NICO at Home with Hannah

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Hannah is the superwoman behind jewellery label Dorothy Love as well as Mum to Walter.

Little Walter is growing up so fast and he’s such a charming little guy. Do you feel your relationship with him changing and evolving over time?

Daily. I remember grieving the ending of those first few weeks even before they were over; the small, squeaking, delicate life I’d produced in its true infancy - while simultaneously aching to know who Walter would grow to be. Right now though is a particularly beautiful age in discovery…of self, of surroundings - I feel him exploring away from me in small paces and in that, feel myself able to take up more space once again. An ever-reincarnating coexistence. 

Tell us about why you started Dorothy Love?

Maybe as a knee jerk reaction?…ha, I’m only half joking. I always wanted to create with story, tactile and individual - dive deeper into my skills and expand myself. After nearly a decade as a performer I’d reached a juncture of change, so creating items for people to express themselves seemed like a natural step.

I am obsessed with stories; of place, person, item. There is something about making a piece and it then going on to live this whole other life in the world that I find really satisfying, and maybe romantic.

Around this time, I heard the family folklore of my great-great-Grandmother, whose name was ‘Dorothy Love’; she was a wild woman for her time with long red hair and an appetite for younger boyfriends. I was enthralled by the power of ‘self’ in her story…whatever the truths may be I love Dorothy and her spark. To begin a new creative project with a name of such spirit felt fitting for me at the time.

Dorothy Love has such a beautiful minimalist vibe but still feels fun and playful. Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

Thank you! Sometimes I think of the label as being or inhabiting ‘Big Smalls’, which I feel translates well in your description ha ha. As many of the process I use to make are self-taught, the designs always start with what I’ve got - in the room, down the street, from a friend. So in a backward fashion I’ll usually find myself playing with textures and materials before the sketching happens, then coming back to the solidity of a piece. Simply, I want to know how something feels before I can imagine it in another physical state.

You hand make all of the pieces for Dorothy Love right? Perhaps you could talk a little bit about the connection you feel to the brand as not only designer but maker?

I love this question. I feel incredibly, responsible.

There is temptation to only ‘make what I would wear’ but I’ve always tried to push Dorothy in to having a smidge more of her own personality…or maybe it’s just an alter ego of my own. I have pangs of self-doubt where I think if I outsourced the making it would somehow be better, or more legitimate as a piece. My partner Harley is very good at reminding me how what I do and the way I do it is a big part of what makes the label. Not to say there won’t be things that will be made by other hands (I’m just one lady!).

What’s next for Dorothy Love?

Dorothy has been for the most part static in anything new since the late stages of my pregnancy. I think my brain just moved into the baby space full-time from then. But now as Walter grows (so. damn. fast) and like I said earlier I feel myself being able to take up more space, some exciting ideas have been marinating - demanding to reach any kind of physical form. In the moments I’ve found to myself I’ve been working with lost wax carving; a process I’m finding hugely satisfying.

My mantra has been no pressure ‘when I know, I’ll know’ with the next collection. But precious metals and prints both on pater and linen keep popping up in my forming sessions.

An idea that comes up regularly when talking about motherhood is that idea of juggling and that our lives become more of a juggling act. What has been your experience?

Circus of the everyday! Yes, except some days/weeks I’ve just got one of the juggling balls and the others are somewhere under the table. The learning curve of motherhood for me is made up of a few different parts. I also have a step-son, Leonard who is now 8 (Eight!). Becoming a new mum, getting to know my baby and this new part of me, navigating that in sleeplessness, while still maintaining a relationship with my step-son was really challenging. We’ve only just managed to go on a Hannah and Leonard movie date recently. I think that’s a challenge any family faces, making time to nurture the relationships within the home as well as the individual needs of any one person.

I mean all that’s all really only one ball isn’t it?

My work, my social needs, my ‘me’. That’s all still taking turns being the ball in the other hand. Often Harley and I find ourselves cursing the end of the village and we begin plotting how to get our parents or siblings to move closer to us.

We (mothers, parents) don’t have to juggle, but we absolutely do have to make time for ourselves to be ‘topped up’. My big fantasy is creative time, spa days and music gigs at least once a week. But in reality it’s getting to do the grocery shopping alone or going to a cafe on my way home from an appointment. And that’s ok for now. When I was 20 I drank bad wine with my flat mate every night, she loved moscato. It’s the worst. What I’m trying to say is, we have an incredible capacity for growth and adjustment as humans. I am so fucking astounded by my own experience, just when I thought I couldn’t go on in one state or another, it’s like I’m awarded a power-up mushroom and become big Mario.

What do you hope for Walter in the future?

 The ability to be himself and love himself, in whatever space he wants to be. To understand himself and be ok with the parts that confuse him. Also, the gift of a sense of humour!


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