Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Mr. Funky Interview and Giveaway!

Narumi Ogawa is the clever brain behind Mr. Funky! She has a recent book full of easy-to-follow tutorials for adorable dolls and accessories. You can make hats, scarves, flowers and even a water bottle carrier (my personal favorite). She was nice enough to do an interview with us, and she's even offering up her new book, Mr. Funky's Super Crochet Wonderful, as a prize for one lucky Plush blog reader. Leave a comment to be entered! Thanks again to Narumi for the interview. We loved learning more about her.



S - You've been crocheting as Mr. Funky since 2003. How long did you crochet as a hobby before you decided to make the leap to business?

MF - It probably took me 1 year to establish Mr.Funky. I had never crocheted in my life until year 2002. I started going to crochet class at yarn shop every Saturday for 2 months. I was crocheting ALL THE TIME!

S - Since you began, have you been able to turn Mr. Funky into a full time job, or do you have another profession you balance as well? Do you have any advice for people who want to make their craft their business?

MF - In 2003, I started showing my Amigurumi dolls to store owners. I also showed my creations at parties, clubs, art walk and sample sales... basically anywhere I went. There were so many events in Los Angeles, and I just took advantage of the opportunity of living in La La Land. I talked about Mr.Funky to every single person I met. At that point, I was working as a movie editor for a small company and a model scout for movies. I didn't think Mr.Funky would turn to be my full time business, but I participated in 2 trade shows in summer 2003, and I received huge orders from the shows. After that I started working with sales reps in California, Texas, Georgia, and Massachusetts.



S - You grew up in Tokyo, Japan. A lot of the cutest Amigurami books and patterns I've seen come from there. Do you think growing up in Tokyo had a large influence on your work and style?

MF - Most definitely, and I am lucky to be born in the 70's. I LOVE 70's culture. I am inspired by the cool Japanese animations, cartoons, TV shows, and music and they are mostly from 70's. Also my dad was musician, and he's taken me to see lots of Jazz concerts and live music since I was a little kid. I often create Amigurumi dolls by listening good music.

S – Are there certain musicians in particular that inspire you?

MF - Sun Ra, Miles Davis, Max Roach, Bill Evans, John Coltrane, Zakir Hussain, Fela Kuti.

S - On your website, you talk about your work being inspired by fashion from the 1920s through the 1970s? Are there specific designers or pieces that inspire you as well?

MF - I have lots of designers and art pieces that inspire me. I think that good color coordination is one of the most important keys of my creations. I often see greatest products come from simple designs with great color combinations.



S - Last July, you came out with your book Super Crochet Wonderful. It's great! Can you tell people a little more about both the experience of creating it and the book itself?

MF - The experience of writing this book was amazing. It was like having 2 full time jobs, and I worked really hard for this book! The book shows how to make Amigurumi dolls and crochet accessories like hats and scarves. I included both written and diagram instructions. If you know single, half and double crochet, you can make most of the projects in the book. It's really fun, and I want everybody to check it out!



S - I like that the book has a mix of both crochet accessories and dolls. Which did you begin making first? Do you find you have more fun with one over the other?

MF - I started making both accessories and dolls at the same time. I like working on both projects, so I don't have more fun with one over the other.

S - When did you start coming up with your own patterns and designs? How often do you find you create new patterns, and do you have a particular process that helps you invent new pieces?

MF - I started coming up with new designs soon after I started crocheting. When I come up with new ideas, I usually draw sketches and sleep on it for days, sometimes weeks. After that I review the idea, and if it's doable, I go to the yarn store, get some yarns and actually create the piece. So creating new designs take one day to weeks, it depends on my mood.





S - The book is great because the instructions and patterns are easy to follow, but I also love your book's emphasis on being able to use inexpensive yarn. Do you have favorite places to buy yarn or favorite brands you would suggest?

MF - If you live in LA area, I would suggest going to Yarns Unlimited on Pico Blvd in Santa Monica.

S - Your website is adorable as well! I love the introduction with bunny in the boat. Do you find you do most of your business online? How often do you update your shop with new things?

MF - I used to do online business well, but I had to stop for a while because my wholesale business became more demanding. Right now, I am selling only Mr.Funky book on my website. I should be able to update my site within 1 month for new products. I will definitely let you know when it's ready!!

S - Lastly, any upcoming plans you'd like to share?

MF - I am focusing on more new Amigurumi dolls and Hyperbolic crochet and free form style. I also have been working on Amigurumi kits. Besides crocheting, I am learning web designs and I hope to update my site on my own!

Everyone should check out Narumi's new book! You can buy it directly from her here, or leave a comment for your chance to win one.

55 comments:

lookwhaticando said...

Love love to win....what a super interview. xoxo :)

Jhoanna said...

Wonderful interview - I am always fascinated by stories of how crafters come across the craft they end up loving. I totally agree about colour combinations - they definitely make a difference in the final creation. I'd love to take up amigurumi and think that this book would be a great way to learn :-)

Bunny B said...

Great interview. Those toys are all so adorable!

luv2stitch said...

Love the amigurumi!

angela said...

I will love this book! kisses!

ikisti said...

would love to win. thanks again.

Meaghan said...

Nice interview :D I'd want to make all those nice amigurimis!!!

fi at moose and bear said...

great interview - v inspiring!!!

Lindy Stamper said...

Great interview.

greetingarts said...

