Love From Hetty & Dave
Crafter to the stars, Zoe Larkins discusses her craft and her creations.
I started crafting when I was little. I was a very crafty kid, and always making my Barbies outfits. I think one of the first things I ever made was a clay duck, when I was about 6. My mum still has it!
Nowadays I concentrate on sewing, and I make handstitched leather jewellery, purses and bags, and love to make a bit of plush now and again, like the Gaborg dolls.
My favourite things to craft are probably the highly detailed leather appliques, which take me so long I can't sell them once I finish. Partly due to the time I put in, it makes them too expensive, and partly due to the amount of love! I have so many appliques hanging around waiting to be stitched onto a bag or something, but I am very guilty of barely ever finishing any of the big pieces!
I love tattoo designs from the 50s, Mexican arts and crafts and religious iconography, so a lot of my inspiration is taken from these subjects, but I try and tie them in with modern trends. I've always been a massive fan of kitsch, and I live in what looks like a junk shop, so I am constantly surrounded by sources of inspiration.
Love From Hetty & Dave has been knocking around a few years now, but only in the last 3, have I really focused on making it work. The name comes from an amazing photo (attached) of the sweetest couple, I found in a junk shop, when I was still studying. I felt so sorry for them, as this picture had been sat in the shop for weeks, so I paid a couple of quid and took it home. When I got in, I took it out of the frame, and written on the back was, 'To Mary and Bill, Love from Hetty & Dave'. I'm guessing the couple pictured are Mary and Bill, so who knows who Hetty and Dave are!
I recently gave up my job to concentrate on Love From Hetty & Dave, so now I am working full-time on my business which is what I'd alway wanted to do. It just took longer than expected!
I love having my stall at Spitalfields. I have been there for about 2 years, and have made some amazing friends, and brilliant business contacts. Everyone is so lovely, and we all help each other out. I can't think of a better way to start a business, as it's an excellent way to get feedback from your prospective customers. I love watching people's reactions to my work, as it always brings a smile to their face- young and old.
"As long as you love what you do, and really believe in what you make, you can make it happen!"
I promote my work on MySpace and Facebook, as well as writing a blog. I have an online store, so that is a good way of directing people to shop! I also carry my business cards at all times, as I usually am wearing a brooch I've made, and more often than not, I get asked where it's from.
Amy Winehouse and Jodie Harsh are regularly spotted wearing their Love From Hetty & Dave heart brooches in their huge barnets! And New Young Pony Club's, Tahita Bulmer was photographed on stage at Lovebox wearing a Horse brooch I made. They all received their brooches as gifts from me, and all were warmly received as they ended up wearing my craft, which has been great publicity! I now get lots of orders for heart brooches with the names of loved ones appliqued.
Amy Winehouse is so amazingly talented, and I love her sense of style. My designs fit so perfectly with her look, which is the main reason I customised a heart brooch for her. You could say my favourite celebrity is already wearing my craft!
I started making the Gaborgs just to use up the scrap fabrics I had lying around, and initially they were just colourful, long legged creature, until I entered one into an exhibition held by Lazy Oaf, called, 'Monster Burp'. This particular monster had leopard print legs, and long straggly sheepskin hair, so I put a gold chain on him and named him 'Putrid Stringfellow'. This, then sparked an idea of making a whole host of celebrity monsters. I went on to make Amy Winehouse and Russel Brand, which were quickly picked up by the press, and then Elvis, Mr T, Alan Carr ,Pete Doherty etc, and Paul O'Grady which was featured on his show!
When Amy called me to thank me for the Blake brooch, she asked what else I made, and when I told her about the dolls, she said she'd seen them. I really hope the celebrities aren't offended by them, as they aren't intended to be sinister or malicious. It's more of an interpretation of what the press would like us to believe.
My favourite place to hang out in London is probably Shoreditch and Brick Lane (so predictable!), but mainly because it is so close to where I live. I also have a thing about the bridges over the Thames. There's something really nice about walking over them, and seeing the water below. Maybe it has something to do with growing up by the sea.
In a few years time, I hope that Love From Hetty & Dave will be a name recognised in the fashion/craft world. It would be nice to see my work in lots of different shops all over the world. I have so man ideas of things I would like to be doing, and making, but I'm taking one step at a time, and we'll see where that takes me.
And finally, what's next for me? Well, I'm actually moving back to the south coast in the new year, where I will continue working on my business, and look into opening a studio/gallery/shop space, which I am very excited about. I am always about setting myself new challenges, and although I will be London every weekend at the Spitalfields stall on Sundays, it will be great to breath some fresh air, and come up with some fresh ideas elsewhere!
You can purchase Love From Hetty & Dave accessories on the shop and the Etsy, or find out more about Zoe on her blog. Make sure to check out the Brooch Contest for a chance of winning a personalized brooch.