Friday, 8 November 2013

Materials and Techniques - 'Quirky Designs for Kids'

There are so many different ways to create. Each fortnight I chat with a different artist about the materials and techniques that they use when they are making their creations. This week, I am talking to Nat from the central coast of New South Wales. Nat is a fellow member of the Handmade Cooperative and sells her work in her store, Quirky Designs for Kids.

Please tell us a little about yourself. 

I am Natalie, mum of three crazy girls. When I am not chasing around after them, you will usually find me in the garage sawing or trying to complete an assignment on my quest to get back in to studying.

What materials and techniques do you like to use?

The majority of my names are cut from MDF, although I do like to change things up every now and then and use pine, as I love the raw timber look. Being on the coast, I am yet to source out a good wood supplier for craft. As it stands I get a lot of puzzled looks when I go to the local timber yard. 

All my work is hand drawn then hand cut using a variety of saws. I currently have four, with another on the way. The running joke in the house is that I own more tools then my husband.

What challenges have you faced in the creative process?

My main challenges come from the weather, as the majority of work needs to be done outside. If it’s hot my garage can get up to 50 degrees, not the best working conditions. The heat also affects painting meaning that a lot of re-sanding and re-painting happens when the paint has dried to fast. The other factor that sets me back is wind. Wind is my nightmare - all the names are glossed and hung up to dry and no matter when I gloss a name the wind always picks up, or a freak gust blows through the backyard and knocks a name over.

I do also find that I get distracted easily and go do something extreme around the house, like pulling up carpet, re-vamping a bit of furniture, or painting a wall. In the long run it helps me have a break from the names and lets me do something different, but it also means that sometimes we live in complete chaos. It's a great change from the day-to-day life of being Quirky and I find that it helps me create more ideas as I am away from the saw and the paint and I can think about ideas whilst going out on a tangent. 

What drives you to create?

My girls inspire me… wrong choice of words, they drive me in to the garage where I can block out all screams for just 10 minutes, and have some mum alone time. I can’t really call it peace and quiet, as I am sure my neighbours would love me to stop sawing and sanding. On a more serious note, the majority of my work comes from requests for my customers, generally at markets they come to me with what they would like and it goes from there. Occasionally I get time to create something for my girls (my guinea pigs) and then I test it out on the public.

What is coming up next?

At the moment I am playing it by ear. I have been Quirky for four years and in that time my family has grown from two little girls following me around to three little girls following me around. So this year I have had a little break but I do hope to be around a little more next year and do a few more Quirky creations.

All images have been provided by Natalie from Quirky Designs for Kids.

Find out more about how creators make their creations by catching up on previous materials and techniques interviews. If you are a creator who would like to share your materials and techniques, please leave a comment.

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