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To all of our customers who have supported HZ over this last year, we truly appreciate it so this is our way of saying a big ‘THANK YOU!’.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

With love and thanks from Rachael and John at HZ x

Oh, PS, this is valid until January 4th!

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Petit Plat Interview

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Petit Plat is one of my favourite HZ designers. I could look at her tiny work all day and wonder ‘just how does she do it?’. All Petit Plat jewellery is entirely handmade from scratch by designer Stephanie Kilgast, that includes each little strawberry, all the tiny kiwi fruits, the itty bitty berries, and all assembled into her beautiful miniature jewellery. As you can tell, I’m pretty awestruck by this!

Naturally then, Stephanie was one of the first people I pestered for an interview for our first zine which we published back in the summer, and here it is…

Name: Stephanie Kilgast (aka Petit Plat)
Age: 26
Location: Vannes (west of France, in the region of Brittany)

Can you tell us a bit about your background? Have you always been creative?
Yes. as a child when I was playing with dolls I did them furniture and food with what I could find. Later I did a lot of jewelry and little animals out of glass pearls, I went on with painting and I studied architecture, which is also rather creative. Now my passion lies in miniature food. But I also really want to make proper miniature furniture and dollhouse. Until now I’ve been working from scratch and it would look better with beautiful materials 🙂 I also want to paint again and try my hand on sculpting dolls.

When did you discover your talent for making minatures?
I discovered my passion for miniatures in summer 2007, while I was searching for a new hobby because I was bored…
At the time I was still a student and didn’t find a summer job so decided to go 7 weeks to my parents. Well after (only) 2 days I got terribly bored and googled like crazy for a new craft.
When I stumbled upon miniatures all my childhood ran back. Indeed as a child, I played a lot with Barbies and made some clay food out of regular sticky clay for them.

Are there any similarities or shared skills between your training as an architect and what you do now at Petit Plat?
Surprisingly a lot. Model making and sculpting in miniature require both the same level of patience and precision. Then I use photoshop all the time for my pictures, because my camera never gets the colors right. And in Architecture I used to work on photoshop all the time to process plans and 3D pics. Then architecture and minis seem to always come short when it comes to time. So being able to work under pressure is important as well. And both are a work of passion. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll be working in architecture some day.

Do you enjoy cooking real food and if so, is it as pretty as your miniatures?
I love eating and cooking but no it never looks really pretty 😀 but it’s tasty, and that’s what’s food all about. My mother always puts a lot of efforts in presentation of food, but I couldn’t care less. I’m happy to cook and prepare during hours but wasting 5 minutes to decorate a plate that I’m going to swallow done in 5 minutes no 😀
But I like colors and I like my meals to be filled with all kinds of food, so it’s often colorful. Never just plain rice and fish.

What item you have made are you most proud of?
That’s a difficult question, because what I prefer isn’t necessary what I’m the most proud of.
So I’d say I love my gingerbread houses, but I’m really proud of my cheese boards 😀
Oh well I’m pretty proud of my bread and macarons as well.

Can you tell us about your dolls/miniature house? Does it follow a theme? How long have you been working on it?
My doll’s house is based on a simple concept: having all the rooms dissembled so you can easily take 1 room and shoot pictures in it. That’s why I rather arrogantly named in “modular dollhouse”. It’s entirely made out of foam cardboard because it’s lightweight and easy to cut with a simple cutter.

Is it like your real house or is it something you aspire to?
Ha! I wish 😀 No it’s not the house I aspire to. I don’t like house, I prefer apartments in cities 😀

What would an average work day be like for you?
I wake up around 7-8 am, mainly because my BF gets up at that time to go to work. I start right away with answering emails and processing orders. Then I work until I get hungry which is usually around 9-10 when I take breakfast. I get back to work and usually (bad habit!) shower when I get hungry again, usually at 12h30-13h and then have lunch.
After lunch I tend to be a little lazy so I surf around, play or well just stare holes in the air 😀
I work until BF gets back home and (unless I really have tons to do) I stop working on the mini food and do something else.

When you’re not working you like to:
Swimming, visiting art exhibitions, reading, making mini furniture, baking, reading blogs, …

Where do you see yourself 3 years from now?
Soooo 29. Well with kids! Yikes! How time flies! I really want some kids, 3 or 4 would be nice – cute little kiddos shouting and rambling and making noise around, that sounds cool. Well that’s about it. The future will tell for the rest 🙂

Any other info you’d like to share?
I’m racking my brain off, but all I can think of is “I don’t have a driver’s licence” which really isn’t a very interesting info 😀

Thanks to Stephanie for letting me interview her. You can buy a selection of Petit Plat jewellery on Hannah Zakari or simply just gawk at it like I do!

