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October 2011

Say hello to Justin Alan Volpe.  I am not gonna lie, when I got his application my mind was completely blown.  AMAZING!!

What is your favorite part about working in this medium?

I love the Needle Felting medium for the simple fact that I can use it to create just about anything from my imagination. They way in which the wool fiber conforms to shape after repetitive stabbing, is always a source of joy for me. I've been working in this medium for a few years now, and some characters are still unbelievable to me when they take shape. For some characters I have a very detailed design that I'll translate into wool. For others, the idea is very unspecific when I start, but as I manipulate the material, the character grows organically out of the fibers.

What is your background?
I loved animation, comicbook art, and narrative story telling as a kid (in fact, I still do). In my teenage years I became obsessive about comic characters and the artist and writers who shaped these new gods. I also gobbled up as many cartoons as I could, be they popculture american mainstream or obscure foreign gems. So, naturally I went to school for Narrative Art. Mainly I studied the art of making Comicbooks and Graphic Novels, with the occasional animation class thrown in.

Throughout my whole life however, I've been a devoted toy enthusiast. Since the age of 3, I was enthralled by action figures. Both old and new, I collected them all. Eventually, my tastes would grow as I began to collect obscure dolls and one of a kind puppets.

After college, realizing Narrative Art was not my primary passion for self expression, I centered on Toy Manufacturing. There are many different levels to producing a toy. In many ways the process is similar to that of making a comic. I came to Needle Felting through my wife and fellow artist, Mariangela Tan. I still like to tell people that I went to school for comics.
 

Favorite crafty tool?
At the moment, my favorite crafting tool is the Sewing Machine. Not very original for this show, I'm sure, but that's my answer (which changes from month to month).

Favorite fall activity? My favorite fall activities would have to be Halloween parties and driving through New England when the leaves change colors.

Did you have any inspiration behind the toys you are submitting for Plush You!?
The undeniable inspiration for the pieces I submitted to the show, came from my love of Filmation Cartoons. Masters of the Universe continues to be a great source of inspiration, as well as Blackstar and She-Ra. The other major influence I would have to site is the work of Alex Toth. He designed many of the action adventure characters of the 60's and 70's for Hanna-Barbera. Some of his Scooby Doo villains are at the top of my list, followed by the fantastic creatures of the Space Ghost and Hurculoids cartoons.

Say hello to Marathon 1981!  She came out for the Plush You! show!  It was so great to meet her!

What is your favorite part about working in this medium?  I love the fantastic abundance of vintage fabrics that I come across and the excuse to showcase the  wonderful projects patterns and colour mixes from past. I only use remnants that have never been used, so it's like giving life to some forgotten craft, and then giving it a face and arms and moody eyes ... it sends me over the moon!

What is your background? A maker by nature, love of plush since childhood and self taught sewer. I actually have half a science degree but I'm looking into fiber programs across Canada to become a pro of some kind.

Favorite crafty tool? Needle and thread. 

Favorite fall activity? Going for a family walk on thanksgiving weekend, which in Canada is mid October when all the leaves are fabulous colours and smells. 

Did you have any inspiration behind the toys you are submitting for Plush You!? 
It sounds simple, but colours and shapes, even moods that I was toying with at the time have worked their way in to these pieces. Mammoth boy is having trouble at school with his mathematics and doesn't want to do his homework. Rab has an attitude about everyone and won't say why. Octa is slowly but surely going to conquer a small island nation.

Say hello to Pterodactyl Pants!

What is your favorite part about working in this medium?
Plush is personal. It will kick you in the gut and wrench your heart out. Then, it will wrap its arms around you and stay until you fall asleep.

What is your background?
Words.

Favorite crafty tool?
Strangers' old, favorite flannel shirts and wool sweaters I find hanging from the racks at the thrift store.

Favorite fall activity?
Wearing my own favorite flannel shirts and wool sweaters.

Did you have any inspiration behind the toys you are submitting for Plush You!?
Warm, cozy hugs on crisp, crunchy, autumn evenings

Meet OhMa Felt, creator of beautiful plush!

What is your favorite part about working in this medium?

Well really, my job is to play with toys all day.  What is not to love?  Oh, there is the live show factor:  you really should be on my side of the table to see children's faces when they enter the "booth of colorful toys".  (By children I mean, anyone 1 to 99.)

What is your background?

