my menagerie offers a menagerie of handmade toys, novelty cushions and nursery products with an overriding animal theme. Each piece is designed & made by the sole maker, Caitlin, in her Blue Mountains studio. Each piece is hand-stitched, made from a natural, durable & soft merino / pure wool felt and filled with an environmentally-friendly toy stuffing, made from recycled water bottles.
Caitlin has taken inspiration from animal encounters in her childhood, when growing up on a small hobby farm in southern Tasmania, and during time spent with her family out camping and exploring the Tasmanian wilderness. The menagerie features Australian native animals and birds, alongside beloved pets from farm life. Caitlin has spent several years living in Japan, which too has influenced her designs. The hand-stitched detailing odes to the Japanese embroidery technique of “sashiko”, and her minimalistic designs encapsulate and resonate some notable Japanese aesthetics, in particular, finding beauty in simplicity and imperfection.
my menagerie’s pieces can be displayed more ornamentally in a nursery or home, or cuddled to bits!
Caitlin is from a creative family, who take great inspiration from their surroundings, particularly the flora & fauna. Her father is a woods craftsman and makes incredible furniture & sculptural pieces from Tasmanian’s fine timbers. Her sister designs & makes statement pieces of jewellery & is a talented photographer, as a side to working as a graphic designer. Caitlin’s childhood home & surrounding bush property is perched above the Huon River in southern Tasmania. It has provided much inspiration for my menagerie toy designs:- with the property being home to many native Australian animals & birds, along with the property being a small hobby farm during her childhood and home to a menagerie of farm animals & poultry (chickens, guinea fowl, turkeys, peacocks, Cape Barren geese). Her love for animals & birds has been instilled by her family. Her parents are avid “twitchers” (i.e. bird lovers & watchers) and her mother cares for injured wildlife. Her family has had the pleasure of raising several orphaned wombats from pinkies to joeys, to then be released back into the wild.
Caitlin has recently moved to the majestic Blue Mountains in NSW, after pursuing a legal career in Tasmania, Japan & Sydney. She has put her professional career to one side for now, to follow her creative passion of toy-making. She is excited to take inspiration from her new surroundings and continue to grow her toy-making business, my menagerie. She finds it very rewarding to be able to make keepsake pieces, that will be cherished for many years to come!