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Saffron Souk loves stepping outside our regular stomping ground of Dubai and meeting talented people from other parts of the Gulf. We recently met Muscat-based Tanya when she was in town promoting Crafty in Oman, a social group for crafters and artisans. We instantly fell for her gorgeous handmade goodies that she sells under her brand, Heartmade by Tanya.

Tanya is a master of the crochet hook and we love her modern take on this age old craft. So, read on to learn a little more about Tanya, the talented crafter behind Heartmade by Tanya

Some seasonal treats from Heartmade by Tanya…sock easter bunnies with bells for tails   2. and quilted easter eggs – such amazing workmanship   3. Fabric flower earrings, available in a range of pretty colours   4. The sweetest baby flip flops ever!

What sort of products do you market?
All kinds of apparel, stationary and home décor made from crocheting, knitting, and sewing for the young and young at heart.

When and why did you decide to start your own business?
Graphic design is my profession. I love to be creative and think of something new and unique. After become a mummy, I quit my full time job. Crafting is a good way to channel my creativity. Six years ago I picked up crocheting, knitting and sewing when I was pregnant with my first kid. I was self-taught along with learning from my mother who is a knitting goddess. I had my first craft stall at MAAD (Market of Artist and Designer), Red Dot Design Museum, Singapore in 2008.

When I moved to Muscat two years ago, I joined the ‘Crafty in Oman’ Facebook group and later become part of the lovely admin team. That was the start for me being involved with crafters, organizing craft fairs and workshops. Our group is growing rapidly with more than 1,600 members. It’s amazing to see how people are interested in crafting.

1. Crafty in Oman organises market fairs and this is Heartmade by Tanya‘s stand at their February event in Muscat…wish you were there right? You can always find Heartmade by Tanya’s work here

What’s the best thing about setting up your own brand?
I used to work as a graphic designer and stylist for fashion magazines. Often times I had less control of my work. Having my own brand allows me to express my individuality and be in control with my own collection. It’s the best feeling to be able to do whatever I want.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced?
I want my work to be unique. In order to come up with something fresh and new, good quality materials are required. Good quality yarn isn’t cheap and it’s especially difficult to find in Muscat. Most of my yarn has been imported with a high shipping cost from overseas; therefore, it affects my pricing.

How to price my labour of love? It has always been an issue among my crafter friends. I just hope that my customers understand and appreciate handmade works and don’t mind the price.

Time is also a key factor. My five and three year old children are taking up most of my daytime. I often work late at night (and enjoy it so much) until I have to wake up the next morning regretting!

What sets your products apart?
My products reflect my personality. I’m a sweet gal who loves pastel colours and soft texture. When people look at my products, they recognize my style. It looks sweet enough to eat.

1. Delicious! Tanya’s crochet cupcakes…   2-3. and her macaron set really do look sweet enough to eat!

Who’s your favourite designer?
Martha Stewart. I love her simplicity.

Where do you get your inspiration to be creative from?
My works inspired by nature like flowers, leaves, and animals, etc. The colour tone changed according to season like spring, winter, fall and summer.

Spring flower necklace and…   2. Floral tiara   3-4. Summer owl coasters   5. Wintery snowflake bunting – gorgeous for Christmas time!

Tell us 5 words to describe yourself.
Creative, Cheerful, energetic, night owl, super mum!

Do you have a motto?
To Everything There is a Season (Ecclesiastes 3).

Any exciting news to share?
Work in progress with chevron pattern. Have to wait to see what it is.

1. Saffron Souk loves chevrons so you have us intrigued! Here’s Tanya’s work in progress…

What’s your favourite film?
I love animation. Totoro is my favorite of all times. It’s a story about love, hope, and magical. A heart warming story that everyone should watch. My children are now in love with it as well.

How many foreign languages do you speak?
I’m fluent in English and Thai. I picked up a little bit of Mandarin after spent five years in Singapore.

When did you last laugh?
Last night while I was chatting with a girlfriend on the phone. My five-year-old son drew on his three-year-old sister all over the face and body with a blue marker. I wanted to get angry and yet it’s so silly that I couldn’t stop laughing (I blame my husband for the tragedy).

1. Tanya and her lovely family, her husband Sung Pong, son Kai and daughter Tara…clearly this snap was taken before the children got hold of that blue marker! Photo credit: Leena Alasfoor Photography

What keeps you awake at night?
Crafting in front of my favorite show. Night is still young (that’s what I told myself at 3am).

What do you think you’d taste like?
Sugar, spice, and everything nice.

Do you collect anything?
I become obsessed with buying yarn and fabric. My craft room is full with no more space to store. It’s like a maze and only I know where everything is.

1. Clever storage…Tanya has converted a baby bassinet to store her yarn

What is your greatest aim in life?
To have a happy family.

What is the oddest habit you will admit to?
Carrying my bag of yarn everywhere I go: beach, desert, plane, park, car, or next to my bed. I feel good when it’s next to me; even though, I am not going to work on it.

What are your 5 favourite finds from the Saffron Souk market?
Here are they are in pictures…

1. Tanya has a good eye for gorgeous things! The pretty white dress with pink stripes is handmade by Melime Babybee Shop. It’s also available in pink with white stripes. The stunning silver daisy ring has been handcrafted by Lili and the floral pouch is from Lou Harvey UAE…if you’re a bag fan, this is the shop for you! The Linen Souk have a fabulous range of linen table linen, like these hemstitch napkins, all of which can be embroidered and customised to your requirements and last but certainly not least, this sweet little baby romper can be found at Maddy&Eva, along with a super collection of girls and boys wear…happy shopping!  

Thanks so much for taking some time out of your truly hectic day and chatting away with us, Tanya. We’re such fans of your beautifully made collection and can’t wait to see what you have planned for that yellow chevron!

If you want to find out too, keep an eye on Heartmade by Tanya on the Saffron Souk market and shop for Tanya’s gorgeous creations in her online boutique…we know you’ll be tempted!