30 December 2012

Love From Hetty & Dave

Cashmere slugs and leather cuckoo clocks - such things may sound like an oddity to most. However for Zoe Larkins, these curious objects are commonplace in her day-to-day life.

Zoe is the creator and designer of 'Love From Hetty & Dave', a specialist accessories label offering hand-stitched leather jewellery, along with a few other quirky crafts. More often than not, you can find her working at the back of boutique-cum-workshop in Pokesdown, Bournemouth, stitching yet another brooch or customised collar.

Love From Hetty & Dave

"Crafting is all I do," Zoe tells me, as she sews. "I literally am always making, sewing, or knitting – just anything that involves being creative. I don't think I'd do anything else. It's my hobby and my work; it's my passion.

"The thought of not creating stuff is my worst nightmare. I work all day here, then I go home and do some more work, because I love it. And if I don't do any sewing or something for just a couple of days, I feel like something is missing."

Love From Hetty & Dave

Zoe jokingly asks if she comes across as mental. But what I see is not craft-making insanity, but rather a strong commitment to her trade. And combined with her creative flair, it is because of this commitment that Love From Hetty & Dave has gathered such a large audience. Particularly in the summer of 2008, when Zoe made a leather heart brooch for the late-singer Amy Winehouse.

"When Amy Winehouse wore the Blake brooch I made for her, that was when things really took off. Although just before that, I started making monsters called "Gaborgs". I made an Amy Winehouse one, a Russell Brand and a Lily Allen - and they just went nuts. All the press wanted pictures of those. And actually, the Blake heart that I made for Amy came from doing this doll of her.

"So I sent the heart to her, and then she wore it for the whole of summer 2008, to all her concerts, everything. And at the time, I was selling at Spitalfields Market, so I was right there in front of the public, and my orders just shot up. And that was when I realised I could actually quit my job and do Love From Hetty & Dave full-time."

Love From Hetty & Dave

Zoe and her accessories label moved away from London to the quieter Pokesdown in 2010, but that did not stop Love From Hetty & Dave from expanding. The boutique at 864 Christchurch Road is an emporium of colour and wonderful creations, including fox and blue tit brooches, cat and mouse shoes, leather budgies, and - perhaps the most popular item on offer - slugs made from lambswool jumpers. Although why they are so popular, even Zoe can only speculate.

"It is a mystery," she says matter-of-factly. "I guess because everyone actually hates slugs, but mine are just quite cheeky looking. And they're made out of really lovely lambswool or cashmere, from old jumpers that had shrunk. They've got nice goggly eyes and big smiles. And I think people just find them amusing. But the weird thing is there is no practical use for them. They're just a thing."

Love From Hetty & Dave

Zoe's personal favourite, however, is a cuckoo clock necklace, the largest and possibly the most detailed piece of jewellery in her collection - "It was a bit of an overindulgent thing for me to do, because it took so many hours. But it's really nice to get my teeth into something like that sometimes. It's pretty expensive and it's a bit mad, and I'm not sure whether many people would wear it, but I just really love it. I've got a thing for cuckoo clocks and Swiss chalets anyway."

Love From Hetty & Dave

With the rise of Etsy and trade in handmade kitsch, one could argue that Zoe has to now take on a fresh generation of competition. But since designing the accessories for her friend's final-year fashion show, a decade ago at the Kent Institute of Art & Design, Zoe has established herself as a respected and widely-recognised professional in her trade. Even if that does includes the occasional autograph for a fan - "I find it quite funny that I'm almost treated a bit like a celebrity crafter."

Love From Hetty & Dave is most definitely a fun jewellery and accessories label to keep in mind for 2013. If you are ever visiting or passing through Bournemouth, pop by Zoe's shop to have a genuine feel and look of her adorable crafts.

Love From Hetty & Dave

(Love From Hetty & Dave jewellery is available at: www.lovefromhettyanddave.co.uk)

© Joseph Kent / www.unlimitedbyjk.com

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