Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Corduroy Day!

Yes, folks, today is national Corduroy Appreciation Day, since 11|11|11 is the day that most resembles that glorius fabric, corduroy.

To commemorate this momentous date, the Plush Team has teamed up with the Corduroy Appreciation Club. Eleven members of the Plush Team created a collection of 11 corduroy-inspired plush. These pieces will be displayed at the grand meeting celebrating all things corduroy at the Desmond Tutu Center in Manhattan on this most auspicious date. These pieces are available to the public to celebrate this every man's fabric in their own private collections. They may be purchased in the PlushTeam's Etsy shop.

I had the pleasure of being one of the 11 artists, and I created a "waling" banshee for this event.

"Waling" Banshee
According to Irish folklore, banshees are fairy women (or ghosts of women who died, commonly in childbirth) who wail when death is nigh. Their wails are most often heard at night near woods.

My banshee is dressed in baby corduroy, or pinwale, for a play on the word "wailing." Her tattered dress is accented with ribbon and lace, and her split dagged sleeves feature a silk blend lining (because I still can't get Game of Thrones costuming out of my head). Her body is made of 100% wool felt, and her hair is mohair locks needle-felted into place. Her arms and fingers are wired and jointed for full range of motion. She comes with a doll stand.

"Waling" Banshee
I love my banshee. Seriously LOVE. I did not want to ship her to New York, I loved her so much. I haven't been this in love with one of my plush pieces since, well, probably ever. Which means I will definitely have to make more banshees in the future.

All the pieces my fellow Plush Teamers created for this event are amazing. There's a Woody Allen plushcature:

nasty ass honey badger (if you don't understand this reference, click the link to watch the video NOW. Seriously, now. I'll wait.):Honey
And a plethora of amazing whales:


And if that weren't enough awesomesauce for you, last night, Rachel Maddow of MSNBC purchased that nasty-ass honey badger, and then FEATURED THREE PLUSH TEAM PLUSH ON HER SHOW, including my banshee. How amazing is that?!

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Big, big props to Abby of Abbydid for organizing all this plush corduroy awesomeness.

About the Club:
The Corduroy Appreciation Club is a social club which wishes to cultivate good fellowship by the advancement of Corduroy awareness, understanding, celebration and commemoration of the fabric and all related items. Club events are held on dates which resemble Corduroy.

All Hail the Wale!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Plush You! 2011 Review

Last week, I had the pleasure to attend the Plush You! show for the third time. I think the collection of plush on display, from about 60 different artists, was the best yet!

I helped Kristen set up the show on Thursday night, which meant I got first dibs on buying a plush. I had such a hard time choosing which one to take home, but I finally settled on this handsome viking dude by Pepper Stitches:

Pepper Stitches at Plush You! 2011
The Plush Team was, of course, very well represented, including Cutesy but Not Cutesy, Plush Goodness, Hibou Cards, Weird Bug Lady, Moons Creations, Yummy Pancake, Talkproof, Pterodactyl Pants, Green Elevator, Yermit, Scrumptious Delight, Chris Creatures, ThEm DoLLz, Green Star Studio, Needlings, Cretur Fetur, Squirrel Momma, Lowell and Son, and Out of the Frame (I think I mentioned every teamer in the show; apologies if I've left anyone out!).

Plush You! 2011
Hibou Cards at Plush You! 2011
Scrumptious Delight and Chris Creatures at Plush You! 2011

My dudes looked pretty awesome in their little cubby, keeping good company with Moxie's awesome e-textile monsters.

Plushroom Soup and Moxie at Plush You! 2011
I even got to chat with Moxie for a spell, and she is as supremely awesome as her critters are.

Me and Moxie posing at Plush You! 2011
I also met Anisa from Nonsense Institue (she's so sweet!):

Nonsense Institute at Plush You! 2011
And another plush-maker from Minnesota! She even lives in my neighborhood! Meghan and her husband were so fun to chat with, and I can't wait to get my craft on with Meghan sometime. Her toys are not only cool to look at, but they're interactive too!