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Margaux Lange Interview

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Margaux Lange creates Barbie jewellery for grown ups, her work is exquisitely beautiful and in my experience, it provokes the most extreme reactions from customers which to me is a great thing!

Margaux is one of my all time favourite jewellery designers and I’m very happy to share this interview with you. We first published this interview last year, but used it again in the first issue of our zine and I thought it would be nice to introduce Margaux to some of our newer customers and readers. I hope you enjoy it…

Where do you live?
I recently moved from Brooklyn, NY to Beacon, NY which is a small city about 80 minutes north of New York City.

Can you tell us about your artistic background?
I’ve identified as an artist for as long as I can remember. I knew pretty early on in grade school that I wanted to go to college to study art. I received my BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland.

What does Barbie mean to you and why did you choose to work with her?
I used to be obsessed with Barbie as a kid and I would spend hours crafting precious details for her miniature world. Playing with Barbie dolls helped me to develop dexterity and strengthened my attention to detail, which coincidentally, happen to be skills imperative to jewelry making.

Barbie made her debut in my artwork in high school and then again in various incarnations throughout college (drawings, sculptures, etc) I became interested in incorporating found objects into my jewelry work. Because I had done other artworks with Barbie in the past, it felt natural to try to find a way to combine the doll with my jewelry. It was an unusual concept with a strong personal connection, so the idea felt right. The Plastic Body Series continued to grow from there.

Your work tends to provoke a reaction, what’s the most extreme reaction you’ve had and how did it make you feel/how did you deal with it?
Iʼve heard just about every possible reaction to my work by now. The range of response is a huge part of what drives me to continue with this series. I love that everyone brings his or her own baggage. Itʼs indicative of their own relationship with, or feelings about Barbie, and it also speaks to what people deem “wearable” in regards to jewelry. My goal has been to create art that a broad range of people can relate to and I believe Iʼve been successful with this.

I started a blog that pulls together some of the various comments about my work I’ve come across online. It’s called Creepy but Cool (the single most popular feedback phrase I hear). This blog was my way of coping with and sharing some of the responses. Whether positive or negative theyʼre always interesting to me.

Can you describe the environment you work in/your studio?
My studio is in a bedroom upstairs in our house. There are 5 main “stations” in my studio.
1. my jeweler’s bench, where all the silver fabrication magic happens
2. my layout table, where orders are assembled
3. my soldering station
4. my cutting and resin table, where all the Barbie faces get cut and pigmented resins
get tinted and mixed by hand
5. and my storage area where all the doll parts are kept in their labeled bins.

An average work day consists of?
An average work day at my home studio is usually split in two: one part computer work
and one part studio work. From 7:30am – 11am Iʼm at my computer dealing with emails
and all other work related computer tasks. After lunch I head to my studio to design and
fabricate jewelry, usually until around 6 or 7pm.

What do you listen to while you work?
Most of the time I listen to public radio or podcasts while I’m working. My favorite podcasts include: This American Life, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, Real Time with Bill Maher and Studio 360.

Your worst/most embarrassing work based mistake?
An embarrassing moment in my career that comes to mind is when I unknowingly gave my necklace to a con artist. The short story goes like this… I agreed to loan a one-of-a- kind necklace to a guy who claimed his company was interested in borrowing the piece for a magazine shoot. Instead he ended up being a scam artist and had intended to sell my necklace. He defrauded lots of other artists as well and stole thousands of dollars worth of art goods.

I reported him to the police as did many other victims and luckily he was caught before my necklace had actually been sold. It was eventually returned to me. He was found guilty of “Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree” and sentenced to 5 years probation. As awful as it was at the time, I learned a lot from the experience. In retrospect, there were red flags I chose to ignore. I should have trusted my gut and not him. I am thankful there was a just and happy ending, and now that necklace sure does come with an interesting story!

Your favourite piece so far?
The Yes Neckpiece (above) is a favorite because it’s a very personal self-portrait. It commemorates my engagement to my (then) fiancé, now husband. It’s a Barbie and Ken encased in silver and 14k gold, embracing. The word “Yes” is written in gold wire script below them. The Barbie hand has a raw diamond and gold ring on her finger (my own engagement ring is made of raw diamonds and gold.) The Barbie also has some of my actual red hair framing her face. It was wonderful to make a piece with myself as the wearer in mind for once. I don’t actually own a lot of my own jewelry. This is one I will always treasure.

