Another talented Vancouverite, Bronwen Kyffin of ‘My Favourite Blanket’ is our feature artist for this weeks Handmade and Hot post. Her beautiful blankets are so bright and fun, they caught our eye immediately. What young child would not love a playful handmade blanket custom made with their name on it! I’m sure she is very busy this time of year with craft shows and Christmas orders but she still took the time to share with us a little about herself, her business and her inspiration.
Who are you and where is your workshop/store/studio? What is your studio like?
Well, Let’s start with the basics. My name is Bronwen Kyffin and I run My Favourite Blanket out of my home studio in Vancouver, BC. It has been a long and winding road to get to this point. It started with studying costumes and theatre at Dalhousie University and making my own short films, which led to a 13 year career in the animation industry, Primarily in the area of stopmotion animation.
My Studio is, in my opinion, the best room in the house. It has the best light and I can look out over False Creek while I sew. It’s only 10×10 feet, so my desk and computer are in the closet, but I can fit a lot of fabric in there!
Can you tell us why you started My Favourite Blanket?
It actually came into being in a very organic kind of a way. I first started making the blankets as gift for friends who were expecting. I was still working full time in the animation industry. Friends started to ask me if they could order blankets to give as gifts themselves. After 2 years of the occasional orders I wondered what would happen if I tried to do it fulltime… and voila, here we are today. (another 2 years later)
We love that your blankets are so bright and fun! Where do you get your inspiration for the designs?
Well, first of all, thanks! I love colour and I love to make people laugh. So those two things play pretty big rolls in my designs. Second, this is always the hardest question. The very first designs were actually inspired by the specific friends they were being made for. I’m always thinking about new designs and so I’m kinda always in tune when I’m out and about for something that might catch my attention or peak my interest.
Why do you hand make your products? What do you get out of it?
I love to make things. My hands need to do things. I have always made things, whether that be costumes or puppets or art. I feel great satisfaction in the pursuit of making things well. There is nothing more satisfying when someone at a show takes notice of that. I also love that because my pieces are handmade, even if I am repeating a design, I can tailor make it through colour and fabric for each customer. I think it makes the customer feel involved in the piece and it is always more fun for me to create a blanket knowing that someone’s favourite colour is green, for instance, and being able to incorporate that.
How long does it take to make your pieces?
It varies per design. I have tried to stream line it as much as possible and when I can making multiple blankets at a time helps, but the range is about 10 -16 hours per blanket.
What new products do you have in mind for 2013?
Well, I just completed the Alphabet Series in time for the Christmas season. That’s the series of blankets that get personalized with the child’s name. That was a big undertaking, so I’m still sort of basking in the glory of that. A friend of mine just got a long arm quilting machine, so we’ll be hanging out in the new year seeing what new fun things we can do with it!
How would you like your collection to grow? And where else would you like to see it sold?
Hearing about when a child loves to use their blanket to build forts, or insists on reading time every night be underneath the blanket. Kids are a tough audience. They’re not going to pretend to like something to be polite. So when they really like their blankets, I know I’ve made something cool. And that is awesome.
Thank you Bronwen! I’m sure your lovely blankets will make many kids cozy and warm this upcoming winter.
Tamra and Gwyn