Tucked away on the top floor of a London trade show last summer we came across Corby Tindersticks. A gem of a find that set off the little bell that rings in your head when you find something new and exciting. Or maybe that’s just us. Anyway, we needed to know more about this Corby Tindersticks. What the hell the name meant for a start. And who is behind these interesting creatures and prints? So we got in touch and asked a few questions and here is what Carly (or should that be Corby) said:
What’s your background?
I went to art college to do a foundation course in fine art and was persuaded by my tutor to move onto textile design (after many years of sewing and knitting thanks to Grandma G). I then went on to university to study textile design and then I changed again and did a masters in children’s book illustration, this one I really enjoyed! On this course I combined my love of sewing and textiles with character design, drawing and book making and this is where Corby first came to life!
How would you describe your style?
Playful, expressive, tactile and easy to relate to. It’s quite personal and more like a handwriting rather than style, I try to evoke a sense of movement and place, to spark something in the viewers imagination. It’s very character led and influenced by childhood memories and feelings!
What inspires your illustrations and characters?
They all appear from doodles and the sillier they look the more I like them. I usually make up little back stories for them, maybe they work in a Parisian patisserie or ride a penny farthing. My work is quite inspired by Scandinavian design, I like the beautiful simplicity of Scandinavian design and architecture, though my work always has a quirky twist which usually ends up with a ‘more is more’ attitude!
How did you get into making kids toys, art and clothes?
I spent a lot of time with my Grandma when I was a youngster and she taught me to sew, knit, embroider and make pictures from dried lentils. Me and my little sis used to make stuffed toys with her, and scarecrows, and rose perfume, I blame her for me never wanting to do anything else.
Why do you use American felt when everything else is done in the UK? Is there something special about it?
The felt is really nice quality, the right thickness for the prints and comes in a lovely array of colours. It’s also manufactured in the last non-woven textile mill in the U.S.A so I feel like it’s a good place to support as they are making a great product.
How do you come up with all the different names and personalities of the toys?
My partner Nick is good at making up names and stories with me, it’s like a challenge to see who can think of the best tales. Some are influenced by characters we like (there are some League of Gentlemen characters in the new collection) and the others are the ones that make us laugh the most. My current favourite is Tarquin who works as a freelance dental hygienist and likes shoehorns.
And why the name Corby Tindersticks?!
Someone mistook my name for Corby, I think it was my Yorkshire accent to blame, I thought it was quite cute. I heard Radcliffe and Macconie discussing the word Tindersticks on their BBC6 music show, they were saying that it’s a very cool word. I thought it would be the perfect surname for Corby, making him sound like quite a distinguished English gentleman.
Just to be clear we are definitely not affiliated with Corby, Northamptonshire or the trouser press.