Women: Following their Dreams #4: Kim Spiteri self taught creative
I am so delighted today to be interviewing Kim Spiteri as part of my Women: Following their Dreams series. In case you missed the first 3 (here, here & here) my aim in doing this series was to, once a month, introduce you to many and varied women who all have one thing in common, they have been brave enough to follow their dreams. Maybe you might be inspired by one of their stories, maybe their story will strike a chord with you, maybe what they are doing is something that you would like to do too, maybe you will find a new interest, talent, idea or realise that these woman are just like you and me and the only thing holding you back is you. So grab a cuppa and take a seat and see where this series might take you.
Kim & I met through our blogs because of our mutual love of cooking and we now co-host Your Weekly Feed together on Sunday nights but that is only a tiny part of what this multi-talented, determined and tenacious woman is all about and she is truly lovely too!
Kims also got fabulous style!
Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m married with two children and up until 2 years ago I had a corporate career in Insurance. I’m a design nut and I love creating. I now have my own blog Land of Zonkt.
How did you get into design?
My entire Year 12 at school year was art related, graphic design, photography, studio drawing and I loved it. However I went straight from school to work, literally 2 days later as I needed to work. I had to earn money so I put my dreams on the back burner. I did at one point resign and had the intentions of going to design school but I felt uncomfortable being unemployed, it actually gave me heart palpitations so I put it all aside and continued working in Insurance.
I took maternity leave after having both kids, but after having my second, I went back to a role I loved and had worked really hard to attain, but thing and people had changed and it was not what I left. It began taking it’s toll on my healthy and my family. The pinnacle moment for me was on a Wednesday when I came home from work, realising that I’d only seen my baby boy for 20 minutes in total over 3 days, I collapsed on the floor in tears and that was enough, so I stopped. I took my remaining Carers Leave and continued mastering my Mini Masterpiece designs and other custom art designs.
It actually came from a dream I had one night! I had been scanning my daughters art work so that I could get rid of the actual pieces that were taking up so much room in the cupboard and have a record on the computer instead. I thought then that I could merge them all together into a piece of art. I get a lot of my ideas in my dreams, that’s where the name ‘Zonkt’ (aka zonked) come from… I drift off into the Land of Zonkt my ideas come to life.
Luckily I don’t get my ideas when I’m on the toilet or the shower!
I first created the Mini Masterpieces just for myself but then friends saw them and asked for me to make them some too. I realised that everyone who has kids has art and it gets to be too much to store it all. Kids art holds special memories so it’s lovely to be able to have it on display and look at it, with the Mini Masterpieces it’s all in one spot and framed nicely. Eventually I put it out there as a business idea, I created a website for my Zonkt Designs business but nobody found me there! I’d say that it was my 1st fail assuming if you have a website people will find you, but that’s not the case. I learned a lot from it.
LOTS of work & ongoing work on Social Media and joining Down that Little Lane places like DTLL or the like are great places to go when you’re starting out and can’t afford a website. Tessa White the owner of DTLL was the guiding light for me, a genuine soul that loved the idea of my Mini Masterpieces and signed me up quick smart.
My Mini-Masterpieces are somewhat a slow growing part of my business, I find that people, like you, get them made when they are moving house, finally get around to cleaning out that cupboard or at the end of the school year. It’s kinda just when it works for people. Which is what makes it slow growing.
Mini Masterpieces was one idea but you do other designs as well, tell us about those.
All my designs are custom made. I do prints, logos, DIY and now wallpaper designs as well.
This one is great for a kids room (big or little kids!)
I started making prints and set up my shop. I’m totally self taught apart from what I learnt at high school.
Tell us how you went about teaching yourself graphic design?
I researched the programs to use. While I was on maternity leave I read a lot of “how to” blogs and I practiced. It was a lot of trial and error and a lot of watching You Tube tutorials. Through practice I worked out the methods that worked best for me. I find it feels a bit surreal, that I’m now doing it as a business. It’s taken me a while to get confident about it, as I’m not professionally qualified.
But as other designers and people from the industry have told me, my designs are my proof, are my credientials, this is what speaks volumes. I’m thankful for the ongoing support by the community and my clients.
Wallpaper design is the latest string to you bow, how did that come about?
As you know, I’m on Instagam a LOT, it’s pretty cruital for a visual based business to market there. I put all my designs up, so they are out there and then I went to a workshop where I met Damon from Muur Graphics and we got talking. He said he had noticed some of my stuff on Instagram and suggested a collaboration as I was already in the process of finalising a mural design for my sons room (which I was planing to hand draw!) it was perfect timing and that then led to me designing wallpaper!
What I love about Damon and Murr Graphics is the wallpaper they use is called ‘Phototex’ so it already has an adhesive on the back, so you peal and stick there is no glue involved, it’s awesome!
The mural Kim designed for her sons room that got turned into wallpaper, how clever is she?
When I finally finished designing my son room, and put the mural up on his wall, he hugged it. That was really rewarding. That kind of thing makes it all worth it.
How gorgeous is Kim’s doughnut wallpaper in her daughters room?
I’ve also noticed you are quite handy on the DIY front and have come up with some fantastic ideas.
As I mentioned, all those ideas drifting around in the Land of Zonkt. They never stop! It’s why I started my blog, to share my creativity, making and creating affordable pieces for the home is part of that. I’ve taken Kmart bath mats and made them into rugs and shower curtains into big statement art.
Can you believe that is a shower curtain? Again, how clever!
I also see food as another creative platform. I experiment with recipes. To me it’s the same as the DIY, its all creating something from an idea, so I share that too. If it works a treat for me and my family it might for others too why not share that with everyone.
With so much creating going on and a young family how do you structure your time?
I have a ‘kind of’ schedule but you can’t always turn on a creative brain like a tap! I schedule all my social media on Sundays, I have bake days where I make and photograph food (the extended family enjoy those days!) and I do the same with DIY projects. I have a list of ideas that I work from.
With all the day to day stuff going on and my son is not yet at school I usually start working from 8pm after the kids have gone to bed and follow the creative urge. That means late nights…or early mornings depending on how you look at it!
What is your favourite meal?
Ha! I love everything, I’m an eclectic eater. Sushi is number 1 all the way, as are dumplings! I love making my Puttanesca Pasta as it’s so quick and easy and the kids demolish my Tuna Rice Pie. Everyone eats that including my dogs! But my all time favourite that isn’t a meal but it should be is… Cheesecake! I made a Case-less New York one recently which is insanely good!!!
Yum, I could have some of that Puttanesca right now!
What’s next for you?
I’m looking forward to doing a photoshoot with the wallpapers and now that it’s Spring I’m going to kick off my Simple Salads Series again. I loved doing that last year and was delighted that one of my salads was featured in “Super Food” Magazine.
Thank you so much Kim it has been wonderful learning more about you. You can see more of Kim on Facebook,(for Land of Zonkt) & Facebook (for Zonkt Designs) Instagram & Pinterest
I recently saw this quote which I think sums up what Kim has been doing perfectly, “Every morning you have two choices: Continue to sleep with your dreams or wake up and chase them”. (author unknown). I love that Kim has been brave enough to get up and chase her dreams and that Land of Zonkt & Zonkt Designs are literally Kim following her dreams.
How amazing & talented is Kim? Do you have a dream that you want to follow?