Meghan and the Geirdoz at Plush You! 2011
Aside from the show, I also visted the Seattle Art Museum, Olympic Sculpture Park, Bainbridge, the Asian Art Museum, the conservatory in Volunteer Park, the Japanese Gardens, the Arboretum, Fremont Market, and Pike Place Market. I would say Bainbridge and the Japanese Garden were the highlights for me this year.

View of Olympic Mountains from Bainbridge Island
Japanese Gardens, Seattle
You can see many more photos of the show and my adventures around Seattle on Flickr.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ta Daaaaa!

It's finally time to reveal my finished plushies from the last post!

First up is my interpretation of the La Catrinas from Dia de los Muertos festivals. She's heading to the Starkweather Arts Center in Romeo, Michigan for a Day of the Dead show. The show will run October 7-29, and there are lots of amazing artists participating (I think the Plush Team may have a slight monopoly on the exhibit!), so if you're in the area, be sure to check it out!

La Catrina
la catrina
la catrina
I really enjoyed making this catrina, so I've cut out a few more and hope to put at least one in the Etsy shop soon.

I'm even more pleased with how my pieces for this year's Plush You! turned out. As I mentioned, I decided to continue with the fractured fairy tale theme I employed last year. I decided to take popular women characters and turn them into men instead. First up, we have Cinderfella, who of course couldn't even conceive of leaving the party before midnight, so he lost a slipper and his stagecoach turned back into just an ordinary, if rather large, pumpkin:

Cinderfella Plush loses his glass slipper
Cinderfella plush dollThis guy was a LOT of work. He has little glass slippers (made from vinyl), a gored, ribbon-trimmed doublet (that'd be his skirt), a wool jacket with fancy buttons, and a cotton eyelet ruff (collar).

I don't know what possessed me to make him a gored doublet (okay, yes I do—George R.R. Martin, I'm looking at YOU). Because I don't really make clothes. I've tried in the past to make clothes for myself and the results have been fairly disastrous. So making them even tinier? With no prior experience and no pattern? But thanks in large part to all things Game of Thrones, I just had to dress my little dudes in fancy medieval/Renaissance/Tudor costumes. On top of that, I've always been a jump-right-in-and-just-figure-it-out sort of gal. Luckily, things turned out well. For the most part. I did have to re-sew Cinderfella's and the next guy's coats, but that was only because I miscalculated measurements and they were too small the first time.

So anyway, a lot of work. But I'm so, so happy with the result.

Which brings us to Alex . . . in Wonderland. Alex in Wonderland plush doll
Alex in Wonderland close-up
Alex in Wonderland pantaloons As you can tell, he's not at all sure about this Wonderland place. But isn't he just adorable? I'm in love with his jaunty little outfit, right down to the adorable white rabbit buttons I found to fasten the sides of his knickers/pantaloons!

Last but not least, we have Sleeping Brawny.

Sleeping Brawny plush doll
Sleeping Brawny plush doll This guy is my favorite of the three. I think mostly because I love how his jacket turned out, and even on the first try! Also, his mustache is pretty great, no?

All three of these guys are packed up and ready to head to Seattle. Plush You! opens on October 13 this year, with an opening reception from 5:00 to 9:00 pm. Hope to see you there!


Monday, September 19, 2011

Works in Progress

I'm entering into my second busiest time of year (second only to the frenzied activities leading up to No Coast each year): Plush You!, Halloween, and Dia de los Muertos.

I've always wanted to participate in a Dia de los Muertos show, and this year I finally have the opportunity to do so.

I was inspired by the wodden la catrina dolls common in Day of the Dead festivities, and immediately started picturing elegant plush versions.

I've drawn out the pattern, and selected a few fabrics.

Once I got started, though, I couldn't stop thinking about Game of Thrones (I've been reading the books and watching the HBO series). In the books, the author is consistently mentioning women wearing dresses with dagged sleeves. So I knew I had to incorporate them into my catrina.

DSC01823 Ready to turn right side out. The dagged sleeves are sitting under her arms.

