Some of the weird and wonderfully shaped coconuts Christine Stewart found in the Bundaberg area and used to make her Kokonut NQ dolls.
Christine and Craig Stewart lead a lifestyle after moving to Innes Park to be closer to family, while the couple continue to create quirky items with Kokonut NQ.
Christine grew up in Bundaberg Nord before joining the army in 1976 – where she met future husband Craig.
Now the retired couple spends their days making curious coconut creations and musical instruments, so-called cigar box guitars, from recycled materials.
“We are now retired and after the COVID restrictions ended our interstate travel and market visits to sell our creations, we decided to get closer to the family,” said Christine.
“We moved to Innes Park in September 2020 and love the area and the proximity to the beaches.”
The couple’s love of the coast and fetish for fresh coconuts gave them the opportunity to begin a small hobby that soon blossomed into Kokonut NQ, which can be found on Bargara’s Paradise Markets.
“Kokonut NQ was born in 2016. We lived in Townsville, where there was plenty of coconuts, we ate a lot,” said Christine.
“Instead of throwing the seashells away, I started carving them to make candlesticks as gifts for friends and family.”
After Christine found her niche where coconut shells were carved for gifts, she explored other ways a humble coconut shell could be reused for.
After retiring from the army, Christine and Craig Stewart moved to Innes Park, where they took up the wood carving hobby for their small business, Kokonut NQ.
“From then on, things grew – little coconut folk houses, birdhouses, planters, etc. I’m a bit of a collector and collect interesting driftwood, seed pods, and anything natural that I stumble upon. I use these to build tiny little folk houses, ”she said.
Christine said that Craig was passionate about making musical instruments two years ago when he retired.
Craig gives new life to cigar boxes and old cookie jars while turning them into popular instruments of joy.
“Cigar box guitars and kalimbas – thumb pianos, we like to recycle old woods that people throw away,” she said.
“Craig made guitars from old cookie jars, cigar boxes, pumpkins and recycled wood – each one is unique.
“Everything we make is unique. Due to their natural properties, the different woods each have their own sound.
A cigar box guitar is a simple chordophone that uses an empty cigar box as a resonator. The earliest had one or two strings; Modern models usually have three or more strings.
Craig Stewart pursued his passion for making musical instruments after retiring from the army.
Christine said the coconuts found in the Bundaberg area are very different from the fruit she found in north Queensland.
“Every coconut has a different shape and color, every little folk house has its own charm. It’s all made with a healthy dose of imagination, ”she said.
“The coconuts I found here are pretty small and I have to say they are interesting shapes, which sparked my imagination to come up with some new products, including funky dolls. All of our dolls have individually hand-carved parts.
“I have to giggle a little when the pieces come together. So much fun creating them. “
Kokonut NQ will return to Paradise Markets in March. You can find more information on the Facebook page or in the online shop on Etsy.