Thursday, 20 June 2013

Designer Q & A: Red Bird Makes

 Hello, I am … Joanna Kang of Red Bird Makes

I design ………Jewellery, accessories and textile homewares.

When I am creating my typical day involves ……… Waking up reasonably early and having some tea and toast or yogurt with fruit and honey. If I've been feeling particularly creative I usually don't sleep well because of all the ideas swimming around my head, so a good breakfast sets me up for the morning!
Right now my dining table has naughtily turned into my work space even though I have a studio set up in my spare room. It's just nicer in here. I will surround myself with all my lasercut pieces, chains, clasps, screw bails, etc and lots of tools so that everything is within reaching distance. I'll get on and make a start on any customer or shop orders and then I'll start re-stocking. I have a large box of ready-to-go stock which I take with me to markets, so I'll get this organised for the next stall I host. I usually make things in batches. So I'll make necklaces, brooches, rings, earrings & hair combs in big lots.
I do my own product photography. I live in a garden basement flat which means the best natural light in here is very limited for this. I find the best time of day is early afternoon, so I'll be sure to have some products ready to photograph to make the most of the light if it's a nice day. Saying this, I still have tons of shots saved on my laptop that I need to work through & post up.
I know a lot of people prefer working around other people, but for me I am pretty content working from home in my own space I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I like spreading myself out and would find a shared space too confined. I also get to choose whatever music to listen to while I work, or a lot of the time I like to work in complete silence! Saying this, I probably end up getting very distracted at home by things like doing the washing up or cleaning and snacking too much also.
I am pretty happy making things all day with breaks on the internet to do some ordering, research & catching up on my favourite inspirational blogs. I will usually continue working through into the evening most days. I think at some point I will have to schedule hours when I'm working so that work life and home life don't cross over too much.

When I am not designing and creating I am………….Working in the amazing Workhouse Café as a barista or working across the road from there at a great artists cooperatively owned shop called Makers. I love working in these environments as they are full of energy, colour and inspiration. It's funny, but all the staff at the Café are artists also. I guess it's just that kind of environment that we all thrive on! Don't get me wrong...I am not a workaholic. I try and enjoy some downtime too and there's nothing better than getting away from the city or even better, out of the country for a little break, with lots of new things to absorb and inspire me whether it be soaking up the crazy sights and smells of south-east asia or trapsing around flea markets in
Berlin! I also dabble in a bit of photography, so I enjoy documenting my travels that I take with Mr Red Bird.

I get inspiration from ……………I am hugely inspired by my love of the vintage era. I seem to have a growing collection vintage dresses as well as many household objects many of which I have picked up from trips in Europe. A huge proportion of my lasercut jewellery is made using vintage stock images. I just love the nostalgia it creates and it seems to be loved by people, old and young. I especially love seeing the older people's eyes light up when they see my makes and I get a real sense of appreciation and understanding from them. I would say that am influenced by the old and the new. I am currently working on pieces that use geometric shapes and fluoro colours.

Being an independent designer is important to me because…… It gives me the freedom and ability to express myself to my fullest. I have no one but myself to call the shots and it is something that is hugely satisfying. I feel most humble that I am in a position where I can be my own boss. It is extremely hard work and I put in a lot of hours to be able to accomplish this, more so than if I had a 9-5, but I know that all this hard work is for me and I couldn't be happier. I think more people should really take time to step back for a moment and think what would really make them happy and persue it. Life's too short to be doing something that doesn't satisfy just because it pays the bills...

I knew I wanted to be a designer when I was…....very little. I've always had a creative streak whether it be in ballet, music or art. I just never made the opportunity to act on it. It was always something that I treated as a hobby. Through having the confidence from huge support from friends and family, and an unfortunate turn of events which took me out of work for a year after a bicycle accident, I found myself persuing my life long dream. Sure, I was a little hesitant at first, but now I know it's want I want. I think I am fortunate in that sense. I don't think many people can say that they know what they want from life.

My greatest achievement so far is ……waking up each day knowing that I am my own boss. I take it all one day at a time.
I cannot live without………coffee and cake.......oh, and the unconditional love from my lovely understanding boyfriend, my friends and family!

My favourite thing I have ever bought or found………has to be my antique French Corbeille bed all the way from France. It has an upholstered headboard and a curved upholstered footboard which makes me feel cosily cocooned when I go to sleep. I love to purchase preloved beautiful furniture!

Godiva introduced  Red Bird Makes into the showroom a few months back and its been a great addition to the collection. We love the variety in Joanna's work. It's quirky and skillfully made and ticks all the boxes at Godiva.
Red Bird Makes will be selling at Glastonbury this year so those of you lucky enough to be going then do pop by and check it out. We sell these brooches and necklaces online on in store.

Swinging Acrobat £15.00

Tea & Cake Brooches £14.00 

Vintage Shoes Brooches £14.00 

Moustache Brooch £6.00
Bow Necklace £16.00 

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