My Grandmother taught me how to sew quilt patches when I was very young.  Today, if I hand a six year old a needle and sharp scissors people gasp.  So I have been sewing for forty some years.

 

Favorite crafty tool?

Right now it is wool in any form.  Does that count as a tool?  If you don't like that put down cocktails, plural.

 

Favorite fall activity?

Practicing cozy!  We are quite good at that here.  Let me explain:  harvesting and putting up food, baking, fireplace watching, apple pressing, quilt try outs, and our annual Halloween Fete.

 

Did you have any inspiration behind the toys you are submitting for Plush You!?

Yes, the book Plush You! by Kristen Rask.  And, my Daughter, the most best Daughter in the whole wide world, really.

 

I love the color combo's on these little bears!  Found here.

Say hello to Greenstarstudio!

What is your favorite part about working in this medium?  oh, the textures! i looooooooove collecting vintage cottons & hoarding tiny scraps like candy. Mmmmm... fabric. 

What is your background? i'm a children's illustrator by education & practice, but I'm also a muralist, educator and new mom. 

Favorite crafty tool? knitting needles and my rotary cutter

Favorite fall activity? champion sport hoodie wearing & pumpkin spice latte drinking. 

Did you have any inspiration behind the toys you are submitting for Plush You!? my husband is my favorite bespectacled person. i thought it would be fun to explore other classic four-eyed folks. i call the series "incognito".

What is your favorite part about working in this medium?

I love the fact that with needle felting the possibilities are endless. Whatever you can dream up you can create!

What is your background?

I have a degree in English lit and fiction writing. Then, in my mid-twenties, I went back to school and studied metalsmithing. I was chained to my kitchen sink at the mercy of two children when I discovered Etsy and immediately started creating an army of plush freedom fighters.

Favorite crafty tool?

Color, and lots of it!

 

Favorite fall activity?

Hoping that this will be the year, at last, that it only snows for two weeks in Michigan.

 

Do you have any inspiration behind the pieces you created for Plush You?

Like any healthy, normal young girl I enjoyed giving Barbie a Mohawk, tattooing her with a ballpoint pen and transplanting her head onto Ken's body. Really, turning her into a zombie was the next logical step. If I'd had the tools then I would have made her undead decades ago.

What is your favorite part about working in this medium?
You can do whatever you want, I think fabric is the most flexible medium to work with, although it is the most time consuming.

What is your background?
I studied Textiles at Grays school of Art in Aberdeen where I started to up cycle found fabric. I have worked placements at Timorous Beasties in Glasgow and Jessica Ogden in London. When living in London I loved the Idea of having a permanent stall as they are in abundance is part of everyday live. So getting a Friday spot in Greewich Market was amazing it helped me alot as I had to scale down the size of my work to accessories and small embroideries also selling friends work. My textiles just grew from then on, now living and working in Edinburgh making and teaching workshops.

Favorite crafty tool?
My scissors, they are barber ones so slender and perfect for stuffing.

Favorite fall activity?
Scotland is amazing in the Autumn, it's my favourite time of year. Day trips to places like Dunkeld are amazing, forrest walks you can get lost in.

Did you have any inspiration behind the toys you are submitting for Plush You!?
Mr Roe is another version of my other plush Mr Stag, I was given a Roe deer antler from a Jeweler in Aberdeen who finds them in the woods where she lives, it was so kind of her I used it as a guide for the antlers on the Roe. The inspiration for the Stags comes from always wanting to make fabric taxidermy I love Stags they are such beautiful animals and find Taxidermy fascinating there is so much around Scotland as well it is always something I have been attracted to when growing up. I made masks for my friends music video well more like massive plush animal heads and a Stag was one of them so I think that helped with the process but I had to make them in my own style, I love my outcome as I can make them as big as I like.

Say hello to Green Elevator!

What is your favorite part about working in this medium?

I love the flexibility of it. I have a background in traditional 2D art, as well as other crafty pursuits such as knitting. While I love those activities, I felt (for me) there was more of a "right" and "wrong" way to do it. Plush design/making is much more "anything goes!"

What is your background?

I grew up and went to school in Ohio before moving to New York City in 2007. While I always enjoyed creative activities, I didn't get really into the DIY crafting scene until after college. Now I can't imagine not making something during the day. I currently work in advertising as my "real" job, and take design classes classes at 3rd Ward in Brooklyn on the weekends.

Favorite crafty tool?
My new favorite obsession is the Big Shot Sizzix Cutter. It has made cutting out allllll those little circles for eyes much easier.
 

Favorite fall activity?

Going on long runs, then making up the calories burned with pumpkin flavored everything.

Did you have any inspiration behind the toys you are submitting for Plush You!?

Over the past year, I've had the wonderful opportunity to take some time off of work, travel, and develop my plush designs. For Plush You!, I wanted to create three pieces that show some of my favorite elements in the work that I did over that period of time.

Say hello to Caffaknitted!  She writes cute books too!

What is your favorite part about working in this medium?

For one, it appeals to such a wide audience. I can't think of anyone who doesn't smile at a cleverly made plush toy. But I also love this medium because it allows me to approach any subject matter with a sense of humor. 

What is your background?

I grew up in the mountains of NC. I got a degree in sculpture and fiber arts from Appalachian State, but I didn't learn to knit till much later. I think I got burned out in art school. There was so much pressure to think conceptually, and I can never take myself so seriously. So when I learned to knit toys, it just felt right. It was a creative outlet with a sense of humor, but it can still be provocative when you want it to be.

Favorite crafty tool?

US size 6 stainless double pointed needles. I have about 200 of them, because I'm always dropping them through the cracks in the floor of my back porch.

Favorite fall activity?

Getting up on a Saturday, making a pot of coffee, pulling on a thick sweater, and knitting in a lawn chair, while watching my chickens scratch around in the fallen leaves. (or if it's after work...same thing, but replace coffee with beer)

Did you have any inspiration behind the toys you are submitting for Plush You!? 

The toys I'm sending are from my new book. They're all characters with funny stories, inspired by people I know. Clink is an indestructible spy-bot, who fails at his job because his hinges are too noisy. Brody (the green dude) had dreams of being an astronaut, but couldn't because the space helmet wouldn't fit over his horns. I didn't realize until this moment how many of my characters have unfulfilled dreams. I'm not sure why that is. I should probably work on that.

A long time ago, my friend was saving his cat's hair to do something with it.  As strange as I found this, I also thought he was pretty smart because boy, is there a lot of cat hair.  I love my cats but the hair is something I have never been able to accept so well.  It's EVERYWHERE.  My siamese cat is a furry beast but her hair is really soft and would make a nice something.  With this book, Crafting with Cat Hair by Kaori Tsutaya, I no longer need to think of what that something might be.  She's done it for me!  There are 10 projects featured, my favorite being the finger puppet (showcased on cover) and the cat portraits.  The bonus to this craft book is there are tons of little cat tips and cat information.  From cat odor, shedding, brushing, etc.  It's basically a win win for anyone who loves their cat(s) and is also crafty and hates to see ANYTHING go to waste...including pesty cat hair.  The cutest part of the book is the "meet the contributors" section.  Cute cat galore!

Say hello to Plush You! artist, Cutesy but not Cutesy!

What is your favorite part about working in this medium?

The best part about working in plush is that it's so tangible. Unlike most other forms of art and expression, plush can be picked up and held.  It's interactive and plush provides people with a feeling of comfort and childlike wonder. There's nothing more comforting for me than creating something that I know will bring happiness and comfort to someone else.  On the other hand, working on my more sculptural pieces gives me a chance to take a break from the norm. I like playing with the idea of creating soft sculptures that beg to be touched but are too fragile or delicate to actually be held. I like testing the boundaries (or lack thereof) between creating a "work of art" and producing a "plush toy".

What is your background?

I have a BFA degree from The College of New Jersey in photography, mixed media, and installation and a minor in Psychology.  I used to be a jeweler/metalsmith but I guess decided that faux fur is much easier on my hands. I've always been a much more 3D oriented artist though, always leaning towards building things and creating sculptures. Though making monsters might seem drastically different from what I used to do it seems to make perfect sense to me.

Favorite crafty tool?

My favorite crafty tools are my own two hands.  There's nothing better than sitting down to a huge pile of work with just my hands and a needle and thread.  I can take it anywhere. I've been known to sew in cars, on trains, and even on planes. I like knowing that I'm slowly building a life for myself with my two hands.

Favorite fall activity?

My favorite fall activity has to be picking apples. I love climbing the trees to the higher branches to get the better apples.  I also like jumping in leaves. Is there anyone who doesn't like jumping in leaves? And pumpkin spice coffee.

Did you have any inspiration behind the toys you are submitting for Plush You!?

