Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Robyn Fabsits

Robyn Fabsits was one of those hot topics of Plush You! Her stuff sold super fast, is very detailed and basically amazing. I decided that I would love to learn more about her so here is a lovely interview with her.

You received your MFA and do commercial work for Shoebox (a Hallmark line). Is this your full time job or do you do other commercial work?

My MFA is from the School of Visual Arts in New York. It was one of the best things I could have done and I’d do it again. My major was Illustration and that’s what I do today. I work for Hallmark, here in Kansas City, and create illustrations and designs for the card line,Shoebox. For those who don’t know, Shoebox is Hallmarks edgier humor line. It’s my full time job and luckily I get to work with really talented
artists and writers who all have different interests outside of work. Occasionally I get a chance to work on special projects here as well. I’ve done a few week long plush workshops in our textile studio as well as some other textile workshops and I’ve been involved with quite a few plush brainstorms. So I get a variety of things to do other than just designing cards. When I started 7 years ago I always thought I’d attempt to do freelance on the side but found out It just wasn’t for me. That’s when I began sewing. Not just plushies, but bags, pouches, name it I sewed it.

2) Was making plushies always something you were interested in or was that something that developed later in your art career?

Plush and Toys are always something that I’ve been interested in and have tried to keep up with viewing on the internet. Locally there just aren’t a lot of places that carry that stuff. It’s the midwest, and there just isn’t a real market for it here.
I’d have to say that working on my plushies started about 5 years ago after the first workshop I had at Hallmark. I thought ‘I can do this’. From then on it’s been a constant development with each piece getting more and more complicated. I started out really simple. Most plush work I’d seen was relatively simple in construction and was super popular. I love a challenge and soon got bored with this. My plush soon became 3 dimensional versions of my illustrations. They became more and more detailed. And
most of the time there is a concept behind them. I have to work illustration and design concepts out every day on paper and it soon took over into my plush as well.

3) Your work was snatched up very quickly at the Plush You! show this year. Many people commented on how reasonably priced they were. I know it is hard for a lot of artists to try and price their work, is there any method you use for pricing your art?

I’m super pleased that my work was bought up so quickly and that there was interest. I’ve gotten quite a lot of feedback from people. One comment has been that I undersold myself. Plush You! is the first group show I’ve done. For the last year I’ve attempted to get into other shows and never get a response which can be very frustrating. I was overjoyed when I got into Plush You and thought maybe this could lead to more. So as a result of never being in a group show before I had no idea how to price my work . I also know that locally I’ve tried selling my stuff at craft-fairs and it just doesn’t sell because they think $60 is even too much. So I just decided what was the minimum I wanted for these and priced them at that. I even if that too high I’d rather get them back.

4) I love your sideshow plush. It seems like it was an idea you tooled around with a lot. Is there any background story on this collection or you just thought it would be fun to play around with this idea?

Oh, I am little obsessed with all things sideshow and oddities of all kinds. It all started in grad school when I did a series of 10 illustrations based on the sideshow circus. It’s become a joke with people I know that from the outside I seem so nice and sweet but I have a twisted sense of humor and like weird stuff. The weirder the better. Even my dining room is a circus theme with posters and circus tin toys. So it was only a matter of time before I did a series of plush based on that theme. I’m
surprised I didn’t do these sooner. But then again they probably would not have turned out as well. I still have sketches for more when I get back to doing them. I’d love to do the snake-charmer and the sword-swallower.

5) On average, how much would you say you work on plush in comparison to your other art work?

I’d have to say that my work is divided 50/50. I go to work and do card stuff and then come home and go to work in my studio sewing . I even do doodles for my plush during lunch. Coming up with my next plush idea is always on my mind. I am constantly thinking about it. I wish there was more time in the day.

6) Do you have your own collection or plush art and/or favorite plush designers?

I don’t have a huge collection of plushies. I did just buy a Knit Neth Creature this past July at Comic-Con in San Diego. I just don’t have a lot of room. I tend to collect a lot of different things. I have my collection of tin circus toys, small tacky ceramic animal figurines from the 50’s,cool printed fabric, toys I grew up with, movie monster figurines, cool prints, books, etc....I could go on about what I collect. My studio is basically filled with all things that inspire me.
There are quite a few plush artists I admire though. Such as... Heidi Kenney of
My Paper Crane, Hillary Lang of WeeWonderfuls, Abby Glassenberg of While She Naps, Jess Hutchison, Jennifer Strunge of Cotton Monster...I could go on. I keep a list on my blog of plush artists and other crafters that I like and I check them occasionally. The imagination these people have is awesome.

7) Your latest design, Jack, for the Softies Awards is really amazing. Do you plan on putting this one up for sale as well?

I’m really happy with the way Jack turned out. I really think he personifies the doodle I did of him that I posted on my blog. You couldn’t tell by just looking at him but there is quite a lot of support under all that fabric. His arms have a flexible wire and there is a wooden rod that runs from the top of his head to the inside of the box. This is what is actually holding him upright. As a result of that and the wood box he is quite heavy. I procrastinated a while on finishing the box because I didn’t know what to do. I finally came up with a drawing of a cemetery
that wraps all the way around it. I wanted to make sure the box was interesting but not stand out to much. I went the all monochromatic look that way Jack, especially his face, would stand out more. Unfortunately Jack is spoken for.

8) There were many people really sad they couldn't purchase your pieces from Plush You! Do you ever do commission work?

I can’t express more about how it makes me feel when I hear people loved my work and wish they had bought it. That has been the best motivation. I used to sell work on my website quite a while ago but didn’t get a lot of interest so I stopped and decided to focus on making contacts with people and get my work out there through my blog. It seems that within the last 2 months I’ve had people emailing me about work. I don’t have anything to sell currently but I am totally up for doing a commissioned
piece all you need to do is contact me.

9) What do you see on the horizon for you and your plush?

Right now I’d say my goal is to do more group shows if possible. I’m still finding it hard to find out about most of them and when I do it’s to late. I’d love to sell a few pieces in specialty stores as well. It’s not really about money for me though, it’s more about getting to meet new people and new artists.

Thanks Robyn!!
Hopefully you will apply to next year's show!

Next weeks interview will be with Jennifer Strunge of Cotton Monsters!

1 comment:

Beetlegirl said...

I only just stummbled across Robyn's website last week after seeing her sideshow critters on flikr. I am absolutely in love with her aesthetic.