Tell us about you
I’m one half of TrishAlan Designs, the Alan is my husband. I have always loved doing craft even when it was considered nerdy. My grandmother taught me to crochet when I was 7 yrs old and from then on I would give anything a go.
I enjoy encouraging newcomers to have a go at craft. This is what I try to do via my weekly craft column for a local magazine and the radio segment I do on Brisbane Radio 4BC. Even though I ‘do craft’ for a living, I still do it for relaxation. I also love most forms of Motor Racing. Even at the races though I take craft for the boring bits in between races. Alan calls it my Security Craft.
How did TrishAlan Designs come about?
Both of us are creative, we always had plans to open our own business. The original plan was that I would give up work and start, Alan would continue in his job for a bit longer. We had a name picked out that would reflect that direction. As it turned out Alan got sick of his job first, so we started the business with a slightly different focus than originally planned. The name didn’t fit the new direction but we couldn’t think of anything particularly clever. So we just combined our names. I got first billing simply because AlanTrish Designs sounded wrong.
Primarily we made rustic timberwork products, I designed the cross stitch charts and needlework designs. I dropped back to part time work the same time as introducing the hand dyed threads. I’m an embroiderer so was initially more interested in dyeing threads. I began dyeing fabric after numerous requests from quilters and sewers. We rarely do the timberwork anymore.
Tell us about your products
Everything that we sell, we make, with the exception of DMC threads. We only stock those because I use them in my Cross Stitch Charts. We dye silk, cotton and rayon threads and fabric. Our dyeing method is significantly different to other hand dyers. Our Eco Dyeing method was developed by me due to the severe water restriction we had in South East Queensland. We use a lot less water than traditional low water immersion dyeing. We design cross stitch charts and needlework designs, kumihimo supplies and kits. These are all available online. From our shop we also make and sell buttons, clothes, accessories and gifts. These items vary dramatically depending on how much time we have.
Gosh, that’s like asking who your favourite child is. At the moment I would have to say the book I just wrote on Kumihimo (Japanese braiding).
Where do you find inspiration for new products/designs?
Inspiration can come from two places, customer feedback and a champagne glass. Seriously though, customer feedback is vital. It is the reason I wrote the Kumihimo book. Class participants found it difficult to get books and information written for Australian Braiders. Inspiration for new designs usually is the result of our regular brainstorming sessions.
What does the future hold for TrishAlan Designs?
At the moment we are trying to balance our wholesale business with the retail. Alan primarily deals with wholesale customers which leaves me time to do the dyeing. We both share the retail workload. With the exception of the Eco Dyed Fabric and Threads, Kumihimo and Needlework Designs all of our other products have developed from a strong belief in the old adage ‘waste not want not’. We made a commitment this year to further develop this product range. We are currently enjoying the challenge of modifying unwanted items into the desirable.
Get your fill of the beautiful TrishAlan tie dyed fabrics at The Oz Material Girls.
And pop back here tomorrow when we will share a fun and easy sewing tutorial by Trish, showcasing some of her gorgeous fabrics.