Maker, Book Author / Maryanne Moodie
Maryanne Moodie’s weaving work is my craft equivalent to air – you need it to survive. Her intricate, whimsical, yet powerful designs, clock up thousands of likes Instagram, and her modern approach to weaving has garnered her recognition all over the world. Proving that craft and art can be a lucrative career, Maryanne has recently written a book titled On The Loom – A Modern Weavers Guide.
Maryanne now lives in Brooklyn, New York City with her brood of lads, and divides her between designing and creating woven wall hangings, creating beginners weaving kits and teaching sold-out workshops across the globe – did we mention that this creative soul studied primary school teaching at University?
It’s never not OK to grow, morph and pivot your career to follow your dreams, as Maryanne proves in her career story.
Let’s dive in…
Hi Maryanne, it’s such a pleasure, can you tell us a bit about where you grew up and how your experience shaped the person you are, and the career that you are in today?
I grew up in Victoria, Australia the youngest of 6 kids. My family didn’t have money growing up and I remember being in op-shops and feeling like they were treasure troves. I was drawn to the old costumes and textiles from the 60s and 70s, and loved the sparkle and intricate work in them. This love of the vintage aesthetic has been strong my whole life.
Where did you go to High School and how was that experience for you?
I moved around a bit growing up, but spent most of my high school at Mercy College in Coburg. My final year I spent at Bacchus Marsh Grammar, in the country town of Bacchus Marsh. I loved the social side of school and the humanities subjects, like literature, history and art of course. My sister was school captain and loved maths and sciences, but that was not for me. I struck out, and had enough self confidence do study subjects that would make me happy, as opposed to subjects that I was encouraged to study (like maths and sciences). I am glad I did.
Did your high school play an important role in helping you choose your further education and future career?
Yes – I ended up studying education with an arts focus at Melbourne University straight out of high school. In a roundabout way – I am still teaching in the arts today.
Did you complete an internship or work experience placements in high school? Tell us about that experience.
I did my work experience at CSIRO. I loved Biology – it seemed like the most human of the sciences. I loved it, but it never really felt like the right path for me.
Did you go to College, University, Tafe or another equivalent? Take us through the courses that you studied and why you chose them?
Yes – I went to Melbourne University to do a Bachelor of Education (Primary). It took me an extra year to complete as I was mucking about a bit, but I got there in the end.
Tell us about your career journey so far. Who you have worked for, and explain any highlights.
I worked as a Casual Relief Teacher in lower socio-economic schools in Melbourne for about a year before being offered a position at Lalor West Primary school. I worked there for 10 years – much of it in the art room. I was being groomed by the school for a leadership opportunity in the last few years, and as much as I love systems and administration, it didn’t feel right. I have always loved vintage, and I began selling vintage clothes and home wares in my second year of university. I began selling at markets and then online. I built up a community of followers and we would chat about all the things we loved about vintage style. My business grew alongside my study. I employed buyers overseas, and models to use for photo shoots. It was all very professional. I began to enjoy the business more than teaching in the end, and when it was time to leave, I started focusing on my business more.
How did you get into the job that you are in now?
I was leaving teaching and got pregnant. Whilst cleaning out the art store room, I found a loom. It spoke to me on a deep level and I took it home. I began making weavings and shared them on my social media. The Design Files picked up my story, (read the story here) and then I was found by Megan Morton and began teaching weaving at The School. I now live and operate from Brooklyn NYC.
What is the hardest part of your current job?
Balancing everything – touring, family, weaving, admin, cleaning the house, planning, paying bills, time at the park.
What does a day a typical business day look like for you in your current job?
Every day is completely different.
On the days that I go into the studio, I wake up and have breakfast and coffee with all my lads at home. After the babysitter arrives and I kiss them all, I am out the door. I usually take the subway to my studio, but if it’s a nice day I’ll walk. Once I’m at the studio and greet my staff, we catch up for a laugh and create a plan of attack for the day.
Some of our tasks include: winding yarn for kits, ordering inventory, interviews and photo shoots for blogs and magazines, making online tutorials, weaving commissions, taking photos for social media, working out the menu for classes and researching new products.
Mondays are my museum day. I have made the rule that once a week, I travel into Manhattan and visit one of the many amazing galleries and museums. It is a way to not always be working. New York City is a hard place to live, and it can get you down unless you make an effort to see the beauty and amazingness on our doorstep.
On non-studio days, my eldest son goes to school and I spend the day with my littlest guy (who is almost 1) and we hanging out, go to a cafe, and I spend the day weaving with him by my side and trying not to let him get too tangled up in my yarn.
Who has been your hero, or greatest inspiration growing up and why?
My sister, Nicole has always been my hero. She is such an inspiration. She is the opposite of me – very planned out, measured and knowledgeable. I have always been a go with the flow kinda gal, but I admire her and her way. She is beautiful inside and out.
What advice would you give girls who are interested in your career?
Find people you love to follow on social media and then reach out to them. Ask for advice, ask to visit their studio, and see if they need help. Be willing and confident to reach out to even the biggest names – we are a sisterhood and most weavers and teachers I know are more than willing to take time out to help each other out.
List your most valuable resources that you turn to constantly for inspiration in your profession?
- Favourite Blogs or Websites: Instagram and Pinterest.
- Name an Instagram Account or Snapchat that you can’t go a day without checking: The Pantone Instagram is great for colour inspiration.
- Books: My book – ON THE LOOM by Maryanne Moodie (available on pre-order on Amazon)
- People: My staff are textile geniuses. I love Natalie Miller, Megan Shimek and Genevieve Griffifths.
- Others: Sheila Hicks, Nick Cave and Studio Job, My life, turn your phone off and take a walk in your life with new eyes. See the inspiration in front of you – your grandmother’s silk scarf, the blossom on a tree or some street fashion.