Joanne’s Craft has a ton of Heart

Joanne Silvester started Cowwarr Cards and Unique Crafts four years ago.Photos: Stefan Bradley

Stefan Bradley

Cowwarr Cards and Unique Crafts is creating handmade cards and other gifts, and is showing people how to make their own.

Business owner Joanne Silvester said it’s going well, but it’s still a part-time thing.

“I’m a dairy farmer’s wife, mother of two, so I’m quite busy already, and while I love selling stuff, I gotta make it all,” Ms Silvester laughed.

“I make everything from scratch, it can take a couple of hours for certain things, so I can’t whip everything up in 10 minutes. It may take me a couple of weeks to make enough stock for stalls.”

Ms Silvester started Cowwarr Cards and Unique Crafts nearly four years ago.

“I was going to other card classes that other people were running, and I thought I could be doing that from home,” she said.

“I wanted more of a challenge, so I started doing woodwork stuff, such as grazing platters with the coloured tile in the middle, instead of just cards.

“I built myself a little shed with my tools in it, so I made whatever came to mind.”

With electronic communication now a normal way of life, Ms Silvester still appreciates a physical card.

“People don’t send cards like they used to, it’s always a text message or email, but it’s nice to receive a card for any occasion, I know I love to receive something personal in the mail,” she said.

“Making cards allows one to personalise them, rather than just grab something off the shelf at the store.”

Ms Silvester said she loved making things growing up.

“I did lots of crafting and little bits and pieces,” she said.

“Mum was good at sewing, but I never really did that, I did things like cross stitching.”

Ms Silvester’s business has been going from strength to strength, but the pandemic slowed things down.

“I couldn’t run my classes or go to the markets, although mentally it was good to sit here and make things on my own,” she told the Gippsland Times.

Ms Silvester’s crafting classes sees her supplying everything the client needs, and they usually leave the session with a handful of art pieces they’ve made.

“Everything, including equipment, is provided to teach you how to make cards,” she said.

“It’s a nice social gathering for about six people at a time, as I provide lunch, plus tea and coffee. Those who come to my home can go for a lovely walk to see the river.

“The difference in style that people have when it comes to art is great to see, so clients do completely different things with what I supply.”

“Retired and semi-retired people are the ones I see the most at my classes.”

“Young people don’t seem to like cards, but they are buying keyrings at the markets.”

Every fortnight, Ms Silvester runs a crafting class at Coongulla Community Hall.

“I’m open to group bookings and a little bit of travel, and I’ll soon be travelling to Mirboo North.

“I was at the Heyfield Timber Festival, Glengarry has a market every month, so I go there, and occasionally I go to Rosedale

“People email me and I’ll go wherever is close and handy, there’s something happening to Moe at Old Gippstown with the Twilight Market.”

Ms Silvester said most of the sales come from the local markets.

“I do get quite a few regulars who come to me or purchase off my Facebook or website,” she said.

“I get most of my supplies outside, so I try to recycle everything I can, rather than buy things, which keeps costs down, and it also means that I sell things that you generally can’t purchase in shops, so that makes it unique.”

Ms Silvester says she hopes to do more business on her website or from her home, as going to markets can be draining.

“For a market coming up, I’ll have to get up at about 4.30 in the morning, leave at 5, which will then finish around 1pm, and then I’ll be home around 3pm, so it becomes a very big day,” she said.

“I’ve been sending things to customers in Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia and all over the country, but I have to watch what I make because postage is a killer at the moment, you have to think about light-weight things to send, and cards are perfect for that.”

Cowwarr Cards and Unique Crafts have a Facebook page and can also be found at cowwarrcards.com or call Joanne Silvester on 0439 186 263.

The room where crafts are made, either by Joanne Silvester herself or the class. Photograph: Stefan Bradley

Joanne Silvester’s dog Bec napping in the arts and crafts room.

Cowwarr Cards and Unique Crafts website.

At the Heyfield Timber Festival. Photo: contributed

Sign at the farm.

Joanne Silvester started Cowwarr Cards and Unique Crafts four years ago.Photos: Stefan Bradley

Joanne Silvester Photograph: Stefan Bradley

A nice view for clients at Ms Silvester’s home in Cowwarr.

Where crafts are made. Photograph: Stefan Bradley

The room where crafts are made, either by Joanne Silvester herself or the class. Photograph: Stefan Bradley

Art by Joanne Silvester. Photograph: Stefan Bradley

The room where crafts are made, either by Joanne Silvester herself or the class. Photograph: Stefan Bradley