IN A DIGITAL AGE, WE ALL DO A LITTLE BIT OF STALKING. SOME OF THE BEST LEADS MIRAGE EVER GETS ARE VIA A LITTLE BIT OF DEEP TRAWLING OF THE SOCIAL WEB – SUCH AS FINDING WHITE SPACE CRAFTS ON INSTAGRAM ONE EVENING AND THINKING, ‘GOSH, SOME OF THAT LOOKS PRETTY DARN CUTE – WHOEVER MAKES THOSE IS WORTH A CHAT’.
So it was one morning I sat down with Wendy Parkes, AKA White Space Crafts, at The Good Oil in Wallsend to chat about her craft, pop-up shops and inspiration…
White Space Crafts
By Kian West
Tell me a little bit about yourself, Wendy?
Wendy: Well, um… I’ve dabbled in just about every kind of making thing ever – this one [making terrariums] just sort of stuck. So I was just kind of making them at home, and then I got too many, then friends and family wanted them, and then eventually my fiancé was like, ‘OK, this is getting a bit ridiculous, you need to sell some because we have nowhere to put them’. I just kept coming up with new ideas for them.
Yep. Succulents and cactus. So all low-care plants [that] pretty much anyone can look after. I don’t like to give anyone something that will die. Pretty much, if you follow my care instructions and don’t water it too much, then you’re fine.
What did you make before that?
Pretty well everything: painting, drawing, paper craft, sewing…
You just hadn’t found the right outlet for being creative?
This was just something that apparently other people liked [chuckles]. Apparently all my stuff before that, people didn’t like. I’ve always done it just for fun.
You’re in the pop-up shop at Westfield?
Yes, Creative Village.
Do you do the markets?
Pretty much every Sunday I do the farmers’ markets [at the Showground] – that’s my regular one. It’s surprising, all my regulars come there. I also do the Olive Tree Market, Hunt & Gather, all the random ones out at Speers Point Park – pretty much if I can squeeze it in.
When you aren’t at all the markets, where do you like to hang out?
Do you know Bonta Vera in Minmi? We go there almost every Sunday.
Do you grow your own plants or do you need to buy them?
Sometimes, yeah – at Christmas I was totally cleared out, so I’ve gotten some plants from a beautiful old lady down on the Central Coast; she grows them from home, her little retirement thing, so I pop down and see her every now and then. There are a couple of other people who grow them from home that I’ll get them from as well. A few back-up plans.
Who inspires you?
Maybe not one person, but the creative community, I guess. The people I’m around in Creative Village, you just have to walk around and look at all of their stuff… Leah, the organiser of Creative Village; Concrete Crush; Hangin Spaces.
You do workshops as well – who turns up?
My demographic is pretty broad. Women mostly, but some men as well. Ages four to 80.
Are they normally already creative?
Both. I don’t normally structure the workshop – you can tell. The people who aren’t so creative just need a little more guidance.
If you could teach Novocastrians one thing?
Just start it!
Just start that project?
Yeah. So many people procrastinate.
What’s next for 2017?
Oh, now? Ummmm…
Well, the future?
Yes, I might need a little more time [laughs] to not be pigeonholed for just terrariums! I want to bring in other ranges – not necessarily plants, either – as ethical as I can make them, locally or Australian-made. A few things in the mix.
You know where to find her: at all the best markets in Newcastle, or stop by the Creative Village pop-up shop inside Westfield Kotara (while it lasts). Make sure you follow White Space Crafts on Facebook and Instagram, especially if you’re keen on a workshop.