Hi everyone, this week we’re meeting Kay, of ‘lilidrawspictures’ fame. So without further ado…it’s over to Mrs. Guccione herself!
- Name : Kay Guccione
- Hometown : Sheffield
- Craft : Accessories from Recycled Textiles
- Company Name : lilidrawspictures
- Website : www.lilidrawspictures.com
- Twitter : @lilidraws
- Likes : reclaimed fabric, Star Trek, recycling paper, ballet, found objects, lists, ribbon, exaggerating, tape measures, musical theatre, graph paper, gymnastics, notebooks (terrible costly fetish) vintage comics, stationery, vintage buttons, string, ink, badges and champagne
- Dislikes : sitting still, waiting, chocolate, noisy eaters and bows on bras
- Hi Kay! Tell us a bit about yourself…
I’ve lived in Sheffield all my life, including my seven years as a student, studying Zoology & Genetics, and then my PhD in molecular DNA repair pathways. I now work for the University of Sheffield, as does my husband Ed who is the lilidrawspictures website wunderkind.
Being at the University for so long has afforded me the opportunity to take up a new hobby every year, something I hope to maintain into old age. I sing with Singsoc (The Singers’ Society at Sheffield Uni), and spend a lot of time at the Lantern Theatre.
I turned 30 this year, and I absolutely wasn’t dreading it. I like to surprise people who think they’re talking to a 12 year old!
- Have you always been creative?
After a lifetime of watching my Mum sew, I suddenly got the point and flung myself fabricwards! It 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 that I started making things for friends and family, for Christmas. And it was only a small step further to open a shop.
- Can you explain your craft in a bit more detail?
At lilidrawspictures we design and produce original mod-ish clothing, super-strong book bags, brooches, clutch purses and notebooks. Work stuff and school stuff. We do so without sweatshop labour, and with environmental kindness, using old favourite materials.
- Where can we buy lilidrawspictures stuff?
I sell through Etsy and Folksy (new stock coming in v. v. soon), and also at a selected handful of fairs each year – mainly our Craft Candy Fairs, but I’m also doing the Reet Sweet Event in Leeds Corn Exchange on the 7th November. I supply the 20-21 Gallery in Lincolnshire, and also Salford Museums gallery. In the USA, I supply Southern Fried Comics with my upcycled comic book accessories and notebooks.
- How do you go about promoting lilidrawspictures?
My Facebook page is a great way to promote my work, with a good few commissioned pieces resulting form the showcasing I can do there. My main neglected creative outlet is my blog – MUSEROUND which, although very popular, has been static since February, as I’ve been too busy to do it proper justice since changing jobs. Blogging will recommence in the next couple of weeks though now I am settled in and ready to go!
- Are you available to produce commissioned pieces and one-offs?
Absolutely I am – I love to make something especially to suit a particular person or event. A clutch bag to match a dress, something in a specific fabric, or a custom size of shopping bag. Just let me know what you’d like – you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
- What is your workspace like? Do you work from home, or have a studio?
I work from my tiny studio (dining table) at home in Shalesmoor, Sheffield. I am anally tidy – I can’t work in a mess at all. That’s possibly my scientific training coming through, but in a small apartment like ours, needs must! I would love to have a tiny dedicated studio space one day. Somewhere to go to be creative and somewhere to leave behind when it’s time for dinner!
- Can you tell us more about your day job?
Following my PhD, I worked for four years in scientific research, working in Plant Molecular Science, on a project to increase food-security in sub Saharan Africa. I now work as a Training and Development Advisor, creating and co-ordinating professional development training systems for The Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health. I run lilidrawspictures in my evenings and weekends.
- Who or what inspires you?
Everything inspires me! I’m short (5’ nearly 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.
I get something like 130 different RSS blog feeds on a daily basis. 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 We Are What We Do, and World Sweet World amongst other ‘green’ blogs. And have you seen ‘My cardboard Life’?
- Which of your contemporaries do you admire?
My list of favourite artists is extensive, and I like to have a favourite for each mood and whim. Roy Lichtenstein overall I think. Dresses are my thing too. I pore over any shop on Etsy selling handmade frocks.
- What is your favourite thing about being creative?
Always having a matching bag and dress. Made from curtains!
- What’s your favourite thing you’ve made and then sold?
I love all my clutch bags. I only make bags that I’d want to use myself, but it’s not really a good business strategy to keep them all! They’re all original, I don’t like to have duplicates. My favourite is a piece called ‘Yee Har’ that was featured on a lot of blogs/Folksy Fridays etc, but sold almost immediately. It’s a recycled wool skirt with cowgirls and bows.
- And what is your favourite craft related item that you’ve bought?
It has to be my sewing machine Brother BM2600 – it’s the thing I’d save first in the event of a fire (after Ed of course, maybe…). It’s from Woodseats Sewing Machines. I really recommend that shop, they are very good at helping you to get what you need, not what they need to flog.
- What other hobbies and interests do you have?
Singing and dancing. Sometimes both together. I have just been involved as assistant director with an excellent production of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, at the Lantern Theatre in Nether Edge. I have been part of this theatre group since I was 15 (exactly half my life) and this as my first venture into directing. I’m normally up there on the stage, having been in ‘Be My Baby’, ‘Ladies Day’ and ‘Players Angels’ in the last couple of years.
- How long have you been a member of Craft Candy, and what do you love best about being part of the group?
I joined in 2008 after receiving an invitation to attend the first Spring Fling fair at The Workstation. Since then I have been on the committee, helping to organise events and members. This summer I joined the management committee as Secretary, and I absolutely love being part of something so well organised and successful as Craft Candy. We’re going from strength to strength – great kudos. I think we’re really going to grow this year, and I can’t wait to put all our great ideas into practise and kick on with the world domination!
- And what are your plans for the future?
Short term: To survive the Christmas rush. To get back on with regular curator blogs on MUSEROUND. To accept invitations from a couple more galleries. To grow Craft Candy. To visit more fairs, especially ‘Zine’ fairs. To develop the recycled paper/stationery side of the business. And to enjoy my crafting.
Long term: to do an Architecture degree.
- Thank you Kay for the insight into your world, it’s been lovely finding out more about you and what you do!