1. Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Kelly, and I’ve owned Naka, which is an accessories boutique on West Nine Mile specializing in unique, originally designed, and/or handcrafted accessories for men, women, home, and baby, for six years (as of Friday)! We sell a lot of work from local artists, crafters, and other DIY enthusiasts, and a lot of our customers are people who appreciate what that’s all about.
I’m also a jewelry maker, cook, occasional gardener, dog/music/book lover, and relatively new mom.
2. What does DIY mean to you?
More than anything, I think DIY is about having an independent spirit and the belief that you, and the people around you, are capable not just of making things, but also of choosing to live your life in a mindful way—one that reflects your own priorities and not necessarily those of the culture at large.
It means getting in there and making use of the resources at your disposal: your hands, words, ideas, passion, friends, whatever—to create the things you want or need.
3. Tell us about a DIY project (or projects) you have worked on and why it was DIY.
Well, my jewelry line, Mimi & Ferne, is DIY because I have my little fingers on every bit of what goes into each piece—whether it’s making a collage, creating a patina, or taking apart an old piece of jewelry and mixing it with other materials to create something new.
Other recent projects include co-designing and helping to organize and fabricate the local business advertising signs you see at the entrance and exit of Rust Belt Market. It was an awesome collaboration and so much fun.
My other big DIY passion for the last six months or so has been making all of the food that my almost-1-year-old son eats. I love making up delicious, healthy recipes for him, and knowing exactly what’s going into every bite he eats. It’s gratifying and empowering, as any good DIY project is.
4. Why does the DIY attitude fit Ferndale?
Ferndale is a pretty amazing place with a very diverse population. It’s like this little magnet for open-minded people with creative ideas, good taste, and gumption. If you’re hanging out with a group of people in Ferndale and you bring up some crazy idea you have, they’re more likely to ask you exactly how they can use their skills to help you rather than shooting down your idea.
5. Who is your favorite DIY artist/musician/human?
Seriously? You’re going to do that to me? What an impossible question. There are so many fantastic DIYers who I am privileged to work with every day, but if you want to know about the person who made me see the possibility of all of this in the first place, it would definitely be my mom.
She’s a really clever and capable problem solver, and I can remember going with her on trips to the hardware store from a really young age--maybe why I love the hardware store so much. She’s constantly looking at something intended for one thing and re-imagining it in some way that gives it a whole new use. She has never met a well-designed hand tool that she wasn’t excited about, and sent me off to college with my own set of tools, as well as lessons in how to use them. She’s kind of a bad ass, actually, and she successfully ran her own business for 17 years, so she's inspired me a great deal.
If you'd like to participate in Ferndale Patch's DIY Project, email editor Terry Parris Jr. here.