Meet the Maker: Cindy Ciskowski
As a self-taught designer, Cindy looks at design as a natural way of self-expression. Born into a family of artisans who encouraged her creativity at a young age, Cindy looks both within herself and to the outside world for inspiration. After launching her first jewelry collection at age 22, she then went on to create a lighting company. Eventually, these experiences culminated in House of Cindy – a sustainable textile atelier where the focus is not only on beautiful handmade designs for the home, but also on luxury products that are good for the environment and you. We sat down with Cindy for a chat about her love for design and what gets her creative juices flowing.
Q: What drew you to design?
A: My grandmother was the original Martha Stewart. She taught me how to sew when I was seven, I would spend time with her in the summers and we would sew clothing for my next school year--her creativity was part of her self-expression. I remember drawers full of the most beautiful fabrics, folded neatly and organized by color. I would pull open the drawers and look through them imagining what I would make with them. She was an elegant woman and is responsible for imbuing me with a passion for textiles, a love of beauty and a desire to express my creativity through fashion.
Q: What was your very first design project?
A: The first time I remember being inspired to create was when I was five years old. My father built a sailboat and we sailed to Hawaii. One afternoon in the park in Lahina, there were artists set up selling their paintings and artwork to tourists and I thought this was amazing. I was inspired and painted some paintings and went to the park to sell them for 25 cents each. Guess I caught the entrepreneurial bug at a young age.
Q: What is your design ethos?
A: The love you feel is real...we infuse it in everything we create. Upcycle, recreation, purpose, loved and sustainability are our brand buzz words. I believe there is no one way to design a home; the best way to design your home is the way that it works for you. There is a way to design that resonates with your own unique senses. A way that activates you to live with all of yourself through your presence creating a beautiful sanctuary home where you thrive.
Q:Why did you open House of Cindy?
A: I opened the House of Cindy as a lifestyle brand focused on sustainable home décor to bring authentic, natural products to the marketplace and a new awareness to home decor. We believe in sustainable living in harmony with the natural world. We offer something unique in the global marketplace where ideas, knowledge, success and life lessons shared make everyone stronger, with the results creating happier customers and happier employees. House of Cindy is a rich place to go for elevated products, great ideas and strategies to make one's home and the planet a better place to live. We design products for humans made by humans. You can tell that human hands made our products.
Q: What inspires you on a daily basis?
A: I’m inspired by a supernatural elegance at home. It's not about what it looks like, but how it makes you feel that is most important--when it feels good it's obviously going to look great. Co-creating with source energy and sharing that elevated vision through the products and media we create also serves to inspire me. And, several years ago, I began a meditation practice in the mornings that helps me to be more mindful and present throughout the day.
Q: How do you create a new collection?
A: When I create, it mostly comes internally through intuition--sometimes I create a vision board to pull together colors and other design inspiration. I travel often and go to a lot of museums, which has a big impact on my external inspiration. I love discovering new cultures; this summer I was in Sweden for the first time and was struck by the minimal Nordic aesthetic combined with the sweetness of traditional Swedish charm. Sometimes I will discover a new textile that I want to use and will create a color story and send it out to be dyed in our own exclusive color range. We try to be as conscious as we can about the materials we use and how sustainable the raw materials we are incorporating in our designs.
Many of our products are customizable and made to order. We give our clients a place to express their creative vision through our products. We are in the classic design sense an atelier, most of our production is done in house in the heart of Los Angeles. We are always happy to have people visit us; you can see our showroom as well as our design and production process.
Q: What piece are you most excited about now?
A: I’m really loving our new ottoman. It was inspired by my trip to Sweden and balances a soft, neutral color palette with a serene, cozy aesthetic.
Q: What colors are you drawn to right now?
A: Since it is fall, I am drawn to rich gemstone colors like tourmaline, jasper and golden topaz mixed with aquamarine.