Friday, May 28, 2010

Rachael Kinnison

Diamond K Folk Art

We asked Rachael:

Where do you live?
I live just west of Trinidad Colorado, way down on the New Mexico/Colorado border on our little farm~ currently we have 4 dogs, 5 cats, 2 parakeets, fish and a pair of mice in the house, and outside 30 something chickens, a pair of mallard ducks, pair of pheasants, my only turkey, Mr Giving, semintal cattle, boer/kiko goats and honey bees

Can you tell us a little about your family?
I have been married to my husband Jayson for 18 years, and we have 4 children, age 14, 10, 8 and 4

Sweet Emma w/ fresh picked corn for supper

Do you work outside the home?
No, I own my own licensed and registered business, Diamond K Folk Art.

Do you have an hobbies/what do you like to do when you're not creating?
All of my hobbies ARE creating! Ha!! Well, not all I guess, I also own the Lady's Repository Museum, and keep early fashion and textiles from the late 17th c up to the 1860s. Children's fashion is my passion, but I also have nice example of adult lady's wear, especially pieces used for nursing.

Emma modeling 1830's clothing

What are some of your favorite things?
My favorites thing in the world??? that would have to be babies. If my health was better, and my husband willing, I would have liked to have had more than 4 children. To say I am looking forward to grand babies one day, is a huge understatement! Ohhh and peonies! I adore peonies, they are my favorite flower in the entire universe!

One of Rachaels Peonies

Do you collect anything in particular?
I am most definitely a collector! I have collected things since I was a small child~ heck, I even had a candy collection~ remember those bubblegum records??? yep, I had those, and little animals made out of hard cake icing, and I would save wrappers and packs of gum and cans of little mints~ I was weird what can I say. I kept them in a glass case even! I love to look for and collect bird nests that have blown out of trees and such~(be sure to put them in a bag and into the freezer, deep freezer, for a good month to kill any buggies). I also collect early antique wooden Grodner Tal dolls and painted basket purses

How did you get your start in your creative business? When?
Well I have always been creative. I made my first 'products' strictly to sell when I was about 9 or 10~ they were little pin cushions made from a half of a walnut shell, and I sold them door to door for a quarter a piece for my Christmas money~ and yes, I still have the very first one I made. (I suppose I would be classified as a very organized packrat.) I didn't really start selling my folk art though, until I got out of the Navy in 1998.

Tell us how you got your business name?
My business name, Diamond K Folk Art, comes from my signature, which is a diamond, with a k in the center

Is it in the genes......does anyone in your family, now or generations before create?
My mother was and still is a very gifted and talented artist~ anything she does just comes natural~ that could be painting, or spinning wool into yarn~ she has always had the 'gift'...and she did pass that on to me. If I see something I want to make, I just do it. No patterns or instruction needed.....I can just figure it out. When I was in high school, I saw a really nice gothic bookcase in A Colonial Homes magazine....I thought it would be nice to have one, so I made me one(still have that too). Watching a few episodes of the 'Woodwright's Shop' on PBS, and what my Pa taught me, I just went and did it.

How do you keep ideas coming?
I have enough ideas in my head for 10 lifetimes. I have never had any problem with that! I sometimes keep a paper and pen by the bed so that I can write down the ideas that come to me~ I seem to get really good ones when Im sleeping, and will wake myself up so I wont forget it!

Who/what inspires you?
Everything inspires me, but nothing is more inspirational than early hand stitched textiles~ clothing, embroidery, linens~ I have always admired and appreciated the hours that went into stitching the most mundane things. This is why I ONLY stitch by hand, I never use a machine.

Do you have a studio or do you work in different parts of your home?
I have a little 800 sq ft gallery that is built on to our house~ the display for my clothing and textiles is upstairs, and my flat storage and little studio is downstairs

How do you organize your supplies?
When I built my work station, I made cubbies everywhere! I keep all my modern reproduction fabrics on the bolt stacked on shelves just like in the quilt shops, the early ones are sorted by material~ silks have their own container, cottons, wools, fancy fabrics, etc etc. I have 30 or so cubbies above my work table that I keep purty near everything else in. I have a cubbie within arms reach that holds all my scissors~ nothing but that in that one cubbie, and there's probably 20 or so pair in there, hung up on nails.

