This month I would like to introduce you to:
Made by swimmer.
Two amazingly, talented sisters who craft a variety of charming creatures, cushions, bags, purses and even cat toys!
I first met ‘made by swimmer’ at a local vintage and craft fair. I was instantly mesmorised by the quirky humour and adorable hand sewn faces on all their crafty critters and accessories. I have to admit to owning quite a few of their delightful makes. All of which have a retro, nostalgic style with a colour palette to match. Simply adorable I think you will agree? Without further ado, lets meet the girls behind Made by swimmer
“Hello Sue and Jo and welcome to The Back Story”
Why the name ‘Made by swimmer’?
Well, it’s a bit of a long story but basically we first started making things to sell as part of an art group connected to our children’s school. We wanted a collective name and brainstormed all sorts of names. Sadly the project did not last but Jo and I decided to go it alone. We had already thought of ‘swimmer’ and had an old printing block with a female swimmer on it (which later became our logo for a while) and from there ‘made by swimmer’ was born. Funnily enough neither Jo and I are very good swimmers!
When did you start creating?We have always made things from an early age; rag dolls, doll’s clothes, soft toys – I still have a very tatty doll I made from an old nightie when I was about 10! As teenagers we altered and made our own clothes and then when we had children, we made things for them. We started creating and selling about four years ago, after we had a stall with our art group at a Christmas market. We made lots of knitted wrist bands and these sold out. It was so exciting to know people were prepared to buy things we had made! We were hooked from that point on.
Who or what inspired you?
It’s hard to pinpoint any one person or thing. I thinking making and creating is in our blood. We come from a long line of knitters and sewers, as do many women of our age. Our grandmothers and mother lived through the war and grew up with an ethos of ‘make do and mend’. Certainly Xtreme Arts, the community arts project, encouraged us to sell our work and the Boscombe Vintage Market gave us a local venue from which to sell. From there we met many lovely makers who encouraged us to sell wider afield and to create our Etsy shop. Our inspiration in terms of design comes from our childhood and the toys and characters from the 60s and 70s. Mostly its subconscious and it is only afterwards that we’ll make the connection e.g. Mr Fox/Basil Brush, Sleepy Hippo/Moomins,
How do you juggle family life and creating for ‘Made by swimmer’?
It is a constant juggling act to be sure! Luckily our children are a bit older now and are supportive of our work. We have three daughters between us and they are all creative and studying textiles. I tell mine that I’m creating a business for them to continue in the future but I don’t think they are convinced!
What plans do you have for ‘Made by swimmer’ in the coming year?
We’d like to increase our internet sales ideally so we’re looking at ways of doing this. Expect to see some giveaways and special offers on our social media sites. We love doing the Crafty Fox Market and did our first Bust Craftacular, which was fantastic so more of these. We sell a small amount wholesale but hope to increase this and of course we will continue with our range of catnip toys for Cheshire and Wain.
Thank you girls, from one of your super fans!
Hopefully see you in the new year!
You can find Made by swimmer on Etsy
Or you could tweet to them too!
FYI….Their cat nip prawns are available exclusively at Cheshire and Wain