I always try to work around a concept that is meaningful to me at the time I'm creating them. I've been working around the idea of "home" and what it means to different people for the last few years, however, this year's pieces will be based on the concept of "time". I'll leave the rest to interpretation ;)

I am so bummed that I will miss Susan at The Quilting Loft next Saturday because I gotta be at Schmancy.  BUT it sounds like a GREAT way to spend a Saturday afternoon.  If you are nearby, don't miss this event!  All details found here.

Say hello to Seattle artist, Dawn Rogal!

What is your favorite part about working in this medium?

The type of work that I do and materials that I use mean that for me, the medium is very forgiving.  My pattern doesn’t have to be perfect, I can change things up on the go and in the end, as long as it looks like something you can cuddle, it’s all good.   The things I make are usually based on ideas and sketches from my children and myself and usually based on stories we’ve told or things we’ve seen.  Given that the pieces are so personal, there is no right or wrong. I like to work primarily with felt and hand stitching.  Every now and then a piece of vintage fabric, or something from a thrift store will call my name and I’ll incorporate them as well, but with these I let the raw edges become part of the work.

What is your background?

At the moment I’m a stay at home mom of two.  I keep insisting that I’m a printmaker, having studied at printmaking for the past three years. However, I find that when the printmaking gods aren’t with me I retreat to my comfort zone with is needlework, primarily soft sculpture.  This year has been a great year for my soft sculpture, my plush piece sold at the Pratt Fine Arts Center fund raising auction, I’m in Plush You! for the second time and I have my first solo show at the Parklane Gallery in Kirkland, WA, running from October 4th through to the end of December.


Favorite crafty tool?

It has to be my travel stitching kit from Sublime Stitching.  I keep needles, pins and pink scissors in it and pop it in my purse along with my current project for on the go work.  I’m always waiting to pick up or drop off kids and it’s a perfect time to stitch.

Favorite fall activity?

Hitting the beach!  I know it’s odd to say but I’m not a hot weather person.  I love the beach in the fall when it is deserted, the air is crisp and I can walk, sit and sketch and of course, enjoy a hot cup of coffee – I’m from the Pacific Northwest, so even beaches have coffee stands nearby.

Did you have any inspiration behind the toys you are submitting for Plush You!?

Two of my pieces were inspired by prints, one of my own prints and one done by another artist.  The third piece comes from a story I was telling my daughter about French cheese. A colleague once told me that the French didn’t consider a cheese ready until it was so moldy that it could walk out of the shop of it’s own accord.  The result was “Stinky Cheese”.  I love this piece, it totally makes me laugh.

If you are coming out for Plush You! this year, I will be looking for help, Thursday evening with hanging and getting ready for the big day.  All are welcome and as a big Thank You, you can stake your claim on any of the pieces you won't be able to live without. 

Friday morning, I will be having breakfast with anyone who cares to join.  I will be at Le Pichet (1st ave and Virginia) at 9:00.  Come join us for a great cup of cofee and some plushie conversation. 

Friday evening, the big opening begins at 5:00 and goes until 9:00pm.  After which we will go to the Nite Lite for drinks and fun.  All are welcome!

Say Hello to Emilie Austin!
What is your favorite part about working in this medium?
I really love working in this medium because it is like illustrating in three dimensions. When I am designing, I feel like anything is possible. I also love working with my hands. The tactile aspect of plush is what appeals to me the most and helps balance out my computer driven life. 

What is your background?
I have always been interested in sculpting and this lead me to the world of computer animation where I currently model 3D characters for Nickelodeon. I went to the Maryland Institute College of Art for my BFA and then followed an intensive master course at the Animation Workshop in Denmark. When it comes to sewing, however, I am mostly self taught and just figuring things out as i go!

Favorite crafty tool?
My felting needles :)

Favorite fall activity?
Drinking pumpkin spice lattes, eating pumpkin pie, pumpkin ravioli... pumpkin anything!

Did you have any inspiration behind the toys you are submitting for Plush You!? 
My daughter is my biggest inspiration. I always want to make things for her that are friendly, cuddly and safe to play with. All of these designs have been thoroughly kid tested :)

 

Say hello to Kata Stack!

What is your favorite part about working in this medium? 

I love that you can create something that has character and a personality out of really basic materials and some imagination. Making art that's actually tangible makes people connect to it in a whole different way than if they were looking at a painting, it's a different kind of appreciation, which is really amazing. 

