(ST) Hi Kristie, how did you start making plush toys?
(TF) In January of 2009, I was browsing the web with my little girl looking at cute pictures with her. I came across some photos of amigurumi and absolutely fell in love! I swore that night that I would learn to crochet and design my own, and worked very hard to obtain that goal! :) That October, I began teaching myself to sew by making plush toys out of felt and fleece as a side project.
(ST) What or who inspires you?
(TF) There are two people who have inspired me most. My daughter is the biggest inspiration. She's almost 4 and loves to help give me ideas. We spend a lot of time drawing together and creating. Her stories are hilarious and truly out there, and her general outlook on the world makes everything magical. She keeps my imagination going. :)
My mother would be the other inspiration, I grew up watching her create amazing dolls...and truly anything else you can imagine artistically. She was an incredible artist who taught me to open my mind and love the creation process.
(ST) What are your favorite materials to work with?
(ST) How do you make your toys?
(TF) I have a different process for every medium I work with. When I sit down to begin working on a monster plush I have no idea what it will be. I free-hand cut all of my patterns and avoid measurements at all cost! It is fun to keep my mind open, to just start cutting and see where my sub-conscious takes me. When I do have a goal in mind of what I'm creating, like with felt plushies, I create little sketches in my journal or a mental sketch in my mind and just peek at them now and then to make sure I'm representing it well. I always use my sewing machine for my fleece plushies, and entirely hand-stitch the ones made of felt.
For crochet, I always have an idea already in mind when I begin an amigurumi. I draw out the basic concept and am to the point now where I see the pattern in my mind to form the shape I need. I always write it down as I'm crocheting so I can go back and make more of the same. :)
(TF) Definitely yarn! There are only two specific types I ever work with, I've tried many others but they never give me that exact look I'm going for. Texture is super important to me. Fleece and felt are my other favorites. Fleece is so beautiful to sew and great for making plushies so cuddly! Felt allows me to squeeze in those tiny details and be so much more elaborate.
Also, I love safety eyes. I have hundreds of them in all sizes. :) I have fun painting my own for my larger plushies and amigurumi, so I can get that exact color for their personality.
(ST) Tell us about your work space?
(TF) I have an area in a downstairs room set up with a beautiful scenic hand-painted table where I keep my sewing machine and some of my most used supplies. Above it I have shelves that are decorated with some incredible artistic works from talented people on Etsy. :) I also have an antique cabinet beside my table with glass doors that has been in my family for as long as I can remember. It stores all of my yarn, fleece, and finished projects to keep them safe and out of the sun. :)
(ST) How has making toys changed you as an artist?
(TF) Bringing something to life that starts as a spark in your mind is beautiful. Personally it allowed me to have fun with my art and let the happy and cute side break through. My other art was entirely different than what I do now. When I had my little girl she entirely turned around my perspective of expressing myself through art, seeing her cuddle and smile over the toys I began making made me fall more and more in love with it. :)
(ST) What medium of art did you use the most before making toys?
(TF) I would only draw and occasionally paint. I really do miss it sometimes, but I always felt like there was something out there that I could enjoy more.
(ST) How did you come up with your company name?
(TF) I spent a week toggling words around in my mind. Eventually I came up with twisty and kept on toggling until I found a word that would make it silly and fun to say. I wasn't even beginning to open my Etsy shop at that time. I had never even picked up a crochet hook or stitched more than a button. I was just looking for a new gamertag for Xbox 360. When I did start crocheting and decided to open a shop, twistyfishies seemed to fit perfectly. :)
Thanks so much Kristie! To find Kristie's amazing plush go visit her SHOP