I am so thrilled that Diane is joining us today, her work is irresistible, a perfect combination of fluffy plush joy and cyclopean monstrosity. I am in love with these guys with the wild antlers and spiral horns. Lets’s join Diane and her creatures now, I can’t wait!
Tell us a little about yourself, the media you work with and your creative process.
I am a full time plush toy designer based in the Philadelphia metro area. I graduated from college in 2005 with a fine arts degree in photography and mixed media and have always been a more 3D oriented artist. I started my company Cutesy but not Cutesy about two years ago and have been stitching my way along ever since. I use felt (made from recycled post-consumer plastic bottles) and faux fur in most of my creations. Everything I do is entirely hand-stitched and I use no machines.
I like the way the fabric feels between my fingers and the way I can build the object from the ground up, it’s more like sculpture to me in that way. I think people can also really appreciate seeing the stitches in my work, it adds to the notion of the object being made completely by hand.
Each piece is one-of-a-kind as I don’t use any patterns. I just grab my scissors and start cutting! I really enjoy working on the larger pieces and pieces made for gallery shows because I can get a little more creative and make the horns and antlers as out of control and detailed as possible.
From where do you draw your inspiration: music, books, people, nature etc?
I’m mostly inspired by people who are doing what they love. People who have started from the ground up and who aren’t afraid to put themselves out there and work as hard as they possibly can to continue to get their creative voices heard whether it be through art, music, writing, etc. The internet makes finding constant inspiration rather easy (and sometimes distracting). I am always following a new blog and discovering a new site for inspiration.
I have always loved the work of Heidi Kenney of My Paper Crane. Her blog is a constant source of inspiration in both plush and non-plush related things. Kit Lane is another huge inspiration. She’s incredibly productive and her work is so quirky and adorable which is right up my alley! I also have a not-so-secret obsession with vinyl toys and my collection is ever growing. Non-plush/toy related, I recently discovered the work of Nava Lubelski which nearly brought tears to my eyes. I learned of her on this amazing blog … talk about inspiring! I’ll stop there because my list of inspirations could go on forever!
If you could talk briefly about the background to one of your pieces which would you choose and why? Please tell us the story behind the piece.
One of my favorite recent pieces was created for the Mortal Plush Show at the Art Whino Gallery in Washington D.C. The piece is called The American Dream (above). I created it with a lot of things in mind with one being a reference to the classic American Gothic painting by Grant Wood… my monster interpretation, if you will.
It was my chance to add a much more personal touch to a piece. I like when I can create work with a personal message that people can either get or not get, it keeps things interesting.
Thank you so much Diane for joining us today, it was such a pleasure to find out some more about you and your incredible work. Make sure you click the links recommended by Diane, I was so pleased that I did, some amazing work to be found!
I’m not sure when the next interview will appear, I am going to be keeping a low profile for a few weeks while I try and get some new creatures out of my sketch book and onto the sewing machine. I also need to get going on some new embroidery pieces, oh, I have plans! It feels wonderful to be so full of enthusiasm again. Another side note, I have wanted to write a post about a book I read over the summer, I don’t think I am going to have time but must urge you all to rush out and borrow/buy a copy of Leviathan by Philip Hoare. Really, it is the most wonderful book, so inspiring, my Sea Ghosts sprang from its pages. Go, rush, now!