Thursday, 28 October 2010

Interview # 5 : Strawberry Kitten

(ST) How did you start making plush toys?

(SK) I’ve always admired people who had the technical skill to make beautifully crafted and constructed plush toys. i believe my first attempt was a rather flat looking beaver and i still don’t profess to having mastered any amazing plush skills. My bears are now more 3D, with there arms and podgy faces but i wouldn’t know where to start if i had to create an animal to actually look real - thats a goal of mine, to learn these skills. I think i carried on making different animals because it felt very rewarding creating such a cute and wanted object.

(ST) What or who would you say inspires you?

(SK)it’s cliche but everything does inspire me, not just other plush artists - although the one person i really do look up to is mypapercrane, i love love love her work and her ability to balance her craft and family life, i can only hope i can live up to that. At the moment i find drawings, illustrations and photography inspiring. I’m always looking for new animals i can adapt into my plush range and imagery is where it starts. I also like to adapt my toys into drawings/paintings, creating characters with little personalities so i’m always on the look out for little critters and materials to use to inspire me.

(ST)How do you make your toys?

(SK)I tend to work in stages - one day i’ll concentrate on cutting out a few bear patterns (most of my plushies use the same bear pattern that gets adapted slightly depending on the animal) the next productive day ill do some sewing machine work - constructing the cut out bears to a point where they can be turned out the right way ready for stuffing. This leaves the stuffing and hand sewing parts, which can be done away from the sewing machine in front of the T.V for example. I like this, almost conveyer belt way of working, it feels quicker some how as a pose to constructing one bear at a time

(ST)What are your favorite materials to work with?

(SK)My toys use faux fur, now i have a love hate relationship with the stuff. I love the look, the feel, i love how forgiving it is when my hands don’t sew as straight as they should! I hate the mess is makes! i get absolutely covered in fur bits and its horrible! I swear i must now have fluffy lungs :/

(ST)Tell us about your work space?

(SK)I love looking at really lovely craft rooms and i aspire to have one one day but for now i’m stuck in the corner of the spare room, it’s a mess and perhaps not as functional in terms of my business and crafting goes. I’m working on it though, it just takes time and money i suppose.

(ST)How has making toys changed you as an artist?

(SK)I’ve always been one to flutter between crafts and never knuckle down to one thing, since starting making my bears i feel i’ve learnt a particular skill, a skill that people appreciate. It’s boosted my sewing confidence and has made me want to continue in this particular field, and progress with plush and 3D textile toys, perfect my sewing skills more and as i said before learn the more technical, construction side to toy making.

(ST)What medium of art did you use the most before making toys?

(SK)I really have been a jake of all trades, I have too many hobbies and interests when it comes to craft. before i started making toys last year i made ipod cases, i also learnt jewellery making. The one medium i used a lot (and i believed would be a chosen career path) was photography. Photography was always a passion of mine and still is, i pride myself on taking good product photos and love taking photos of people and places.

(ST)How did you come up with your company name?

(SK)I honestly can’t remember, it’s a internet name i’ve used for years, all i do know is it was a domain name owned by my now husband who handed it over to me and i’ve used it ever since. It’s quite a generic name and could be used for all types of shops i suppose so it suits my fickle crafting nature!

(ST)And finally where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

(SK)I had always seen this as a hobby, but once things started selling i thought hmmm maybe i could take this somewhere. I love reading the ‘quit your day job’ features on etsy and one day dream to be one of those people. so in 5 years time i want to be working for myself creating things, it may not be the products i make now and i’m sure i’ll grow and progress as an artist. I’m currently on maternity leave awaiting the birth of our first child and so hope amongst my time being a mother i have time to really push my craft business.
To view StrawberryKitten's shop and see the full range of her amazing bears click this LINK
(Also a BIG congratulations from all of us at the Stuffed team on the birth of your new baby :D)

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