Sunday, May 05, 2013

Buy Handmade vol 58

This week we are in Edinburgh, Scotland..

Name: Karolina Binczyk

Age: 33
Occupation:  hand-made soft toys designer
Etsy Shop:

Tell us a little about yourself.

Hi, my name is Karolina and I'm from Poland. I live in Edinburgh now.
I make soft toys from recycled jumpers...
I turn them into cute and cuddly stuffies, for kids... both big and small ;o) always with the intention of bringing lots of smiles.

When did you start creating and how long have you been on Etsy?

I have been creating things since I was a little girl. My mum had a lots of time to teach me how to draw, knit and sew – she used to made amazing embroidered tablecloths.
When I grew up I started Uni, studying Interior architecture design. Six years ago, after my graduation, I decided to move to Scotland.
I don't work in my profession at the moment but designing and making things was always very important to me.

The last couple of years I've been making crochet jewellery, rings and brooches, and I've had the opportunity to sell them in some shops. One night I hade a idea to make a crochet rat. It took me a few days to finish him – I thought it took too long to make them in this way, so I started sewing them instead.
Rats were my first collection of soft toys.
After a some time, I made my first cat who was holding a mouse and I sold him straight away.
Whenever I feel creative I keep my hands busy... I joined Etsy about a year ago and I'm very pleased to be a part of it. There is so many talented people.

How did you come up with your business name, is there any special meaning behind it?

Well... I'd made rats and cats, so it was easy to rhyme together "cats love rats". I thought it sounded good, so I kept it :0)

How would you describe your creative process? 

I like drawing, so If I get an idea, I make a sketch of it and then I try to make it. All my toys are mostly hand-made, one at a time, so I never make them exactly the same.
I combine sewing, knitting and crochet.  I use wool and recycled fabric (sweaters) so most of the fabric I get can be used only to make a couple of creatures. I am very passionate about what I do, and everything is created with love and attention to detail.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I think inspiration is hiding everywhere. You need to be passionate about people and animals, to observe them, then you will always find 
the most interesting ideas. New places, books, magazines, films, cartoons and music are the best inspiration to me...
I dream a lot, some of my ideas come just before I go sleep. When I was young I loved to watch "Fraggle Rock" – this fantastic american television shows created by Jim Henson inspired me to do, for my own creatures, those big eyes 8)

They always made me laugh...

What is your most cherished handmade item?

There are a two items...
I got from my sister a large mixmedia abstract graphic art (she is studying graphic art-Intaglio in Poland). I do love what she is doing. And last Christmas I got an amazing crochet bed cover made by my boyfriend's mum.
Both gifts are very valuable for me.

Apart from creating things, what do you like to do?

I adore rummage around second hand shops, finding interesting clothes, fabric and things to decorate my home. There are so many nice places to see in Edinburgh... 
I go to galleries, and I like quiet places, where I can be just for a moment away from traffic noise. I love the sun – I'm like a cat.
I like sometimes just lie on the grass and do nothing... unfortunately this is does not happen often in Scotland :(
I like cooking and baking and often experiment. It's good to invite friends and eat together.

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be and why?

I love to wander in the woodlands and mountains. I dream of long distant travels, I would like to cross the river Amazon, see the Grand Canyon, climb Kilimanjaro – there are so many beautiful places on earth that I would like to see...
I Love dancing – movement of the body is kind of magic, and much can be expressed in dance.
I used to play the violin, and would like to start playing again. Music is very important to me, I can't imagine life without music. Probably if I would not do what I'm doing at the moment, I would be travelling and dancing at the same time with a violin on my shoulder ;)

Five years from now you will be…

I hope still making toys, more or less crazy, that people will like! ;0)
Playing with my future dogs and cats in my own garden, rather than renting a flat... Meeting friends, having interesting never-ending conversations with them...

Describe yourself in five words:

open-minded,creative,curios,funny,freaky ...;)

Carrying on with the five theme, if I were to turn on your iPhone, what five artists/songs would I see on your recently played list?

Toro y Moi – 'Still sound'
El Guincho – 'Bombay
Rhyne – 'The fall'
Fever Ray – 'When I Grow Up'
Miles Davis – 'Don't lose your mind'
Massive Attack – 'Karmacoma' 

Lastly, do you have any advice for anyone thinking about opening their own shop or participating in craft shows? 

It is true that success largely depends on hard work, so don't give up! Get to work and think positive!

If you'll buy one of my toys ( cat or rat ) I'll  happy to send you as a gift, one of my birds for free...