Illuminating local art
Port Noarlunga shop Made of Stars is showcasing handmade wares crafted by local artists.
Around the Onkaparinga region, artists are designing and making pieces that speak of the freedom they have discovered in being creatively expressive. It’s a sentiment shared by Kristie Robb, owner of Made of Stars, an eclectic retail outlet in Port Noarlunga stocking handmade gifts, jewellery and homewares.
The Made of Stars story began a few years ago with Kristie’s step into the art of macramé – a crafting technique using knots to create textiles.
“It was during a turbulent period of my life that I took up macramé, which became an obsession.
At the time I was working in a full-time job that I was good at, but it didn’t serve my soul,” Kristie says.
The tying of the knots in creating macramé pieces helped Kristie to untie metaphorical knots in her life. In the process, Kristie says she “created something beautiful; something that felt to me like it was made of stars”.
Kristie quit her nine to five job to follow her passion for art.
“I wanted to design a lifestyle where I could wake up happy every day,” she says.
An opportunity arose for Kristie to showcase and sell her macramé works at a pop-up shop in Port Noarlunga, and customer demand for the pieces soon grew.
“While I was volunteering in the pop-up shop, I met a lot of other artists who, like me, found their art to be personally soothing and meaningful. At the end of the tenancy, I grabbed the chance to take over the lease and establish Made of Stars,” Kristie says.
Made of Stars is currently showcasing the unique works of 45 artists, most of whom are living in the Onkaparinga region. Approximately 85 per cent of the wares on offer are handmade.
“I focus strongly on showcasing artists from the Fleurieu area. Made of Stars exists to support local makers and encourage their freedom in creativity,” Kristie says.
Visitors to the shop will find quality, unique goods sold at reasonable price points, but Kristie says there’s no obligation to make a purchase.
“Customers are blown away by the variety of things in store that they’ve never seen before. I want people to come into Made of Stars and feel inspired to ponder what they can create themselves. I believe everyone is creative, and creativity is an expression of the soul.
“There’s a big energy in the shop. I aim to make visitors feel safe in the shop’s environment, and leave feeling like they’ve had a new experience,” Kristie says.
Artists interested in showcasing their work at Made of Stars are asked to watch for the call outs for new pieces that Kristie posts periodically on her social media platforms.
“I’m open to building relationships with all artists in South Australia.
My preference is that the pieces are not already available in big chain stores. I also like makers to not be in competition with another maker of similar goods in the shop. I’m looking for works that communicate the individuality of the artist; pieces that will have visitors saying ‘Oh, wow, that’s unusual’,” Kristie says.
Kindness is key in Kristie’s partnership with artists. She acknowledges that she serves to represent the artist in the shop. In turn, artists need to be committed to maintaining adequate supply for Made of Stars clientele.
Made of Stars is an ON Business Partner Program member and recently received an ON small business grant that will help develop a new website and online store.
“The grant will help me enormously with growing the business. We have a lot of tourists coming through Port Noarlunga, particularly on weekends, and visitors from all over the place. Many people come into the shop and see something they like, but want to buy it later,” Kristie says.
The grant will also support Kristie to employ a local person to help her in the shop.
“I’m running the shop on my own at present. It’s exciting to be able to think about creating a job for someone who shares my passion for locally made art,” Kristie says.
Made of Stars is currently open during limited hours from Wednesday to Sunday.
To find out more about the ON Business Partner Program visit onbusinesspartnerprogram.com
Kristie Robb showcases the unique works of 45 artists in Made of Stars; visitors to the shop will find handmade homewares, candles and baby goods.