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Never considering herself an artistic person, Esther has used computer skills and a laser-cutter to carve herself a new post-40 identity as a creative - working from her home in Fremantle WA to create sustainable timber homewares & gifts.

28 May 2020

Designer Spotlight: Crafty Weasel

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Chocolate Merchandiser, computer buff, & crafty weasel, Esther: ‘Having a creative outlet has provided me with a new identity other than a Mum or someone with MS’

Hello from Sunny Perth. I am Esther, and I am a Crafty Weasel. My business has been running since October 2019 making laser-cut wood and acrylic homewares & gifts.

An intricately laser-cut round timber lightbox in a butterfly and floral design, created by Crafty Weasel

My 30’s were jam-packed with having children, emigrating to Australia from England with my husband and kids, to being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I have been lucky to receive amazing treatment to turn around my illness, and my children have grown into amazingly independent kids who have their own interests and hobbies to occupy them.

Never considering herself an artistic person, Esther has used computer skills and a laser-cutter to carve herself a new post-40 identity as a creative - working from her home in Fremantle WA to create sustainable timber homewares & gifts.

I have never considered myself artistic, I have always been more analytical and favoured computer programming to the pursuit of creative avenues. Once I hit 40, I changed my job from Accounts Assistant to Merchandising for Lindt Chocolate and with the flexibility I gained from changing to casual employment I was able to investigate and try new things. I think once you turn 40 you lose a lot of your inhibitions and are more open to trying new things.

Esther on a coffee break at work on her computer: ‘I think once you turn 40 you lose a lot of your inhibitions and are more open to trying new things’

I developed an interest in crafting, and brought a Cricut. From there I began to see the potential in using the computer skills I have always had with this new-found interest in creativity and Crafty Weasel was the end result.

A laser cut light box featuring the Crafty Weasel logo; Crafty Weasel makes personalised and branded sustainable timber light boxes as well!

I have to give great thanks to my husband, Richard, who has always supported every new idea I have come up with and has always believed in me, more than I have in myself. Without his support and amazing patience I may never have achieved what I have. He is also the inspiration behind the business name as he has always called me a Weasel for my ability to get what I want.

Esther at work cutting designs into timber panels in her living room workshop; ‘Even when I am working in the thick of my business I am still ensconced with my family

I started working from a small desk in the corner of our living room, and over the past year have gradually taken up about half the floor area in the room. I also have the tiniest shed in our back yard which houses the laser-cutter and wood supply. I am gradually taking up more space as I develop new skills and expand my product range.

The best bit about my workspace is that even when I am working in the thick of my business I am still ensconced with my family, and they can see the work I put into the business and are able to celebrate the success with me.

Laser cut football team light box

To describe my creative process is very difficult, I guess I am very whimsical and my ideas can often be ridiculous or amazing. I get an idea which may take a while to manifest itself into actual existence - or never fruit at all.

I am inspired by my environment, the people around me and other craftspeople I meet and see online. I want to be able to make people smile, and give them a little bit of light each day.

Esther at work using her laser cutter in her shed; ‘I researched the machines, visited showrooms, and very quickly realised that my wage would never cover the cost of the machine.

Have you ever woken up one day totally inspired to start something new, even when you don’t have clue about it? Well that was me in May 2019 when I woke up with an insatiable desire to buy a laser cutter. I already owned a Cricut Air 2 and Maker, but neither could do what I really wanted to do which was carve and cut wood. That day I researched the machines, visited the showrooms and very quickly realised that my wage would never cover the cost of the machine.

One of Esther story book laser cut light boxes featuring an intricately details fairy

My husband told me to find another way and with his amazing support I sourced a small ‘domestic’ laser which has led be down my current path. It has paid for itself about 10 times over and I have already placed an order for a machine 3 times bigger which will live in our garage.

I love the fusion of creative art and computerised design that laser cutting gives me. I can take someone’s idea and recreate on a CAD system and then carve it in wood which is an amazing feeling.

Esther glues each piece of her timber light boxes together by hand

I have recently started recreating children’s art into lightboxes, inspired mainly buy a cute drawing my son drew 7 years ago which has lived on our fridge ever since.

When I was growing up most things in our home were handmade; clothes, food and presents. My mum worked hard to raise and provide for 3 children alone and we had to make the best of what we had. We grew up on home-baked bread and hand-sewn clothes, and every year we spent most of our Christmas making presents for our neighbours and friends. At the time we probably didn’t appreciate our situation, but now as adults all three of us are pursuing creative dreams and running businesses of our own, I think this was made possible by our childhood.

Esther holding one of her ‘Mum’ lightboxes; ‘As adults all three of us are pursuing creative dreams and running businesses of our own, I think this was made possible by our childhood

Having spent my 30’s raising babies and overcoming the MS diagnosis, having a creative outlet has provided me with a new identity other than a Mum or someone with MS. I love how people at markets often refer to me as Crafty Weasel it brings laughter and fun every time, which is very special to me.

The thing I love most about my business is the there is so little waste produced from the products I make, and I am always looking for new ways in find renewable and sustainable ways to create. The children love to spend an autumn evening huddled around our wood burner, using my wood off-cuts to roast marshmallows.

Egg-shaped timber light boxes laser cut with detailed floral designs

I joined Madeit in March 2020 just as the Covid-19 pandemic began to take effect in Australia. My sales until then have been coming from attending local markets which suddenly stopped happening, so I had to find a different outlet to sell my products.

I chose Madeit primarily because it is Australian based and for Australian artists and craftspeople. The Madeit platform has been so easy to setup and maintain, in only a couple of hours I had products up for sale and it wasn’t long before orders started to come through.

I love that I am selling in a like-minded community for handmade artists all doing a happy dance every time an email notification of a sale hits our inbox!



Visit Crafty Weasel to find laser cut lightbox creations: acraftyweasel

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