Saturday, 28 August 2010

Interview # 3 : Tiny Oyster Designs

The next interview is with the crazy imagination behind Tiny Oyster Designs, Penny.

(ST) So penny how did you start making plush toys?
(TOD) I have been drawing since I could hold a crayon. I used to get an hour before bed each night to just sit and draw. My mum and dad are both quite good at drawing, so they encouraged me a lot. A few years ago I finally decided to try to turn some of my 2D characters into 3D creations. I had some help with my first few as I doubted my sewing skills, but I finally had a go myself and it turned out I did inherit the ‘tailor’ blood and took to sewing quite quickly.

(ST) What or who would you say inspires you?
(TOD) When I was about ten I went to London for a weekend and my dad took me to the Forbidden Planet shop. I fell in love as soon as I walked in. My dad said I should try to get my designs sold there (it’s him that gave me a love for all things anime and kawaii as we have some close Korean friends). The first plush maker to inspire me was loveandasandwich, who helped me with my first few toys and gave me lots of advice which I really appreciated. Now it is the people around me who inspire me as well as all the talented makers and artists out there. I love to see new things posted online and all the positive comments fellow artisans leave for them.

(ST) How do you make your toys?
(TOD) I hand sew all my toys. I own two sewing machines, a very modern one that does anything you want it to and a vintage Singer which has been handed down through the family and I love, but I still find hand sewing gives me so much more control, especially with smaller details. Most of my toys are made from fleece or faux fur, with felt details. I also use a lot of safety eyes and buttons when I get some cool ones.

(ST) What is your favourite material to work with?
(TOD) I use a LOT of cuddle fleece as I just love the way it feels. Plus I want my toys to be cuddled, that’s the whole point! I also use a fair amount of faux fur in various colours and patterns. I love the effects you can achieve with a combination of the two, even if the fur does get everywhere once you start cutting it. I like to experiment with new fabrics, but fleece and fur are defiantly my favourites.

(ST) Tell us about your work space?
(TOD) Currently my work space is my living room as I am in a smallish flat, but in three weeks we are moving and the spare bedroom is going to be my art room (I have a very supportive partner) and he said it’s all mine, so I’m very excited about that.

(ST) How has making toys changed you as an artist?
(TOD) Until I discovered plush, I worked mainly with paints and pencils. I have hundreds of sketchbooks which I still go back through to take inspiration from, some are even from school when I studied art there. But now I work a lot in 3D I get to experiment a whole lot more. I always try to find new ways to expand on what I’m doing and I learn something new each time I pick up a needle. It’s definitely made me see things from a new perspective.

(ST) What medium of art did you use the most before making toys?
(TOD) I have always drawn; I’m a doodler by nature. So mostly I tend to use pencils and lots of different types of paper. I love recycled papers as you get some really good effects when shading. I also paint often, mainly using acrylics as you can just do so much with them and I like painting onto canvasses (most of which hang in my dad’s house).

(ST) How did you come up with your company name?
(TOD) I have been obsessed with Alice in Wonderland since birth! If I ever feel down or am poorly I snuggle up and watch the original Disney version. It was the Walrus and the Carpenter that inspired my name, as they trick the tiny oysters. So Cute! Hence the name Tiny Oyster Designs.

(ST) And finally where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
(TOD) Ideally in an Illustration job as I will have finished my Illustration degree by then, or writing and illustrating my own line of children’s books; that’s the dream anyway. Whether I’ll get there or not is a different story. But I’ve come a long way already and have put a lot of hard work into getting my name and designs noticed. So hopefully five more years of grafting will pay off for me and Tiny Oyster Designs :)

To check out some of Penny's designs go to her SHOP her Gibbler has had quite a few mentions...


  1. I loved reading this Penny! :D Your work is so super adorable!

  2. That was so interesting. I love reading about all the other artists on this team. I can't wait to read the next one. :)