I first met Fliss, the creative genius behind udder, a few years ago. She welcomed me into her gorgeous Queenslander with open arms, handed me a cup of just-made chai and sat me down in the middle of her kitchen (which has since been photographed for Peppermint Magazine!). While our children played we talked about op-shopping, renovating, yoga and children's toys. She showed me her little making space; full of scraps of fabrics, cute buttons and paper patterns.
Her studio has since relocated - to Indonesia. Fliss - artist, wife and muma - moved her family to Bali to expand her creativity in the most sustainable and ethical way possible. Her toys, imbued with a charming sense of quirk and whimsy, are ever-popular. But she's thrilled to announce the small collection - a range of childrenswear made from beautifully hand dyed and hand printed (batik) 100% cotton. The collection includes bloomers, bibs, a nappy clutch and a delightful cape and mask set (for the bandit in all of us).
To celebrate Fliss is offering two giveaways: a cape & mask set (top photo) and a rather endearing bandit penguin (featured above). The first winner, chosen by the random number generator, will get first choice.
To go in draw all you need to do is become a follower of Che & Fidel and 'like' udder on facebook. Easy. Winners will be announced in this post on Friday 18th May.
Update: Comments closed. The Random Number Generator chose #74 Hello Milky and #5 Mrs Knight. Congratulations ladies! x
Read on to find out more about Fliss' inspiration, her Bali experience and the future of udder.
Jodi: Why the name 'udder'?
Fliss: 'Udder' was conceived in my uni days (the 90s). I felt I needed an alias for my work as an artist and designer. I was making these abstract sculptural cows from clay and I wanted a name that not only connected to these works but also something I could identify with. I saw the udder as a vessel - a container of dreams, a giver of life - in terms of the pieces I was making and wanted to make, and an object that conveys humour and playfulness,
Jodi: What inspires you as an artist?
Fliss: For a long time it was artists such as Picasso, Lucie Rie, Basquiat and countries such as Africa (I was made for it!!!) and Asia. I find it in the everyday things, from my immediate surroundings and, of course, the www. - there's this amazing collective of creative people right at my fingertips, yet they're all over the world! Then there's my three kids; with their unbridled imagination and quirky acts of randomness, they're an inspiration in themselves - they were the ones responsible for me creating the udder soft toys in the first place.
Jodi: Why was Bali calling you?
Fliss: We really needed a holiday! And then it grew from there. Seriously, we had already made plans to head over to Indonesia for about a one month break, and then we had a friend's wedding to attend to in Bali. I'd always dreamed of living in Asia somewhere, and with the kids the ages they are and to be able to give them the opportunity to live somewhere totally different, we wanted to make it a reality. So here we are....
Jodi: How has 'udder' evolved since the move?
Fliss: With the move came the desire to grow udder to a point of sustaining us as a family and that meant me not making every single thing. I had made a trip to Bali earlier to check out potential places to help make the toys and I was lucky enough to have found a production house that shared my same beliefs of handmade and ethical. Instead of recycling vintage fabrics, I am able to recycle the exclusive fabrics left over from the seasonal collections of Italian designers. The fabric is beautiful, handmade and hand dyed and printed using traditional Indonesian techniques, but with a modern feel. With this change of material, the toys have been refined but still quite limited due to the availability of fabric - that means limited collections too. I'm finding it challenging but really exciting - if that's possible.
Jodi: What makes udder toys so wonderful?
Fliss: Their personality - you can connect to it, just like making a new friend. This seems to be the case regardless of age. Their unique style is a talking point too...I have put a lot of thought into their look and feel. It's a process that involves the whole family.
Jodi: The future...what does it hold?
Fliss: Lots of things...now that I have a little bit more time. Currently I am working on designing a range of children's clothing and diving back into ceramics too. And there's so many ideas yet to take flight...I have to stay focused! I'll definitely keep you up-to-date though.