If I knew then, what I know now...

Today we have our first ever edition of 'If I knew then what I know now...' where you get the opportunity to take a peek into the day to day lives of some of New Zealand's most fabulous crafters and designers. 

First up we discover the fabulous workshop of Maxine from The Pewter Hutt, not only does she work from this space but she also uses it to host workshops - if you live in Wellington you'll have to pop across and join in the fun!

I hope you enjoy meeting Maxine and her space as much as we have!

'I am a procrastinator of note and spend ages doing things like checking emails, Facebook and Pinterest before I sit down to craft. I often get totally into it, only to then berate myself for wasting so much time because now of course it's almost that time to fetch my son from school and take him to extra-curricular's etc.'

I have learnt that the few thing I need the most in a studio are:

1. A window with a view, it doesn't have to be the best view in the world (although my current one would take a lot to beat). 

2. A great audio book - because Talkback Radio that I used to listen to just gets me worked up in a bad way. I am currently listening to Melissa Gilberts, 'The Signature of All Things' it is beautiful and inspiring and I am totally in love with it. As of course I was with 'Eat Pray Love' too. 

3. A space to drink a coffee and 'just sit' - away from my work station. It revives me and helps me to re-focus and prioritise. Being a procrastinator, I seriously need this. It feels more productive than having a game of cards that leads to 'just one more' haha. 

4. Good lighting - very important.

5. A comfy work chair - this however is a work in progress as I am yet to find the right fit!

All set for a creative workshop
I view being able to work from home as a privilege, one that I never take for granted. The first thing I do when I walk through my door in the morning is be thankful for my amazing space and the opportunities that will be created because of it. 

It can be lonely and sometimes creativity doesn’t flow - I NEVER force it. On days like that, I catch up on filing, I sort through piles of discarded ‘craft experiments’ and even just phone a friend for a chat. I know that it will come back and I allow it to happen by itself. 

In todays world of technology including Facebook and Pinterest it is difficult to always be original. Just when you think you have made/have an idea for something unique and beautiful, someone has already done it, or at least something similar. It's a challenge but not one that is insurmountable. A change here, a tweak there, an addition there, a different material there and before you know it, its your own creation. 

My biggest challenge is getting the message across to people that each of my pewter creations is totally hand-made. No two pieces are ever the same even if the design is very similar. I don’t just make one range, I am constantly making something totally different, but always with pewter. It is my passion. I love the feel of the tool on the metal and different effects that can be achieved with it. 

I am a firm believer in buying the best tools you can afford. It avoids setting yourself up for failure and frustration. Tools, in my mind, make the difference between creating mediocre pieces and stunning pieces of art.

Maxine's ‘take a breather and have a coffee break’ space.
The 'Studio Princess' has her own chair.
I have worked, practised and perfected my craft through many years of dedicated love for the metal. Not only do I love to create but my second love, albeit a very close second, is teaching the craft. There is quite a process to it, but it lends itself to learning something new in each workshop, until you are able to combine all the techniques to make beautiful unique creations that will last for generations.  

You can use pewter repousse (repujardo, embossing) to change the look and feel of something you already own to up-cycling/changing something that you have grown bored of or feel is out-dated. You can make something look old or you can make it modern and up-dated. The possibilities are endless and each day that I step into this glorious space and feel surrounded by creativity and inspiration is a good one. In fact, the life of a crafter/artisan is a good one!'

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