our story with Japanese textiles and crafts begins in Australia and continues in France
'We dream of the rhythm of sashiko stitching, shibori indigos, the wabi-sabi of yarn-dyed cloth. The age-old techniques of Japanese textile crafts are part of what stirred us to create BeBe Bold, based both near Byron Bay in Australia and the east of France at the base of the Jura mountains. We love the mishmash of our everyday, an Australian-French family with a love of travel and Japanese textiles.'
BeBe Bold’s origins on the North Coast of NSW in Australia have now extended to the Franche-Comté region of France with the creation of BeBe Bold Europe. Created by Jane MacDonald over ten years ago, BeBe Bold is a recognised name in Australian textiles and craft. BeBe Bold is a visible presence at Australian craft and quilt shows and recently in Europe and the UK, having a stall at the 2018 Festival of Quilts in Birmingham and teaching in France and the UK.
BeBe Bold Beginnings
BeBe Bold has grown from owner Jane MacDonald making quilts and teaching in her sunny studio on the North Coast of NSW, to become a recognised name in Australian textiles and craft. Jane now teaches and exhibits with BeBe Bold at craft and quilt exhibitions throughout Australia including the Australian Quilt Convention in Melbourne and has recently taught sashiko and kogin techniques in France and the UK.
Following from the success of her workshops onboard the Needlework Cruise around New Zealand in 2014, Jane was asked to teach again in 2016 on the luxury Celebrity Solstice cruise ship from Sydney to New Caledonia which she happily accepted. Whilst the studio is still at the centre of BeBe Bold’s production, Jane travels widely to source products from Japan, to learn innovative techniques from industry experts including Yoko Saito and Akiko Ike and to craft exhibitions to share her knowledge and expertise.
What has been constant throughout BeBe Bold’s development has been Jane’s enduring interest in Japanese material culture and her unwavering enthusiasm to produce designs which work within this tradition, developing ideas with materials and techniques which respect distinct characteristics and histories of Japan. BeBe Bold is founded on a philosophy of quality and admiration for Japan’s textile history, a history that is still being formed as artisans craft the future of Japanese textiles within the visual currency of contemporary design.
After extensive research, Jane has been able to create enduring ties with a few select, long-established and highly-regarded Japanese textile companies which she knows produce among the finest quality textile and craft products available in the world. Jane visits Japan every year to work directly with these companies and has even begun to collaborate with some of the designers to create products which she believes will have broad appeal in Australia both with those experienced in textiles and craft but also for those just beginning.
BeBe Bold is very proud to be working with Japanese textiles companies Olympus Thread, Inazuma Bag Handles and Tulip Needles.
Olympus Thread was established in 1908 and is based in Nagoya, specialising in yarn-dyed fabrics (sakizomemomen), traditional motif fabrics (takumi), shot cottons (tsumugi), sashiko, kogin, crochet and embroidery. Their products are uniquely made in Japan, resisting the push towards mass-produced goods to celebrate textiles of fine quality and distinct character.
Inazuma Bag Handles based in Kyoto, has been in operation for three generations, a proudly family-based company it produces accessories in a wide variety of materials including rolls of bag tape, bag handles and straps, purse frames, buttons, zip-pulls and zippers.
Tulip Needles continue with the three-hundred year old tradition in the Hiroshima region of needle-making and we stock their full-range including sashiko, beading, quilting, sewing, leather and milliners needles. These needles are renowned throughout Japan for their strength and flexibility, with Tulip Needles bearing a mark of quality assurance.
The continuation of these companies in an increasingly mass-commercialised market is testament to their commitment to authenticity and quality in the materials they produce, their acknowledgement of tradition and their vision for their place in the future of textiles and craft. We think this future looks bright!
Jane is BeBe Bold's business owner and quilter extraordinaire, Jane travels the world teaching sashiko, kogin and quilting and enjoys every minute of it. You can find her 'setting up shop’ with Cally at craft exhibitions around Australia every year. Jane says that she couldn’t do all this without her inspiring team.
Cally, our Exhibition Manager has oodles of positivity and patience to organise everyone and everything ready for our stall at craft exhibitions. Cally dedicates time to answer your questions, drawing from a wealth of knowledge and experience.
Gabi is based at our studio, always happy to assist with any of your enquires. If you receive a little note thanking you for your order it was most likely written by Gabi as she organises most of our retail orders on the phone or online. We love her enthusiasm and up-beat nature, often juggling many jobs at once which she always does with a smile.
Sarah is based at the studio working behind-the-scenes with BeBe Bold to get the word out there. She works on the website, promoting upcoming retreats and teaching events.
Carolyn is our rep extraordinaire for Australia. We love her drive to help us share knowledge about BeBe Bold and she always goes the extra mile to assist with enquiries. You can get in contact with Carolyn by emailing us at the studio.
Classes are held in the studio with Jane or you can find her teaching at craft shows, at retreats, at shops, even on the odd cruise ship! Although Jane is often busy throughout the year, she is happy to travel to teach groups so please contact the studio if you are interested. Also you can check her calendar for teaching dates.
The Japanese Craft & Patchwork Group is a craft group led by Jane for those who live locally to the Northern Rivers and have an interest in Japanese textiles and craft. When Jane is not away at craft shows, the group meets every first and third Thursday of the month. Out of town visitors are always welcome to join.
Whilst it may be difficult to come and visit us in the studio, we exhibit at many of the major craft and quilt shows around Australia each year. Please look to our calendar to find out when we will be visiting a city closest to you. If you are able to visit us in the studio shop we would be delighted to meet you. If you could make an appointment beforehand to visit the studio this would be most appreciated. Jane, Cally, Gabi and Sarah in the studio will be very happy to answer any enquires you may have, we look forward to hearing from you.
Tuesday - Friday
9am - 5pm
25 Elton St
Lismore NSW 2480
(02) 66 219 188