Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Kayte Terry Interview and Giveaway!

After a recent correspondence with Kayte Terry I have been totally addicted to her blog. I like to think that I am also an omni-crafter so I really enjoy the variety of amazingness she has there. It is very inspiring! Kayte has made really amazing and unique pieces for the last few Plush You shows and did a really nice writeup of the show last year for Adorn Magazine. Her awesome book, Complete Embellishing: Techniques and Projects is equally as inspiring. Full of fun projects that any omni-crafter will enjoy! Leave a comment here with contact info for your chance to win!

S- Can you first let our readers know a little bit more about you?

KT- Sure! I am a stylist/writer/crafter living in Brooklyn, NY. I love everything about making things and have been crafting for pretty much my whole life. I am definitely an omni-crafter and like making all sorts of different things but I am no good at making multiples. I like to use a lot of vintage materials so most of what I craft is one-of-a-kind. My favorite things are japanese craft books, paint by numbers, Liberty prints and the color pink.

S- You do a lot of writing for various publications on various crafty things and events. How did you get into freelance writing?

KT- I wrote a lot in college and always imagined that I would write really lofty art theory books after I got out of school. Of course, I totally stopped writing after college and didn't really pick it up again until I started blogging. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed writing. After that, I started writing a bit for Get Crafty and for the Adorn Magazine blog and eventually more jobs came in.

S- Because you do a lot of writing I imagine you get exposed to a lot. How has that fostered your craft? Has there been any negatives because of it?

KT- Yes, I am definitely always reading, researching, going to museums and shows...mostly I think it has a very positive effect on my craft because I have so many inspiring resources at my fingertips. I think that, as a crafter, it's really important to know what's out there, what the trends are and have a sense of the history of my craft.
There is definitely such a thing as inspiration overload though; sometimes it's hard for me to focus on one project and I always have to make sure that my own work isn't too derivative. Sometime I just have to turn off all the outside stimuli and focus on my on work.

S- How long have you been making plush? How does it differ for you than other mediums?

KT- I started making plush about five years ago. My first plushies were semi-deranged rabbits inspired by my very own bunny/muse Potato. After that, I experimented with pincushions. I made a few cupcakes and pears and I was hooked on making food.
There's something kind of ridiculous and impractical about making plush food that I love. I like challenging myself with more complex shapes and elaborate meals. Since most of my plush food takes a really long time to make and is therefore pretty expensive to sell, I make them for my own joy. When you craft for a living, it's nice to make things that you don't really think of as "product".

S- You book, Complete Embellishings: Techniques and Projects is really fantastic! How did that come about? What are some of your favorite projects in the book?

KT- Thanks!
It kind of came out of the blue. Collins and Brown, the British publisher that put out the book, contacted Christina, the editor at Adorn magazine (where I was working as a stylist and crafter) and asked if they had suggestions for a person who would be good for a cool book about embellishing. She suggested me and I started working with them on a Table of Contents.
I have always been a big fan of embellishing and sent them a bunch of pictures of things I have done to my own wardrobe plus projects I have made for magazines. I love the idea of taking something boring from your closet and making it amazing and cool again. I have been known to do some crazy renegade embellishing to my clothing when I am getting dressed to go out so it was a subject I was really passionate about.
My favorite projects are the Victoriana Cardigan and the Prize Ribbon Skirt but it's hard for me to choose just two! I like both of these because at first, when I started making them for the book, I wasn't really sure how they were going to work out. Especially with the Prize Ribbon Skirt, it started as one of my least favorite projects and morphed into a favorite as I tweaked and redesigned it.
I like the idea that embellishing is an organic process and I hope that each reader feels free to make each project to their own tastes. I really wanted to provide people with tools to embellish different things but I don't want to tell people exactly what fabric or trims to pick or which colors to choose.

S- Are you working on anything new in the book publishing side of things?

KT- Yes! I have a book coming out with Chronicle books next fall. The book will be all about appliqué and features 35 projects with some great contributors! Otherwise, I have been writing for the Craft Stylish blog and working on their magazine too.

S- Do you have any advice for folks that are interested in getting published?

