If you believed that only little kiddies have imaginary friends, well... you couldn't be more wrong. Because mommies can have them too and this mommy in particular has a stunning collection of them!
1. Who is the Mommy behind Mommy's Imaginary Friends (MIF)?
Who's the Mommy? The Mommy in this story is Yanya and Dzuradz' mom and her name is Irena. ;)
She's a grown woman that plays with dollies, an architect, a housewife, a teacher in school, a mother and a wife, an evil feminist and many other things.Although insisting on being a mom can sometimes be boring, there's that essential change in a woman that follows her when she becomes a mother. Along with the changes that followed in my case, as well as other life circumstances made me question my professional goals; becoming a mom reminded me that when you slow down with everything you do, the creative process can become a game. And in the end, it is a game.
I am still into the interior design business (in the past I worked for a furniture production company that was a supplier for a big chain of stores), but under my conditions. The job in the school is the one that makes me go outside and maintain the continuity of going to work, which is also important to me. I go everywhere on my bike. It is stored away only when its icy outside. I've organized my obligations in such a way that I am able to spend maximum time near my children, but I also try very hard to involve them in as many of my activities as I can. They are my closest expert associates when it comes to designing MIF characters. I am in a life phase when I feel the happiness is tangible and possible to achieve and that it is possible to have so much in this life only if one is aware of everything beautiful happening around.
2. How did you start making fabric toys and what was the first one you made?
I started making fabric toys at a time I wasn't able to realize some ideas of a small production of wooden toys. I always conceptualize as a designer first and as an architect I started from furniture, but since that idea got stuck in time, I started to sew toys little by little, first as gifts for the neighbouring kids and small relatives, but when people saw my photos of them on social media and started asking about prices, then I started selling them.
At the beginning everything was poorly done, mostly because I didn't know at all how to use a sewing machine. (I find tailoring more logical, probably due to all the descriptive geometry knowledge I acquired.). I learned how to use it and worked to a commendable routine one step at a time. I just recently remembered that I had sewn my first toy at the age of 14 to give as a gift to a boyfriend of mine at that time. It was a turtle and I believe it was sewn very poorly. Seventeen years later, I sewed a kitty for my Yanya, completely by hand and with the whiskers sewn backwards. :)
3. What kind of fabric do you use for your toys?
I use different fabrics . I try to find ones of great quality, natural and interesting. I buy in small quantities - usually a piece of fabric and I do recycle a lot. I also buy leftovers from tailoring shops and they can be a real treasure. Some of the motifs are recurring, such as red fabric with white polka dots. I cannot live without them. :)
4. What is the easiest / fastest toy to make?
The easiest toy? Definitely the mouse. But when it becomes easy it somehow loses its magic and that's why I always love to change something, try out new designs.
5. Can you tell us a bit about the toy creating process? How long does it take from a sketch to the final product?
The creative process, as I was taught in school, is all about sketches. A huge pile of sketches which I replace by ruining at least 10 sample pieces, which I distribute to the neighbouring kids to play with, then there is a lot of Maths and it keeps going.
I worked on my first doll for about a year - I have been experimenting with it for the past 6 years. The penguin was a lot of pain, but now I think I have the perfect cut and I am quite satisfied with it and with the other birds. I literally play with the chicks and parrots 'designs and for them I don't have a cut, just a sketch which I literally draw onto the fabric. Currently, I am playing with sea creatures. I try not to fall into a routine.
6. How many different toys do you have in your offer?
In my offer there are lizards and monsters made for babies, which I must say inspire me the most, then there are dolls, cats, bears, fish, whales, mice and there's always something new. I try my best not to repeat myself and I do not show the least interest in serial production.
Well, stepping into this mom's world felt wondrously - I hope you enjoyed it too.