This month I am so pleased that Cam has agreed to donate one of her wonderful, cheerful handmade rainbow brooches for this month's Novelty Brooch Friday. I have followed Cam on Instagram for a while now, I love her colourful designs and marveled at her recent recovery from a lung transplant. I have always told my family that I want my organs to be donated and following Cam's story has reinforced my decision and started the conversation again.
I asked Cam some questions about her work, inspirations and also her involvement in organ donor organisations, raising money and awareness of such an important decision we should all consider.
You've had your craft/arts business selling your work since 2009, can you tell us what motivated you to start your own business and shop?
I've loved to craft since I was a little girl - anything that involved colour and mess was right up my alley. It was just a hobby throughout school and early adulthood. I taught myself to sew in my late 20's and started making things for myself along with my family and friends.
In 2007, I had to take a bit of an early retirement from my career due to my lung disease, so all of a sudden, I had a lot of spare time on my hands to indulge in my craft, and improve my skills. I'd already started my CurlyPops blog by then, and lots of people started asking whether they could buy some of the things that I'd created. Opening the business was a bit of a natural evolution from that.
Your work is fun and colourful, and has fun motifs; can you tell us what inspires you when creating new work?
I'm inspired by colour and pattern. Pattern mainly comes from things that I see in my day to day life. I particularly love metal and concrete block fence patterns from the 60's and 70's, but I also notice patterns in things like metal grates in footpaths, and pattern and texture in vintage glass doors. Vintage quilts are also a great inspiration.
I don't take anything too seriously - for me designing is fun, and I think that's why my creations end up that way!
You work over many areas, from fabric design, jewellery to soft toys, how do you find working across all areas?
I tend to think of myself as an attention deficit crafter. I like small, short projects that I can whip up in a few hours (hence why I don't make quilts). I could never tie myself down to just one type of crafting, or one product range, as I just love making everything. I've been told that having such a giant and varied product range is not a great business model, but for me it's fun, and that's the way I like it.
My passion really is fabric design - when that first printed sample arrives, I'm like a kid at Christmas all over again!
Recently (last year) Cam had a lung transplant and has been fundraising and raising awareness of organ donation. Can you tell us a bit about the Tour de Transplant and some of the other campaigns you are involved in?
After more than two years on oxygen 24 hours a day, and more than 18 months on the transplant waiting list, I received the call last February that saved my life. I am so grateful to my donor and their family that I want to do everything I can to give back. I'll never be able to thank them personally, but I just hope that they know how grateful l really am.
One of the ways I'm giving back is via the Heart and Lung TransplantTrust (HLTTV) which is based at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne (where I had my transplant). I'm a member of the management committee and one of the joint editors of our Circulator Newsletter. This year we're running our biggest ever fundraiser, the Tour de Transplant. It's an 1100km bike ride around Victoria (1km for every heart and lung transplant recipient at the Alfred). The tour is taking place from the 22nd - 30th March 2014 and is being led by cycling legend Phil Anderson. In conjunction with the Tour de Transplant, we are also running the Tour de Chat where transplant recipients and bike riders will visit schools and community groups to give presentations about organ and tissue donation. It's a mammoth effort that has been put in by everyone at the HLTTV - we are all 100% volunteers.
There are lots of ways to contribute - you can sponsor a rider, or a non-rider (like me), you can come along to one of the fundraising dinners that will be taking place along the route, and if you're part of a school or a community group, you can get in contact and book in for one of our Tour de Chat sessions (these are sponsored by DonateLife and there is no cost to any organisation).
I also be doing some volunteer work during DonateLife Week 2014 which runs from Sunday 23rd February to Sunday 2nd March.
On Friday February 28th I'll be taking part in the FilmLife Project workshops. Young filmmakers have the opportunity to learn how to make a film from the professionals, covering the subject of organ and tissue donation. The workshops are running in Melbourne and Sydney and there may still be place available for anyone between 18 and 30 who would like to take part.
You can watch last years films here, the winning entry was brilliant!
You have been a part of the crafting and arts community for many years now, can you tell us a few makers that you admire and inspire your work?
Gosh.... where do I even start? Joining this community has been one of the best things that I have ever done! I now have new friends online and offline all over Australia and the world. I think the people in the community that I most admire are those that I have learned the most from. The lessons from each of these ladies has been different (and they probably don't even realise how much I've learned from them). So for all sorts of different reasons, I would have to say Cathy from Tinniegirl, Nikki from YouSew Girl / Nicole Mallalieu Design, Liz from Betty Jo Designs / Gleaners Inc, and Nic from Yardage Design......and for inspiration, I would have to nominate everyone in my Instagram feed (I'm addicted to IG and I love it)
So for your chance to win this cute brooch just post a picture of yourself on Instagram with your favourite brooch, entries can be submitted on any Friday in February up to and including Friday 28th February with the hash tag #noveltybroochfriday. I will announce the winner (randomly chosen) on Monday 3rd March. Open to everyone, you can enter as many times as you like, either new or vintage brooches.
*If you are a designer or sell vintage brooches (worldwide) and wish to donate a brooch for an upcoming month and have your shop showcased, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org