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Natasha from One Spotty Dog

21 May 2016

Designer Spotlight: Tash from One Spotty Dog

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Hi, My name is Natasha (Tash) and I am the brain and muscle behind One Spotty Dog. I live in Ellenbrook, WA with my husband and 3yr old son, and we have baby number two due in September. We also have the most loving, black Burmese-cross cat, Henry, and a purple fighter fish, Ziggy. I grew up in Central North Island, NZ to very hard-working and business-focused parents. Both my Father and Step Father can turn nothing into something in their workshops and I believe this is where I got my love of creating/making and experimenting with mixed media. I love to paint and make things using wood and other materials.

Tash loves using wood and other materials to create

One Spotty Dog came from this love and passion and the need for a bit of extra cash while I was studying Nursing and Midwifery at Uni. I opened my Made It store in 2009 and to start with, I hand-painted play mats and created colouring-in play mats. I chose Made It as my selling platform because it was Australian owned and operated. It was a woman and fellow creator who owned it, and put her heart and soul into it. It is a place where other like-minded creators sell and that gives it a real sense of community. I love that Made It sellers support each other with handy tips and advice, on selling and store presentation; great friendships have been forged and product swaps and sales have happened between stores to support each other and to help each other grow.

Rainbow Stacker

The reason to start One Spotty Dog and to make and sell play mats came about because I wanted to do something, have a business or wee hobby where I could put what I loved doing to some use and, I guess, be enjoyed by others. When my now 14-year-old Nephew was 3 I made him a play mat for his cars and trains and really enjoyed it. It was nothing like the ones I have done up till now, but he loved it all the same. It then just evolved from there.

Car play mat

I took a break for a while after having my son in Jan 2013 and I really wanted to get a scroll saw and make a rainbow for my son. This drove me to get into wooden products and I sold my first handmade wooden rainbow in my Made It store in April 2015. I have not looked back, and now wooden stackers are my main product, with 15 different designs in my range, and a few yet to be released over the next few months. I also create other wooden houses and blackboard houses and the odd play mat here and there. Over the last year, one product has inspired ideas for the next.

Wooden stacking toys in the current range

One Spotty Dog is currently my main job, other than being a mum. I graduated uni as a Registered Nurse in 2014 but am yet to work as a nurse. One Spotty Dog was once a hobby but now a business, because you never know where something is going to take you. I wanted to have all my options open.

Tash at work in her WA garage

My garage is set up as my workshop and creative space. One side is my work bench with all my tools, saws and sanders and the other has my paints and sewing machine. I have a large dinning-sized table in the middle that, 99% of the time, you cannot see or use, which is a little frustrating! I blame the creative mind that decides to start something new when there is already something being created on there! For this reason, and so that I can watch TV while I paint, I use my coffee table in my living room to paint and wax, mostly in the evenings.

The dirty side of the workshop

The clean side of the workshop

Inspiration comes from many things for me: the outside world, shapes and colours of everyday objects and things I see at different places we go; and my 3-year-old, when I watch him play and problem-solve – it is amazing how a child’s mind can think totally outside the box and do things with a rainbow.

Wooden stacking toys: cut and ready to paint

Wooden stacker toys: painting in progress

Wooden Stacking Toys: Dry time

Having a creative mind gives you the ability to see how something will look finished before you have created it. We can be anywhere and a thought or idea will just pop into my head from something I have seen and I think yes I can do that, or I can make one of those, but if I do it this way it will be even better. Then I will go home and either grab a piece of paper or a piece of plywood, draw it up and cut it. Many times this is how something has been created; trial and error straight on the wood.

Airport car play mat in progress

Play mat under construction

I also love Google Images. I will think of something that I would like to create and I will 'Google Image' it to see what is already out there and how I can do it different or better.

3 – 2 – 1 Blast Off!

I love that when buying handmade you aren't buying just a product you are buying someone’s talent, ideas and hard work! I love that they have created you something beautiful with a piece of their heart, a few tears, and a lot of time, energy and passion. Because trust me, a lot of all 5 go into every piece that a hand-maker makes!! There is something quite magical about the handmade community, it is like an unspoken 'I get it, I know how hard you have worked to design and create this piece, and I applaud you!’ Especially in the mummy handmaiden world . . . . . Everyone gets that being a mum is hard enough at times without throwing in a creative business, but they all band together and promote, praise and lift each other.

Visit Tash’s Store to find a stack of creative toys: OneSpottyDog

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