Friday, 20 March 2015


Gemma Patford loves the freedom of craft. “If I can hot glue it, I can work with it,” she says. “I call myself a versatile maker.” The Melbourne-based maker has become known for her rope baskets, which have allowed her to travel the world teaching people about her techniques. Gemma has held workshops in conjunction with Knot & Bow in Brooklyn, Bloesem Blogs in Singapore and Design Love Fest in LA, as well as more local venues such as Koksela in Sydney and Pop & Scott in Melbourne. Gemma also has a background in fashion and creates wedding cakes too - which she also sometimes teaches in workshops.

Which five words best describe you? Loud, red, funny, short, busy.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? It happened so organically. I have always been cutting and pasting. My dad was a painter and decorator and my mum is a wonderful drawer. I've always been surrounded by creative spaces and half-finished projects. I don't think it really started anywhere. I think it’s in my blood.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Never doubt yourself - just jump in. The proof of your worth is always in your work. If you’re proud of your work then be proud of yourself!

What’s your proudest career achievement? Delivering workshops in Singapore for Bloesem Blogs and in LA for Design Love Fest was really fun. I get my biggest thrills from meeting new people at craft markets. Often they come up and tell me what they love about the art and it takes me on such a wild ride - I love it!

What’s been your best decision? To re-brand to Gemma Patford. I used to run a small clothing label under another name, and I found it too constraining. Under my own name, I can do whatever I want. It’s so liberating.

Who inspires you? Everyone and everything. From ceramists to chefs to coffee baristas to nature to my friends, everyone. I am so fortunate to be surrounded and supported by some really top people.

What are you passionate about? About doing what I want, when I want. It’s harder done than said, but I really believe in the freedom of my work.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I have my list of favourite women who I adore. Julia Busuttil Nishimura (Julia Ostro) is one of my all time faves, Tina Fey would be incredible. Dolly Parton, I understand she makes candles in her spare time - what a woman!

What dream do you still want to fulfil? Oh, my. Ummmmm, I am not sure! I am four months pregnant and I can’t see past that at the moment. I can’t wait to launch all of my collaborations this year, but I am so behind in all of them - eeek! I suppose my dream is to be able to continue doing what I am doing forever! 

What are you reading? Amy Poehler's memoir Yes Please.

images courtesy of gemma patford

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