What is your proudest moment as an artist?
One of my proudest moments was my first art jewelry opening in New York City at Julie Artisans’ Gallery in the Spring of 2004. I felt fortunate to be represented by such an important Art jewelry gallery so soon out of college. I was also particularly proud of the collection I presented as it was a culmination of a few years worth of exploring working
with Barbie. My family and friends were all there to support me that night which was the
best feeling ever.

What do you do when you don’t work? Any hobbies?
When I’m not working I like to enjoy time with my hubby, spend time in nature, spend
time online, watch movies, read books, and be with family and friends. I collect hands
and rusty old washers (the small round variety with the hole in the middle, not washing
machines. haha) I actually find a good many of them on the ground when I’m out
walking around.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?
I see myself working in a large, sun-drenched studio! My current workspace in our rental house is quite small. My husband and I are planning to buy a home within the next year so I’ve been doing a lot of daydreaming about my new, bigger, better studio set-up where I’ll have a properly installed exhaust system, plenty of storage for the Barbies, etc…

Other than that, I see myself continuing on, rockin’ it as a jewelry artist with perhaps an
assistant or two. I will likely continue on with the Plastic Body Series, however I plan to
start a different series of jewelry in addition to this work. So many ideas, so little time to
explore them!

Anything else you’d like to share?
There’s a quote that I cut out of a magazine when I was in high school which has hung on the wall of every studio space I’ve occupied since. It reads:
“For a very long time everybody refuses and then almost without a pause almost
everybody accepts” (I have no idea who the quote comes from unfortunately)
What I prefer to read into this rather simplistic quote is… if what you enjoy doing or choose to pursue with your life seems weird or odd to others, it doesn’t matter. And often with enough time, people eventually come around and stop refusing and start paying attention.
So at the risk of sounding completely cheesy self-help slogan-ish… follow your dreams people! No matter how strange others may think they are. Oddballs with unique ideas make the world go round.

****

As a little girl (and as a not so little girl) I loved playing with my Barbie, she was an inspiration to my imagination and I could lose myself in her world. I love that the 2 designer interviews I’ve blogged today both cite Barbie as an inspiration too.

You can buy Margaux’s work on Hannah Zakari.

I hope you’ve enjoyed both interviews today, I’ll be blogging more zine articles over the xmas hols but you can still request a copy of issue 2 by emailing me your address. Issue 1 is no longer available in print I’m afraid, but we’ll have everything up here soon.

Rachael x

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Christmas is nearly here!

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Not long to go now until this crazy madness they call Christmas is over!

I thought I’d share our beautiful Christmas window display, made and installed by Jonathan Chapman aka the wonderful paper cut artist Mr Yen. The only problem with this is that I wish he could come and make our window look pretty all the time!

Jonathan arrived at the shoppe with a portfolio case full of work, ready to work his magic in time for our very first shopping event that evening which was a great success and a brilliant opportunity to show off the window.

I was so, so pleased with it, I hope you like it too…

And inside the shop, my washi tape xmas tree!

I’ve got some special zine blog posts coming up over the xmas hols, and keep your peepers on this blog for info about our website sale…

Rachael x

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HZ in Mollie Makes

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I was very happy to be contacted by Mollie Makes magazine about using one of our lookbook images in their pretty publication. Last week I had a lovely surprise when I received my copy in the post and the image took up a whole page! How sweet this is, I love the pink they’ve used around the edge to frame the picture.

Although I’d heard about Mollie Makes, I’d never had the chance to pick up the magazine, but I’m now hoping someone will get me a subscription for xmas (mum, I know you read this!) as it’s packed with crafty tutorials, beautiful workspace peeks and the prettiest images.

Here’s how Mollie Makes describes itself…
‘Mollie Makes is published thirteen times a year. We curate the best craft from around the world into a tactile, collectable and totally irresistible magazine.
We love to make – handmade is more than just a hobby for us, it’s in everything we do.
We can’t resist hunting down treasures in thrift stores, then customising, re-covering and embellishing our finds with our endless stash of ribbons, buttons, fabrics and felt.
We’re forever on the lookout for new inspiration. Whatever we do, we’re living and loving handmade.’

If it sounds like something you’d like, you can subscribe and stuff here… http://www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk/stitch-craft/mollie-makes-magazine-subscription/
and sign up for their newsletter here:
http://communicatoremail.com/IN/DCF/QcO05dfwZU2EFiVNraORx1/

Thanks Mollie Makes!

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HZ Zine Issue 2!

