Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Claire Chambers Interview

I have been talking with Claire Chambers for awhile and finally was able to schedule this interview. She has been busy, quit her day job, has been making awesome videos to promote her art business, started The Needle and is a member of the Etsy Plush Team. With all that on her plate she still had some time to do a little interview for us. Thanks Claire!

S- Your recent stop motion animation films are amazingly cute and a fantastic way to promote yourself. Since your first one have you seen an increase in business, etc?

CC- Thank you! They are a lot of fun to make. I've noticed a definite increase in recognition for my creatures since releasing these videos. One of my Chickenpants Limited prints
( user_id=5069584§ion_id=5275279) even made it to Etsy's front page recently, too.

S- How long have you been working on plush?

CC- I started in plush about a year and a half ago. One of my first creatures was one of the prince's cousins from Katamari Damacy. Followed quickly by a "French Bulldog" that looked more like a bunny. (

S- I noticed that you started your etsy shop a little over a year ago. What have you learned since beginning your shop that might be useful for people interested in starting their own?

CC- I feel like I've learned so much in the past year! It's hard to sum it up without sounding hacky, but here we go: Don't be afraid of the trial and error proccess- you're certainly not alone in going through it. Don't be afraid to reach out to people who's work you admire. It's ok to be scared, just don't let the fear stop you from doing what you've got to do. And take the best photos you possibly can.

S- I also noticed that you recently quit your day job. Does this mean you are now a full time artist? What made you take the plunge?

CC- I am indeed! It really was just time to take the leap. My art had expanded to the point where I just couldn't keep any balance between it and the rest of my life. Of course, having an extremely supportive husband helps enormously.

S- You started the site Can you explain a bit more about what this site is?

CC- The Needle is a collaborative blog for plush artists. I am a big fan of sites like Sugar Frosted Goodness and Three Thumbs Up, which are collaborative blogs for illustrators and visual artists. I think it's a wonderful idea- it gives artists a place to show off their work and it feels like a sort of community. There is something amazing happening with plush. It truly is developing as an art form, and I wanted there to be a place that would give a sense of the scope of the movement from the perspective of the artists. If you're interested in joining, send an email to

S- You are also a member of the Etsy Plush Team. Could you also explain what that is exactly and how one might go about becoming a member?

CC- I can't sum it up any better than what the team statement already says, so here it is:

"Etsy Plush Street Team consist of a group of etsy artist supporting and furthering the ideas behind plush dolls, toys and all the soft areas in between."
Basically, it's a great supportive network of plush artists. We hold various events and contests, all in the name of...well, getting our names out there.
If you're interested in joining, shoot an email to

S- What would you say is your favorite part about making plush toys?

CC- It's a toss up. I love putting the faces together- when I see the personality of a piece really start to come together. But I also really love it when I can see people's happy reactions to the creatures.

S- Since you do photography, painting and plush, do you try to switch up your activities during the day to give your body a break and to break up the repetition in work?

CC- Actually, no. I'm really bad about this. When I get started on one thing, I have a very hard time switching to another sort of project. When I start off making plush creatures, I get tied into that for days. It's the same with painting, or photography. (and answering emails!) I get obsessed with seeing that pieces get finished. I like your idea though- I'm going to have to try that.

S- I also noticed your list of things to do and or remember when feeling a little less motivated. It sounds like you have read the book, Getting Things Done. I am a big fan of this book as of late and have found it very useful. Have you read it?

CC- I haven't yet, actually! It's on my list. I've learned about it online, and what I've heard seems impressive.

S- What is on the horizon for you and your business?

CC- So many things! I have a few gallery shows coming up- including one in April that is going to be a sort of installation. I'm quite excited about that one. (keep tuned to my blog and flickr for updates on that!) This week I'll be releasing March's Chickenpants Limited print. And of course, there will be more Chickenpants movies.

And check out this awesome video made special for this weeks interview

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