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Meet The Mafia – Rachael Albert

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Meet the mafia returns with a quick interview with one of our newest members – Kat of Rachael Albert.

Why did you start in business/crafting?
I did a degree in Physics and Chemistry primarily and when I came out I hated it. I used to customise and create clothes for my sister and I to go out in at the weekend as we were fed up wearing the same as everyone else… I got a sewing machine one Christmas… applied for a fashion design and textiles course…without ever doing higher art… and i was accepted unconditionally on the spot :)
I started my business on completion of my degree and I haven’t looked back since :D

How did you come up with your crafty name?
Rachael Albert are actually my middle names… Kathleen Rachael Albert Osborne

Is your glass half full or half empty?
Full of course :)

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What is your favourite thing that costs nothing?
Manners and a smile :D I cannot abide bad manners :O

Where do you find inspiration for your work?
I find most of my inspiration from the 1950s but also Tattoos and Tokyo street style. I also take inspiration from the curves of a persons body… its far sexier than the sticks of the fashion industry!

Top 5 desert-island essentials?
Hmmm… Sunscreen(I’d get burnt!), rope (to cimb the coconut trees), a copy of the 13 1/2 lives of captain blue bear (a great book!), sketch pad and pens…. and… a solar powered i pod i think… come on apple get on it :P :D

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What is the ugliest most pitiful thing you’ve ever made?
Oh.. I don’t think I’ve made anything ugly :( I’m sorry :)

What have you made that you’re most proud of?
I made a dress for a little girl who drew all over the fabric before i made her her party dress for her birthday! It was super cute and she loved it as she helped me design it :)

What’s so great about Glasgow?
The people, the music and soon the fashion :)
Glasgow is quite a close knit community it can have a family feel about it. I love Glasgow.. it will always be my home!

Favourite biscuit?
God… erm… chocolate hob knob!

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What crafts do you still want to learn?
knitting.. i’d love to knit!

What is your idea of a perfect day?
Lying somewhere on a sunny day in the remote highlands with a pad, a pen and tranquility!

What do you do in your day-to-day life, other than being a mafioso?
I have my own studio in Hope street, my own website www.rachaelalbert.me.uk to update, I help out in a modeling agency and I go to quite a lot of local gigs and I love to hang out with my friends and family.

What is your favourite crafting tool?
My pen… I can design with it and draw up my patterns.. but i do love my overlocker… it cuts and sews at the same time :) how clever!

What are your plans for the future?
To see what it holds :D

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Meet the Mafia – Julia Smith

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

Meet the Mafia is back with one of our new members, Julia Smith.

Why did you start in business/crafting?

My family are all creative people so making things and drawing has always been a natural thing to do.  My mum is a silversmith, my dad designs and builds cars, my brother is a film maker and my sister is a conservation officer in her day job but a crafty Mafioso type by night.  So when I decided I wanted to go to art school it wasn’t a complete let down to them.

How did you come up with your crafty name?

The studio and community art side of my business is called Deepfired.  A friend of mine suggested it when I was trying to think up a name and I liked it straight away.  I like how people call it Deepfried and then think that’s really funny.  My own ceramics is called Julia Smith Ceramics which isn’t very imaginative but I’m trying to be sophisticated.

Is your glass half full or half empty?

I am always worrying about something so I would say my glass is dry a lot of the time.

Butterfly Cup

What is your favourite thing that costs nothing?

I get a bit over excited when I find free bubble wrap.  I often go for a rummage at the Glasgow Play-schemes Association’s scrap store (Langside Lane near Victoria Road).  It’s not free but close to it and they sell things like empty Lush tubs, big sheets of cardboard, rolls of paper, and lots of obscure things which I don’t know why I want them but I do. Another free thing I like is to say hello to people’s dogs and give them a tickle.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

Mostly from my bike ride through the park on my way to the studio in the morning

Top 5 desert-island essentials?

