October 11th, 2009
My fourth victim is Kay Guccione who runs lilidrawspictures and designs and makes lovely MOD-ish original clothing, bags, wallets, badges, brooches, purses, and notebooks.
1. What is the name of your business and how did the name come about?
It’s lilidrawspictures. Canny research is mostly how I picked the name. I looked at a lot of shops on Etsy and Folksy and some of the most successful shops had distinctive, unique, and slightly kitchy names and styles. I also like the idea of a cute alter-ego with craft skills too, and I found that in lili. It only occurred to me months after starting the shop that I had probably also been influenced by the song by The Who – Pictures of Lily.
2. Tell me a little about your business – what is it that you make and sell and where are you based?
I work from my small studio (dining table) in Sheffield. I make things I love -MOD-ish original clothing, bags, wallets, badges, brooches, purses, and notebooks in my favourite materials: reclaimed fabric, recycled paper, rescued paper/card, found objects, recycled ribbon, upcycled tape measures, graph paper, vintage comics, vintage buttons, string, ink, badges, japanese fabric…
3. What inspired you to start your business?
I started with the desire to make things for myself. Altering, upcycling, and customizing clothing; making one of a kind dresses from vintage bed linens; having something recycled and original. I enjoyed the designing and creating process so much I made things for friends, for family, for Christmas. And it was only a small step further to open a shop.
4. How long does it usually take for you to complete a piece?
One of my re-cycled clutch purses I can make in a couple of evenings. A dress can take me a weekend. I like to have a few different things going at once to keep it varied, so often longer than that.
5. Where do you work?
I work at home, mostly on the floor and on the dining-room table. I could use a studio space!
6. What would be your dream project?
Costume designs for a new series of Star Trek! Realistically, I love making dresses from 40s, 50s and 60s patterns, so something dress or costume related.
7. What is the most challenging piece you’ve ever made?
I’m working on it at the moment, it’s a large messenger bag, designed to exact specification for a friend who is just finishing her PhD and will be starting a research job in the near future.
8. What is your favourite thing to do when you are not crafting/working?
Singing! I sing with a large Choral Society at the University of Sheffield and I really enjoy being part of a huge sound. It’s a great way to relax.
9. Who are some of your favourite crafters/artists/designers?
The list is extensive. Dresses are my thing and I pore over any shop on Etsy selling handmade frocks. I love Parsimony, Joodito, SohoMode and Heidi & Seek. My favourite fabric prints are by Alexander Henry, I love his pin-up girls and comic strip fabrics. Especially if they’re made into dresses!
10. What inspires you / where do you get your inspiration when you are designing/creating your products?
Everything! I’m short (5’1”) and petite and so I get a lot of inspiration altering shop bought and second hand clothes to fit me, and re-designing them. I take a lot of photos, draw things I’ve seen, and browse a lot of websites and blogs. I catalogue all the pictures with annotations in a series of small scrap books and whenever I need inspiration I make a cup of tea and browse back through my collections. I also love to make lists, lists of dresses I want to make, lists of fabrics I want to find. That way I always have something on the go.
11. What are your favourite blogs and what online site do you visit a lot?
Largely they are craft based blogs, all the usual suspects, but I also love Design*Sponge they produce a mean before-and-after style interior design blog. Also to mention are Team Eco Etsy, We Are What We Do, and World Sweet World amongst other ‘green’ blogs. And have you seen My Cardboard Life? [I have and Cardboard Colin is my favourite as my OH is called Colin] – I also write a weekly blog post, Museround: a round-up of Craft Muses at Craft Candy.
12. Where do you source your materials/supplies?
I get a lot of fabrics from charity shops, car boot sales, markets and roll-end type bargain fabric shops. Friends also sometimes give me fabrics they acquire/inherit. The rarer vintage or designer fabrics usually come from eBay or from Etsy. Wool skirts, exciting prints on shirts, bed linen, and curtains are my favourites to chop and re-use.
13. How do you balance your day job [if you have one] and your crafting enterprise?
Generally my day job is in the day, and my designing/sewing/business stuff is crammed into evenings and weekends. It’s the nature of Plant Science that your experiments don’t stop for the weekend though, so some weeks I don’t get in as much time on the sewing machine as others.
14. If you could have any super power what would it be?
Now, in my job the ability to see DNA molecules would come in very handy. But in reality…hmmm some kind of Super-Persuasiveness or ability to influence I think. Bwoahahaha.
15. What is the last book that you read and enjoyed?
The Restrains of Beasts by Magnus Mills. This is one of the most enjoyable books I have ever read. I was seized by some really loud outbursts of laughing on Brighton Beach reading this one. Loud public guffaws and snorts aren’t everyone’s cup of tea though. Hehehehe.
16. What is the last film you watched and enjoyed?
‘Persepolis’, have you seen it?! [Not yet, but I was given the DVD by a friend and so it's on the agenda!] – It’s an animated autobiographical film about an outspoken pro-western young woman growing up in Iran before, during and after the Islamic Revolution. It’s wonderful.
17. If you won a million on the lottery tomorrow what would you do with the money?
Other than a fabric-buying Beano?! I think I would invest in a property that could be our home, studio and shop. And save the rest. And of course all the usual charitable notions.
18. Where can we find your products for sale or see you products online?
www.lilidrawspictures.com contains information on the company ethos, a photo gallery and publicity and design news. It will also forward you to both my Etsy and my Folksy shops. The Facebook fan page www.facebook.com/lilidrawspictures has more photos and members receive news, sale previews and special offers.
19. Any advice for other crafters out there who may want to start their own business?
Do your research well, make a scrap book of designs and inspirations. Make what you love making. Expect it to be hard work. And never miss an opportunity.
20. What is your favourite recipe – savoury or sweet – care to share it?
It’s a Sicilian recipe that my husband taught me for a pasta dish. It’s simply thinly sliced onions, garden peas, stock, chili, and black pepper. It’s delicious on spaghetti.
Many thanks Kay for taking the time to answer all my questions.
All photographs taken with kind permission from Kay’s online shops/sites.
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Do you want to get featured on this blog? ‘Milomade 20 Questions’ is going to be a regular spot on my blog which will showcase other crafters/designers/artists who work predominantly with recycled, upcycled and reused materials. If you are interested in getting featured then please get in touch.
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