This is our latest post in a series of featured makers. We are introducing our makers one at a time and giving you a bit of a behind-the-scenes story and insights to their practice. Today we would like to introduce:
First up. Who are you and what do you do?
Karen Attwood, Kaz Designs, decoupage hearts/crosses/flowers and paper dresses. I live on the Thames Coast and work from home.
How and why did you get started (instead of getting a proper job like your mother told you)?
I did have a job in the corporate world straight out of school for 25 years plus but got disillusioned with the 9-5 grind. My father passed away and I got a little bit of money so I continued working full time and decided since i really liked buying and wearing jewellery i would start selling it. So initially I started importing natural stone jewellery and attending markets on weekends. When that seemed to be viable I gave up the 9-5 grind (yay) and started selling jewellery full time which lead into learning how to make it. After a couple of years of that I was ready to move onto something different and spent many months wondering what i was going to make next. I wanted to start a cross wall at home and started playing around with decoupage ( a friend of mine had shown me how it was done a few years before so I though I would give it a go). Then the idea of hearts came to me and the rest they say is history……
What was the first thing you made?
Hmmm how far back do you want to go – I was always crafty as a kid which i guess was the grounding for what I’m going now. The first thing I made would have been in sewing, woodwork and metal work classes at school. I still use today a metal key ring with my name on it I made in metalwork when I was a teenager.
Who or what influences you or inspires you?
I love the outdoors and NZ’s birdlife, culture and fauna (which is the kiwiana side of my work). I also want my work to have some meaning and strike a chord in people who buy it which is why I decided to add inspirational quotes and sayings to my work.
What is your favourite part of making?
My high point is when people buy my products because they love what I do and also when I get feedback to say the person they gave it to really loved it. That makes my day.
How do you market your business?
I have a Facebook page on which I upload photos of what I make each week. Plus I post on Facebook where I’m going to be each week in terms of markets. I have started an instagram page this year as well which I post photos on when I remember. My focus is on getting more retailers to sell my products for me. I currently have 6 regular retailers that I supply which keeps me busy.
What tips do you have for others starting out in this game?
Try not to take it personally when customers don’t buy your products. I still struggle with this after 6 years of being self employed.
If you could gift one of your creations to anyone living or dead. Who would that be and what would you give them? Why?
That’s a hard question. I did give a heart to my partner with the words of his favourite song on it and the same words he used to say to me all the time. He loved it.
Do you have any new ideas on the drawing board?
Yes I always have ideas rolling around in my head about what I’m going to make next but nothing that has stuck yet. I have some stencils I want to do something with that’s about as far as I have got for now.
World Domination! How will you achieve it?
The state of the world is something that upsets me as I feel helpless to stop the things that are happening apart from being conscious about what I consume and how I live. I would start by banning plastic packaging, stop the killing of endangered animals for fun, impose tighter gun controls and give Donald Trump a decent haircut (for a start anyway)…..
What is next for you?
I’m not sure what’s next for me, I am still waiting for the next great idea to come to me. I think its important to continue to evolve and change as an artist/craftsperson – so watch this space…..
Thanks for sharing your time and giving us an insight to your brand. We look forward to seeing your development and growth. Kaz Designs can be found on Facebook and in-store at The Department of Curiosities and Fine Things in Napier, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand.