WINNER ‘Progress toward circularity’ Marie Claire Sustainability Awards 2023

Make Town: Interview with Brooke Dennis

Brooke Dennis is the founder of Make Town, a maker space and a "slice of textile heaven" in Hackney, London. She shares with us her inspirations and advice, and gives us insight into her journey with textiles. 

Make Town offers tons of fantastic kits and courses, including Cross Stitching and Tapestry Making

How did you start your journey towards creating your label?

I moved to London 7 years ago from Aotearoa, New Zealand and I was so lonely! I wanted to be a part of a crafty community of people but couldn't find something that suited me just so. I struggled with tiny London flats and thought perhaps other people were also having a hard time finding affordable space for their sewing hobby and that maybe, having a purpose built craft studio, might be a good idea. So selfishly I guess Make Town is just an extension of a personal sewing room but that anyone can enjoy. A safe and colourful community focussed textile studio for children, women, men and everyone in between and further beyond.


What inspired you to start your practice?

This is the only thing I know how to do. I studied fashion and have been actively making for over 25 years. I'm a pretty good mother, wife and friend, a pretty average sister and daughter, but get me in a room of people talking about textiles and I am a bottomless pit of energy. Providing a creative space for anybody to participate in is the ultimate joy, and I have met some incredible people, and I get to share their personal crafting journey and its epic!


What is your next project or what’s in the works?

I am working on releasing a range of starter crafter kits. Fully broken down, step by step tutorials with videos to follow along with. It's a mammoth project, but one that should inspire newbies to have a go, with a soothing reassuring and kind kiwi voice for the entire journey. And also on the cards is a membership programme, allowing us to open the doors to more locals on a regular basis. Kinda like a gym but for making stuff instead so it smells way better too.


What do you do in your spare time?

I have a couple of hours in the morning to myself and I am always lounging about, watching Netflix and knitting. I have really been enjoying this lockdown time off, eating dinner with the whanau (family) every night. Such a treat when I usually work evenings and weekends! Not sure if the kids are enjoying it as much as I am though. 


What is some advice you have for aspiring makers?

I think the best thing you can do, is find a craft guru. Someone that is patient and generous to share their time with you. Who is patient, and encouraging with sound advice. Everything you do in life is either a solo mission or in a team, and I firmly believe the latter is a hell of a lot more fun. Also, you gotta get it wrong more times than you think you do. Go at your own speed and perseverance is key. Pop in some time and say Kia Ora (hello!) and I'll put the kettle on for ya!