Today's 10K Club Interview is dedicated to new member Maria Kalaoglou aka Mind the Brick and her creation John's Medieval Watermill. Maria comes from Greece, studied jewelry design, and is a bit obsessed with watermills. Learn more about Maria and her model, and leave a comment to support her!
- Who are you?
- Where are you from?
- How old are you?
- What do you study or do for a living?
I studied Jewellery Design & Making and I currently work as Freelance Designer and Maker.
- What hobbies do you have?
I draw & paint, watch movies and obviously build and collect LEGO!
- Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
I share my builds mostly on my Facebook page:
- Have you created any LEGO MOCs (my own creations) that you’re particularly proud of? What is it, why are you proud of it and do you have a photo of it?
I started MOC(ing) about a year and a half ago and I m still building up my bricks inventory so I got a couple of designs that are waiting to be finished. The Mocs that I m particularly proud of are my two African Adorned masks which won on the LEGO Ideas “Create Art to be enjoyed by all” competition and are currently exhibited in the Billund Campus.
- How and when did your interest in LEGO come about?
It all started when I was about 6 or 7 years old when my neighbors and close friends got their first LEGO. We used to play together after school and they initiated me into the world of the Brick! That is when I first started MOCing and creating my own Ideas. (They are still accusing me of ” wrecking” their LEGO sets.
- What is LEGO for you? What does it mean for you? How does it fit in your life? E.g. build, display, meetups, play the games or 'just' watch the cartoons.
I want to quote one of my favourite female artists Louise Josephine Bourgeois whose mantra was; “I Do, I Undo, I Redo” which I find similar to the LEGO moto; “Rebuild the world”. LEGO for me is a way to get in touch with the child hidden within me, a way to decompress, a way to have fun, a way to communicate with other AFOLs and so much more.
- What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
After my Dark Ages, I started buying Τechnic models. I was intrigued by the way everything was assembled together. My favourite LEGO theme currently is Ninjago which has mainly inspired my MOC’s and Ideas. But in general, I collect many different LEGO themes.
- What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
I really can't choose, they are too many... But emotionally I would have to say the 42055: Bucket Wheel Excavator as this is the first set I build when I emerged from my dark ages.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
I particularly love the 1x1 modified brick with studs on 2 sides. I use it a lot on my builds, as it enables me to create 3d textures and effects.
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
My favorite official LEGO designer is Dimitris Stamatis who happens to be one of the designers of the Ninjago Theme. There are many fan designers that I look up to, this list is long!
- Is there one or more particular LEGO-related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
I would say Bricklink and Brickset. The first to check for bricks I need and the second to read news about LEGO sets.
ABOUT YOUR PROJECT
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
It is quite a long story! Last year I realized that I have an obsession with watermills! Probably this started when I was a small child in primary school. We were learning French and singing a song about a sleeping Miller whose Mill was going too fast. Still remember it until today.
This is the second Watermill Idea that I have designed. Both Mills date back to the Middle Ages. The only difference between them is that my first design was inspired by Japanese watermills whereas the second one is European.
- How long was the process of making the project did, and what did you have to research as well. What kind of prep, research and design phases did you go through to produce your creation?
I looked at old watermills as well as Medieval Miniatures ones. A series of little Watermills made by Tabletop World caught my eye.
The whole process in all my designs is similar I start with the foundations and build up. Then I go back and try to see if what I have built pleases me aesthetically. If it does I go back again and work out issues such as functionality, stability, etc.
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
The most difficult aspect of my Idea that took the longest to put together was the wheel of the mill. I had to get that right or there was no point in continuing my design process.
- If you could talk to yourself before you started on this project, what would you tell him/her? What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
I really do not think I would change anything at the moment.
- How long did it take to complete the model? Did you finish it fairly quickly, or did it take a long time? And how did the build time compare to the time you spent promoting your Product Idea to reach 10,000 supporters?
It took me roughly a month to finish my model and I was quite happy about it in order to upload it to the platform.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
I was super happy... no words can describe the feeling I had! Also, I felt that all the time spent building and promoting was compensated!
It took me about 78 days to reach the 10k milestone. That was roughly 2.5 times longer than building time but much faster than I anticipated!
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
I used 2960 LEGO Bricks.
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
I love snot technics.
- If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
I used Studio and a little bit of Lcad. The finished model was rendered in Studio and slightly modified in photoshop (lighting and backgrounds).
- If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
The ones I designed myself I used Illustrator and Part Designer which I then exported in Studio. The rest were found in Studio and Mecabricks.
ABOUT LEGO IDEAS
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
Just improving one’s building techniques helps to create a more coherent design.
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
I created small updates and videos of stories trying to show the playability of my set which I shared on the LEGO Ideas platform as well as on Facebook.
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
My favorite set by far is Voltron!
I was quite disappointed that the Temple of Hermit By Brickfornia did not make it in the last review and from the projects that are currently gathering support I would have to say The secret island of time by Delusion Brick.
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
It is a simple and friendly platform. I would tell them to go for it!!!
- Do you have plans to submit any other Product Ideas in the future? If yes, can you give us a hint of what that might be?
Currently, I have some very rough Ideas in the very back of my mind. But I feel it is too early to talk about them, as I have a tendency to come up with a thousand Ideas and after a very long brainstorming process, choose the one that pleases me the most!
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