Why do you make softies? Toys make me smile. I love walking into my sewing room and calling out “hello everybody”. I figure there are plenty of people to make practical things; I specialise in cute but useless. Sometimes, when you get something just right and a little face looks back at you with a certain twinkle in its eye, you know this is what you should be doing.
How do you come up with such cute ideas? One thing just leads to another. When I first made Elsie Cabbage, I just knew she had to have a brother and that he would be called Arthur and wear a little newspaper hat. Sometimes, an element of a toy, like a style of foot or a particular construction method, sets me off on a whole path to determine what kind of toy it fits into. Occasionally, a whole personality just invades my brain and drives me crazy until it becomes real.
What’s your favourite softie design ever? Oh! Man, that’s like asking a mother who her favourite child is. My favourite is usually the one that I happen to be working on.
If you weren’t doing this, what else would be you doing? Apart from being a zookeeper, which is my all-time dream job, I can’t imagine not being a maker of things. Those things might change or evolve, but I really have no idea what I’d do if I didn’t make stuff. What do non-makers do with all their time?
What does this craft mean to you? This craft means I’m always on the lookout for the perfect fabric. It means I buy felt in bulk and have whole tins labelled ‘eyes’. My sewing room is always littered with body parts and half-finished heads and torsos. It is the cute and macabre all together. I love that I make things that make people smile. I love watching people interact with my toys. If I had endless amounts of time, I would make toys to sell at a market, just to watch people smile as they come along and chance upon a toy that they can relate to. This craft means I get to have fun.
Is it hard to find time to do this or is it a profession? I wish I was in a position to say this is my profession; instead, I refer to it as my ‘jobhobby’. I work in the library of a primary school part-time, and I use almost every other minute possible to make toys. Crazy, but true!