Chic-yCow Designs is a local crafty maker, who makes bags and accessories from leather. Here we have interviewed owner Jo all about her inspirations and designing process. We also interviewed Chic-yCow before, you can read it on Chic-yCow by Jo Noble and we did a Chic-yCow Product Review: The Leather Choker.
Where do you start with your initial research for your designs?
‘Most of my ideas pop into my brain at daft times of the night and day, I then try and get them out of my head by sketching and scribbling my thoughts onto paper. I use Pinterest to create a secret mood board and spend many hours researching and gathering colour schemes, patterns and shapes that help to develop my design. Once I’ve decided on a colour scheme, I go through my supplies and find all sorts of mixed media that compliment the colours I’ve chosen and pile them together. That helps me to decide what
blends and fits.’
What inspires me the most and why?
‘I am a big fan of Mother Nature’s palette of colours and shapes, so I think I’m most inspired by flowers and leaf shapes and the textures and patterns found all around us. I also like Architecture so I am fascinated by lines and geometric shapes and how it all fits together.’
What making/sewing techniques inspire you most?
‘I’m very interested in painting and printing techniques and fabric manipulation. At the moment I’m researching textiles, embroidery and altering metal. I’m working on a collection of jewellery using mixed media, so combining my leather with textiles, metalwork, beadwork and paint.’
How do you decide which ideas to move forward with and which to scrap?
‘I’ve discovered over the past few years that the ideas you have in your head don’t always translate into a physical piece of work! I often find myself going off on a tangent and what I started out making somehow turns into something completely different! It’s only when you begin to make a ‘mock up’ of a design, you find out what works and what doesn’t.
You also discover whether the costings and amount of labour that goes into the piece makes it a viable product to sell. I often make one – of -a -kind pieces that cost more, but then take a portion of the design and re work it to produce something feasible to sell on a regular basis that is more profitable.’
How do you continue to evolve and push your ideas to the next level?
‘When I look back at some of the work I made when I first started Chic-yCow in 2011, I can see just how much my work and the business have evolved.
I have gained many more skills along the way, all self taught, learnt lots about business in general from my fellow Artists and Makers and adapted to different ways of working – I think when you’re self employed you are learning all the time, mostly by trial and error!
I am now going back in time a little and revisiting my costume jewellery skills and incorporating them into my work for the future.’