Tying up Loose Ends With Studio Dawn Founder & Macrame Artist Chelsie Dawn

Posted by Lauren Thompson on Jun 28, 2022 2:53:04 PM

 

From mindful craft kits and workshops, to colourful plant hangers, pots, and accessories — founder Chelsie brings the meditative practice of macrame to anyone seeking to tap into their creativity. Bursting with colour and positivity, Studio Dawn exists to remind people to show up for themselves, and take the time to create something just for the love of it. We chat to Chelsie about how she got into making her colourful crafts, and teaching techniques to others.

 

Hi Chelsie, please tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into macrame?

 

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I’m Chelsie, a twenty-something self-proclaimed crafty gal; I’ve always had an affinity for making and creating in any way the wind takes me, ha! I spent the start of my working life in the hospitality industry making coffee for the masses, before the pandemic left me at home twiddling my thumbs. Macrame came to me almost by accident when I needed something to soothe my mind and occupy my hands whilst we were in lockdown.

 

What inspired you to make a business out of your art?

 

Have you ever heard of the Japanese concept of Ikigai? It’s when something you love turns out to also be the thing that you’re good at, the thing you can be paid to do, and the thing the world needs. For me, Mindful Macrame is all of these things. I’ve never found something I love more, and it certainly is something the world needs — even if people don’t know it yet!

 

Tell us about your workspace. What does it look like and what’s the vibe?

 

Plants, plants, and MORE PLANTS! I’ve actually just moved studios to a bigger space, it’s gorgeous. Picture a warm wooden floor, with plants, lamps and cushions everywhere. My studio is my second home, so I’ve made it feel as homey as possible — it’s a mixture of super comfy cosy but also nice and organised. There’s art everywhere too, of course. It’s got to be an inspirational space if you want to create,  right?

 

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You describe your pieces as ‘mindful macrame’ — can you tell us more about when and how your art and the concept of mindfulness intertwined? What does mindfulness mean to you?

 

Mindfulness has been intertwined with macrame since the craft began; there’s something about tying knots that focuses and centres your mind. It’s meditative, you can get lost in yourself just spending time knotting cords, it’s extremely cathartic. For me, I began macrame as a way to pass the time, but I found mindfulness in the craft that I hadn’t expected - I’d tried meditation, yoga, breathwork, and while they’re all great I’d never found mindfulness in these practises as much as when I was sat on the floor tying knots with my hands.

It’s now so ingrained into the fibres of my business. My Mindful Macrame craft kits allow others to find this presentness in the craft that I had found for myself. I knew that not many people understood that they could find this in what seems like an everyday craft, so I wanted to make it accessible for everyone. That’s where the kits began; I just knew I had to share the mental benefits of the craft with others. It’s changed my life and I knew it could do the same for everyone else.

 

Your designs feature a broad range of colours, from bold hues to soft pastels - they cheer us up just looking at them! How do you decide which colours to work with?

 

You should see my wardrobe! I’ve always been drawn to colour. I don’t think I own anything black, white or grey, it just doesn’t work for me. The colours I work with in my pieces are just the ones I’m drawn to, I started with three colours and over time I carefully selected others for my core range. Each one had to give me that feeling, I don’t know how to describe it but every colour in my range has made my soul sing in some way, so I knew it had to be added to my collection. There are twelve colours in my core range now and if another one is added, one has to go — otherwise, I’d have hundreds of colours!

 

You also make beautiful pots and lamps, we can’t get enough of them! How do you decide what new products to add to your range, and what is your process like when it comes to creating new designs? What inspires you?

 

For me, growth in my business has to feel organic — after making plant hangers since the dawn of my business I knew I’d always wanted to create my own plant pots, I just didn’t know how. I’m certainly no ceramicist, but luckily I found an amazing eco-friendly resin material (Jesmonite) that creates the most gorgeous plant pots.

 

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I’m heavily inspired by nature in so many ways; when I’m designing new products I’ve always got the environment in mind. Is what I’m creating sustainable? Is it planet-friendly? Recyclable? Long-lasting? I love to work with materials that come from nature, that are kind to nature, and that even emulate nature. Take the cord I use, it’s 100% recycled cotton — it’s come from nature, it’s recycled so it’s kind to nature, and the knots I tie with it are curving and twisting, just like the way plants grow.

Whatever comes next for my business, it has to feel like a natural next step — it can be hard to trust your intuition sometimes but it hasn’t let me down yet!

 

Your macrame kits are a wonderfully accessible way of bringing this craft to others, we love this! You also offer Mindful Macrame workshops, as well as Jesmonite workshops - how did this element of teaching and sharing knowledge come about in your craft?

 

When I first discovered macrame, other people frequently told me that they’d always wanted to learn but couldn’t quite grasp it. The resources available online weren’t accessible or easily understandable which frustrated me, because I knew how much macrame could help people if they could only be taught in a way that made sense.

