Friday, June 13, 2008

Interview - Madeleine Beatty

resin jewellery by Madeleine Beatty - aka Madz has Runaway

I wanted to write the perfect introduction for this interview with my beautiful friend and craftsperson extraordinaire Madeleine Beatty... but it's so hard to write about someone you are close to! I just can't seem to adequately describe Maddy's many talents and general loveliness.

Instead I will summarise.

Things Madeleine Beatty is extremely good at:

- drawing
- painting
- sewing (bags, clothes, anything and everything)
- making stunning one-of-a-kind jewellery and accessories using resin and fabric
- combining colours, fabrics and patterns in the most perfect groupings
- taking photographs
- being generally lovely, giving hugs, making and sharing cups of tea :)

Whilst her talents are many and varied, of late it's Maddy's resin jewellery and accessories that have been getting all the attention! Maddy selects and handcuts tiny strips of printed fabrics and papers, and carefully embeds these in each cast resin piece.... she has an intuitive knack for pairing colours and fabrics in the most perfect combinations. Each piece of jewelery is unique, and handmade from scratch... which in winter means braving the cold to cast the resin out in the garden shed - and then spending painstaking hours sanding and polishing the finished pieces. It's a labour of love, and the result is eyepopping everytime!

Maddy's stunning work is stocked all over Melbourne under the label Madz Has Runaway (stockists listed below in the interview), and is also available online at

You can also email Madeleine with any questions about her work, to order something special, or just to say hello. She's the kinda girl who'll reply for sure :) (

Thanks so much for your time and all the beautiful photos Maddy! xx

Tell me a little about your background - what did you study and what path led you to what you’re doing now?

When I finished school I studied Creative Arts at Melbourne Uni / VCA. After that, I continued with my painting and had a few solo and group exhibitions. I also worked for a while helping make sets and props for stage productions and the Myer Christmas windows. I've always been happiest doing crafty things and working with my hands.

How did your focus on resin jewellery come about? Is this the primary focus of your business now? Do you still spend time on your other creative outlets (painting, sewing etc?).

It just started as a hobby really. I started making bags with interesting fabrics and unusual cute features, like velcro panels which hide a surprise underneath, because I needed a bag and couldn't find quite what I was looking for. I made them for many of my friends for their birthdays that year and when I felt more confident I approached a few shops in Melbourne. I really love fabrics and textiles and eventually I was taught about using resin, and it seemed like another way to experiment with fabric in jewellery. Now, I make a lot of resin pieces. I still make the occasional bag and have plans to have another painting exhibition in the not too distant future... I like mixing it up and having a few things on the go!

Where is your work stocked in Melbourne and online? Do you have any stockists in other states or overseas?

In Melbourne, Madz Has Runaway is stocked in Monk House (102 Lygon st, Brunswick East), Kids in Berlin (472 Victoria st, North Melbourne), Wilkins and Kent (230 Brunswick st, Fitzroy), Corky St.Clair (3 Campbell Srcade, Degraves st. Subway, Melbourne), April May (107 Scotchmer st, Fitzroy North) and Pomme (rear 138 Main st, Mornington). Online, at In Sydney at Mushu (540 Crown st, Surry Hills), and Betty Mim ( 167 Darby St, Cooks Hill) in Newcastle.

Badges and brooches

A lot of professional crafters say that they love the creative side of their job, but hate the paperwork and the ‘salesperson’ side of things. How do you approach the ‘business’ side of things? Do you struggle to ‘market’ yourself and/or to approach stockists etc? Do you have any advice for potential crafty-businesswomen about this?

I've never been good at the marketing side of things, especially approaching shops. It can be quite intimidating at first and you feel like a hawker, but it's always been fine in the end. Mostly people who run these types of shops are passionate about supporting local designers and are really kind people. I'm yet to master the art of paperwork - I have a filing cabinet and a patient accountant, so I get by.

Which designers, artists or creative people are you inspired by?

Florence Broadhurst designs give me goosebumps. Akira Isogawa’s paper-dolls initially inspired me to start working with assembling fabrics, papers and found objects which is now a main part of my work. Two of my favourite painters are Marisse Maas or Cy Twombly.

Images from the Akira Isogawa paperdolls exhibition at NGV in Melbourne in 2005

Where else do you find inspiration – ie books, magazines, your environment, travel, your family and friends?

I find inspiration in everyday things and I like old books and magazines from the fifties and sixties. Also when I was overseas, I was very inspired. Maybe when you travel, you look at everything with fresh eyes.

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

I do most of the resin work in the shed so now that it's getting colder, I put on all my thermals and my woolley hat, and try to be brave. I'll try to make several bracelets and brooches a day, maybe make some new moulds, sand and polish some pieces and lately I've been sculpting some new designs for pendants and earrings. Then, I'll assemble some more fabric combinations that will probably end up in resin the following day. Also, I have to correspond with shops, drop off orders and on my more virtuous days, maybe think about doing some paperwork. If I feel like I'm on top of things, then a tour of some op-shops or fabric shops counts as work.

Maddy's studio and home in Brunswick... love the fabric stash and vintage stamp collection!

What are you most proud of professionally?

I'm so happy about everything that has happened so far. The opening day of my first solo painting exhibition is still up there as one of the best days of my life.

What's the best thing about your job?

Being my own boss - if I want to watch The Golden Girls at 3pm, I can! I've never been good at routine, so each day can be a bit different which suits me well.

And the worst?

Working with resin means I have to be very safety conscious all the time and it's quite a temperamental medium to use.

What would be your dream creative project?

So many - it depends how big I'm dreaming. I'd like to have a go at most creative things - textile design, book illustrations, making furniture. Maybe someone would like to pay me to go to markets all over the world sourcing vintage fabrics and curiosities and then I’m allowed to make things with it all when I get home!

What are you looking forward to?

I'm going to Japan soon and I can't stop smiling when I think about it! Also, in the second half of the year I'll probably be doing some more market stalls with my friend Sophie who has a label called Mistress of the Upper Fifth. It can be tiring, but fun to meet other designers and chat to people who like what you make.

Melbourne Questions –

What/where was the last great meal you ate in Melbourne?

At Pizza Meine Liebe in Northcote. It was delicious, but also I was with great friends in the gazebo in the garden with fairy lights which made it all the more lovely.

What and where are your favourite shops for the materials and tools of your trade?

I'm lucky that sometimes people give me scraps of fabric - sometimes I only need a small piece, and then nothing goes to waste. Otherwise GJ's (443 Lygon street, Brunswick) often has something a bit different from the big fabric chains.

Where would we find you on a typical weekend morning?

I like going to Camberwell market when I can. Or riding around Brunswick to meet up with friends. Or in the shed.

Melbourne’s best kept secret?

The coffee and the mushroom pizza at the Mediterranean wholesalers on Sydney Rd.


  1. Great photos Lucy. Perhaps you could to a "sneak peak" like on design*sponge - Maddys house is so amazing. It makes me dizzy there is so much to look at. xx