We're back with our creative women series, and this week we're thrilled to feature Emma Shepherd.
is the creative venture of Melbourne based weaver, Emma Shepherd. Sundance Studio offers a thoughtful curation of work, made slowly in their Mornington Peninsula based studio. Each piece is made by hand, imbued with connection and care.
Emma's intricate, woven textiles are created out of a love for hand weaving and a desire to preserve the knowledge and skills of this craft. Using the highest quality natural materials, her pieces are woven by hand from start to finish at Emma's studio on the Mornington Peninsula. We loved chatting with Emma about her creative process, inspirations and current projects.
We are thrilled to invite you to a special Weaving Workshop with Emma, and an exhibition of her beautiful works, at our Flinders Store next month.
Emma in her studio on the Mornington Peninsula.
Tell us about your professional journey - highlights, learnings, mentors.
God, I have never had a plan or vision for where weaving would take me, so every opportunity and success feels really exciting. Some highlights have included a month long weaving residency in Iceland, and exhibitions in the Craft Vitrine Gallery and Brunswick St Gallery. I’m also really proud to have work included in the curations of my beautiful stockists. The highs and lows of trying to make something creative into more than a hobby have been more intense than I had anticipated. I think finding ways of feeling successful aside from making money have been crucial ~ connecting with other creative people and my community, as well as trying to appreciate the small wins have been really important. My mentors would have to be my weaving friends! I think there’s a real understanding of why we love the craft, as well as it’s unique challenges, which means they are such a support to me.
Describe your creative process
I often have about 4-5 different projects on the go, whether there’s a pile of sewing waiting to happen, some work to photograph, a warp waiting to be woven. I weave most days, working on commissions or work for stockists, and if I have spare time I spend it developing new mini collections. If I feel stuck, I often have a flick through of some of the many books I have collected, or I put together little colour palettes of yarn.
Emma at work in Sundance Studio.
What are you working on right now, personally and professionally?
I’m currently working on a project to weave the hems and a valance for a theatre in Oberon, which will consist of weaving 30m of cloth so that’s exciting if intimidating! I’m also slowly restoring an old Counter Balance loom that was generously given to me.
Favourite self care ritual/s to unwind?
A long shower (we are on tank water phew!), lighting a candle and reading a book.
Favourite travel experience/s?
Hiking through Arnhem Land years ago remains a treasured memory. Skiing in Japan, a road trip round New Zealand for a month.
Discovering waterholes in Arnhem Land.
What makes you feel most alive?
Going for a swim, somehow the ocean never gets too warm here in Flinders so it’s always a bit of a shock to the system!
What are you looking forward to?
Taking a break ~ it hasn’t happened in a while, and it can be particularly hard to switch off when I love what I do so much, but I think everyone needs to stop sometimes.
Who or what is inspiring you right now?
Working with creative people like Sophie from Aestas to bring about new work and have an exhibition in her space is really magical. I always come away from chats with creative people feeling reinvigorated. There’s so much incredible work out there to be inspired by, but to actually talk to someone and expand ideas and think in new ways is special.
Hand woven bags by Emma Shepherd.
Insider home town tips?
There’s an abundance of beautiful walks and beaches on the Mornington Peninsula, as well as many great wineries. There are some really awesome creative folk who have been migrating down to the Peninsula over the last few years, so more great new things have popped up like Stoker Studio + Higher Ground Yoga + lot’s of cute cafes and shops.
Inside Emma's beautiful studio on the Mornington Peninsula.
Summer is our favourite season, what’s a song, taste and place that reminds you of summer?
Taste: Stone fruit.
Place: Drinking gin in the garden.
Learn to weave with Emma on this sweet mini loom at the Aestas boutique.
Some words or a motto you live by?
Have a crack ~ the result often doesn’t look like what I imagined, but I never regret it (even if the lesson is to not to that thing again!).