Q&A | Maiko Kuzunishi became cuckoo for clock design by accident
JOB DESCRIPTION: Owner of Decoylab, a graphic and housewares design business, www.decoylab.com
What’s your personal design style?
Midcentury modern with French country thrown in. Those don’t always go together, but I can’t help it.
Your clocks are sold around the world. How did you become cuckoo for clock design?
By accident. I’d quit my day job because I wanted to do something creative for myself. I illustrated a bunch of calendars, using a gocco machine (a cross between silk-screen and rubber stamping) and put them on Etsy.com. One of the illustrations was a cuckoo clock, and I thought it’d be interesting as a real clock. So I made a clock kit and put it on Etsy, too. The clock kits kept selling, the calendars didn’t.
How have your clock designs evolved?
I assemble the clocks, and I keep making them more durable. They’re laser cut. Mostly bamboo. There are animals (owls, fawns, hedgehogs) and decorative clocks (flowers, stars, squares). Everything is made to order, so there’s no waste. I want to see how far I can go with the clock. I have 30 designs so far. It’s all fun.
What other housewares do you design?
Tea towels. I wanted some color because the clocks are mostly wood hued. I designed the fabrics and printed them using spoonflower.com. (Among the patterns are bicycles and a 2012 calendar). Also, laser-cut felt coasters. I designed them for Ric Rac Roundup this month (see box for details).
What are your favorite magazines and design blogs?
I love Everyday Food. I get great ideas from it. And I like the site www.ffffound.com (an image-sharing website).
Tell us about your home.
It’s a 1954 ranch in a neighborhood off Ward Parkway. It has irregular-sized doors and other nonstandard details.
What’s your favorite room?
Probably the kitchen. My husband and I redid it with blue cabinetry and white countertops.
You’re from Japan. What brought you to Kansas City?
My dad got a job here when I was 12. My family moved back to Japan, but I stayed here. I went to the Kansas City Art Institute. That’s how I met my husband. He’s an elementary school art teacher.
Did you design anything for your 3-year-old daughter Leela’s room?
A pink banner with her name on it and printed artwork.
What’s your next house project?
Finding a new house on the Kansas side. We want a place where my husband can play the guitar, where Leela can play and I can have a bigger studio.
Anything new you’d like to design in that bigger studio?
Furniture for personal use. Lamps for customers with laser cutting and maybe combining with fabric with my designs on it. There are a whole lot of possibilities to make something unique and fun.
RIC RAC ROUNDUP
What: A craft fair with 23 local artists and designers including Decoylab
When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 23
Where: Parking lot at 304 Westport Road
Details: Bon Bon Atelier, 816-756-0855, or RicRacRoundup.com
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