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Over the summer we printed our first Hannah Zakari zine. We filled it with designer interviews, indie art and tutorials and it was pretty cool. Over the next few weeks I’ll be blogging all of the contents and linking you to many awesome designers and artists…

Today we picked up a sample copy of Zine Issue 2! Yep, we went the whole hog and decided to get it printed and everything – if you’ve ever tried to print, collate, staple and trim hundreds of booklets you will appreciate that we didn’t want to do it ourselves again.

Issue 2 will be a limited run of 250 copies and contains short stories, tutorials, art, etc. It’s edited by me and designed by Gill and I’m going to give you a few wee sneak peeks as to what you can expect inside and out…

We make the zine for free and everyone who contributes does so for free, but we hope that they get something out of it, be it visitors to their blog or new customers.

Issue 2 will be available from the 1st December (hence the advent style cover) and is on a first come first serve basis in our shop. If you are unable to come to the shop, we will post you one, just email us with your address and ‘I’d like a zine please’ as the email title. They are totally free.

I’m super pleased with it, can’t wait to get it out in the shoppe!

Rachael x

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Competition time!

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Not on here, but over on our friend Jayne’s blog. She’s been blogging for 2 years and thought she’d offer her readers a little thank you. So head on over and leave your comments and you could win an HZ Goodie Bag – yay!

All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning is leave a comment on Jayne’s Kitschen telling her what your favourite item on Hannah Zakari is – you get an extra entry if you tweet it to both me and Jayne (@HannahZakari @JayneJRead) or link to the competition on Facebook. You never know, you might find your favourite item in the goodie bag if you win!

Remember – you need to post on Jaynes Kitschen to win (not on here!) and you must @@HannahZakari @JayneJRead@ in your tweets and Facebook (@Hannah Zakari @Jayne’s Kitschen) posts for extra entries.

Good luck!

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Christmas is coming…

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I feel like there’s a lot of ‘firsts’ happening at HZ lately, and here’s another – our very first in-shoppe shopping event! This is to say thank you to all the customers who have supported us at our wee shoppe over the last year and bit, and what better way to do it than with mince pies, mulled wine and discounts! And, you never know what other goodies we might be planning to *give away* on the night…

We’re also super excited about our window display installation by the wonderful paper artist, Mr Yen, who will be with us all day on the 21st November making our window all lovely and festive. Come and say hello and admire his work!

If you can’t make it to our shoppe, don’t worry, we’ll have plenty of nice xmassy things for our web shoppe customers to look forward to in the next few weeks, we would never leave you guys out of the fun!

Rachael x

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Tokyo Day 7: Shimokitazawa

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Shimokitazawa is hands down my favourite area in Tokyo. It’s full of indie, vintage and antique shops, pretty bakery’s, noodle bars,  music venues, and generally has a much more laid back vibe to it. When you come from Shibuya to here it feels like a completely different world.

First thing we did when we got here was to hunt down an awesome antique shop we found last time, and the very nice owner let us take some photos (so rare in Japan!). Just look at how much there is in here, I could spend all day just in this one tiny shop!

So many cute little shops, this one was full of vintage toys, fabric and other bits and bobs. It was so beautifully displayed inside but it was strictly no photos so I only managed one of the outside, which was also pretty adorable.

Lots of the shop fronts were super cute and had great names too!

I really wanted to know what was behind this door…

One of my favourite finds in Shimokitazawa this time was a beautiful little bakery called Kaiso. The constant flow of fresh baked goods being placed on the counter while we ate (they had one table for 2 which we managed to nab – result!) was wonderful and made in the kitchen through the back of the cafe. We each had a coffee, John had a little mushroom pizza and I had a little sourdough roll filled with chocolate chips – sooo tasty!

We finished off our trip to ‘Shimo’ with the obligatory visit to a Japanese Cat Cafe! Not much to say about this, it’s all about the visuals.

After all that fun we went and had an extremely tasty curry for dinner. Perfect day.

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Tokyo Day 6: Yayoi Kusama and Tokyo Designers Week

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Ahhh, day 6 was so good, I wish every day would start with a Yayoi Kusama exhibition. It was a small exhibition compared to the one we went to at the Mori Arts Centre a few years back and was focused on work from the 60’s plus some new videos and songs, seriously good.

When we were finished here, we went along to Tokyo Designers Week. This was the reson we decided to go to Tokyo at this time of year, and it was my first trade show ever. Unfortunately there wasn’t much here that I thought would be suitable to sell at HZ, but it was a fun afternoon none the less. My favourite bits were the Container Exhibition and the Design Boom Mart which featured designers from around the world.

Here are some pictures from my favourite containers…

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