Do you like to listen to music while you work, if so what ?
I love classical & rennaisance music.

Do you have a favorite piece of art that you've created?
YES! Would it be bad to not say which one? :)

What have you learned about marketing?
It is a never ending task!

What keeps you motivated?

I keep myself motivated, as I think I am my number one fan~ I LOVE to see what I come up with....I would say more times than not, what I originally have in mind, and what dolly wants to be, are two totally different things.

Do you sell you work in any shops, or will you be in any upcoming shows?

Right now I am not doing shows because I just cant physically travel...but perhaps in the future.

Has your work been published in any magazines? Have you received any type of awards/recognition for your work?

I have been selected for the last 3 consecutive years~ 2008, 2009 & 2010, as one of America's Top Craftsmen by Early American Life Magazine, I have also been featured in Prims, by Stampington & Co.

Do you have any tips you would like to share?

Be true to yourself, and make your art for YOU. Don't make something 'to sell', or because you think that is what the trend is....If you make it for YOU, and the way YOU want it, everyone else will love it!

One of Rahael's favorite mottos by Elizabeth Porter Phelps

Tell us something about yourself that may surprise us?
I was enlisted in the US Navy for 10 years as an Aviation Electronics Technician on the ground, and an Electronic Warfare Operator while Aircrew. I flew on EP-3 Aries II aircraft in VQ-1. Nearly all 10 years was served overseas in Guam, Philippines, Japan, Korea, and Italy...and I loved every second of it!
Thank you Rachael, it's been fun and very interesting to read all about you!


  1. Wow, I just loved reading about Rachael, her work and her family life. And I have to say that Emma is just as cute as a button.

  2. What a beautiful woman you are ~ inside & out! So glad to get to know more about you and your family. Your creations and collections are just lovely...

    Blessings, Patti

  3. Rachael, I am a fan of your work so it is nice to read about you & your work.Emma is a real life doll.How fascinating that you were in all these places overseas.~~Pam

  4. Rachael,
    whenever I want to pay a high compliment to someone I always say "you are somethingd else!"

    So just let me say..."you are something else sister!"


  5. Rachael, you have God-given talent in those hands of yours. This interview was wonderful! And to find out you were in the Navy? You rock sister! Thanks for sharing a little piece of your world with us. ♥

  6. I first saw your work in "Prims" and I just love your dollies. I had never thought about making dolls but I was inspired and I have to say that even though I am just starting, it has gladdened my heart. I wish I lived close enough to visit your collection. Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. THANKYOU ladies, I was afraid I would bore everyone to death! It is an honor to be even a hint of inspiration~ if you are reading this, and have the desire to create something~ a doll, a painting....a cake...whatever~~ well WHAT are you waiting for?! GET TO IT! There is no time, like the NOW. You wont be sorry, I promise
    xoxoxo rachael

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  9. I loved this story about Racheal! It is so refreshing to see someone putting their ideas to work, instead of just talking about them.

  10. I am so inspired by you! I make cloth dolls to look old and worn. I admire those who can do dolls like you do. They are just so creative and show how wonderfully talented you are! I also liked your advise on make the doll for you and you can`t go wrong. Thanks for the inspiration. liz

  11. Hi Rachael, I find you and your works very inspiring. Totally EnJoYed reading about you not to mention the awesome dolls you create. The crackling on these dolls is awesome. I am still struggling to accomplish this. Someday I hope to own one of your girls. Thanks for sharing.
    With warm regards and much Peace,

  12. Margaret, Barb & Liz~ I am truly honored~ thankyou! As Elizabeth Porter Phelps once wrote in her diary in 1771, 'Whatever they hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might'~ and I believe this~ put a piece of your heart & soul into your work, whatever it is, and it too will shine with your energy
    xoxoxoxo rachael

  13. Rachael,
    You are so inspiring and encouraging besides being brilliant and beautiful! My hat is off to you. XO Jane


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