A helicopter, a pilot, David Attenborough, Ray Mears and some veggie sausages

Plant Bowl

What is the ugliest most pitiful thing you’ve ever made?

A strange friend of mine asked me to make her a big realistic pig’s head to hang on her wall.  I love pigs but that thing was ugly and a bit terrifying!

What have you made that you’re most proud of?

My homemade pizza always makes me proud

What’s so great about Glasgow?

My favourite places are the vegan restaurants; 78, Mono, Stereo, The 13th Note and Grassroots, my studio in Govan, The GFT, the Glasgow University gym and my friend’s houses.

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Favourite biscuit?

Is a flapjack a biscuit?  That would be my favourite if it is because I’m quite greedy and they are usually pretty large.

What crafts do you still want to learn?

Knitting properly- I do it really tight.  I would like to be patient enough to sew better and I want to learn how to screen print on fabric.

What is your idea of a perfect day?

The one on the dessert island

What do you do in your day-to-day life, other than being a mafioso?

I mostly do projects with primary school kids making ceramic murals or sculptures for their schools.  I also teach evening and daytime classes for adults at my studio.

Knots Bowl

What is your favourite crafting tool?

I love my gocco printer.

What are your plans for the future?

To keep doing what I’m doing but shift the balance to less teaching, more making.


All items are available to buy from Julia’s etsy shop. You can also find out more information about Julia’s community art over at the Deepfired site.

Thanks Julia!

Meet the Mafia – Girl Industries

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Why did you start in business/crafting?
I set up shop as Girl Industries in the summer of 2008. I currently work for the NHS, but in the past I’ve worked in retail management and prior to that, I worked to support small business start-ups in the technology field. I like inventing things, and selling things, and I’ve always been crafty. Having business that I conduct online, predominantly, allows me to mix craft, design, retail and technology in a way that meshes nicely with my ‘portfolio’ working style (I also run a small research company and am writing a dissertation for my MSc).

How did you come up with your crafty name?
I am somewhat embarrassed to say that it used to be my (oh goodness) DJ name. I am very proud to be female and from a small industrial town in the north of England, and I like reflecting that in my name. I also like the idea of being industrious in actually making things, and continuing a tradition that women have taken part in for generations.

Is your glass half full or half empty?
Definitely half-empty. There is always more to be had!

Card Holders

What is your favourite thing that costs nothing?
Paying attention. There’s a lot out there to enjoy, you just have to look for it.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?
I mainly work with reclaimed or repurposed materials in a process we call upcycling – turning something discarded or unwanted into something new, better or more useful. So my inspiration comes from the mundane and everyday, how could this strip of wallpaper become something useful? How could I give this duvet cover with a hole in it a more exciting new life, with just a zip, a sewing machine and some thread…

Top 5 desert-island essentials?
Is it cheeky to ask for the internet? Knitting needles, my yarn stash, a book of literary quotations and some sort of graphic design for dummies manual so I can learn something new.

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What is the ugliest most pitiful thing you’ve ever made?
When I was at school I was on the winning Young Enterprise team for my region. We hit the big time making hair scrunchies from unwanted offcuts of upholstery fabric from our local textiles factory. If I tell you they sold us a car full of fabric for a nominal fee of £1, you can probably imagine how great they looked.

What have you made that you’re most proud of?
I made a cushion cover with a concealed zip out of a tweed skirt that I loved to pieces but had worn to the point of shabbiness. This signified the end of my war with sewing machines (unfortunate hand/needle interface in Home Ec at school which landed me in casualty) and the start of my professional crafting career.

What’s so great about Glasgow?
I think of Glasgow as a bit of a missing link between Manchester (where I’m from) and New York (where I used to live). We have the grid system, we have lots of rain, we have world renown in terms of fashion, music, culture and science. We have the patter, we have the inner-city green oases and people visiting or living here from all over the world. We also have a darker side which we’re not afraid to acknowledge and try to deal with.

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Favourite biscuit?
Most of the time I like savoury over sweet, so give me a tasty oatcake and a good pongy cheese and I’m happy.