KT- Do some research: go to a book store and see what's out there, what can be improved upon and what crafters seem to be really into now. If there are twenty books written on the same subject, you might want to tweak your subject matter. If there are none, you want to ask yourself if there is a wide enough market for the book. If there are a few, then you are probably in pretty good shape. Make sure you can show why your book will be different and/or better than those books.
Get a book about writing a non-fiction proposal or, if you have a friend who has written a book, get their advice. A book proposal should convey the tone of the book and give a little peak into what the rest of the book will be. You should write a sample chapter or two and be prepared to make a few samples of projects. Also, you should tell your publisher what you can do to help promote and market the book.
Writing a book is a team effort from start to finish.
You don't have to get an agent but I really recommend it. They do take a percentage of your advance but they will help you get a better deal so it usually works out in your favor. One more thing: don't expect to make a fortune, especially on your first book. It is a ton of work but it is really rewarding too! (S- I second that :)

S- What are some of your favorite crafty resources?

KT- I love Etsy of course and buy a lot of my craft supplies on Ebay too. My favorite fabric store is definitely Purl Soho here in New York and I love all the stores in the Garment district. I love getting lost in the craft section of Kinokuniya, purveyor of wonderful Japanese books. I read a lot of craft, design and art blogs too and enjoy getting lost in the blog spiral, where you just click from link to link to link. You never know what you're going to find!

S- Where do you see your business in the next 3 years?

KT- I would love to have another book or two in the works. Writing books has been so amazing and satisfying. I would like to do some more styling for other people's craft books too; I styled my own book and Diana Rupp's book and I really love it.
Someday, I want to be on Martha's show too! That's when I know I have really made it!
(S- I second that one too!)

S- Anything else exciting you might like to share with our readers?

KT- I am just so happy to be able to do what I love to do. Even though I work eighty hours a week and almost every weekend, it's totally worth it.

Don't forget, leave a comment here with contact info for your chance to win Complete Embellishings signed by Kayte!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Look What I Can Do- Interview and Giveaway

I thought it would be appropriate to have a Plush You! loyal this week as it IS the WEEK of Plush You! It still blows my mind. Anywhooo, Dawn is one of my favorite people on Plush Planet. She came into Schmancy when I just opened with a HUGE bag full of the most amazing plush creatures I had seen. It's been a pleasure to see Dawn grow in the plush community, the craft community and in her art. Her work is similar in a lot of ways to when she started but now it's just more fine tuned and perfected. It's no wonder that she has received a lot of attention. Her work is fantastic! It is my great pleasure to feature the plush-a-holic herself for this special week of Plush You! Leave a comment her with your contact info for your chance
to win your own creature picked by Dawn herself!

S- Why don't you first tell us all a little bit about yourself and how you started your business.

DR- I was home with my daughter and started to sew her some creatures. She had such fantastic reactions to my Plush Art and she was THE reason I was inspired to begin and keep sewing. Plus my friends and family saw them and kept telling me I should sell them. So after a bit of time I decided to open my Etsy shop, January 9th 2006. Etsy was not really that well known at the time, hard to believe now, so I really had to promote myself. I started reading a lot of craft/art related blogs and was really inspired to start my own blog too. That's when www.Plush-a-holic.blogspot.com was born July 22nd 2006 the same day I became a part of the Flickr community and both have really changed my life. I am also an amateur photographer and went to school for almost 4 years for photography so I absolutely loved being a part of flickr (still do) and I really missed the thrill of creating. I used to spend hours and hours in the studio and color darkroom. Sewing changed my life. It made me so happy and gave me a sense of purpose agian. It was something I could do while my daughther was home with me and still feel connected to something bigger than myself. Something I could do for me.

S- You have two kids now but you still amazingly make stuff, update your site, your flickr, etc. How do ya' do it?

DR- Well, if you look at my shop you will see that I have been a bit slow lately. Having a new baby really makes it hard to have the energy to create. I guess I am just driven to keep going so that I feel a part of something bigger than myself and if I am being really honest I don't want to disappear from the Plush Community. I have worked very hard to be involoved in it. The connections I have made in the craft/art world are really, really important to me. Plus I am addicted to making Plush Creatures. I really enjoy the process and the finished product too. It's all so exhilerating!

S- Since I have had the pleasure of seeing you "grow" in the craft world, I feel so happy to see how well received you have always been. Unfortunately I have also seen some people obviously rip off some of your style. How do you deal with that?

