Okay I have to come clean, this is a completely self indulgent blog post. Yes, I thought it would be interesting to blog about plush that incorporate sewing and needle felting skills and yes, I like to read what other plush artists have to say about their work. Mostly though, I just adore the work of Jennifer of Violetpie and I had questions I wanted to ask..it seemed less stalkery through a blog interview! If you are not already a fan I am sure the following photos will turn you into one too.
Reading past this point will probably cause you to start you own Violetpie collection…you have been warned!
-Your signature style is a perfect combination of different influences all wrapped up in a tiny package which makes them perfect for collecting. Retro, Japanese, high quality, low brow, quirky and impossibly cute. How did you find your way to this style and how would you describe it?
I’ve always had a taste for whimsy. It took all kinds of different turns in my previous life as a painter, but when I discovered, or rediscovered toys, I began just trying to my hand at tiny felt fabric animals from some free patterns I’d found online….they happened to be retro-style patterns from the Japanese toy designer Ayumi Uyama..so there is that Japanese take on retro that has been swirling around for the past few years in toyland. I guess you sort of summed up how I would describe what I’ve ended up doing…I try to make things “impossibly cute”…not sure I always succeed, but I get a kick out of it when I do a little squeal upon finishing a piece.
-When and what was your first plush project?
Oh gee…no idea what was first. Maybe my Cheshire Cat? I sort of jumped right from small sewn felt to boiled wool and mohair things…
-What came first, sewing or needle felting and what compelled you use the two skills together?
After trying the little sewn felt animals, though I had fun with them, I felt limited, and that’s when I decided to buy a needle felting kit on ebay. That was maybe 2007. I made a little jointed panda, and it turned out nicely, but I didn’t take to felting right away. I guess I took it back out when I realized there was something I wanted to create that just called for felting. And that’s still how I use it. I do make all-felted things, but not as much these days. I have an old bear from childhood, a Rushton sad bear, that inspired me to felt a face and add it to the furry body. That bear, and seeing Mark Ryden‘s interpretations of those old rubber-face toys, really got me going.
-Which is your favourite plush piece to date?
I guess I’d say my curly jointed bunnies…but I am pretty happy with how my big, all-felted Humpty Dumpty turned out too.
Oh thank you Becky! I’ve wanted to get some patterns going for so long. My tip for sewing is to practice. I don’t consider myself anything near a pro…I’m sure a lot of my techniques are not at all correct…but I think like most things, a lot of practice is a good thing. Trial and error. As far as supplies, I work mostly in mohair and now silk velvet. I get mohair from Knoevelkes in the Netherlands. And I get small pieces of silk velvet from various Etsy sellers. eyes and joints, I get from Glass Eyes Online…but I also have a stash of Japanese vintage eyes that I’ve scoured ebay for. Those are a rare find.
Needless to say I have already purchased my patterns and my collection will likely literally multiply like bunnies with plush versions of my Pudding and Sundae all over the house. If you want Violetpie original made by Jennifer you should check out her Etsy store.
Oh and did I say self indulgent post? Oh well, here you go pictures of my real bunnies, Pudding and Sundae 🙂
Becky Gould is the big kid behind Scrumptious Delight. Working from her home in Vancouver, BC she makes plush toys and soft sculptures that combine a love of food, all things furry and an unnatural appreciation of small appliances.