Frank & Dolly’s Rachel Cooper on family and creativity

There is nothing more glorious than being a mother.  My dad always reminds me how my three children are the best things that my husband and I have ever created… Far better than any collection of clothing I could dream up or any hand-painted fabric I could craft. Far better than any object found on the other side of the world, which holds a hundred stories. Our three wonders of the world: Poppy, Wren and Oak, have become my daily muse for creating pieces with soul.

As I sit in my design studio, at the foot of a valley immersed in gum trees and wild fern, I can hear nothing but the sound of the wind blowing a string of feathers Wren has collected and hung against the studio window. His muddy footprints are still printed on the rug, his kiss still embedded on my cheek as he headed off with the tribe to explore the forest outside.  It’s in these moments, where it’s just me and my empty A3 Design book, that I find myself pondering upon the offering of creativity.

Isn’t it a wonderful thing when your own creative endeavours fill every part of your desires of fulfilment? And even more so when, at the same time, that same creative endeavour can serve your family, their wellbeing and the lifestyle that you wish for them! I have enormous gratitude that we are at this place with our making and creating which not only serves me, but serves our family.


As I ponder this, I reflect upon how this must have been the same feeling my mum and her mum felt in their own creative journeys.

I grew up under my mums sewing table, with loose threads dancing around me from dresses and overalls that she was making for us. She followed her instinct as a maker. She would draw little sketches and ideas on paper and then would completely throw her self into creating. She had no rules – painting bright Mandela’s on old bed sheets before crafting them into dresses. Nothing was wasted, she was so resourceful. I remember the sound of her foot upon the sewing pedal, and was unaware as a small girl of the incredible gift I was bathing in… I was learning from her in ways I didn’t even know.

My mum, Jane, grew up under her mums sewing table too. Dolly was so particular, and her eye for detail and colour was ever so sharp. This incredible exchange from generation to generation of the ‘art of making’, and more so the ‘art of creative thinking’, is a beautiful woven thread that holds us all together, and one I’ve realised I’m naturally weaving down to my children.

It’s often what we don’t try to show our kids – the way we live when we aren’t being seen and just being –  is where I think the gold lays. And that gold is priceless.  That gold will shape our babies as they explore this world in their own way. It’s in the choices we make daily, the conversations they overhear, the way we spend time together, the way we run our business, and the things we say no to.

Now when I look at my daughter and sons, who have observed every moment of the journey of Frank & Dollys, a spark ignites inside me. No matter what they choose for their life, I know I am currently passing on something to them that isn’t measured in time, or wealth, but in the soul.

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Written by Rachel Cooper of Frank & Dolly’s. 

Images supplied by Frank & Dolly’s. 

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