[Monster Smash] How would you like to be known for this interview? Kudu or something else?
[Kudu] I usually go by Kudu for shop stuff, but a lot of folks know me by Ashes so we’ll go with that!
[MS] I’ll start this off by telling you a little story;
[MS] When I first got interested in adult toys, my wife told me about various shops which we could look into. I’ve seen all the biggies and largely know their products now but few sparked an interest like yours which leads me to… Where did you learn your craft and style?
[Ashes] Oh shucks, thanks! So I’ve always had a bit of a darker style to my artwork, very creepy and focused a lot on monsters with a lot of teeth and drool. My 2D art style has always been that way so it felt very natural to take that and apply it to my toys that I was sculpting. The more wrinkles, veins and scales the better I always say! As far as where I learned that style, I’ve just developed it all through my life and college helped to really jump start it.
College is also where I began getting more into 3D art. Although I had been a printmaking focused student for the first few years of my college career, I took a ceramics class and working with three-dimensional pieces instantly clicked with me. I took to it like a duck to water. I started learning the mold making process in one of my sculpture classes and after getting permission from my professor I sort of self-taught myself how to do glove molds for monster masks. I convinced him to let me go off schedule from the rest of the class because I’m a stinker. But it paid off! That’s when I slowly started joining my love for fantasy adult toys and everything I had learned as far as mold making went. I credit a lot of my knowledge to my awesome college experience!
[MS] This is very interesting as it’s very similar to my background. I studied ceramics at university and the skills of sculpting and mold principles have directly applied to creating adult toys.
[Ashes] Awesome! Ceramics is such a good starting point for sculpture and a great doorway into this industry. I greatly enjoyed working with clay and getting a feel for it!
[MS] Do you have any hobbies outside of making adult toys?
[Ashes] Oh yes. My partner and I joke that we really do have too many hobbies. When I’m not slinging silicone I enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, swimming and camping. I’m basically a fish, there’s nowhere I’d rather be than in the water. I also make my own fursuits in my spare time and do a lot of work with resin masks for them. I still greatly enjoy 2D art and my favorite medium to use is markers! I can sit down and just color for hours. And lastly, I’m very big into taxidermy and the “vulture culture” scene. I work with a lot of bones, cleaning them and piecing skeletons back together.
[MS] Wow that’s mad, the colouring etc I get but then you throw out taxidermy. Please tell me more, how did you get into that? What pieces have you made? So many questions…
[Ashes] Haha yes I am a huge dead collector! So how I got into that, I was raised around nature really my mom works in the state parks system and my dad works for a wildlife foundation. We always went camping and were always learning about different species and the world around us. Which in nature where there is life, there is most certainly always death.
A big influence was my dad who when we were growing up did taxidermy and I was always fascinated by taking something as sad as death and turning it into this beautiful thing, honoring the body left behind. Over the years I progressed from just finding bones in the woods to actually field dressing, skinning, maceration, cleaning of bones, and mummification. So it’s quickly become a passion of mine.
My favorite process is maceration and then cleaning the skeleton bringing a “new life” to it. I don’t hunt, so all of my specimens are ethically sourced and harvested. Luckily I have a large web of friends and family that know I love working with carcasses and they often bring things they find to me! Plus living in the country really helps with finding dead things! So far I’ve worked on a coyote, bobcats, turtles of various species, many reptiles like green anoles, fence lizards, deer, cattle, squirrels, mice, rats and I was even recently gifted some bear skulls to clean up and fix the teeth on!
My freezer is half dedicated to my works in progress…it can be a little surprising for new guests that just want ice cream and find a full frozen coyote! Oops! Currently, I’m working on piecing together the skeleton of a large rat, cleaning the shell of a softshell turtle and I’m tanning the pelt of a large female coyote a good friend brought to me to clean. It’s a very interesting…and often stinky hobby but I adore it!
[MS] I know that this is your primary business focus but what did you do before?
[Ashes] Before my life revolved around silicone dingles I was actually an advertisement coordinator at a publishing company. It was a fast-paced, very stressful job but there were parts of it I loved. Watching the printing presses work was really neat. That was my first “career” job right out of college. But I knew it wasn’t where I wanted to be all of my life.
[MS] How did you get into making adult toys?
[Ashes] So before I was a maker, I was a collector! Being really into monsters it was only a matter of time before I stumbled into the fantasy adult toy realm. After admiring the toys from other companies and learning all the mold making processes I decided, hey I want to give this a shot. Turns out I was pretty good at it! I’ve been up to my elbows in silicone ever since. And I still collect alongside making them! My personal collection adds up to about 200+ toys right now.
[MS] What is it about making sex toys that you enjoy?
[Ashes] Oh that’s easy, I love seeing people happy. I love normalizing sextoys and providing truly safe products. The big bad sex toy industry is the wild wild west when it comes to safety so it’s really cool to know in a small way I’m combating that. I love putting out new products and filling the holes I see in the fantasy toy industry, like for instance fantasy packers! Last year I realized there wasn’t much offered in the fantasy toy world as far as packers went so we released our first one last June. I’ve never seen a response like that before! So now we just released our second one and plan on releasing many more. But that kind of thing is truly why I love doing this. Seeing people excited about our toys and providing new and awesome things to make everyone feel included.
[MS] Tell me about Kuduvoodoo, what is your theme or shop agenda if you have one.
[Ashes] The theme of KuduVoodoo is very much based around mystery, magic, voodoo and all things dark and wonderful. The story that goes hand in hand with our shop is that Nicole, the Queen Kudu, is a travelling being and the mascot of our shop. Wandering the land as she weaves her magic. All of the characters our models are based off of are creatures that Nicole meets during her travels. Some are old friends, some are old enemies. So everything is a reflection of that narrative!