Monday, February 22, 2010

Meet the Maker Monday: Abbydid

Abbydid plushies don’t just sit pretty. The shop's proprietress Abby Langdon creates snugly monstrosities you’ve just gotta touch. Her Knucklebiters and Wibbly Woos beg you to plunge your hands in them--if you dare. Meet Cincinati’s self-proclaimed domestic goddess, and be sure to poke around her shop:

1. Abby, tell us about your process of making plush.

I'll get an idea in my head and let it stew. Once the idea has percolated for a while, it boils over and has to come out - that's when I drop everything and give it my full attention. I allow myself to make mistakes, adapt and tweak. I love getting my hands into a big pile of fur and seeing what comes of it.

2. Where did you learn your skills?

I was part of an amazing art program in high school, and minored in fine arts in college. Having knowledge of color theory and being able to visualize a piece are two skills I use most from that education.

When my son was a baby, I borrowed my mother's 35-year old Bernina to sew clothes and soft toys. She taught me to thread the bobbin and sew a straight line, and from there I self-taught.

3. Tell us about your workspace.

I used to work in a little room in the basement that we dubbed the "burrow" –hence my tagline "fresh from the burrow." That room is now a storage space for my hoarded craft supplies.

A typical night finds my son building battleships out of legos, my daughter throwing a birthday party for puppies, my husband working on his laptop, and me assembling Wibbly Woos, all on the dining room table. I love that. I live in a 50's ranch, and our dining room is what used to be called a Florida room. It’s surrounded with windows and doors so I can be part of whatever the kids are doing, keep an eye on dinner and still grab a minute to work on a project.

4. Talk about your inspirations.

My husband and kids are great about giving suggestions or letting me bounce ideas off of them. Some of my best ideas come from customers perusing my booth at craft shows. They tell me what they’d love to see next!

My favorite artists have a sense of whimsy and a strong use of color. Marc Chagall is one of my all-time favorite artists. Honestly, my biggest source of inspiration and motivation is the Plush Team! Surrounding yourself with talented and supportive people makes an enormous difference. I couldn't ask for a better group.

5. How do you promote your work?

I have a blog, Facebook page, and Twitter account for abbydid, but I generally ignore all of them. People learn about me through word-of-mouth or stumble across me through Etsy or Flickr. I work hard to be friendly and attentive to my customers, and they spread the word. I like to think karma has a hand in any success I have:)

6. How do you fit plush-making into the rest of your life?

In every nook and cranny I can find! Having a workspace central to the hubbub in my house helps immensely. I also always have a bag of work on hand that I can grab as I run out the door. At soccer practice, school meetings, dinner at Panera you’ll find me sitting off to the side, stuffing a creature and sewing him up.

7. Describe your dreams for new designs or projects.

I’d like to focus on making more art pieces this year. My work has primarily been for the young or young-at-heart. My plush are snuggly and soft and happy to see you, which I think is wonderful, but I'd like to step up to a new level and give my work a dimension of sophistication. What I have simmering in my brain is an idea based on the pretend friends I had as a child, and I'm eager to sequester myself and bring it to fruition.

8. Which other makers do you admire and why?

Gosh, what a hard question! I admire other indie crafters for their quirky, kind personalities. I feel like I've been looking for this population all my life! I am so fascinated with what people think up and produce, and I love that there are other oddballs like me.

Craftwise, I am awestruck with anyone who can work small. I find miniature food fascinating. I am also blown away by anyone who crochets or knits, as I don’t have the patience for either. I have a million favorites, as you’ll see in my Etsy shop. If you dig down to the beginning of my favorites, you’ll see a certain Etsian I’ve had a plush crush on since the beginning, before I even sold plush. Go see for yourself:)

9. What advice can you give makers who dabble in plushiness?

Don't vacuum the fluff out of your nostrils, no matter how good of an idea it may seem at the time.

Let yourself make mistakes. That's often when you’ll learn the most. Some of the best creations come out of happy accidents. Be forgiving of your limitations, and don't expect perfection. Sometimes quirky, offbeat, and asymmetrical is exactly what makes something lovable and desirable.


out of the frame said...

great article :) and great photos

Felicia said...

LOL no fluff vacuuming. Got it! ;)

Looking forward to the art pieces you develop this year :)

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