Getting to Know Kimberley, Prop Maker

by Karen - Copy Writer for The Prop Factory

Friday 4th October 2019 09:36:30


Our new prop makers have been with us for almost a month already and it's a very inspiring time to be at Prop Factory HQ. The workshops are buzzing with new faces and new ideas and even in the office the mood has caught up with us. Prop makers pop in to show us what they are working on or to catch up with director Carmen for a bit of advice on technique and to discuss plans for their next project. New props are finished and listed on our website, ready for hire, almost daily. 

There is so much industry going on that I hardly like to ask Kimberley to pause her work for our chat. She's huddled over a workbench with two of our other prop makers.They are seriously contemplating a star shape that's been very precisely marked out on a sheet of wood. As we get settled on one of our vintage sofas, that just happens to be usefully loitering in the loading bay, she begins explaining a conundrum with angles and lengths of the sides with such enthusiasm that, even though I don't quite get the maths, I'm really eager to see the prop when it's finished.Every time I see Kimberley around the workshop she looks like she is having the best time, so it's a bit of a treat to sit down with her and find out how she's getting on.What made you want to work for the Prop Factory?

I was looking for a more hands-on creative role and I'd been interested in prop making for a while. The variety of the work and all the different skills needed just really appeals to me. I love the idea of working on particular themes too, so it ticks all the boxes for me. I'd had my eye on the Prop Factory, followed you on Instagram and couldn't believe my luck when I saw that you were advertising. Now I get to do my favourite thing all day, every day - it doesn't quite feel like a job at all.What prop are you looking forward to making and why?

I'm currently working on a 'freak' sign with frogs legs and and a worm tail, which is a lot of fun.I'm really keen on all of the enchanted props and love anything to do with nature and fantasy, so the idea of making a giant enchanted frame really appeals to me and I'm intrigued by the idea of a leaf coffee table - my imagination runs wild, but it'll probably turn out to be something quite different from what I'm expecting.I have a bit of a soft spot for the Day of the Dead hanging skulls that I just worked on. I have family in the US with Mexican roots and when my mum visits she always brings back Day of the Dead bits and pieces.What would you say is your strongest skill in terms of prop making?

I was employed as a painter firstly, but I'm quite versatile and can take an idea from start to finish - from woodworking with the power tools, through painting to adding the tiny details. The little bits and pieces are really my thing - I've got an eye for the miniscule detail and like to finish all the products to a high standard.What do you hope to achieve over the next six months?

I just want to make loads of props! I'm really looking forward to expanding the number of props we have in the current themes. Personally I'm loving the opportunity to improve my skills and learn some new ones.

Do you have a favourite prop yet? Anything caught your eye in the warehouse?

Back to my fascination with all things enchanted again. Most definitely the wonderland-fairytale-enchanted circle arch. It looks great on the website, but when you see it up close it's even better - really intricate and dotted with tiny clocks, flowers and all sorts of bits and pieces - so inspiring.The toadstool stools - obviously!And the happily ever after mini fairy tale door - which I've seen on our website, but not managed to track down in the warehouse yet.A very jolly black and white giraffe head with a bow tie makes me smile when I pass him by.

Describe an average day at work

So far no two days have been the same - there's such a lot of variety depending on what props we're working on. One day might be woodwork, the next painting, then I might be off in a quiet corner with some sewing. I really enjoy not having a rigid structure to the day. I feel right at home in the Prop Factory warehouse - there's a little bit of mayhem that really suits me.What's your creative background?

I've always been creative - back at school I was always in the art block at break and lunchtime. I like to master new techniques - sometimes from online tutorials, but I've also taken quite a few short courses. I think it keeps you fresh to keep learning new things. I'm currently exploring sculpture using angle grinders! If I'm not making art, I'm reading about it - finding out about different artists and the techniques they use. 

Dream prop to make?

I'd love to make a hobbit hole! I was lucky enough to visit the Hobbiton movie set, in New Zealand. The attention to detail was just amazing with lots of very natural touches.I'm really interested in making 'big things little' and 'little things big', so I'd like to add to the collection of oversized props. I'd love to make giant insects to go with our giant flowers - a gigantic ladybird, perhaps?

Do you have any pets?

We have a terrapin called Shelley.We also kind of have a cat - we call him Terry - and he's decided to spend a lot of time at our house even though he doesn't technically belong to us. We don't feed him, of course, as he has a family.Again, not technically pets, but outside we have created a wild garden which is home to frogs, newts, a solitary bumble bee, not to mention the visiting owls, bats and, this year especially, all kinds of butterflies. 

How do you have your tea?

No sugar and a dash of milk. But then a good proportion - up to a quarter of the cup - needs to be cold water. I want to drink my tea straight away, no waiting around or scalding my mouth.What's your favourite day of the week?

Hmmm... which day do you think gets the least love? Tuesdays are good. You're over the shock of Monday morning and right into the flow of the creative process.Do you have a favourite party theme?

I'm really fond of 1950s style - the jive music and the wide swing poodle skirts. You could have a lot of fun recreating the fairground scenes in Grease with lots of vintage style games and signs. The strongman striker definitely need to be in there - with some crazy mirrors and a few peep boards. How about a lemonade stand? I'm not sure if there's a kissing booth in the film, but there should be. That would be a great party - good music and fun clothes with some really unique props.See all the props Kimberley talks about here.

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