Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Fantastic Toys Interview

Sometimes it's all said in the name. Fantastic Toys is an example. They really are fantastic toys! The first time I laid my eyes on them was over on our flickr pool so when I saw that Tim, creator and mastermind behind Fantastic Toys, applied for Plush You! I was overjoyed. I would finally be able to see the fantasticness in person. I am still excited and only wish October was sooner (although it feels like it's October here...why???). I am really happy to present you with this fantastic interview with Tim. Leave a comment with your contact info and your color of choice: Periwinkle, rose, mint, light blue, raspberry, purple. buttercup and pink for your chance to win your very own fawn!



S- I have seen your plush around flickr, etc and knew that you made amazing stuffed toys but looking through your actual website. Well I now have a million questions. First let's get a bit of background on you and your work?

FT- I started making toys about 10 years ago beginning with marionettes then eventually I moved on to miniature animal dolls and hand puppets. After doing a couple of miniature shows the dolls never took off the way I thought they would. About that time I discovered the world of plush and I knew I had to reinvent myself and start playing with felt. I started posting my creations on Craftster and flickr and the feedback was immediate and positive. So just under 2 years I have created a nice little niche for myself making soft toys.



S- Between the plush, the hand puppets and the miniature dolls, where do you spend most of your time?

FT- Currently I'm placing most of the emphasis on plush toys. But right now I'm having fun designing paper toys and DIY patterns. With the way the economy is right now people are holding onto their money. They're spending less and prefer to make it themselves trying to save a buck.



S- Do you do this full time or do you have other jobs?

FT- I would love to make toys full time but I have a part time job in the floral
industry to pay the bills.



S- What have been some of your favorite plush projects you have worked on?

FT- I usually do a new theme for any of the shows I do. I had fun with the North Pole theme I did last Christmas. Most recently the Story Book plush I made for an upcoming show have been some of my favorite characters.



S- You do beautiful toys. I think a lot of people have a hard time going from 2D to 3D. Any suggestions for how to make that transition?

FT- For the plush I actually do it the other way around. I make the plush and then I do illustrations of them. But I understand what your saying. I don't think its really that difficult. I usually encourage illustrators who want custom work done to try it themselves . Two sided plush are the easiest to make.. its the most common plush out there. Basically its just transferring your drawing to fabric and adding 1/4" - 1/2" seam allowance for sewing. Maybe not quite that simple but thats how I started. There's quite a few books on the subject now including yours. There are also many free patterns online that gave me direction when I first started constructing plush.



S- Your marionette's and hand puppets are amazing. Do you market those to a specific group? Speaking of marketing...how do you market yourself as a plush designer, etc.?

FT- My most recent puppets were made for a gallery show. I wanted to revisit making marionettes after 10 years experience in other areas. There is a significant difference from some of my earlier ones I made. Craftsmanship being the most noteable. I haven't spent a lot of time marketing the puppets. As for the plush, I've been fortunate to be featured on a lot of blogs from people who have seen my work on etsy. Flickr and the many softie groups has also been a great marketing tool. Locally I have done craft shows which have led to other engagements.



S- You seem to have been around the block a few times with craft fairs. How do you prepare for these crafty events, keep up stock, figure out displaying, etc?

FT- Minneapolis has quite a few excellent indie craft shows and hosts some of the finest juried shows. I've limited myself to a couple of shows a year. My main concern has always been having enough inventory. I allow myself at least 4-6 months preparation before a show. I'm not the kind of person that likes to wait till the last minute. I spend a lot of time and thought on my theme and display ... buying props through out the year. I look forward to my participation in the Plush You shows later this year.



S- How do you deal with being a plush artist, etc. in a craft community that is mainly dominated by women?

FT- You know I've been crafty all my life so it really isn't something I think about. The crafting community has been warm and welcoming and very accepting of my creative efforts.



S- If you could do your dream job what would it be or are you already doing it?

FT- I'd like to continue what I'm doing but on a grander scale. I prefer to design toys. It would be nice to have them manufactured by someone else.



S- What are your goals for your business in the next year?

FT- I'm working on a book proposal to submit to publishers. I'd like to finish that up soon. I'm also looking into having a national toy chain carry a line of my toys.

Don't forget...leave a comment with your contact info and your favorite color for your chance to win your own custom fawn!

Thank you Tim for the awesome interview!

31 comments:

Kelsey said...