DR- Honestly I was not prepared for that part of sharing my craft/art. At first all these really nice people would email me on Etsy alerting me to folks that were doing stuff that was similar to mine. I thanked them of course and just tried to not let it get to me. I mean really we all make stuff from our hearts and if you are just copying someone else you really won't be successful. There is a fine line between stealing someone's ideas and being inspired. So I just keep doing what I do trying to grow and improve as I go and I don't really get involved in any weird stuff. I actually feel really good that people say I have my own 'style and I truly feel I have worked very hard to be recognized in the craft/art community.. We are all inspired by others and as long as we make our craft/art our own and it is coming form within us it will all be good.

S- You have also made some amazing friendships in the craft community. How do you foster these virtual relationships and how has it helped your business and creativity?

DR- I am not very good at networking in real life(although I am getting much better) so when the inter web came into my life to my surprise I was really comfortable with making connections. Being a stay at home Ma can get really lonely especially if you are not a joiner and sadly I am not. So I love Virtual friends and meeting them in real life has been amazing. I really am so very very grateful to all the love I have rec'd from the craft/art community via the web. It has changed my life in so many ways and continues to do so. As far as helping my business or creativity it actually helps me to keep going. It shows me that people think what I do is worth doing and I just love sharing so very much.

S- Since you've started, what have been some of the fondest memories you have had in your business?

DR-My fondest memories really all have to do with the people I have met. I love seeing where my Love=Creatures end up and the folks out there that collect my work and send me gifts. Geez...I could have never imagined any of it. It is truly amazing to connect with so many people. I also love being in Plush You, this will be my 3rd year. Seriously it is such an amazing show and getting to be part of the book was AMAZING. Thanks so very much Kristen for all the opportunities you have given me and so many other Plush Artists.

S- If you and your family were to go on a 3 week road trip, what craft supplies would you have to have with you?

DR- Well....a bunch of sewn bodies that were stuffed and ready to detail, lots of thread and needles of course!! :)

S- What do you look forward to for 2009?

DR- Obama as president, sleeping more, having a social life, more time with family and friends, going out with my hubby...oh you meant in my Plush Life....
Having more time to make all the ideas that are swimming around in my head come to life. Acquiring more sewing skills to bring some of my ideas to a different level. Meeting more and more folks from the craft/art/flickr community and maybe someday getting to be in another book. Mostly though I just want to sew more :)

S- Where to you see your business in the next 5 years?

DR- I see me being able to have the time to fill up my shop more often and diversify. I am nowhere near ready to stop so all I can do is go forward and progress.

S- Where can people find your work?

DR- www.LookWhatICanDo.Etsy.com. www.Plush-a-holic.blogspot.com and again sooooon at www.Supermaggie.com

S-Since Plush You! is this Friday, how do you think shows such as this one, has helped your business grow?

DR- First of all Plush You ROCKS!!!!!!!!! It was one of the first shows of it's kind and I feel so very lucky to be a part of it. It enables you to meet a bunch of Plush folks and really see what they are up to and it definitely gets your work out there where tons of folks have access to it. Sometimes Plush Art gets kind of lumped into a hobby/craft category and shows like Plush You showcase it as an art and I really like that. Thanks so much Kristen for bringing so much attention to all the Plush and Plush artists out there. We Plush You xo

Thanks again Dawn for all your kind words and insight into your work!
Don't forget, leave a comment here for your chance to win your own Look What I Can Do creations!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Steff Bomb Gives away her Sole

I discovered Steff Bomb when I started carrying her toy, Mr. Lertchman. She makes monsters and who can't appreciate that? I was so glad to see that she had applied to this year's Plush You show (which is next Friday btw??!!!!!). Leave a comment here with your contact info for your chance to win her Sole.

S- First tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into making plush toys?

SB- My name is Steff Bomb & i like making things? ha. i guess that pretty much sums it up. my favorite food is vegetarian corn dogs, my favorite color is brown, i love my boyfriend (his name is Evan & i think he is a dreamboat), and umm...i am allergic to cats (but i will snuggle them anyway).
i got starting making plush toys a few years ago when i lived with a bunch of friends back in Philly. i read about an all plush show called Plushtastrophe, in Pencil Fight #2. the show was amazing and oddly enough, it never dawned on me that you could do something like that. i have been drawing all of my life but never had a medium that i felt comfortable with...but after reading that article, plush just made sense. the next day, i bought a cheap sewing machine from a wholesale liquidator and i have been sewing ever since.
so, i guess, thank you Bwana Spoons. as it turns out, he is the 100% indirectly responsible for who i am today.