And the Game of Thrones influence didn't stop there. I've also been simultaneously working on my Plush You! pieces: three fractured fairy tale dudes, all dressed in costumes inspired by the books, the show, and my general love of tudor/renaissance/medieval period dramas. Here's a sneak peek of all them sewn up, but not turned right side out yet:


Can you guess any of their identities? Here's a few hints:




I'll show you all four finished pieces later this week, and we'll see how many of you accurately guessed my Plush You! pieces. :)


Monday, July 4, 2011

Creature Collaboration

What happens when you combine two monster makers, one pattern from each maker's repertoire, and no instructions? A pretty fantastic collaboration.

Daniel Allyn Lee of Happycloud Thunderhead contacted me a while back and suggested we collaborate in some way. We decided that we would each cut out two of the same pattern, make one ourselves while sending the copy to the other person with no instructions, and see what happened.Plushroom Soup meets Happycloud Thunderhead
Plushroom Soup meets Happycloud Thunderhead It turns out that Daniel and my husband share the same hometown (they were even in the same graduating class—small world!), which we visit quite often, so I suggested Daniel and I meet up this weekend while I was out there.

Daniel is just as awesome as the fantastic plush he creates. We had a great time chatting and playing with our monsters. It's probably fairly obvious whose is whose, but just in case, here's what I made: Plushroom SoupAnd here's what Daniel made: Happycloud ThunderheadI can not stop giggling over what Daniel did with my imp pattern. The hat! The britches! But most of all, the jaunty little bow tie! I think bow tie-bedecked plushies might become my next collection obsession. . . .

It was so much fun seeing Daniel's take on my patterns, and how different the "same" creature could look when our own style was applied to it. I'd definitely do this kind of collaboration again!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Plush Exclusive

I'm thrilled to announce my first-ever exclusive plush design: zomberries! I only made 17 of these sinister fruits, and I made them exclusively for Schmancy Toys in Seattle.

If you're not familiar, each month or so, Schmancy's owner, the stupendous Kristen Rask (also the gal behind the annual Plush You! show), asks a different plush artist to make an exlusive toy sold only in her shop. I was beyond excited and extremely flattered when she contacted me to participate, putting me in the company of such plush superstars as Robyn Fabsits, Michal Wright-Ward, and Leeanna Butcher.

I made two different sizes, with varying levels of decay. You can read more about my inspiration behind the design in an interview on Kristen's blog, and you can buy your very own zomberry in her online shop. But don't delay! Once they're gone, they're gone!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Upcoming Events

Picture 3
I will be a vendor this June at the first-ever Unraveled DIY Festival, an event presented by the MN Textile Center, in conjunction with this year's Surface Design Association Conference. I have no idea what to expect, since this is the first year, but given the narrow focus of the show and the built-in audience of all the conference attendees, I'm hopeful that this will be a good show. If nothing else, it will be an excellent networking opportunity. Hope to see you there!

Friday, June 10, 2011
6 - 9 pm
Rapson Hall (University of MN)
89 Church Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
You can park in the Church Street parking garage is located across the street from Rapson Hall.

Festival Admission: $3.

Picture 4
Also, I will once again be teaching regularly at Crafty Planet. I'm really looking forward to teaching others how to craft, and excited to stretch my skills a bit and hone my teaching techniques. I'd love to see you in one of my classes! More details to come soon for each class, as I'm still working out my syllabi.

Beginning Needle-Felting
Sunday, June 26
11 am - 2 pm

Make Your Own Plushie
Tuesday, July 19
6 - 9 pm

Beginning 3D Pattern Drafting
Thursdays, August 25 & September 1
6 - 9 pm

Beginning Needle-Felting
Sunday, October 2
11 am - 2 pm

Plush Monster
Sunday, October 30
11 am - 2 pm


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Crafty Planet Underwater

The large sea monster I made a few months ago now graces Crafty Planet's window, along with a bunch of other fantastic underwater-themed plush. I think Adrienne's totally amazeballs display is her best yet!

The window also features plush from a few fellow Plush Teamers—the sea turtle is by Hibou Cards, the star fish, rocks, and plants are by LeftZ, and the sea horse is by Chris Creatures. The rest of the creatures were made by the talented staff at Crafty Planet. Let's take a closer look, shall we?


The display should be up for at least the next few months. If you live in or are visiting the Minneapolis area, be sure to check it out!