In this series of mini interviews, we are going to put the spotlight on some inspirational women to celebrate International Women’s Day 2021.Today we are chatting with Paige Deacon, owner of From Me To Mew, about her love of toy making.
Hi Paige, how are you today?
Hi! I’m good thank you, awake early today thanks to 5 hungry cats waking me up for breakfast
Tell our readers a little bit about you and what you make.
I’m a full-time night support worker but also a crafty cat lover! I make handmade catnip toys.
Where in the world are you based?
I’m based in Braintree which is in Essex. Who or what inspires you to make these lovely toys? My cats inspire me to make my toys! Also, my love of food and Japanese culture is heavily influenced in my toys.
When / how did you learn to make cat toys? Is there a story behind it?
I started making cat toys early 2017. I’d always been interested in craft and when we got Stiltzkin (my youngest cat), I decided to try and make him a few toys which he loved. I then made some for friends and found I really enjoyed making them so I decided to start making them as a hobby business and the rest is history!
Why do you ‘bother’ to make things by hand?
I love to handsew as I find it incredibly relaxing and is brilliant for my mental health. My sewing machine and I have a bit of a love hate relationship, so I prefer to hand stitch knowing I have full control over my creation. Fondest cat-toy-related memory? It’d have to be when I made some toys for a friend’s cat who was old and arthritic. I made him a strawberry and was sent videos of him playing being told it was the first time they’d seen him play like a kitten in years. Gave me all the good feels that day
Have you always created ‘stuff’?
I have! My nana was very creative and taught me how to sew and knit from a young age. I used to make cosplays when I was a teenager and also made jewellery. I love being crafty, it’s super relaxing.
Can you reveal a little about your creative process? How you come up with new cat toy ideas?
Usually my new ideas come randomly to me when I least expect it, followed by an excited rush of ‘this would make an amazing toy ahhh’. I’ll draw out an idea of how I want it too look and start playing around with felt until I’m happy with how it looks. I then make a tester toy and let my cats play with it to see if it’ll work as a toy, and if I’m happy with the outcome, I’ll then make it into toys for sale.
Do you have a designated craft space? What does it mean to you?
I do! My spare back room is my craft space. It’s organised chaos but it’s my space where I can let my creativity flow. What do you do when you aren’t making cat toys. Usually working or sleeping
What impact (if any) has the internet had on your toy making?
It’s had a massive impact! I’ve been able to connect with other amazing crafters as well as finding lots of inspiration online for future toys.
If you could make any cat toy without limits to cost, materials or even skill, what would it be?
Technically not a toy, but I’d love to make a full-size Christmas tree scratching post. Unfortunately, my DIY skills are lacking but I’d love to have a go at it one day!
This one might be hard. What’s your favourite toy that you’ve made so far?
It’ll have to be my sushi set. I love love love sushi and making a toy version was brilliant.
Tell us a bit about your plans for From me to mew.
Once COVID restrictions have been lifted, I’ll be attending my local street market again as well as events around the UK. Future goals would be to attend cat con in America one day!
Here’s a silly question – if you could be a cat for a day what would you do & why?
I’d totally live my indoor cat best life and sleep all day, sunbathe by the window, maybe do some zoomies around the house?
Thank you so much for your time Paige. How can our readers get their hands (and paws) on your toys?
You can find me on Etsy – frommetomew