Interview: Kudu Voodoo

We’re back with another amazing interview. This time with a good friend of ours and a true powerhouse of Adult Toys, Kudu Voodoo.
 
Based out of Texas, Kudu is known for a unique style with super high-quality products, bright colours and clean textures. Kudu is also an advocate of supporting other independent adult toy makes by answering questions and sharing experiences which is why we are able to speak today.
[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! 
 
[MS] I assume your family know what you do, what do they think?
 
[Ashes] Yes, my family knows what I do! My mom and dad are both SO supportive of the business. My parents have actually come over and helped me with pours on several occasions, they are both quite good at it. They are amazing people and it warms my heart that they are so proud. I keep having to give my mom stacks of business cards because she loves to give them out to folks. And every new sticker I get for the shop I give her several so she can put them on her water bottle. 
 
[MS] That’s really great to hear and the imagery of her water bottle is hilarious. 
 
[MS] Have you had any embarrassing moments related to your work making sex toys?
 
[Ashes] Oh gosh yes. The way my mom found out I collect and make sextoys is she came over to help me out when I was really sick, she pulled a towel off my bathroom shelf to wash it and it happened to be holding a whole slew of freshly washed dicks in it. Dicks literally rained down on her head. We then had a very hilarious conversation about the fact that I actually had a business making these. I’ve also punched myself in the face on several occasions when pulling really large toys out of molds. Ouch!  
 
[MS] This is surprisingly common from what I’ve gathered. Thankfully I’ve not had this happen but then again I nearly lost part of my finger from making cosplay stuff by not cutting in the correct direction.  
 
[Ashes] Oh gosh that’s scary!! But yes, getting punched or smacked by a dick is just part of the dongsmith territory! 
 
[MS] Where do you get your ideas from?
 
[Ashes] So all of my models are based off of original characters that I have created. The inspiration for them comes from all kinds of places. I’m constantly absorbing material that could possibly make for a neat character and in turn a really interesting toy. I keep several sketchbooks full of character and toy designs. I lovingly call it the big book of dicks. 
 
[MS] Ah yes, another common feature in the community. Mine is The Book of Smut.
 
[Ashes] The book of smut, I like it! 
 
[MS] What’s an idea you would love to do but won’t/can’t and why?
 
[Ashes] I’d LOVE to do a full-size set of monster boobies or a full-size monster booty. But the amount of silicone that would take is mind-boggling haha! 
 
[MS] The shipping alone for that would be huge but I have to say, it’s something I would love to see. You would have so much surface area to work designs into. 
 
[Ashes] Oh absolutely the shipping would be tremendous but…I’ll keep it in mind maybe for some rainy day! It’s still something I’d really love to explore.
 
[MS] What question am I not asking that you think I should?
 
[Ashes] Hmmm, how about what are my favorite colors to use for pours? And it’s any kind of blue and white! Those are my favorite colors for any pour. 
 
[MS] What’s your favourite toy and/or maker? Why?
 
[Ashes] Oh goodness there is just no way I can choose a single toy as my favorite anymore. I have too many! But some of my favorite makers are StrangeBedfellas, HodgePodge Entourage, Dread the Empire, Phoenix Flame Forge, Xenocat Artifacts, Damn Average, NewFolkloreSilicone and Twilight Meadows Creations! I have multiples of each of their toys and I just adore everything they make!! 
 
[MS] What mistakes have you made along the way and any advice for people wanting to do the same? 
 
[Ashes] Oh gosh I don’t think there’s enough space for me to list off all of the mistakes I’ve made over the years! This business is a constant learning experience. I’m always finding new and better ways of doing things. Literally every day. Always make sure your mold doesn’t have a hole! It will spray silicone everywhere and it will stink to clean it up. Always remember the mold release, if you don’t you are going to have a bad time. And for someone wanting to follow this path? Don’t be too hard on yourself.
 
Understand mistakes are GOING to happen. It’s not a question of if, but more so when. You will have a print totally fail, or a master get stuck in a mold and be ruined. You’ll mess up pours and have to chunk them. You’ll spill silicone everywhere. But that’s ok. You just keep pressing forward!! 
 
[MS] This has been great and thank you for your time. Where is best for people to see your work and buy one of your amazing products?
 
[Ashes] So if folks would like to check out my lineup of creepy, crazy, adorable monsters head on over to KuduVoodoo.net. We always have ready to ship inventory with two drops a month and then custom options if you have specific specs in mind! And follow me on Twitter @Kudu_Voodoo for regular updates, as well as Instagram @KuduVoodoo for drop updates! 
 
[MS] And finally, What are you going to do now that this interview is done?
 
[Ashes] Hmm now that I’m done with this interview, I’m going to keep working my fingers to the bone on a new model I hope to be releasing soon! We’ve been very busy Kudus in the background! Thank you so much for asking me to participate in this awesome series, you are just wonderful and I really adored answering your questions! 
 

This has been an interview with the shop owner of Kudu Voodoo. It’s been interesting learning more of the people who create these amazing products and to get an insight into what goes on in an independent shop.

I want to thank the amazing Ashes for her time for my pestering questions and I loved talking to her, as you can tell, its always a pleasure. If you are interested in more interviews then give us a shout on Twitter or [email protected]monstersmash.co.uk.

Equally, if you think you might have an interesting story to tell and want to talk then feel free to contact us as well, we would love to hear from you.