Kombi Nation started out as a weekend market stall showcasing clothing and collectibles gathered up on travels overseas. Hefty suitcases were furtively brought home, rustled through airports bursting with unique finds.
Stock for the stall was carried to the market in a beloved, uber-cool vintage 1974 VW Kombi Van. It was useful, admired by many and gave authenticity to the Kombi Nation name.
The market stall then quickly grew into a permanent shop, with sewing workroom where vintage kitchenalia sits alongside unique, made in New Zealand clothing and accessories.
I worked in the rag-trade (as the clothing industry was called) for 40 years from factory, to wholesale and retail sales, to product design. Over time mass-production of the same item over and over felt relentless and soul-less.
My inspiration comes from the fabrics and collectibles I have around me. I visualise connections in texture, colour and pattern, then morph these together in my mind. This fascination grew to making large mixed-media murals about early New Zealand history called Handmade Histories. Several murals are now used in education in schools, museums and libraries and two are available as banner books.
I’m dedicated to finding creative solutions for scraps of fabrics and remnants, making something ordinary into a one-of-a-kind. I'm also passionate about sharing my love of sewing. Kombi Nation is not only about making product but also sharing the joy of using using tradition old foot-treadle and hand-turned machines, especially with the generations of children who only know the digital experience.