Tell us about who you are
I’m Christie from Chills Designs. I make a range of handmade wall decor, mostly fabric covered pin/memo boards but I also make fabric covered magnetic boards and hair accessory organisers. I’ve never been much of a sewer but have a love (and sometimes an obsession) with fabric and I just love to create beautiful pieces of wall art with the gorgeous fabrics and contrasting ribbons. All my pieces have a purpose, whether its displaying photos, keeping notes etc tidy or organising hair accessories so I like to feel I’m not only creating something pretty to hang on the wall but something that will be useful too.
How did the idea for your business come from/start?
My idea from Chills Designs came from my children. We live in a rented house and cannot decorate so the children’s rooms are both painted in a plain cream colour. I wanted something to hang on the walls that would really brighten up their rooms and also help to keep tidy the every growing collection of pictures, paintings, notes etc! So the first memo boards I made were for my kids, we had great fun choosing the fabrics and ribbons and I loved making them. I then went on to make one for my kitchen and then some for family and friends. After successfully selling on Trade Me I created a Facebook Business page and a shop on Felt. The name Chills Designs came from my maiden name Hills and my initial C = Chills!
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
Apart from creating my boards I am a full time stay at home Mum to my 4 year old son Dylan and my 1 year old daughter Ruby. Originally from the UK myself, my husband and son moved here 3 years ago and settled in Christchurch. My husband works as a butcher and my days are mostly filled with trips to pre-school, playgroup & music group. I love my life as a Mum but it’s great to have a hobby for myself that I can really get into!
Where does your inspiration come from?
Mostly my inspiration comes from my kids! In the beginning I mostly just made boards for kid’s rooms and my son was always suggesting different fabrics or themes to use. Since moving onto making boards for adults too I suppose a lot of what I make is my taste, although I am really conscious to not just make boards that I like all the time. I use my Facebook page to see the interest in potentially fabrics before ordering and a lot of the time the fabric itself will give me inspiration for how I want the finished item to look. I have started making boards using two different contrasting fabrics and with the right choice of coloured ribbons you can really make the designs on the fabric come alive.
What does handmade mean to you?
Handmade to me means “Unique” Even if I make the exact design twice they will always be slightly different, which I think is great, it means no two pieces will ever be the same. A lot of my work is custom orders and so the customer will choose the fabrics and ribbons used and the placement design so the finished product will be specific for that customer. I love that each custom order I create will be suited exactly to that persons taste and so be special to them. And so the pieces I make up will have my personality and tastes in them. I know it sounds cheesy but I really do love what I do and I think that when you do love what you’re making it shows in the finished products.
Who has been most influential in your craft?
Again my children really have been influential to me, they were the reasons I started making memo boards and they have always shown great interest in what I do. My son always like to know the story of each order, who it’s for etc and loves when the customers come to pick-up their orders especially if they bring their kids and he gets to show his toys! Also though my husband has been a great support, he’s the one who persuaded me to start selling my boards and he’s there at every market helping me set-up and pack-up. He also helps in the “creating” as he is my chief board cutter!!
When did you know you were an artist/maker?
I don’t think I have ever seen myself as an “artist”. Although since Chills Designs has started to become successful I do see myself as a “maker”. I find it hard to compare myself to artists but like to think that my pieces hang on walls all around the country and are appreciated for how they look.
How would you describe your creative process?
My creative process starts from an idea in my head of a particular colour scheme or theme, I then pick the right fabric or fabrics and team it together with ribbons. Sometimes ideas come from the fabric itself, I have found that pairing a fabric with the right contrasting colours can really give it a different look. With my custom orders I love to create my customers designs and see their choices come to life.
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
Since starting Chills Designs I really do appreciate handmade items so much more and now try to buy handmade as much as I possibly can. I love meeting fellows crafts people at markets and admiring all their beautiful products. There are so many local crafts businesses that I have come across and I would love to peek into all their studios! I’m always interested in how people create their products and love the magic of turning materials into a beautiful handmade item for someone to cherish.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I don’t think I could pick just one most cherished handmade possession, anything made by my kids is always cherished and goes away in my special box where I keep all my cherished things. But also anything made by my Mum is very dear to me. My Mum made pottery and growing up I always remember being surrounded by my Mum’s creations. Since my Mum died 2 years ago (and also since starting Chills Designs) I really appreciate her beautiful handmade pots and so they are probably my most cherished items.
Where would you like to be in five years?
In five years time I would love to still be running Chills Designs. I would love for us to own our own house and for me to have my own craft room (to give my dining table a break!) I would also love to have my boards sold in shops and run my own website.
Whats the best advice you have received to date that you would like to share with others?
I don’t think I have a particular piece of advice, but just generally to believe in yourself. My husband was the one who pushed me into selling my products and to start markets, which I am really thankful for as I don’t know if I would have had the guts by myself. Even now I sometimes find it hard to believe people actually want to buy my products, but with each sale I make, all the lovely comments I get from customers and the reactions from markets I do, my confidence is growing.
Show your support for Christie at Chills design:
|Custom order - Notice board|
|Hair Accessory Organiser Board - Turquoise/Pink Birds - $10|
|Handmade Fabric covered magnetic board - $25|