S- You haven't updated your site in awhile. What have you been up to since Oct. 2007?

SB- oh...you noticed that too, huh? heh...
i've realized that i am much better at keeping up with myspace than i am with my website, because i can update it on my own. i have never really been good with computer stuff. my friend Meghan Ansbach has been kind enough to offer to help me spruce up my website and even make the "news" section more of a blog...so that even with my lack of computer knowledge, i will be able to update it regularly.
i've been up to a lot, but its all sewing. actually thats pretty much all i have done since...but i am definitely not complaining. ha. i've also very very recently moved from Philly to Chicago. before this year, i have never even left the east coast. i have to be honest, as much as i love living in Chicago so far...i love Philly pizza much better.

S- One of your toys, Mr. Lertchman had an international release through ESC-Toy. How did that come about and how did that change your plush making career?

SB- oh man, it changed everything. completely and totally. late 2006-ish, i received an email from Erick Scarecrow basically saying that he likes my work and was wondering if i ever thought of mass production. coincidentally around that time, i had starting researching mass production because i wasn't able to keep up with orders. i thought it over, decided "what the hell", and starting saving. by April 2007, i had enough money to pay for the production costs. i know it's not the the best toy in the world...but i collect toys too, so it was surreal to actually see mine in stores all over the world, on the same shelves as Friends With You and Uglydoll's. it's opened so many doors for me too. i still cant get over that i get to be in awesome art shows...let alone alongside people that i have admired for years. i am not going to mention any names (cough cough Heidi Kenney cough cough)...but i still get all giddy about that stuff.

S- You also do crochet. What are your favorite crafts right at the moment?

SB- if eating junk food, snuggling, and napping are crafts, then they are my favorite. i am not so good at crocheting, but i do knit. every winter, usually after the holidays...i need a mini-brake from sewing, so i will pick my knitting back up for a bit. also, before i moved, i rented out sewing space in my friends' print shop. so from time to time i would screen print on work, like the top & front of a pizza box i had stitched.
...but no matter what, sewing will always be my number one favorite.

S- Where are you selling your work these days?

SB- hmm...i know that Jinxed in Philadelphia carries my toys, along with Rotofugi in Chicago...but i am not too sure where else off of the top of my head. i will admit that after the Mr. Lertchman release, i totally googled "Mr. Lertchman" to see where he was being sold. i have a webstore but its kind of half-assed. that will definitely be updated too.

S- I am writing these up while I watch Project Runway. Where do you find your biggest inspirations?

SB- my friends. hands down. they inspire me and keep me motivated, even when they are currently 12 hours away. i love them and wouldn't be where i am today without their constant help and support. that and food. all i think about is eating. that's why most of the things i sew are food related. i'm just hungry.

S- You have had some great press. How do you contact folks to tell them about your new work?

SB- i am a big wimp & i am very easily intimated, so i usually don't...with the exception of
Plastic and Plush, sometimes i will write them an email if i sew a new product. they are super nice. i also just started to post new art on the Rotofugi forums, but that's about it. generally, i have been really lucky with all of this. i am still shocked whenever someone else is interested in what i do.

S- What are you goals between now and the end of the year?

SB- ooh...finally catching up with all of my work would be amazing, updating my website finally, cooking my first Thanksgiving dinner, and surviving my first Chicago winter.

S- What are the top 5 albums in your player while you work?

SB- currently it's:
Belle & Sebastian - "Dear Catastrophe Waitress"
The Notwist - "Neon Golden"
Into It Over It - "52 Songs"
Tristeza - "Spine & Sensory"
Engine Down - "To Bury Within The Sound"

S- Would you like to share anything else with are readers?

SB- if you love Tyra Banks animated gifs as much as i do, you can send your favorites to steff@steffbomb.com & i will send you a funny one of Arnold Schwarzenegger eating a carrot or something equally as amazing.

Don't forget to leave a comment here with your contact info for your chance to win her Sole.