What is your background? 

I come from a regular workin' class background. I've always been way into the arts and creating things, but as far as college or formal training goes, I knew that wasn't really a path I wanted to take. Me and school just didn't mesh well. But I love learning, so I made it my mission to teach myself everything I wanted to know about photography and art, which is still a work in progress. Right now by day I'm a barista and a housekeeper. I've met so many other talented artists and crafters through my various odd jobs though, people who have taught me so much, or gave me some kind of opportunity to get closer to my main objective of being an artist full time-- I really don't think I could have made these connections any other way. 

Favorite crafty tool?
Well, my number one tool is my camera. That's my weapon of choice and kind of my security blanket-- But not entirely crafty, so for craftyness i'm going to have to say yarn. I LOVE yarn. It's such a craft in its own, too. I gotta keep myself in check though, because I have a tendency of yarn hoarding big time. The upside of yarn hoarding though is that every time I do a big clean out of my craft supplies its like going shopping, I find all these great skeins that I forgot that I bought and its like I got new stuff!

Favorite fall activity?
Im a New Englander, so fall is a pretty big deal here. We all kinda do the driving around looking at trees and apple picking thing. My favorite part of fall though is baking. I always start to bake a lot once fall rolls around. I make a fierce coffee cake, let me tell ya. 

Did you have any inspiration behind the toys you are submitting for Plush You!? 
I created some more of my signature birds, because they did well at last years show and I've gotten lots of great feedback about them- plus I just love 'em. Birds have a lot of folklore attached to them which I find fascinating-- some people believe they're good luck while others believe they signify death. It runs the gamut, but people are attracted to them for their own reasons. They all start to develop their own personalities in the process of making them, but I leave their story up to their future owners.

 

Say hello to Plushroom Soup!  She's coming to Seattle again this year so come on by and meet her!

 

What is your favorite part about working in this medium?

The portability! I can work on at least part of my plushies virtually anywhere. Also, turning the pieces right side out and seeing your character come to life never gets old.

 

What is your background?
I'm self-taught as an artist. My mom is super crafty and always made everything for us as kids, so I owe a lot of my craftiness to her influence. She taught me basic sewing skills when I was about 9, but I didn't really do anything with them until 2006, when I made my first plushie. Everything since then I've learned through much trial and error! In late 2008 I felt like I really started to find my voice as a plush artist, and that's when I launched Plushroom Soup.

Favorite crafty tool?
Oh man, it's tough to choose just one. I guess I'd say my doll-making needles. I'd be lost without those!

 

Favorite fall activity?
I adore fall. I love everything about it. Walking through the fallen leaves, bundling up in cozy sweaters, drinking pumpkin chais, eating pumpkin pie, apples, and sweet potatoes, smelling the crisp air, dreaming up wacky Halloween costumes, making zombies and other creepy critters. . . .
 

Did you have any inspiration behind the toys you are submitting for Plush You!?
I use fairy tales and folk tales as inspiration quite a bit. I especially love putting new twists on fairy tales, and I thought it'd be fun to reinvent some famous female characters as men instead. Like many, I've also been devouring all things Game of Thrones and I always love a good period drama, so I new my fairy tale dudes needed to have fun medieval/Renaissance/Tudor costumes as well. I wasn't actually sure I'd pull it off until I was finished; this was my first foray into clothing separates for my plushies!  

 

Say hello to talkproof!  Her toys are so colorful they always make me smile. 

 

What is your favorite part about working in this medium?

Knowing that you can create just about anything of any shape, size, and structure from flat pieces of fabric and a bit of fluff is probably my favorite part of making plush toys. The possibilities are endless!

What is your background?

I don't have any art or sewing background, I learned through trial and error. I've been sewing since high school (roughly three years), and while I'm not pursuing an art degree I'm hoping that after school I'll be able to focus solely on creating things.

Favorite crafty tool?

I only use my sewing machine and a sewing needle, and out of those two I'd have to say my sewing machine. Less hand cramps! 

Favorite fall activity?

Making and eating warm baked goods. It's a good way to pack on a few pounds for the winter (probably not ideal, but very enjoyable).

Did you have any inspiration behind the toys you are submitting for Plush You!?

I went to a fabric store in Santa Cruz over the summer with a wide selection of furs, and instantly thought it'd be perfect for mohawks. It's a departure from what I normally make since I rarely come across faux fur :)

 

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