Growing up, my mom always had papers lying around. She would do crafts and I would do them with her. They were just for me to relax and have fun. I mostly self-taught and learned from my friends. Once you’re on the internet looking up things, you see so many cute things that people make and you just copy them. That’s where I started first and I made my owl beanie, then a cat beanie, a llama, a fish, a bunny...and a lot of things just started coming in. I started making friendship bracelets and sold them, too. I got into a metal work class, and it’s like a whole different world.
For me, making my own stuff at my own leisure is relaxing, but I'm also making money, doing things I love, and communicating with customers about what they really want. Creativity to me looks like working with someone and giving them the freedom to choose what they want. For all of my products, you can choose custom things and message me what you want. It’s all made to order. If someone really wants a color and it means a lot to them, then I think it’s important to get it to them. Their creativity affects mine and we learn from each other.
I feel pretty good about myself when I make things. I feel good when I see other people wear the stuff I make. It’s fun. I feel like my products are worth buying and looking at. I don’t always get people proactively buying stuff and then I’ll be promoting myself...and those moments are a little awkward for me. But, then it’s not discouraging for me. I think I just have to put myself out there all the time, and I feel okay with it. Because, there’s no loss for me if you’re not going to get it.
I feel really random sometimes 'cause I don’t have a specific thing that I do; I do everything from metal work to making journals, crocheting beanies, to sewing laptop bags or making slippers. I have a lot of things going on and I don’t think I intend to stick to one thing. Maybe I will someday, but it’s called Koko’s Krafterie, so it’s like a craft factory.
Someone proposed that we empower women in Hungary by teaching them some basic skills to make things and they can be creative with it. They make their own stuff and the money goes to them. It’s empowering them, but letting them be creative in their own context. It’s more restoring their culture and identity. The Roma people have been put so many names on them (thieves, witchcraft...) It would be redeeming that art culture. We’re looking at coasters and laptop bags, but making them with their colors and cultural patterns. They would make their own things and promote their culture and make it known to others, but also get their own money and support themselves. That’s empowerment.
I was going through a melt down during the beginning of my freshman year of university. It was very tiring and I had been used to the American and international school systems, so I was getting culture shock from the Taiwanese education system, like testing. The melt down mostly came from being in Literature. I love reading and writing, but literature does have a really dark side to it. There were a lot of themes that were so dark and you kind of feel lost sometimes. I didn’t expect to be learning something like this in this way, just read, read, read; test, test, test.
I looked up this artist, Makoto Fujimura, and he said something like ‘art is love...and we were all meant to be creative.’ At that time, I was also listening to a song that said, ‘I was made for love.’
So, I realized love is creative because creating something requires you to sacrifice something, and there’s love in that for me. You take time and consideration and it requires something in you that has to be drawn out, and I think that’s love. I think creating is within love and that's how you create something beautiful. That's why I have this whole thing: I was made for love, and love is creative.