Mel really embodies what we love about our local artisans! Her mind is a wild and wonderful place that she lets roam free to create some truly stunning earrings and other unique items! She is a market local and if you’ve ever hit us up on Facebook, there is a good chance Mel was the one responding! Dive into all things TOOTZZI below!
1. Why jewellery and when did you start?
Mum, you may know her as my market neighbour – Kathy Valks of @bellyfirepottery, planted the seed back when I was just a young teenager. We used to do artisan markets together where I once made jewellery from leather and beach-combed treasures from our local beaches. I’ve always had an interest in jewellery making, I even dabbled in silversmith work. Then the creative itch resurfaced in 2010 where I put my hands to polymer clay and I haven’t looked back since. I officially launched my label on the Sunshine Coast in 2016 and wow, hasn’t TOOTZZI evolved in that time!
2. Where do you find your inspiration from?
Random things to be frank. Australian landscapes and flora play a massive part! Beach vibes get me every summer, actually, all seasons subconsciously inspire me. Colourways from fabrics, abstract paintings and interior design. I also like to play on things that people are familiar with.⠀
3. How long did it take you to find your rhythm in making a product that you were happy with?
I think that rhythm has almost been genetic for me. I’ve been surrounded by clay making since before I was born and I’ve come to appreciate that it is a discipline that demands flexibility and adaptability. You can have this grand plan of what something might be but ultimately, the clay with do what the clay wants to do. So I have had to be open-minded with my design style and adapt along the way.
4. Favourite thing to do as a family?
Beach…hands down. Blessed by endless beach beauty here on the Coast!
5. How many kiddos do you have and what do you do when you get all your work done?
I am blessed with two sons that keep me grounded every day and a husband that backs my creative ventures all the way. When I’m not wearing my “Mum” hat, I’m all TOOTZZI, but I must confess…I’m a mega night owl. I thrive in the still of the night.
6. The best part of the market morning for you?
Talking to people. I’m useless on a stage but get me on the ground and talking to folks that share the love of handmade and you won’t shut me up!