Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Interview with Sarah Matthews from Octavi

Sarah Matthews of Octavi's designs are comfortable and relaxing - antique or vintage Japanese fabrics in soft tones of blue, grey and olive that seem both peaceful and happy.  I interviewed Sarah this month to find out more about her business, and her unique designs that just make you want to lie back on a pile of her pillows and think of koi fish swimming in a pond...

Cory: How did you begin making things out of Japanese fabrics?

I made good friends with a Japanese colleague and his wife - they worked with us from 2007 to 2009 and I learned a lot from them about traditional Japanese crafts and particularly sashiko stitching.

Cory: How did you come to start your business?

Sarah: I started my business in 2009 because of the recession and a means of making extra money to support my son who is now 17. I had always sewn in my leisure time so my choice of business to start was an obvious one.

Cory: How do you find your materials?

Sarah: I have slowly built up a selection of reliable suppliers over the years by researching and testing out materials. All of my materials are ethically made and mostly antique/vintage so reused rather than causing more demand for textiles to be created.

Cory: Where do you make your projects? What is your workspace like?

Sarah: I have a spare room at home set aside for my studio space. I have a long bench which I cut and sew at and plenty of shelving for books, magazine and fabrics. The room has good natural light so I make the most of that when sewing.

Cory: Where do you find your inspirations?

Sarah: I travel often and pick out beautiful design even in the mundane. I love to look at colour combinations that people create when dressing or which have happened accidentally in nature. In Japan I take inspiration from architecture - the colours and shapes used and the attention to detail.

I browse magazines and books daily on my bus ride into work (my day job) and keep notes and draw images in my book which I keep with me at all times.

Cory: If your crafts were a piece of music, what would it be?

Sarah: It would be a tune rather than a song, probably a traditional Japanese piece played on the shamisen - I find this so relaxing and hope that my work reflects this.

Octavi has not only textiles and sewn items, but vintage pieces as well, from ceramics to beads to things for the kitchen. If you are looking to decorate your home and want to create a warm, simple comfortable feel, you're bound to find something from Sarah!

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