This week we interviewed Lena from Done. by hand. Lena stumbled across this crafty passion while giving gifts to her family. She now creates beautiful hand made concrete pots and has a growing obsession for succulents. We caught up and asked her a few quick questions, here's what she had to say:
It looks like you have a good eye for design, colour and layout. What's your background?
I have always had an eye for design and have always been a maker. A good friend of mine (Belinda), and I were the creative duo behind LenaBella Designs. We specialized in wedding and event stationery, favors and candy bars, as well as floral design (together with our very own floral consultant). We even did the floral for our own weddings. We did this for 7 years on a part-time basis before we divided to take a break as it was getting too busy with our full time jobs.
These days, we may do the occasional event and we still love it. I may have even posted a clip on my page.
What inspired you to create these concrete pots?
I decided to give succulents to my family and friends a couple of years ago for Christmas. I've always been one to inject a bit of DIY into my gifts and thought hey, I'll make my own pots. I loved making them so much that I continued to do so.
What are the steps of making your handmade pots?
There are a few steps to making my pots. When mixed, I pour the cement into molds and leave for 24-48 hours. I then remove them from the molds and let the pots cure (slowly dry out) over a few weeks. This can be time consuming but it's necessary in order to avoid cracking. Once dried out, I drill holes in the bottom of the pots then sand and seal them.
When you make your pots in winter, the curing time is obviously longer than in summer right? I'm picturing a whole backyard full of concrete pots.
Yes, that is correct. And I forgot to mention that I prefer to use general cement and not quick set which is why it's a longer process. We also live in a unit so our balcony and garage are full of pots and pot making materials.
What was your first market stall experience like & what have you learned since then?
My first market experience at the Sydney Sustainable Markets was great. I thoroughly enjoyed mingling with likeminded makers and meeting all kinds of amazing people.
You have a growing succulent collection, What is your most prized succulent/cacti?
My succulent collection is certainly growing. I have a thing for Crassulas and one of my favorites is my Perforata. I love how it has a mind of its own and changes its look on a weekly basis. I didn't know a lot about succulents and cacti until I found the awesome community on Instagram. I am now hooked on these gorgeous plants.
Do you have any plans to sell these pots online?
At this stage I'm not selling online but look forward to doing so in the near future.
Any upcoming markets where we can find you?
I don't have any markets booked at the moment but hope to be at The Grounds of Alexandria Markets in the coming months. I really love the rustic feel of The Grounds and I'd love to be there again.
Thank you Lena for spending time with us. We wish you all the best for the future. Follow her on Instagram @done.by_hand to see her work and market news.