OOHHHH!!! I love all your little plush friends so adorable, the owls are amazing!!!! So i need to enter your drawing. My name is Kelsey, I luve pinks and greens
and my cell # is 206.306.3662

Lindsey said...

Oh my goodness gracious, they are all so cute! Raspberry'd be my pick... lindseykpruitt at yahoo dot com

Nia said...

I adore Tim's work! I'm lucky enough to own a blue fawn and a chestnut pony. I'd love to add a raspberry fawn to the gang!

Nichol Brinkman said...

Great interview. Sweeeeeeeeeeeet, whimsical creations. I love yellow.

Bunny B said...

They're so adorably cute!!

squirrel momma said...

Great interview with a fabulous artist. Tim, I've really enjoyed seeing the photos from your various themes, especially the North Pole last Christmas. Put me down for a light blue fawn!

Moss said...

I've only known about Tim and his work for a short time now, but I've really come to love his pieces! From the fawns and owls up to the latest mushies. The owls have proved to big a big hit with our customers also.

It's nice to see Tim get some recognition for his unique plush!

I'm going to say Mint.

Izile said...

Those are adorable!! I particularly like the fawns and the unicorn! So sweet!

Steph said...

So cute! Even the flowers are adorable. My girls would love these!

(SoCalledMommy)

Patrizia said...

I cannot take all that cuteness, absolutely beautiful!

Put me down for raspberry

patrizia.mancini@hotmail.com or at my blog

Cheyenne said...

Those are just darling! I love the mushrooms! Great interview!

Ashley said...

Adorable creations!!! Awesome!
Great interview too!

I'd pick a rose or purple fawn! There So sweet!! <3

Ashley said...

Oh i forgot to leave my contact info just in case...

dcstuff@gmail.com
dcstuff.etsy.com

Julia said...

What amazing soft, adorable, cuddly plush friends! I love them!

Bravo! Nice interview!

Southern Blood said...

very inspiring interview! it made me want to make these little dudes! they're super and very kawaii, if you will, and i think that if you marketed your stuff enough most definitely some japanese company would be more than glad to manufacture these for you! i'm thoroughly impressed that you took the time to do the interview and with depth. :D

matthew hyatt
thesouthernblood [at] bellsouth.net
southernblood.etsy.com

Karen said...

oh, your fawns are so sweet! my tiny chihuahua reminds me of a little fawn, so i covet these!

planetjune said...

Oh so sweet - I especially love the little smiling flowers! I'd love to win a raspberry fawn.

lilpistachio said...

Love the raspberry fawns, but the mint also has a great hue! I bought a Fantastic Toys bear a while back, and he's just great! Great artist!

Doofer Hoofer said...

I swoon for fawns (and mushrooms!) Periwinkle is divine--ALL are divine! Love love love.

hanimal [at] gmail.com

Isabell's Umbrella said...

I love Tim's work! I purchased an owl a few months ago, and it is seriously one of my favorite etsy finds!

Nature Manipulated said...

I love it! Tim's work is amazing. He does an immaculate job. Thanks for sharing the interview. I glad you had the chance to see his work first hand.

pomly said...

Oh everything is just so sweet. LOVE!
I'd especially like to hug a purple one.

dollsforfriends said...

Awesome interview, I love the puppets. Such a great range of creations, very beautiful. I would be so happy to add a periwinkle fawn to our collection.

Paper Girl Productions said...

I've seen his work on Etsy and Flickr and his work is soo amazing!! I especially love that sweet unicorn.

foutchie said...

Found your blog when drooling over Tim's work on etsy - adore his creations, and your interview was a great read!
BTW, if I won I would love a deer in light blue!!! Will be visiting often - keep up the good work!

foutchie said...

d33rl0v3rIn my haste to comment, forgot to leave my contact information in case of winning a light blue -
foutchie@yhti.net

Love them!!!!!!!

Heather said...

I adore the Raspberry fawn!

heatheranne99@hotmail.com

Fergus said...

I am so in love with the plushie fabulousness!!! Been checking them out on etsy for awhile trying to figure out what one I need the most. Now I am 3 months pregnant and have an "excuse" to load up!!!!!

Dodo Castagna said...

OMG ur work is unbelievably cute!!!!!!! Light blue!! ^.^

Kraftykrew said...

All I can say is WOW!!!! I've seen your work all over and it's incrediable I just love your work you have great talent and yes I want in the drawing and I like pinks, reds
Kraftykrew aka Rita

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