An interview with Kirsty Collett

Posted on 05 December 2016

A few weeks ago, our very own Kirsty Collett was interviewed by, well, Kirsty Collett.

To be honest, we weren't very impressed with the result. Kirsty interrupted Kirsty the entire time and seemed quite uninterested in hearing much about, well, anything. But please take a look for yourself and draw your own conclusions.

If you are left wondering, as we were, then feel free to scroll down and have a read of Kirsty's full, uninterrupted answers below.

 

 

Let's try that again, with no interruptions this time...

Kirsty, tell our readers how Prickle and POP came about?

It’s all thanks to you lot! Without your support and encouragement, particularly on Facebook, I would NEVER have taken this step; in fact, if someone had told me at the beginning of the year that I would launch an illustrated paper goods business in 2016, I would have laughed in disbelief!

But, actually, now that I think about it, it’s only a hop, skip and a jump, albeit a big one, away from my long-time dream of illustrating a children's picture book!

It's no secret that I have never grown out of picture books; in fact, it’s fair to say that I have grown more in to them the older I’ve become! I collect them, read them, write them, study them, borrow them, share them, gift them, smell them, befriend them... and one day, I would love to illustrate them.

In January 2016, I decided to take steps towards that dream. Along with exploring the world of children’s literature as a writer and storyteller, I made it my mission to improve my drawing and painting skills. Through hours and hours of experimentation and practise, I explored lots of styles and ideas, and PerimenopART — a series of humorous illustrations and captions inspired by the not-so-humorous struggles women face during their perimenopausal years — was one of those ideas. (You couldn’t get further from children’s literature if you tried!)

I spent hilarious nights with Astra, Kylie, Emily and her camel toe; Rona and Andrea, Jane and her bags; Amy, Julie – God, I love Julie! – and then, well, then came Annie; she was the game changer. Annie caught the attention of a commercial printing outfit here in Christchurch and prompted them to get in touch. We love what you're doing! they said. PerimenopART has great commercial appeal! they said. We would love to work with you! they said. So I designed a greeting card range, and that’s how Prickle and POP all began!

 

How did you come up with the name, Prickle and POP?

During my exploration of styles, I did a Jean Haines-inspired watercolour painting of a hedgehog trying to collect bubbles:

 

The hedgehog was named Honkchonk by my youngest son – so yummy! – but all I could hear in my mind when I looked at the painting was prickle and pop, prickle and pop, prickle and pop ... Prickle and POP!

I loved the sound of it and thought it would be a cool name for a business. Little did I know that it would be a cool name for my business, and that it would reflect what I wanted to create so perfectly: art prints and illustrated paper goods inspired by the prickle of everyday life and the POP of imagination.

I hope you like it as much as I do!

 

Why greeting cards?

Because I LOVE them! And I have so many reasons for wanting to create them:

A beautifully crafted card filled with heartfelt and sincere words is one of the most special gifts you can give. They’re personal message holders, yes, but many of them are also works of art – affordable works of art! They can be framed, pinned to a wall, stuck to a fridge, collected, admired in journals; they’re gifts that keep on giving; they’re keepsakes.

I may have horrendous, super embarrassing handwriting, but I still like to give people handwritten notes, cards and letters. They’re personal in a way that texts and emails will never be.

I have always been intrigued by the magic that can be created by carefully combining words and art, and by the power, meaning and humour that can be packed into seemingly simple marriages of the two; hence my lifelong passion for picture books, I guess! So imagine my delight when I discovered that greeting cards can often require even more of a collaboration between these genres.

I’m a storyteller; I love storytelling. And I relish the challenge of telling a story with one punch, so to speak. My PerimenopART cards, especially, tell huge stories. But they also prompt them, and that’s what I love the most.

 

What inspired the PerimenopART range?

PerimenopART is me ‘talking about’ and having a laugh about the weird and not-so-wonderful experiences of perimenopause. But really, it’s me ‘talking about’ and having a laugh about some of the weird and not-so-wonderful experiences of womanhood.

 

What inspired the Word Bird range?

I adore Birds. My nickname is Birdie; it has been for years. My mother calls me Birdie. My husband calls me Birdie. I am Birdie. Tweet tweet.

I am also a songwriter; I have been for years.

So the Word bird range is inspired by my love of words and art, music and birds – the whole shebang.

 

What makes you prickle?

My big prickle is judgmentalism. Yuk. I don’t like it in other people and I don’t like it in myself. The latter, especially, can make me prickle to the max for days, so I try to avoid being judgy.

Being late.  

Sometimes nothing; I just feel prickly. And that’s a nice way of saying it.

 

What makes you POP?

Doing the things I love with the people I love – my POPilicious family and friends. Man, have I been blessed on that front!

Thinking creatively, exploring creatively, living creatively.

Stepping out into the world, if not every day, then most days, feeling comfortable in my own skin – warts, quirks, faults and all. It’s such a powerful feeling. I spent a large chunk of my life trying to iron out all of my creases, imagined and otherwise. Now I accept some, embrace others, ignore a few and work on the worst; but mostly, I try and discover interesting things within them all.

Laughing. Until I snort, cry or pee my pants. That kind of laughing.

 

Where to next for Prickle and POP?

I absolutely adore the relationships I am building with our incredible stockists so far – Scorpio Books, Henry Trading, Page & Blackmore, Moxini and Time Out Bookstore – so my goal for 2017 is to grow the Prickle and POP collection so I can constantly supply them with fresh and unique paper goodies. I also want to expand our stockists so you can find Prickle and POP goodies in stores near you!

One of our stockists recently told me that they’re excited by the PerimenopART range because it is so fresh and different; they see a lot of very similar cards. I am understandably delighted by this comment and it has motivated me to ensure that every range in the Prickle and POP collection is fresh and new. 

But the past has also shown me that I really have NO IDEA what I will be doing a few months from now, and that's the exciting thing about remaining open to new opportunities and ideas!

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