Aussies on Etsy – Pardalote

Today we meet Michelle of Pardalote on Etsy.

With a gorgeously eclectic array of designs – from hand-turned wood to robots and pirates – Michelle’s “diverse selection…reflects my continual search for something that’s individual and original.”

Zigzag Huon Pine Earrings by Pardalote on Etsy

NAME: Michelle Hamill
AGE: 30s
HOMETOWN: Hobart, currently living in Melbourne

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself…
Hi, my name is Michelle, and I am a bead addict. Jokes aside, I am truly hooked on the endless variety that a small object-with-a-hole can create. I’ve been making objects with beads for nearly 20 years: I love the flexibility and the scope for my crazy, creative wanderings. “I really need to find a good niche and settle down.”

2) What time of day are you at your creative best?
I feel most inspired and energetic in the mornings. That’s when I end up jotting down ideas, sketching out patterns and notice beauty and patterns in the spaces and places around me. Unfortunately, it’s also when I’m at my ‘day job’ so I end up sending myself little emails home “try these colours together” or “make a peyote star necklace”. Then I’m at home in the evenings and can sit down and *make*, and have some little gems in my inbox time capsule from my ‘office-self’.

Broock - French Beaded Greens by Pardalote on Etsy

3) Where do you find your inspiration? Do you have any ‘rituals’ to help put you in the creative state-of-mind?
I find inspiration everywhere! In a pattern on a passers-by shirt, in the way a leaf catches morning sunshine, in a reflection in a building… I have too many ideas and not enough focus! But when I do need to sit down and start designing, one of the things I do ritually, is start by creating palettes of colours. I have a large selection of beads, and usually have a colour ‘feel’ in mind. I sort through all of my beads and run a few passes of filtering over, starting by picking out any that match that feeling I have and progressively eliminating those that don’t fit. It’s a colour brainstorming session really, and it often ends up with discards that form mini palettes I then put aside as an idea for a future piece.

4) How do you squeeze crafting into your busy life?
I’ve always made things. Since I was a child, my mum has always been a crafter, yarn crafts and quilting, and passed these passions onto me. My dad has always worked in wood, lathework and carving, and while he worked his day job, he gradually built up his craft and now he spends all his time turning wood, so I get my ‘time in craft’ from both sides of the family.
But, that aside:
I don’t watch much tv (maybe 5 or 6 hours a week). Even when I do watch tv, I can’t sit still unless I’m also making something simple, like knitting.
Also, I don’t have children – and as an ex-teacher, I know how much time caring for children involves. I tip my hat to all the mums who craft and sell their beautiful work.

5) What are you working on now?
Right now, I’m making myself a peyote bracelet/cuff. I saw a lady on the tram tonight in a gorgeous top in black and ivory that was extremely geometric. It was so striking, I knew right away I needed to make myself something that echoed that.
In Etsyland though, I’m currently working on building up my new shop ‘invaded’ that will specialise in my geeky gamer, space invader, robot jewelry. At the same time I’m streamlining my ‘pardalote’ store to a more focused approach; I’m going to narrow down to two more elegant ranges: simple modern beadwoven pieces and classic french beadwork. Also I’m slowly building up stock and stock lists to either run a market stall or prepare for wholesale orders, as I’ve had a few enquiries lately and don’t feel like I’m prepared properly at the moment. It’s been a few years since I supplied stores, and I need to ‘do it right’.

Robot Earrings - Lenny and Friend by Pardalote on Etsy

6) What three tools could you not live without?
Wow. That’s a tough question.
1. Needle. The beadweaving staple tool. A million stitches in a zillion colours, all with a needle. Can’t do without that!
2. Flush cutters. I love my flush cutters! They were a very expensive investment at the time. “Made in italy? But they are just snippers!”. But they’ve lasted for years, and my wire work is much better now that I have neat ends.
3. My partner (who by the way saw this being drafted and told me it was TLDB: too long, didn’t bead!). I absolutely need to have someone supportive around to bounce ideas off and give honest opinions about what works and doesn’t. He’s got a great ‘eye’ which I really value, as it’s quite different from mine. So while I can’t say he’s a tool (not without a very grumpy reaction!) he’s definitely an element of my creating I couldn’t do with out. I have never been able to work in a vacuum, I’m 200% better when I’m in a team.

Be sure and check out Michelle’s geek-inspired shop at Invaded on Etsy.

She also blogs at

You can see more of Michelle’s work in pictures at Flickr

And if you like what you see, become a fan of Michelle’s on Facebook

Thanks for sharing a bit about yourself with us Michelle!  I’m always in awe of jewellers who work with seed-beads – you guys rock!

A question though… the origin of your shop name?



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