10 March 2011

A Conversation with Nin of The Wardrobe

I can tell you that Nin's tag line for her creative business The Wardrobe - 'Extraordinary design for extraordinary people' couldn't be more true.  By her own admission she loves beauty and intricacy and this is evidenced in her sewn clothing, homeware and accessories where she shows a passion for fabric, technique and detailing.  Let's learn more about Nin...

Who is Nin McKay of The Wardrobe?

I'm a full time mother and wife, part time sewing tutor and sales assistant at Stitch (fabric and yarn shop), blogger and creator of lovely things.

I'm formerly trained as a fashion designer, but was bought up in a creative family – from a young age I took on embroidery, cross stitch, knitting, crochet.... The Wardrobe is a fusion of technical knowledge and crafting skills.

What’s your “handmade groove ?”

I guess you could say fabric and yarn are my primary mediums for creative expression at the moment. I am only limited by time, but I love graphic design and working with paper (scrapbooking) and I love knitting and crochet – these are 'past times' squeezed in around my family, work and little business.

What’s on your bedside table right now? (hey, no tidying up or censoring)

• Dust,

• an expired voucher for Milk (baby store in Chch),

• The Secret Life of Slummy Mummy, Fiona Neill;

• My Booky Wook, Russell Brand;

• timetable for my local Rec Centre;

• 2 Albums of family photos;

• Extra Curricular Spring Edition;

• my old Plunket book;

• The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown;

• a bobble, glass of water, pen and last but not least my Diary.

This actually says a lot about me – that cleaning is waaaay down the priority list (I'd rather create), that I like to have a range of reading material on the go and I'm quite sentimental when it comes to my family.

Who are your creative role models? What music, books, images, poetry spark your creative fire?

I'm really inspired by Sonia Delaunay – trailblazer and co-founder of the Orphism art movement, painter, fabric designer, set designer and colour theorist.

Also I discovered Amanda Blake Soule's blog Soulemama about a year ago. Its not just what she does, its how she does it that really inspires me. She lives her life with such grace and integrity.

What could you talk late into the night about with like minded people?

Creative expression and process, child-rearing, traveling to faraway places, food and wine, dreaming big dreams.

If you could go to three free workshops/creative events this year which ones would they be? What are they about?

I attend Crafty Business on the first Monday of every month which is a get together of likeminded sellers on Felt. Some of the sessions are structured around a business topic (e.g. pricing your goods), some have an invited speaker – there was a session last year where a life/business coach came and gave ideas; and yet others are just a natter and a glass of wine.

I think these kinds of catch ups are really good for create networks and making friends in the crafting community.

How do you balance your creative life with your family, life commitments?

I embrace the late nights! I've always been a night owl and I seem to get my best ideas in the wee smalls. I've just taken a studio space down town, and my daughter is attending Kindy two mornings a week, which really helps with the work/life balance – I'm on a mission at the moment to 'work smarter not harder'. When I'm in my space I don't have any distractions and I'm more productive, so this leads to more sleep, which in turn makes me a more attentive and patient mother.

What is your favourite creative screw-up?

Its not really a screw up as such, but late one night I was cutting a bunch of Maytroshka dolls and the thought occurred that the pattern piece looked like a pear...the pear stop was born. I like to keep an open mind when creating, rather than having a fixed idea in my head of how something should be. Plenty of my products are tweaked as I try different finishes/processes/materials – I like that my designs evolve, it helps to keep things fresh and unique (and exciting for me!).

Kitchen table or studio?

Well it used to be the dining room, half the living room, half the garage and several cupboards, but now its a studio. Hooray!

Do you have a wish list? Can you tell us what’s on it?

The big ticket items on my wish list are an i-Pad and a home of our own – with an orchard, vege patch, chickens, view of the sea (hey you did say wish list, right?)

For the business I would love to have several thousand dollars saved up so I could go buy fabric and release a mini-collection, but I'm building up to that :)

You can find Nin's work on-line at http://www.thewardrobe.felt.co.nz/ and follow her creative happenings at here at her blog.


  1. Hi Nin, So nice to see what you are about, I also have some dust on my bedside table, too busy creating to clean, ha, ha, cheers Marie

  2. Hi Nin, lovely little peek into your world. I hope those wishes come true soon!

  3. Hi Nin, love your work, great to hear about your inspiration, all the best :)

  4. Aren't late nights just the BEST time to get things done?! Your work is just beautiful.


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