Big Heart Company and Su Wolf is a creative collaboration which makes a range of textile, hand-printed products – pillow cases, dish cloths, bags, bunting – anything which involves mixing fabrics and incorporating silk-screened images. They love rescuing and re-purposing vintage handwork and fabrics too, and put these to good use! Everything they produce is so obviously made with love!
1. Tell us more about how ‘Su Wolf in cahoots with Big Heart Company’ came about.
Ethne Attlee and I met in January last year when I took a roll of fabric to her workshop, Big Heart Company, to be cut and sewn. We discovered we shared many passions and decided to do something together. We applied for the big craft fair in October, Kamersvol Geskenke, and a range of products just grew from there.
2. Which parts of the production process do you do yourselves and what do you contract out?
I originate the screens and do the printing and Big Heart Company do the pattern cutting and sewing. Ethne and I both work on creative ideas and Tracy, Ethne’s fabulous daughter, keeps track of ratings, money, wholesale etc. We don’t contract anything out!
3. Your products are such fun – which part of making them do you enjoy the most?
My favourite part is combining the different patterns and colours of fabrics on my cosmetic purses – getting the balance just right is very satisfying! I also love making my fabric, sewn cards – again, it’s all about being enveloped in pattern and colour.
4. What are the biggest challenges and rewards of running your own small creative business in Cape Town?
Availability and consistency of fabric is sometimes a problem and relying only on Capetonians as a market could be limiting if one wanted to grow. On the plus side Cape Town is a tourist destination which presents a lot of exciting opportunities and the Cape Craft and Design Institute (CCDI) is a very dynamic and nurturing organisation for Cape crafters.
5. How would you like to see ‘Big Heart Company’ develop in the coming years?
I would love the Big Heart label to grow wings and for Tracy to fly with it in the future. The Su Wolf side I’d like to keep small; with unique, high-input items made for love rather than money (yes, yes, I know it’s silly….).
6. Apart from once a month at the Treasury Market, where can people buy your products?
Ethne is at the Neighbour Good’s Market at the Biscuit Mill in Salt River every Saturday morning. Our website links to our online shop. I also have a fledgling online shop for my Su Wolf goodies.
7. Where do you go to find inspiration? Do you have any online inspiration links to share?
Inspiration is just everywhere – the unexpected juxtaposition of colours on a supermarket shelf, a broken tea cup in a junk shop. There are lots of creators who take our breath away – have a look at Lotta Jansdotter and Rob Ryan . And the online creative emporium Etsy is just wonderful!