At first my pillow monsters were just heads. I was still learning how to use a sewing machine and I really had no idea about fabrics and needles and anything, really. But, I do best when just digging in and finding my way through trial and error rather than reading manuals.
I limited myself to just being able to use fabrics from the remnant bin at the store. The remnant bin is where the final bits of fabric go when there is not enough on the bolt to make a yard. It is literally a bin, and it was nice to have a narrow selection to choose from instead of all that was available in the giant box store. The newness of making pillow monsters was thrilling, and I became obsessed. I would sew into the late hours of the night, and then wake up extra early to sew some more. After months of being depressed, I started to feel alive again. When sewing pillows, or pillow monsters, or dolls, you sew them together inside out and then you leave a hole to pull them right-side out, and that moment in-between inside and right-side outs is pretty exhilarating (doll-maker's high?).
It wasn't long before my pillow monster heads started evolving and growing limbs. Looking back at these photos, the monsters seem a bit rough and crass, but there is also an energy to them that I like, that comes from being a beginner.
My blog was somehow gaining a readership, and someone recommended I sell these monsters on Etsy, and so I opened a shop. For those of you that don't know (are there still people that don't---I wonder), Etsy is an online host for artists and crafts people to sell their goods. The whole blogging and online selling really sat well with me. My husband can easily paint paintings and then store them in the basement and never tire of it, it's a trait I deeply envy. With me, I require more of a give and take. In art school, professors are interested in what you are doing, and your fellow students actively engage in your work during critiques, but outside of the school setting, you are on your own. This is especially true if you move back home to the suburbs and away from the art community you established during school. I found another community online, and it felt nice. Selling work you make is also a very good feeling.
After some time I began writing little biographies for my guys, here is one of my favorites:
|Here is a pair of conjoined twins|
|A sailor-man with an embroidered tattoo of a snake on his arm, clearly inspired by Mimi Kirchner, who I am a huge, enormous fan of.|
|I began to get a feel for the different sorts of fabrics out there. I had a brief infatuation with felt. It is good to learn on because it's not fussy and it makes shapes nicely. I like the challenge of using a variety of textures now.|
This guy was my first tree people. I make a lot of people wearing costumes: