. So she works on, she’s got a captain’s license and she works on various Um, sailing vessels, I don’t have the right terminology, but she’s worked some various sailing vessels and it’s kind of gig per gig.
Right. It’s like, you know, she’s going to be sailing from the Antarctic to Norway. I don’t know if that would ever happen, but, you know, as an example. And then she’s not sure what she’s going to do after that, but like there is a community so it does end up kind of she can leapfrog through things, but I imagined that same way.
And I know that after 10 years, it’s worn thin.
she’s kind of like, I’m tired of not having a little more stability. And obviously as a Small business owner. I am and you are as well. There’s also the insecurity of the uncertainty in there, but it’s not, um, it’s much more in your own control and not so much in somebody else’s.
Emma: Yeah, you get to have a say on how your day looks, how your day, I mean, within reason, obviously, there’s certain things you have to do that you just have to kind of, you know, get on with it.
Tina: Right? Right.
Emma: Um, but, but yeah, ultimately, you know, if, you know, if it’s starting to go downhill, you know about it, and you can do a certain amount of control to try and steer it back.
Tina: So, um, before you tell us about your venture now about sewing children’s toys, and then the pattern membership,
where are you located?
Emma: I’m in Surrey, which is just, uh, south of London. It’s kind of southwest of London.
Tina: So tell us about your shift then to motherhood and to creating toys and the new pattern business that you have now.
Emma: Yeah, so in 2011 I had my eldest and I was still working very much in film when that happened. Um, and I was working on a particularly long hours job. It was on Star Wars. And I was on set for like six months and, uh, like, like I told you when you’re on set as well, you don’t get home to, it could be not getting home till 10 and you’re absolutely shattered, you know, and, um, so I didn’t see her from Monday to Friday for pretty much six months.
And that’s, that was the kind of like, okay. So that’s when I quote unquote left. I say quote unquote because I did go back part time, um, there wasn’t really much Part time going on before I left, but then lots of people were becoming mums and the, our sort of part of the industry changed a little bit, um, and is a bit more open to it now.
So I had her and I decided I was going to leave the film industry. And at the same time, just pretty much when she was born, I started up that Christmas, I started up my toy making business. Um, it started off, uh, completely different. I was making hair accessories, uh, quickly realized that that wasn’t doing very well, despite everybody loving them.
Nobody wanted to buy them, but that’s a long story. Um, and then realized that people, people wanted these things that I was making for my daughter. So that’s where Studio 77, uh, was born. Making these toys for her and her friends and things like that. And so then I built up a business that way. It did really well.
And it was, like I say when I was on Star Wars that I was like, oh, hang on, the business is doing quite well. Maybe I can, you know, take a big pay cut, but try and make a go of it. Try and make it work. Um, and that, that’s what I did. Um, and it did do really well, but I did, did become a bit of a factory.
Emma: And I didn’t really want that, that’s not really why I’m a maker.
I don’t, I don’t want to be churning out, you know, 300 of one thing, kind of thing. Um, so it was, then I realised, well I could teach other people, well people were asking me as well, and I just thought, I could teach other people how to make these things, so that everybody can make them for their children.
So it started off like that, and um, I was getting into the headspace and there’s all this kind of procrastinating, especially with YouTube. I hear this so much from other YouTubers that say, oh yeah, I wanted to start it like three years ago, but you feel like you you want to do it, but it’s like, oh no, the tech, I don’t know about the tech.
Okay, I’ll, I’ll sit on that for a few months. And then it’s like, oh, what about, um, what am I going to do first? Oh, I’ll sit on that for in three months. Or what about saying the right thing? You know, what are people going to think? All of that, it all mounts up. And it, for some reason, it takes ages to start.
So that’s what happened. And then when I started YouTube, I realized that one way that I needed to build my channel, uh, because I did want to get monetized, that was as part, part of my plan, um, was to do free patterns. So then my sort of paid patterns got pushed to the side. while I built up the YouTube, it was also in lockdown and everything.
So, um, and it was really fun. I absolutely loved it. And, uh, I did get monetized in about six months, which was amazing. Um, and then, yeah, now. I’d like to do more kind of general content for YouTube, but now it’s mostly the tutorials to go with my patterns, um, at the moment. So then I brought out my first pattern, like I say, at the end of 2021.
And, that did really, people tell me it did really well for first pattern. So, you know, it’s hard to know, isn’t it? But. I was really pleased with that and then I knew I wanted to do some kind of like Patreon membership type thing to go with the YouTube channel, but I didn’t want to do Patreon because a lot of people have a little bit of negativity about the Patreon platform.
I don’t know why, I’ve certainly got no issues with it, but from what I was reading about it, um, and I read lots of things about how it can be overwhelming if there’s different tiers, and I was trying to sort of find my way, and then I thought, well, one way to offer lots of value was to do a, pattern membership where they get a pattern every month, they get the community to go with it, everybody’s sewing the same thing, so we can all get excited about the same thing.
You know, what do you think about these fabrics? Or, I’m stuck on this bit, can anybody help me? You know, or, or just general sewing questions, um, that they feel that they can ask in a safe, private space. Um, so that, that was, that was where the 77 Club was born. And yeah, it’s been absolutely brilliant. I’m so, so happy that I started it. The community. that we’re building. They are just the loveliest people, so supportive. You know, a new member comes in and everyone’s like, hi, hi, um, and , you can share anything about your day in there.
It doesn’t have to be sewing related and people will be like, oh yeah, you know, had this for tea, or has anybody got any recipes, or here’s my grandmother’s. Macaroni cheese recipe or, you know, like a, so I think most people come for the pattern. They see a pattern because I promote the pattern every month because there’s a new pattern every month.
And I think most people go, Oh yeah, I want that pattern and I want it now because it’s exclusive to CUP. You can’t get it anywhere else when it comes out. So they go, Oh yeah. And they join and then they realize that there’s this amazing community. Um, and then they stay. because they make friends, which is, which is really, really wonderful.
And that’s what I’d hoped to have. Um, and then, you know, there’s other perks, like you get ad free videos, so you don’t have all those adverts like you get normally on YouTube. Um, which is great when it’s like a, you know, it’s a 40 minute tutorial and you want to sew along, you haven’t got. you haven’t got that to worry about.
Um, there’s extra content. We do giveaways and competitions, which I love. Uh, Zoom chats. It’s been really lovely and it’s, it’s a lot of work coming up with a new pattern every month. Like, um, I’ve seen some polls and groups and most designers do like one a quarter, one every other month, that kind of thing.
Um, so doing a pattern every month is quite full on, um, but by my nature I am quite full on, so it’s okay. Um, and I, I just love it. I’ve got so many ideas, so that’s not an issue.
Tina: That’s amazing because I was going to ask that.
Today’s podcast is sponsored by kinship handwork. Today, I specifically want to talk to you about the fall retreat. This fall of 2023 on Mackinac island.
Our focus for this retreat is going to be on sewing and getting the fit down for some knit pants. And when I’m talking about knit pants, I’m talking like. These could be something like a jogger. They grew something like a yoga pant. They could be with the right material, something that you would wear to the office.
That could be any range within they’ve got pockets. Are. We’re going to design in the pattern. So we’re going to make the pants, we’re going to get the fit down, and then we’re going to take that pattern and we’re going to make something new.
And when I say something new, I don’t mean like a tree. I mean, Like, we’re going to take those pants and we’re going to make a different iteration of those pants. Maybe they can change the pocket. Maybe you’re going to add a cuff and make it into a jogger. All sorts of different things. You get to be the designer and we’re going to have so much fun during it.
I absolutely love showing people how to take a pattern.
Or a block, whatever they might have and show them how to create the things that are in their dreams and then their brain. I think it is such amazing stuff to have an idea for something. Figuring out how to take it from the two dimensional to the three-dimensional and create what you’re planning to make So that’s what we focus on but that’s not all we focus on we also focus on doing things Like a sacred morning circle We talk about things that are important to us and then we end our sewing day with Qoya dance Which is like dance stretch movement mindfulness all wrapped up into one and then we gathered me two beautiful things like eat together and every time i have a retreat there’s always something special out of the normal sewing that we do together as well so jump on the website Kinship handwork.com and check it out click on retreats
Tina: I had a membership for a while. I do garment sewing and I teach women how to, how to take garments, fit it to their body and then hack it into new designs. Right. That’s really my forte. And so I did a membership for about a year and a half. And it was really lovely, and I absolutely adored it.
Um, but because I wanted to begin with just core patterns and then do, uh, hacking or changing kind of work with it, there came a time, and I don’t know, maybe it’s just my nature, but there came a time when it was hard to feel inspiration to know what I was going to teach the next month, what was going to be part of the next month.
So I love that you have so many ideas. That it’s not a problem like that’s really beautiful because that was where I started to fall short on it. And I’m not sure if that’s because. Cause now that I’m talking to you about it and it’s been done for a year and other things this last year I thought you know that I could have done that differently than I did and it just came to my mind as we’re talking But I want to say like I think that’s really amazing and I also love it Sounds magical what you talk about as far as your community goes is your community based out of?
Facebook or does it have its own community someplace else?
Emma: No, it’s on Facebook. Um, I found that most sewing people are on Facebook. That’s the kind of platform that they’re on and I am addicted to Facebook myself. Um, so, um, I know that, you know, it’s, it’s quite good because it reminds, you know, you’re on there anyway. So it reminds people to, to dip back in, say hello while they see the posts and they help each other.
Whereas I feel like if it was on another platform, they may forget to log in. You know, they won’t be on it as much, whereas Facebook is a natural habitat for most people anyway. Um, so it’s quite easy to get used to it. It’s not, there’s no learning curve because they know exactly how it works,
Tina: I can understand that. So in my membership, I used Facebook for a long time. And then in my platform that I use for my courses, I use the chat community function of that. And the engagement is just very different. And I know, um, there’s something to be said for putting your business where people naturally are anyway.
And so then. You get that engagement in a different way. So that’s really interesting. Okay. Wow. Is that a fun story? I am just in awe and I, I, I have this whole new vision for how creatures are made and how, how the set is made in film. And I know I, I just have like the tiniest knowledge right now, but it just has blown up in my whole experience around it.
And I just appreciate that. So when you’re not working on your business, when you’re not being creative as your career, Other other ways in which you are a maker that you don’t do in your career.
Emma: Yeah, so I, I mean I’m always great. I’ve been a face painter before for like 15 years. I was a face painter. Um, I only stopped like
Tina: Where would you paint faces?
Emma: Where? Oh, everywhere. Parties, corporate events, wherever they’d have me.
and I loved that. That’s really creative. And you could really, you were pushed out, I was pushed out of my comfort zone a lot because you’d get kids come up to you going, I want to be a lizard tiger that’s, that’s black and purple or something.
And you’d be like, okay, you got it.
Tina: I can do that. Yeah, got it.
Emma: Yeah, I can do that. Um, yeah, so it was, it was really creative. But the reason why I needed to stop that was again, I left the film industry to spend time with my family. And face painting is always at the weekends and evenings, mostly during the day. So, it was like, I’ve left one thing to just push it all to the weekend.
And, you know, and also a small thing, but we’re a one car family, so there was that, I’d have the car, I’d go away, away, quote unquote, for the whole weekend, dipping in and out, of the house. But I didn’t have the car with me the whole time, so the rest of, my husband and my two kids couldn’t really do much, um, and meanwhile…
I wasn’t spending time with them. So that was an important decision, but it was really hard, and I kind of have the pandemic to thank for that, because I don’t think, I think I’d still probably be face painting because it is, it’s so fun, it’s so creative, you get to go to these amazing houses, and these amazing events, and kind of be a fly on the wall a bit, um, and it’s fun and it pays well.
So it’s like, But the hours are just shocking.
Tina: One of the things I like to explore in the podcast is the idea that we have more control over our lives than we think we do, that we have the ability to add joy and vibrancy to our lives by the way that we choose to live. And I am doing it through the lens of makers because I’m a maker and I like to talk to other makers and I find their stories fascinating, but I also think that makers It kind of inherently have this, I can do that, like, you know, Oh, I can make that kind of a sense about them.
And so I bet you, I guess I’m guessing that that extends to creating the life that they want. So I wonder if you have anything that you do on a regular basis in your life that brings you joy that isn’t directly related to what we already talked about.
Emma: Yeah. So I, I am also making my way towards a handmade wardrobe slowly, um, very slowly cause I don’t, you know, when you have your own business, you don’t have that much time outside of it. Um, especially not time on your own.
I’ve just got into English paper piecing as well, um, because… As part of being a mum, I’m often carting the kids around to different clubs, waiting in the car, waiting by the side of the pool. My eldest daughter does lots of swimming and the brilliant thing about the swimming pools that she goes to is there’s no, um, signal.
So I can’t use the excuse. Just sit there and do some work, do some promotion, make some Canva templates or whatever, you know, all this stuff that you have to be online for, I can’t, I physically can’t do it. So um, I found English paper piecing and, and that was actually from Quilter on, Brandy from Quilter on Fire, if you know her, she has a podcast.
You should check it out. And, um, she happened to be in the UK and I do a tip of the day every Thursday. And, uh, we were going to meet up for coffee and I said, Oh, well I do my tip of the day then. And then she said, well, why don’t I help you with your tip of the day? And we can do some, uh, EPP. And I was like, amazing.
So she kind of taught me and showed and showed my community some tips and stuff. And, that’s a free for everyone that tip of the day over on Facebook. But anyway, I was a bit intrigued. So then when I had all this time where I can’t use my phone, I can’t use the internet, I thought, well, I need a project that’s on the go that’s hand sewing or something.
So I found EPP basically. So I’ve just done one project with that. Um, absolutely loved it and definitely want to branch into that more. But yeah, as far as creativity goes, um, that’s kind of what I’ve been doing. And then I love just going for walks in the woods as well, which I don’t know if that’s creative, but it’s good for the, good for the mind and soul.
Tina: Yeah. Well, I think it’s part of living a vibrant life, you know, like knowing what it is you need and going for it.
That’s really beautiful. Emma, this conversation has been so much fun. I’m fascinated with your story and I have one more question for you. And then after that, I wonder if you can tell my listeners where they can find your YouTube channel and how they can find you online, um, as well.
So, but before we do that, I have a question that I ask everybody that I talked to on my podcast. And I wonder if you could share what you wish people knew deeper in their hearts that you think they might not know.
Emma: I wish that everybody knew that everybody is creative. I think, I really think it’s like sport, that everybody has a sport. It’s just whether you want to find it and if you’re able to find it. So creativity is the same thing. I haven’t found my sport yet, by the way.
Tina: Walking in the
Emma: I’m happy not to. Yeah, maybe. Sewing, sewing can be my sport. Um, but yeah, you know, some people would be great at the written words. Some people will be great at drama, singing, you know, it doesn’t have to be that kind of stereotype, uh, creativity, you know, it doesn’t have to be making things. But I do believe that everybody is creative
I think we as humans are inherently creative and um, I feel sad that some people never find that and I, I wish that people would keep trying. different things. If they see, you know, a local workshop and they think, Oh, pottery. Yeah, that might be my jam and just try it. It doesn’t, you’ve got nothing to lose.
Yeah. So what you might make a blob of clay. Don’t have to tell anyone about it,
Emma: like, or just be proud that you’ve tried and had a go. And that might be the best blob of clay ever made. You know, you never know.
I couldn’t agree with you more. I think that if we need a reminder that everyone is creative, just look at children, right? Just look at your children. Just look at anyone’s children. And before we start to. Um, hold them away and give them something else for their brain to engage with like screens and video before that time when they’ve got space in front of them, they make things all the time and that that doesn’t leave us.
We just bury it. I think.
Emma: Absolutely, yeah.
Tina: Emma, you are such a joy. Thank you so much for being here. I thoroughly enjoyed this, can you share with my listeners where they can find you and where they can see your videos where they can find out about your patterns give them all the information
Emma: So you can find me everywhere. I’m on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, all under Studio7T. Seven. And I have to pronounce it like that because it’s number seven, letter T, number seven. Um, I do loads of reels over on Instagram and try and give as much, you know, tips and techniques as I can. I’m definitely, I’m not one of those ones that like, oh, I’m going to hold that bit of information to myself.
I want, you know, I want to help everybody to sew because the joy in that is amazing. Um, So, yeah, and then, um, I’m also, if you’re listening in the UK, I’m also a guest presenter on a shopping channel called Sewing Street as well, so go on there about once every month, yeah, so you can find me over there, um, and if you want to, uh, if you like lives and getting involved and having a chat every Thursday at 8pm GMT, uh, which is UK time.
I am live on the Facebook page. Um, and I also have a Facebook group, which you can find and if you look for Studio 77, but it’s called So Create and Craft as well.
Tina: very nice and I will I will post all of that on the show notes so if anybody wants to find some of that that will be in the show notes Emma, thank you so much for being here.
Emma: I think that’s it. Yeah. Thank you so much.
Wasn’t that just as good as i told you it was going to be Emma is so much fun and it’s so interesting to like get into somebody else’s day and see what that looks like i know that i’m like sort of Focused or fascinated by the film industry because wow It was like something that i’ve never experienced before And something i probably never went to work in but i love the idea of it and i love the idea that emma sitting there watching star wars and chewbacca walks out and she’s like hey I did that costume right like that’s pretty amazing So. I’m So glad that you are here and i hope that you enjoyed the show as well \ jump on the website And sign up for my newsletter You know Not only get email reminders when i have a new podcast but you’ll also get the newsletters that i send on the weeks that i don’t have a podcast Kinship handwork.com. And finally a word from our sponsor today’s episode is sponsored by kinship handwork again i wanted to jump in It just reminds you That the retreat for the fall has just a couple of spaces left And registration is going to end in early august so jump on the website kinship handwork.com and click on retreats. You’re going to want to join us It is so much fun and loosen if you’re looking at the logistics of getting from wherever the beautiful place that you are is to Mackinac island Shoot me an email i would love to help you figure out how to get from there to here have a wonderful day