Recently, Kim from Cuckoonest made the most gorgeous little mail box for my daughter, Layla. At the moment, Layla is really into mail, envelopes, stickers and stamps, so I though a little mailbox for her birthday would be fun. Kim's creation is so much more than that. One side unzips to receive the mail, and a little mouse lives in the mail box, with her budgie, chimney and pretty toadstool garden. The whole piece is so joyful and imaginative. I really wanted to do a little feature on Cuckoonest as I love all the work. Kim was kind enough to answer a few questions.
1) Since you have started Cuckoonest what has been the most joyful and the most challenging?
Its the most wonderful feeling being my own boss and being able to charter my own creative course everyday. Being able to contribute to the family income (however modestly) from home whilst caring for my family has kept me true to my goals -I always want to be available for my family and working hard and being creative, with my family close by, makes me extremely happy.I think the most challenging thing is trying to prioritise and decide what's the best use of my very limited time. I 'm on the job as mum 24/7 and in order to get my sewing projects completed I have to stay up way past my bedtime most nights. The other thing that I find difficult is filing gst returns on time and keeping all my receipts in some kind of orderly fashion. I have a filing system where all of my receipts are shoved in my purse haha!2) What new craft/any skill would you like to learn?
I would love to do a carpentry course at some stage. I do repair and renovation jobs around the house and have constructed a few pieces of basic furniture eg. our kitchen island bench and have upcycled some furniture scores off trademe. Furniture really gets me excited as much as fabric. I'd like to design and make cool furniture for around here.
3) What does an average making-day look like for you?
I cut out lots and lots in the mornings. I like to make things in batches of 10 -its just a habit. I am often over ambitious and cut out all the little bits for 10 items and only get around to completing 3 and come back to the rest later??!! I get over making things really fast so everything I make are limited editions. I am happiest trying new designs and enjoy making products that I or my kids would personally like. I can turn stuff out pretty fast -Its the design time and preparation/cutting phases that take me the longest.
I like to get my kids and husband's creative input on a daily basis. The kids are brilliant they draw the most wondersome imaginary places where hedgehogs eat cake with squirrels and I have a fabulous figure and my hair is down to my knees. My sons have a natural eye for colour and design. They can pick out at a glance whether or not my colour combinations work and throw all sorts of questions and reasonings at me if they think some design aspect of a product is good or not. They're decisive and pragmatic - 9 times out of 10 I follow their line of reasoning. Design is simple to them -my 6 year old said to me 'mum that doesn't look like a tree' -plain and simple and he was right so it was back to the drawing board. So the kids provide huge inspiration and practical help in my creative process.
Talking to my husband about fabric and kids decor makes for a good laugh most days. Ten years ago I wasn't prone to talking to him about sewing and he wasn't terribly interested. But in recent times he has taken a lot of interest in what I do and his questions and ponderings often lead to the funniest exchanges about my work and design. He is more often than not left bewildered as to the purpose and function of the purely decorative things I make. So I'm convinced this husband and fabric will probably never mix. Although I love him for trying.
4) One studio organizing tip
Keep all your patterns in order so you can access them easily and use for future reference. I put all my patterns in plastic filing sleaves and file them away in beautiful large tins which I have all over the place. I also use large covered shoe boxes with the plastic window in the front to house my most popular designs which I make a lot of. The window is handy I can see exactly which box has what. I throw the patterns in there, all the cut out bits and half made up stuff and materials. It just makes it so easy to pick up the box and everything is ready to go to get making. I often choose a box and take it with me if I'm going away for a weekend and everything is in there that I need to finish a few things off. Also I find if my work space is in chaos and I can't find things it slows the making and creative process up. So I try to get everything back in its place and orderly at least once a week- fabric folded, patterns in order, pins and cuttings off the floor.