The Millamac Story
...telling stories with fabric
So what do frogs, crocodiles, nuns and bellydancers have in common?...well nothing really except that they are just some of the characters that are a part of my range of Millamac designs. Craft has always been a part of my life and I credit my wonderful mother for inspiring me to pursue my creative pursuits. I have dabbled in many many crafts over the years, including screen-printing, card making (using my fingerprints on a stamp pad to make different animals), stencilling, sculpting, jewellery-making, calligraphy, hardanger many types of embroidery, and of course sewing, sewing and sewing.
I started quilting in 1997, while living in Chile, but very quickly realized that I had less interest in getting my points perfect as I was in combining patchwork with applique.As a consequence, if occasionally you wonder why there is a flower or a frogs foot in a certain spot, its probably to hide a "messy" point. I have always enjoyed drawing, and particularly enjoy creating animals doing various silly things. I have been very fortunate to have lived overseas, first in London for two years when my daughters were very young, and later in Antofagasta in the north of Chile for two and a half years, with my four children (two boys added to the brood!).Although we were based in these cities, we travelled extensively around the world, where I not only had the opportunity to immerse myself in many different cultures but most importantly I was able to see my own country from a different perspective.
Consequently when I started Millamac in 2000, I quickly decided that designs with an Aussie feel, that incorporated the best of our (often quirky) culture, our humour and particularly the animals and plants that we call our own, was where my passion lay and fortunately there was a niche in the market that hadn't been filled. My designs reflect my personality...apart from the wall hangings and quilts I also produced a range of "Dolls on the Run", wall-mounted dolls made from calico and painted. I think these reflect my habit of always being in a hurry. Over the years I have developed a range of characters...my "Naughty Nun" series are slightly irreverant, but seem to touch a chord with many people and have found their way into nursing homes for retired nuns, have been given to teachers, and special nuns in people's lives; and there is even one hanging in the clinic in Calcutta where Mother Teresa started her tremendous work.
I now also have a collection of Aussie animals who follow me through my different projects: menacing crocodiles, sleepy koalas, naughty possums, busy kangaroos and fat and happy wombats. There is usually a story behind each of my pieces, and the interaction between the characters is an important way of expressing those stories. For this reason I always leave the eyes of my characters as the last element of my work. Just by adding the pupils suddenly the piece comes to life and the story is revealed. I also have a somewhat annoying habit of having my characters hang outside their sashing. I think this is my way of "living outside the square", and I hope make my pieces more interesting.
Many people ask me where my ideas come from. I am fortunate that my head is full of ideas, and I keep books of preliminary sketches. Sometimes my head feels like an enormous warehouse of ideas...I can see what the finished product will look like...the secret is getting it out of my head and available for everyone else to see and enjoy. I doubt I will live long enough to get them all finished...but there is never a shortage of inspiration. Friends, customers and colleagues also give me ideas.In time I would like to put some of my ideas together into a book, and even write children's books using my designs as the illustrations.
For now my aim is to produce projects that are easy to achieve, that are bright and cheerful and above all else make people feel happy. If I've done that my job is complete.
Always feel welcome to ring me if you have any difficulties with my projects or if you notice any problems. Millamac is very much a one-person business from the initial idea to drawing up the pattern sheets and writing the instructions, to the finished product, the orders, the postage and the invoicing. I am also a single mother with four children (of which three are still living at home)...along with two crazy dogs, a demanding cat and a bird with attitude, (oh and 2 fish on loan from a friend). So from time to time there will be errors and (regrettably) delays,and I apologize for occasionally taking more time than I should to get my orders out. So if you feel you have waited too long please feel free to hassle me...a kick along will never hurt me. I also love to see photos of how others have interpreted my designs and I do welcome feedback. For many years there was a possum in one of my patterns who had five legs...and would have remained so if a kind customer had not pointed it out to me. Thank God for white-out!!
A very big thank-you to all of those who have supported and encouraged me, and most particularly my four beuatiful children: Amy, Sophie, Ben and Campbell. I would also like to give a special thank-you Claudia U'Prichard from QuiltEssentials at Eatons Hill who has supported and encouraged me through most of my journey as a quilter / fabric storyteller.