Friday, December 20, 2013

A Conversation with the Maker of Small Wonders:

Merry Christmas everyone! Today, I'm very happy to introduce to you, the wonderful Cindy of Desa Boneka!

Hello Cindy! Please tell us about yourself:)
Hi Pixin :)My name is Cindy, I'm 27 years old and I'm from Jakarta, Indonesia. After graduating with a BA degree in Graphic Design, I worked as a designer in a magazine company and a digital agency. I always knew I wanted to work for myself. So after 2 years of working full time on a 9-5 job, I quit and became a freelance designer ever since.

Which art college/school did you graduate from?
I graduated from Bina Nusantara University, Jakarta.

What’s the one significant lesson from art college/school that guides you as an art-maker?
Well, besides the obvious technical skills, design school also teaches us structural thinking like: researching, brainstorming, finding solutions etc, and moreover to value the process. I think it's an even more important aspect than skill, taste, or even talent. It definitely gives me a new perspective on way of thinking which I didn't even realize until you ask me this question haha!

Heh! That's because someone asked me that question recently:)
Cindy's village folks lining up for a group portrait.
So...what does Desa Boneka mean?
Desa Boneka means “A Village of Dolls” in Bahasa Indonesia. All the villagers are tiny crochet creatures that are waiting for people to come and adopt them. :) And what I want people to know is that I'm not just making a 'doll'. I'm creating a brand. Some people don't understand that. They think I just make some random dolls and sell them because I've had people offer to help sell my dolls but they wanted to remove my logo. I make each and every doll with my own design and pattern even when it's based on other well-known characters. I want people to look at my dolls and immediately recognize "It's Desa Boneka!".

Wait, what’s the benefit for them to do that? Selling your works without your logo?
Well, I'm not really sure why haha.. I know some people want to sell it under their brand and logo, and I guess others want to remove the logo simply because they're afraid when people know it's Desa Boneka, they end up buying it straight from me.
Argh! That's awful.
Desa Boneka's carefully packed goods.
When did you start crocheting?
Ever since I was a little girl, I always love to make something and get my hands messy.

Did someone teach you how to crochet or were you self-taught?
In my college days, I surfed the web and stumbled into 'amigurumi' (Japanese for crocheted or knitted stuffed toy) and instantly had an urge to make one. It feels amazing when you make something from a ply of wool and then turn it into something entirely different. I learn how to crochet only from video tutorials in Youtube. So yeah, internet plays a really big part in my crafty life. Haha.

That’s awesome. I have difficulty learning by watching videos. There seems to be a group of people who can learn well by watching videos, another by reading instructions and others by being instructed how to do it face-to-face. Have you ever had to reach out to somebody to learn something technically challenging when the videos just won’t do?
Yes, I have. I had difficulty on crocheting a circle/sphere before.

That is the one thing about crochet that baffles me. The spheres!
I'd tried many times and with many different techniques I could find on the internet, but they all resulted in some kind of, let's just say, a deformed sphere. Fortunately my sister's mother-in-law is a crochet goddess. So I asked her and she successfully taught me how, not face to face unfortunately, but via video call. So, again, praise to the technology! hahahaa.. 


So...what's the first thing most people notice about you when they meet you?
Well, I guess the first thing people notice about me is I'm tiny. Maybe that's why I make a whole village of tiny creatures so people can focus on their tininess instead of mine. :D And the second thing is my big forehead. :P

Meet Snooble.
Have you ever made a non-living creature before? Apart from animals and people...
Yes I have. In fact, my very first creation was a square monster. It counts as a non-living creature right? Haha.

I was thinking of something else, but this is okay! Hahaha.
Because at that time I couldn't crochet a circle. :D
Cindy's sketch. Tick when completed.
Completed finger puppets!
Could you provide a glimpse of your process? Do you pre-sketch for every piece that you make? Do you plan the colours to go along with the rest (especially if they are a set)?  
Yes, all of my works start off as a sketch. After I'm happy with all the little details and colours, I continue with the crocheting process. I also make a template and pattern for every doll, and compile them in one book, or as I call it, the holy book of Desa Boneka :D. So if I need to make another one of my previous creation, I just go back to the holy book.
Sneak peek inside the holy book of Desa Boneka.
Do you plan how you are going to photograph the final works?
As for the photographs, most of the time I just hurry the dolls for a quick photoshoot right at a little space in my backyard because some of them need to be shipped immediately. But when there's no rush, I like to take them to the park or the beach for a nice background setting.
Too cute! Okay distracted. These are Cindy's animal bookmarks.
I see a very organized and cautious mind behind the works...
I like to make a list of things I have to do every day. Although I don't always follow it hahaha.. I guess it's just a mechanism to deal with all the thoughts, ideas and plans running around chaotically in my mind. I just NEED to pour them out in writing so I can let my mind rest easy and start focusing on the work.

What aspect of your personality, you feel, is not present in the works you create?
I consider my works pretty detailed and neat. Is that right? haha..

Yes! Very neat:)
Well in real life, I'm not a tidy person. I don't like doing housework and my workspace is messy.
Wait, this still looks pretty neat. Heehee.
Note the chaotic clutter to the right:)
I see so many animals in your creations, I need to ask: Did you grow up surrounded by animals? If so, could you share a memorable pet/animal you took care of?
No, not really. I've always wanted a dog but my sisters are allergic to animal fur. I did have a turtle though, and 3 hamsters named Ncret, Ncrit, and Ncrut.

Hahaha. I love their names! Got a really nice ring to it.

Any particular work/s you've made that's memorable because it was so difficult to create?
I do have some memorable works. One of them is the Snow White finger puppet set. I never thought about making that set before but someone ordered it, and of course I wanted to make my own version of Snow White. The difficult part was to add all the characteristics of Snow White and the Dwarfs but at the same time I had to keep it simple and cute. My customers take a huge part in my creative growth. Some of them ordered unpredictable characters which really challenged my creativity. I'm always taken aback by some of the more difficult and unusual requests at first, however, since I really don't want to disappoint my customers, it motivates me to always try to make them and to my surprise, I can do it. :D 
Grumpy is way awesome. Grumpy is grumpy 'cause folks are calling him Cutie instead. 
 Hello Cutie!

What's the average time it takes to make one of the finger puppets? They are so endearing:) How did the idea of finger puppet sets come about?
Oh thank you, Pixin! :) The average time to make one finger puppet is around 1 hour, from crocheting, adding other details, until finishing. The idea of finger puppets came about when I was trying to put more variety to my products. I wanted to make something that's equally tiny but also useful and functional, and voila!, finger puppets it is. :D

Thank you so much Cindy!

To experience Desa Boneka's awesomeness, please visit

Enjoy the Conversation With....series?
Please check out the previous conversation with art-maker Betty Susiarjo:) 

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