What Inspires Me

Retro Vibes

I started sewing at 8 years old on a 1930's black metal SINGER machine inherited from my mother’s stepmother. It was knee operated & only had a forward straight stitch (no reverse, no zig-zag). 

Maybe this old machine incited my curiosity about tools people used in the past for everyday life? Old implements & utensils are what I love to hunt out in flea markets & Op shops. You too can experience this at KOMBI NATION where retro vibes are found in all nooks & crannies of the shop.

Quirky Kombi-Nations

My love of fabric & objects of the past inspired a previous venture called “Handmade Histories”. These were hand crafted mixed-media murals (4m long x 1m high) which showed how life was in early New Zealand for rural communities & small towns. The murals were made using vintage toys, buttons, old tools, fabrics & blankets, all stitched together with only needle & thread.

Some murals are now being exhibited in museums, libraries & schools around NZ & used for education. Two have been published as books which you can buy here:

The Story of a New Zealand Truck Driver

The Mill is Kaiapoi


I’ve always loved floral folk art, paisley pattern and the Arts & Crafts Movement. At 35 I learned that my birth story had Dalmatian & English heritage. 

My ancestors in Dalmatia would have worn embroidered brightly coloured flowers on their national costumes. I wonder if my affinity with Frida Kahlo comes from some genetic memory of these floral embroideries?

It was amazing to learn too that my other forebears worked in the silk mills in County Leek, Staffordshire, England. I think that’s why the whirr of industrial sewing somehow seems familiar to me.