What crafts do you still want to learn?
Not so much a craft as a skill, but I would love to learn how to use my computer better for graphic design. My ideas for packaging and my website never look as good on screen as they do in my head, and as soon as I’m done with my Masters, I’d like to do a course on graphic design.

What is your idea of a perfect day?
Most perfect days for me occur on Saturdays and in New York. I would wake up totally refreshed at 7am and go out for a long walk or quick run to get my game plan for the day sorted out in my head. I’d grab a coffee from a friendly local vendor and head off for brunch with my fiancé and friends somewhere in Greenwich Village – knitting outdoors while we chat, if the weather’s good – before wandering off on my own over to SoHo for a browse in Crate & Barrel, Dean and DeLuca and some of the little clothing boutiques. I’d pick up knitting supplies in Purl SoHo and some delicious stationery from Kate’s Paperie. I’d carry a big tote bag and select my purchases wisely, like a local. I’d call into the Angelika to catch a matinee, before nipping home and getting dressed up for the night ahead, checking my etsy shop for any sales, and updating my blog if the movie was good or I’d taken any interesting photos on my travels. I’d also look out for any crafty happenings that evening in Brooklyn, or find out if my cousin was DJing anywhere that night. If I didn’t feel like going out out, I’d head over to a friend’s apartment to watch Reality Bites, picking up a six pack of Rolling Rock en route, and having to show ID. We’d maybe decide to finish off the night in a little bar, chatting to the bartender, randomly bumping into friends and telling corny jokes. Perfect!

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What do you do in your day-to-day life, other than being a mafioso?
I work with members of the public, and support them to take part in activities which improve the quality and safety of the NHS in Scotland. I also run my own research company, study towards a Masters in Healthcare Informatics, am currently planning my wedding to the lovely Phil later this year, and have two adorable cats to take care of.

What is your favourite crafting tool?
Good paper scissors. Could. Not. Live. Without. Them.

What are your plans for the future?
I would like to do more community based craft work, supporting people to develop their own craft enterprises, and getting more people involved. I’d also like to successfully complete my degree, continue with my day job, and keep making things. And continue to visit New York frequently.

All of Katy’s upcycled goodies can be bought via her etsy store.

Thanks Katy!

Meet the Mafia – Pistol Whip Vintage

Thursday, March 12th, 2009
This week it’s the turn of our resident style maven, Sarah of Pistol Whip Vintage:
Why did you start in business/crafting?

I started PISTOL WHIP VINTAGE in the summer of 2006, having sold vintage items on eBay for a couple of years before. I had worked for a popular high street retailer for five years and felt stifled creatively. Basically I was sick of working for ‘the man’.

How did you come up with your crafty name?

I am a huge fan of Tarantino films, where Pistol Whipping, i.e. whacking someone over the head with a gun, happens rather a lot. I think the expression conjures up nice fluffy visions of whipped cream rather than acts of extreme violence.

Is your glass half full or half empty?

I would love to say half full and make out that I am a positive happy go-lucky type of gal, unfortunately, I am the most negative person you will ever meet!

What is your favourite thing that costs nothing?

Cuddles from my son and partner never fail to put a huge smile on my face!

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

When altering clothing, I find my inspiration from good old www.style.com I am a fashion whore who feels giddy when designers move the seam of a pair of jeans by 2 cms.

Top 5 desert-island essentials?

Not including people, I would say Guitar Hero, my iPod, my Adrian Mole books, straighteners, and my Apple Mac.

What is the ugliest most pitiful thing you’ve ever made?

When I was in my first year of Uni, for my fashion design class, I made a pair of slippers. The sole was filled with bean-bag beans and was made from patchwork denim. I loved them at the time, but having recently found them, they look baaaddd!

What have you made that you’re most proud of?

I made a pink wool trench coat at Uni, and wore it most days for about three years. I have it somewhere…I might start wearing it again!

