HOW IT ALL CAME TO BE
From the desk of Gracia & Louise
Sometime in 2012
We initially began hammer & daisy as a small, rather ill-equipped, gardening business, in the hope that it would provide a little financial aid to the making of our limited edition artists’ books. Our gardening business proved, unsurprisingly, to be a short lived affair. In finding that we greatly favoured the folding of paper to hedge tending and the ridding of weeds from garden bed, by acrobatic leap we transformed it into a journal-making hub. We hung up our spades and trowels and began afresh.
Thus reinvented, hammer & daisy under this new guise could be said to have formed early in 2003 when we adapted an exposed spine, square knot binding technique studied at the Centro del bel Libro in Ascona, Switzerland. What began as a line of hammer & daisy handmade fabric covered journals quickly grew to include a concertina journal, an A6 journal pouch and pencil case, an A7 scribbler, and a parliament of owl pinnies.
Every element of our handmade journals, pouches, pencil cases and owls, was handmade. We folded by hand the paper of every concertina journal and the holes along the spine of every square knot were individually hand-punched, one page at a time. The covers were cut from various fabrics, ironed and glued, ready to be assembled at a later date, and the small brass wires that rested in each saddle section were hand-bent to form tiny right angles. The spine of each each square knot journal was made up by a series of knots, with a single A4 journal requiring 168 square knots.
Finding new fabrics, beautiful tablecloths, and embroidered doillies to fashion into a journal covers or hand sewn pouch proved an enjoyable part of the process. Tea towels from the 1950s sometimes made for fantastical journal covers, we found, and un-wearable skirts could become part of a pouch or pencil case. In addition, we often used quilting fabrics from the UK and US, including reprinted vintage designs from the 30sand 40s with their familiar and beautiful muted colours, and Japanese kimonos, their penchant for a handsome, decorative lining an asset to the fabric hunter. We loved combining new fabrics with old finds, ensuring that each and every piece we made was unique. How could one not?
Along the way, Thelma’s stuffies and pins found room in the caravan craft, and can still be found today through our online store, and Craft upon occasion. Made completely by hand with a full percentage of love by Elaine Haby, oft with her foot on the peddle of her sewing machine and a pin in her mouth, some stuffies sport buttons for noses whilst others display stripes on their stumpy tails. Some have small pockets filled with tiny red felt hearts, others have ears that flop from left to right and back again. Some are rotund and others are lean, and some come with lips that are wide and arms wider still. Differences, quirks and individual mannerisms aside, all leave the sewing room table in search of loving home.
From here, we branched out and added a handful of greeting cards and postcards to the lineup, and this is, today, where our focus lies. We have twenty-three different greeting card and four postcard designs currently available, and all suitable to be sent as festive cheerio, to wish someone well, or to even send by way of apology or in the place of a hug. All are full-colour print on a smooth, matte finish, heavy-weight stock with a matching self adhesive white envelope. We may now no longer trade under the mantle of hammer & daisy, but we are still making crafty things that tickle our fancy and hopefully yours too.
Over the years we stocked our handmade wares, Thelma's stuffies and pins, and greeting cards with Art Gallery of Western Australia, Arthur’s Circus, Craft (formerly Craft Victoria), Distracted, Greville Street Bookstore, High Tea with Mrs Woo, Iris & Hazel, Lee Mathews Workroom, Meet Me at Mikes, One Penny Black Expresso Bar, Readings, Safari Living, Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery, Warrnambool Art Gallery, Wilkins & Kent, and others.
That, dear friends, is the story today. hammer & daisy proved above all to be changeable. Today, as the name hammer & daisy grows fainter, we trade under our names and are pursuing our love of making new greeting cards and postcards. What would the point of a small business be if it were not one that enabled us to make things we love as we please? We are all for the changeable beast!
Please visit our online store to see what we are making today.
Yours beholden to handmade and reinvention,
Gracia & Louise