I learned a lot, reading this interview. Best of luck to her, I love amigurumi and her book would make a fabulous addition to my library... :0)

rtyrtyrty said...

yeay! i heart Mr. Funky~!

i love plushyou!

:D

B├ęthany said...

I am a beginner, but what a thing to aspire to!

Becca said...

Great interview. :D

Veronica said...

That is exactly the book to get me back into crochet. What great ideas!

blakewest said...

I just adore the little owls. I want to make a set of 3 as bean bags for juggling ;o) Thanks for the interview.

RoSa_RoSa said...

I love amigurumi and those are very very veryyyyyyyyyy lovely!! I wish I could make something like that. Great works, continue with it!!
:)))

Molly said...

This is such a cute book! I love hearing from the authors of such creative work. Very inspiring that she was working the whole time she put this together, too!

Roland said...

I think that book will inspire my daughter! Great interview.

Rashmika said...

Beautifull, Ilove to have your book. Thanks.

Marlana said...

I love this book, I saw it in the bookstore a couple weeks ago. The water bottle cover is so cute!

Spider Lady said...

So cute!!! Great interview!

Ginny said...

Please count me in, what adorable little creations!

Ms Molly said...

Cute amigurumi!

kraftyscraps said...

Great interview! I would love a chance at that book!

Jessica said...

Thanks for the inspiring interview! I am so happy that some people are able to follow their passion and make it their job:)

Count me in for the book giveaway:)

Helen said...

Too fun!! I would love to win an play!

clau dc said...

This is very inspiring, It motivates me to go! hope to win the book so I would be making and making amigurumis!

Eva said...

i would love to win. here stuff is super CUTE and lately, I'm addicted to crocheting ;)

ekrzemin(at)yahoo(dot)com

Alison said...

Another great interview with an amazing crafter! (I think you said "amigurami" once though... isn't it "amigurumi"?)

Anyway, please count me in!

Andrea Senn said...

Thanks for the great interview - i would love to win this book!

mama2lilly said...

what a fun interview! i would love a copy of the book...

Mineko or Xuelijiu said...

I first saw your book at the Toledo Zoo gift shop in December. I just am enthralled by Asian art and culture so the book was like a magnet for me. Since I hadn't taekn my purse in, I hadn't any cash with me at the time. I have been on the lookout ever since (forgot name actually). I was searching online and found this site. It was great to be able to read an interview of the creator. I just emailed the address to a bunch of friends and relatives.

Lisa said...

33 is a lucky number, it is also the street I live on.
I love 33!

upstateLisa said...

I would love to win this book!!! I love how the toys are set in photos!!!!

Cris said...

"If you know single, half and double crochet, you can make most of the projects in the book."
Yes, that shows what Japanese have in their blood: turning the simple things into the cutest stuff we wanna own.
Great job, great book.

Abril said...

I'm a knitter, but lately I've been getting this urge to crochet amigurumi dolls. This book would be a great place to start!

Hana Yu said...

I really enjoyed reading the interview.

Sorka said...

I love her designs they are definietly and inspiration to me as I delve into the world of crochet!!
Denise
knitchat.com

AlpineButterfly said...

Wow, fun stuff. I just love some of the creatures... and the bubble bath cracks me up!

Bladerunner said...

I love the toys!

olive said...

Lovely interview. I love 3D crochet.

kristena marie said...

This is so fabulous! I love her style and her book. I never did any amigurumi before the bunny pattern in Mr. Funky. Love it!

kasey said...

Hooray for amigurumi!!! :-)

LemonThreads said...

It's so nice to get to know the 'brains' behind the 'beautiful' or in the case 'cutiefull'! I have already hooked up the little bunny, she came out looking yummy and would love to have a copy of the book.

Crochetcowgirl said...

These are so cute and would love to have the book to learn how to make them. Thanks for the interview.

lunaknit said...

I am working on my first-ever amigurumi doll and would love a copy of this book! I am a knitter and am just learning the crochet techniques as I go but would really love to learn more.

Erin said...

I ::heart:: Mr. Funky, and Plush You!

Laura said...

I just got this book from the library yesterday, and haven't had a chance to really look through it, but am loving what I've seen so far.

Please enter me in the contest!

Liz said...

I love the 70's style and colors! It's nice to know a little more about the author of this book that I keeping hearing great things about :D

Kelsie said...

Thanks for the great interview. I would love to win one of the pieces and make a nice home for it :)

TwinMint said...

Great interview, the book looks amazing! I would love it. I'm so jealous of someone that can focus and pull patterns off from scratch!

BrineS said...

This would be great to add to my craft library!

Danielle A. said...

Awesome interview. This is one of those books that I always drool at when I'm in the bookstore and just haven't purchased... yet...

But if I WIN it... ;)

Laura said...

Wow, Thanks to crafty, inspired people like Narumi crochet is not so "old fashioned" anymore. I LOVE to crochet. It's the craft you can take with you wherever you go, on a long drive, on the train, to the park while I "watch" the kids play. It's so addictive and I love making little softies for my girls and other little people in my life. Having bought some of the Japanese books online I look forward to checking out the Mr Funky book and maybe being able to better understand the instructions!! Thanks for the interviews. :)

mimiko said...

Signed up to be a blogger just to comment on this interview.I'm so attracted to Japan's amigurumi and would love to win my first amigurumi book.It's hard to find amigurumi books here.