Monkeying About

Monkeyshine designs are a little bit retro, a little bit glam, with a pinch of eccentricity and a big dollop of soul.

Designs for everyday flair

Hello and welcome to Monkeyshine. I’m Brigitte, a South African now living on the beautiful island of Tasmania with my Lichenologist Love and a Supremely Regal Cat (as well as sheep, chickens and Lily, the duck who thinks she’s one of the sheep).

Monkeyshine is my mission:  a growing range of fun and stylish greeting cards, brooches, patterns and more, designed to celebrate the tactile and infused with mid-century modern soul. I see my creations as totems of good luck, love and special memories and hope that they bring joy and delight to you and their intended recipients.

You may notice that animals appear quite prominently in my collection. I’m a mad-crazy animal lover. If you are too, and your favourite creature isn’t in the Monkeyshine menagerie, please do drop me a line. I welcome suggestions and commissions. In fact, that’s how the Ferrets and the soon-to-be-released Scottie Dog joined the family.

Haute couture greeting cards

It all started with a small range of intensively hand-made cards under the name Hit the Spot — cards that hit the spot, ahem — featuring labels stitched into the spine of the card, a concept inspired in a moment of madness when I was idly toying with the fashion tab sewn into the side of my favourite cardigan. Not being much of a writer — I get a tummy ache just at the thought of writing a simple thank you note — I surmised that if I made an unusual card that embodied substance and style, it would compensate for the paucity of words contained therein!

Since those early days, Monkeyshine cards have evolved into a combination of the printed and hand crafted. The printing is either done commercially (for my tabbed cards) or in-house, by the indefatigable Lulu, my Epson professional series art printer. With her insistence on crisp, archival quality, high longevity prints with eye-popping colour, Lulu is definitely the Leading Lady of team Monkeyshine.

Contemporary jewellery with retro soul

My brooches are delicately engraved with retro-esque patterns inspired by my cards, life, the universe and everything in between. Many of them are patterned animals (rabbits, sheep, cows, sausage dogs and platypus feature quite prominently in my range so far, with more to join the Monkeyshine menagerie soon) and I love seeing how each pattern breathes life and character into my creatures. I’ve also created a line of simple, bold shapes for those who like my patterns but might not want them in animal form.

I’m particularly proud of the packaging I’ve designed for the brooches, which serves as a pretty little gift box, but can also be re-folded into an easel-style card or stand, perfect for keeping the brooch on display when you’re not wearing it.

Why Monkeyshine?

If you’re curious about the name, I invite you to read “Why Monkeyshine?”, the story behind the moniker. In summary, Monkey is the name of my very first soft toy – and I still have him! The word monkey also encapsulates the cheeky, mischievous, playful elements of what I’m about. And shine has so many beautiful, positive connotations: glowing, sparkly, radiant, bright with emotion or happiness, loving and affectionate (as in to take a shine to someone or something). As it happens, Monkeyshine is in the dictionary and means a mischievous prank. I didn’t know that until after I’d settled on the name but the discovery tickled me.

Extreme Weaving

When I’m not monkeying about, I weave baskets out of telephone-wire, which strangely enough combines well with another favourite pursuit, bushwalking (aka hiking) in the Tasmanian wilderness. Since My Beloved is a botanist (a lichenologist, to be specific), he tends to spend quite a bit of time at our bushwalking destinations looking at lichens, so I started taking my baskets along and weaving while I wait. We’re often on top of a mountain or somewhere with lovely views so it can be wonderfully meditative. As I usually give the baskets as gifts, I started creating a little story book of photos of everywhere each basket has been, hence the monikers “extreme weaving” and “well travelled baskets” that you’ll see peppered about on my blog and my facebook page.

Studio Fat Cat (my muse and master)

He who must be obeyed. No, not the Lichenologist, the Studio Purr Machine! So important, he gets his own page.

Colour Minx, Pattern Fiend, Corny Punster

Colour and pattern design are the fire in my belly. My inspiration is extremely eclectic and dynamic, drawn most immediately from the patterns and palettes I encounter on my walks — both in urban travels and in the Tasmanian wilderness — and our menagerie of sheep, ducks, chickens and a supremely regal cat. I like to recall the colour and patterns of South Africa, where I grew up on a flower farm, blending these with an interest in sacred geometry, art of the Fauvist and early Cubist periods, and a particular appreciation for mind puzzles and corny puns.

Hot Coral. Swoooon. Quite possibly my favourite colour of the moment. But shhh, don’t tell mint or lemon!

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