Monday, 11 June 2012

Inspiring Designer-Makers | Getting To Know Ma Magasin

Ma Bicyclette: Inspiring Designer-Makers | Getting To Know Ma Magasin

Sarah Fordham of Ma Magasin uses cross stitch to create wonderfully kitsch jewellery, accessories & decorative homewares. Her oversized cross stitch badges have even been spotted on Fearne Cotton! Want to know more? Read our interview with the maker!

First things first, when did you start making your cross-stitch creations? Are you self taught and do you have a creative background?
It really started half way through my Fine Art degree. I had been told by tutors that I couldn't paint (to be fair, it was pretty obvious) and through the work I was doing at the time, it seemed fitting to try some traditional crafts so I taught myself tapestry. When I left university I became obsessed with the idea of having my own shop one day, but also thought I should continue working with needlepoint. I had attempted cross-stitch once or twice in the past but hadn't really taken to it, and thought I'd give it another go and something must have clicked as I haven't stopped!

Ma Bicyclette: Inspiring Designer-Makers | Getting To Know Ma Magasin
Tell us a little bit about your making process, where does your inspiration come from, and how do you get started?
Sometimes I brainstorm ideas around different themes and doodle all of my designs on graph paper. I'm not really sure where these ideas for themes and designs come from but I guess I can be influenced by anything from a film I have just watched, a funny word or phrase, or more traditional imagery and characters.

Which are your favorite of your pieces?
At the moment, I like my insult badges best. I really didn't want to do anything with swear words on as I thought the whole 'subversive' cross-stitch idea was perhaps a little old, but I do have quite a potty mouth and think they look nice and colourful alongside the floral details! I also like my little moustache design (and it seems a lot of other people do as some sneaky people have been copying it, how cheeky) and I like my foxes and dolly girl too.

Where do you tend to do most of your making?
The best thing about embroidery is it requires nothing more than a comfy seat! I get settled on the sofa and watch marathons of films while stitching away! I have attempted to set up a work space at home, but to be honest it would not be the best place to work in and act more as a storage corner for all of my threads, materials and growing collection of cross-stitch books I have bought from charity shops!
Ma Bicyclette: Inspiring Designer-Makers | Getting To Know Ma Magasin

What is the best thing about running your own business, and what is the most challenging?
I currently have a day job as well as working on this, but every bit of spare time I get I use to stitch! It feels good to have found my 'niche' and be able to work on it so much and not get bored of it. I have found the hardest part is actually getting people to take it seriously. A lot of people can't see this as anything more than a 'hobby' and I have found that difficult to deal with. But, this is the only thing I want to do and I really hope I can prove people wrong...!

Do you have any advice for anyone thinking about selling their craft?
Be your own worst critic and keep looking for ways to improve on what you do. Oh, and just bloody get on with it! :)

Apart from running Magasin, what else do you do? (jobs/hobbies etc.)

I work in a very pretty shop, which I love! Other than that, I watch a lot of films (well, while sewing) and dream of having a puppy.

Where would you like to be in 10 years?
I would like to still be doing this - hopefully it will have grown to the point where I have some really good stockists, and maybe even a bricks and mortar shop of my own.

Finally, where else can we find you?


  1. Love your work! Awesomeness- really glad there is an interview with you :) x

  2. (Thanks Stephanie!) and thanks Ma Bicyclette gang for the feature :) X

  3. Love the interview, very useful. I think I may purchase one of those :).
    Also I'm new to blogspot and would appreciate some followers if you wouldnt mind. Thanks xoxo