 

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Having grown up working in hospitality, I’ve always loved people. I’m just about the chattiest, most social creature you could find, so teaching definitely comes naturally to me. When I first created the Mindful Macrame kits it was during lockdown. They came about as a way to teach people remotely, since we obviously couldn’t meet in person, but as soon as I was safely able to host classes I was ready for it. There’s something to be said about the workshop environment. Inviting people into a warm, cosy, and relaxing space gives them the right mindset to learn. Honestly, all I want in this life is to improve the lives of other people, and I know that showing them self-care and mindfulness through creativity can do that.

 

What do you want people to take away from your art and your workshops?


There’s something that anyone who’s been to a workshop or even bought a macrame kit has heard me say: it isn’t about what you make, in fact, you can make the wonkiest piece in the world and it doesn’t matter — what matters is that you’ve shown up for yourself by choosing to create. You’ve set time aside to do something just for you. Not for work, for profit, or for somebody else, just for you. We don’t do that often enough in this life, and it shows. We need to put ourselves first more often, you can’t pour from an empty cup, and creativity is one of the best cup-filling activities in the world.

 

What words would you use to describe how you feel when you’re in a creative flow?

 

Euphoric. Zen. Free. At peace.

 

What has been your biggest challenge so far with running Studio Dawn?

 

Taking big leaps. About a year after I started Studio Dawn I was thinking about quitting my day job and going full-time self-employed, that was absolutely terrifying! It was like pulling the safety net out from under myself, and it caused a lot of self-doubt and sleepless nights. But, I wouldn’t change it for the world; waking up every day and choosing what to do is the most fulfilling experience I’ve ever had.

The same can be said for all of the choices I’ve made. Recently I said yes to a bigger studio space. This came with more risk, higher costs, and a lot of self-doubt. I felt like I wasn’t ready, or that I needed to be further along in my business first, but I said yes anyway and now I wonder how I ever thought this wouldn’t be the right decision!

 

What do you enjoy most about your work?

 

The freedom of expression, for sure. I love that I’m able to choose exactly what to make. If I have an idea I can go into the studio and make it happen, I don’t need to run it by anyone or wonder if it fits into the brand. I am the brand! So, anything that comes from me fits in!

 

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How did the pandemic affect the business and what did you learn?

 

My business actually began in the pandemic whilst I wasn’t able to work at my coffee shop. When I started my business I learned that one of the best qualities to have is to be adaptable; my girlfriend taught me that early on. Buying patterns changed from the norm, there were demands for unexpected items, people expected different things and right from the start of my business, I had to stay one step ahead of all these things. It taught me a lot about listening to what people want and need, and knowing how to adapt what you do to that — because where would we be without our customers?! It made me realise that every business needs multiple avenues so that we’re able to adapt to whatever comes next.

 

When and why did you decide to start selling your products wholesale, and how did this affect your business?

 

When I first imagined my products in shops, I really didn’t know how to go about it. I contacted a friend of mine who owns a plant shop about stocking some plant hangers, but beyond that, I didn’t know how to price my products, how to contact new buyers, or even how to properly package my products. It was definitely a learning curve, but once I’d jumped those hurdles I got a bunch of orders from all over the world — now my products are stocked in New York, Spain, Austria, and so many places I never expected! It means that so many people are able to find my products now, and a lot of these are people I couldn’t reach myself. Having stockists allows so many more people to find my creations, and I’m beyond grateful for this. My business wouldn’t be nearly as successful if it wasn’t for all of my stockists.

 

What has been Studio Dawn’s proudest achievement?

 

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My girlfriend and I have always wanted to travel in a campervan. Since we first met six years ago it’s been a shared dream of ours. Well, this year after two years of Studio Dawn existing, we bought our van solely with all the profits from this business. Every order, every workshop, every market — everything has helped us save up for our dream. I couldn’t be more proud that a business I started from my living room floor has allowed us to do this. We’re in the process of converting it from a blank van to a home on wheels, and we could never have done it without Studio Dawn.

I was also recently contacted by a shop I’ve always wanted to be stocked in, I can’t say any more than that right now but I could never have imagined that happening to me!

 

Any advice for beginners in your craft looking to start a business?

 

Don’t wait until you feel ready, because you absolutely never will be. Start now, start today, even if it’s just a small step like setting up your social media or brainstorming your first product. Just dive in! All the fear is in the anticipation, you’ll make it up to be a big scary thing in your head when really, you’ll get stuck in and wonder why you waited this long. The feeling is unlike anything else, you’ll feel so much pride in what you do, even if it’s something small. You can do it! 

That, and save all your receipts! There’s nothing like the mad dash of doing your business expenses just before the deadline, and not being able to find your receipts.

 

Thank you so much for speaking to us. You can shop Studio Dawn wholesale with CREOATE, and follow them on Instagram here.

Tags: Growing a Business, Meet the Maker, Creoate


Lauren Thompson

Written by Lauren Thompson





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