What’s so great about Glasgow?

I like that it is so infamous for being a violent city. Apparently it is the ‘Murder capital of Europe’ but I have lived here all of my life and I have always felt safe. In terms of Fashion, I love that Glasgow has it’s own scene of independant designers, photographers, writers, models and stylists who are in no hurry to bugger off to London.


Favourite biscuit?

Chocolate chip cookies. I have been known to eat a whole packet in one sitting! Dipped into tea or milk. I want one now!!!!

What crafts do you still want to learn?

I quite like the thought of using an old fashioned loom. Anyone have one sitting around their house that I could borrow?

What is your idea of a perfect day?

Sleep in until noon, go out to lunch with my family to our local pub, eat a mammoth lunch without worrying about the calorie content because on this perfect day I am a size 8, then go shopping with an endless supply of cash, buying myself and loved ones loads of presents. Go to Waggamma for din-dins and order Chicken Catsu Curry (mmmmm!). In the evening, go and see a band…The bluetones and a comedian…Dimitri Martin, and then come home for about 11 and play Guitar Hero until 3 in the morning, not worrying about having to get up early the next day.

What do you do in your day-to-day life, other than being a mafioso?

I am a student studying for a Masters in International Fashion Marketing. I also work as a freelance Fashion Stylist. Most importantly, I am a mum which is a full time job in itself!

What is your favourite crafting tool?

I honestly could not live without my overlocker.

What are your plans for the future?

I have had an idea since school that I am in the process of starting. I had put off doing it for so long as I was sure that it would exist somewhere already, but good old google has turned up nothing. It is a craft related idea that could literally revolutionarize fashion as we know it. Or it may be a spectacular flop! We shall see.

Seek out some Pistol Whip Vintage bargains in the shop here.

Meet the Mafia – Covetables

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

This week it’s the turn of Michelle of Covetables:

Why did you start in business/crafting?

Because I love making stuff and one can only own so many plushies and dolls before you need to find another place for them!

How did you come up with your crafty name?

I wanted something that was a single word and like the meaning behind it-’stuff you want’! But I also wanted something where the sound of it evoked certain feelings. The “able” sound was like that in lovable or huggable.

Is your glass half full or half empty?

Don’t know, depends on what’s in it really.

What is your favourite thing that costs nothing? A walk by the river.

Where do you find inspiration for your work? From my 5 year old daughter, she has the most fascinating imagination.

Top 5 desert-island essentials?

Ice cream, my daughter, ice cream, sewing kit and…ice cream. Sorry, I’m in the midst of a craving right now.

What is the ugliest most pitiful thing you’ve ever made?

I once tried to make a sweater bear out of an old jumper. It totally didn’t work and I really only did it because I had great copy in mind for it’s online listing. The copy was all about it being a sweater bear not a sweaty bear. Hmmm, maybe not so great after all.

What have you made that you’re most proud of?
My newest cloth dolls, I am really loving them and I sold the first batch out in a week!

What’s so great about Glasgow?

It’s an incredibly friendly vibrant city with a great arts scene. I love the greenness and walkability of it as well.

Favourite biscuit?

Oreos but frankly I wouldn’t turn down too many biscuits unless they are chocolate orange which is the devils work.

What crafts do you still want to learn?

I’d love to learn screen printing.

What is your idea of a perfect day?

Sleep in late (really late), cuddle with my daughter, picnic in the botanic gardens, crafting in the afternoon, out to dinner, late night DVD snuggled under a blanket and late to bed.

What do you do in your day-to-day life, other than being a mafioso?

I have a baking business. I work from home and supply shops and private customers with cupcakes and lots of other icing covered things.

What is your favourite crafting tool?

The sewing machine though I am also quite in love with my felting needles as felting seems a bit like magic.

What are your plans for the future?

I am ashamed to say I haven’t really considered that. I’d be happy if I had a crafty business that was making regular sales and I was still making new stuff.

You can see more work from Michelle in her etsy shop here.