Who is a Black Brown Indigenous Melanated Person (BBIMP) who has inspired you or your work?
The children of my classrooms back when I was a teacher.
How do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration everywhere. Bright colors and sparkles are always very inspiring.
Share your maker journey. How did it all begin for you?
I began making full-time in March of 2013. I began specializing in Black Doll Making in May of that same year in response to a visual disparity. I wanted to create more dolls and designs that realistically depict Black Hair and Black features.
What is your favorite design?
I have so many but I guess if I have to pick it would be my first published doll design, Aisha. She was symbolic of what I want to do with my particular style of crochet doll design. Rich dark skin tones with vibrant colored clothing are very common in Black/African/African-American cultures.
Who taught you, encouraged you in your craft?
I am self taught, through books. I was encouraged by circumstances mostly. Wanting to create imagery associated with being Black as a positive instead of what feels like overwhelming negative at times.
As a BBIMP, in your line of crafting, what steps do you find you need to take, to promote and share your creativity if any?
I’ve learned over the years to be strong and stand by my vision whether people are seeing it or not. I’ve learned to be clear and intentional with each visual message.
Do you feel being a BBIMP has an impact on how your creativity is viewed/received?
Absolutely. The main thing I think people should know is that in this widely Caucasian field of creativity, there are countless groundbreaking creatives that hardly ever even get credited for their contributions. Often gets whitewashed or downgraded to something simpler. It can be frustrating to endure.
What suggestions, other than your tools, would you suggest another maker to learn or pick up?
I think part of being an expert in the field is being able to find common ground or overlapping patterns in whatever your discipline is.
What are you working on right now?
I am currently working on some one of a kind designs for a museum exhibition.
How does your creative work| craft help you?
Specializing in Black Doll Making has allowed me to further examine beauty standards and the importance of positive imagery for us, by us.
Tell us a little bit about your practice or the steps you take to create your work.
I spend most of my time designing and creating original designs. I bounce from project to project daily because I just really love creating.
What’s the overall message you want your audience to take away from your work?
The mission statement of My Kinda Thing is to “Promote pride and confidence in children of color, particularly girls, and even more specifically Black girls, in efforts to combat self hate.”
What is the most helpful resource for your business that you can share with us?
One great resource I’ve found is how social media has connected me with people who were looking for what I was looking for. Social media has made connecting with people all over the world more realistic. In this way, I am also able to see some of the overlapping challenges that we have a non-white creative..
What is a personal habit that has helped you significantly in your business?
I have a habit of extreme focus when I have an idea or when I’m particularly inspired to create. I have an unwavering commitment to my mission and I make sure that it is evident in EVERYTHING I create.
Where do you see your business|Crafting in 5 years?
I see My Kinda Thing and the My Kinda Thing University expanding significantly. Through crochet doll making and designing, I am working towards very specific focus on self esteem and the importance of imagery through actual programs.
What is a lesson learned, from being a designer, that you wish someone had told you when you first started?
I just wish more people I knew/know would’ve been more supportive in the beginning. It was lonely tryna do this as a full time gig and I was met with more opposition than I thought. But I learned that my biggest fan had to always be me first. Whether the world knows or not, it’s most important that I am sure of who I am and what I am doing.
What is something that you’re passionate about and why?
I am passionate about fighting self-hate. It is my mission to be proud of the things I do and why I do them. Creating with love and purpose is always the goal.