Monday, May 17, 2010

Meet the Maker Monday: Tyler Poncho Toys

Kaeti Lindquist, aka Tyler Poncho Toys of Madison, Wisconsin, dreams up the sweetest, squeeziest plush. Find out how her animals come alive here:

Where did you learn your skills?

In elementary school, I stayed after school every day, and the teachers taught me to sew, embroider, and figure out how to recreate my stuffed animals. I had this little cat toy mouse I loved and created several iterations of him. It was a fun activity for everyone, but I really took to it and continued. Eventually, I was sewing clothes and learning the sewing machine with help from my mother.

How do you make plush?

I produce in bulk for my more popular items and usually cut out up to twenty bears at a time. I machine sew and assemble the limbs, body structure, and some facial features. Then I embroider facial details, add eyes, stuff and assemble by hand.

For custom-colored orders, I make the request straight through. Certain animals like Gruffy McBearguin, Anubis, King Ted, Baby Bunnies are made one at a time as well.

Describe your workspace.

I have a room upstairs in my house for fur cutting and machine sewing. The fur gets ridiculous—flies all over the room and gets on everything, so I designated that room the messy space. I store all my materials and shipping materials up there, where it's crowded and crazy.

Downstairs, I have a little movable cart I take whenever I want to hand sew, embroider, sew eyes and assemble. This is the clean space I try to keep fur-free and pristine for the final steps of creating animals. Usually Tyler sits with me there, oversees and ensures that I'm meeting his standards of bearmaking.

Discuss your inspirations.

I love Hi-Fructose and Stuffed and the artists they feature. There are so many great artists working now that it's hard to name them all, but I love the work in plush, vinyl toys, and pop-surrealist painting right now!

Musically, I'm in love with Locust Toybox, but this changes every few months.

How do you promote your work?

I have brochures available in some of my retail shops. I promote by word-of-mouth and giving out brochures. Being a part of the Plush Team is great, and submitting to Stuffed is the thing to do. Tyler is also on Facebook and Twitter.

How do you fit sewing into the rest of your life?

I started plushmaking as a way to keep my sanity while living in a 300 sq. foot apartment with my husband, but recently it's really become serious. I'm about to graduate with my degree in graphic design and illustration, so I plan to pursue the animals and write more books about them! I'm also working with a studio to create a little app based on our toys.

I think about art and toys all the time. My husband works in video game development, so he works a lot of overtime. We're really just obsessed with making stuff, so that’s our life.

Describe your dreams for new designs or projects.

Joseph Petticoat has been on the horizon for quite some time. Now that I'm done school, I can finally make him—a four-foot tall flamingo-esque monster.

My new line, Stuffed Animal World, will be in production soon. I’m still designing, writing and illustrating. These animals are based on the imaginary world I created as a child and have a more cohesive theme than my other animals. New book releases...the second Amalgamated Menagerie, a coloring book, and Stuffed Animal World book.

Which other makers do you admire and why?

I admire ScrumptiousDelight, LoveandaSandwich, SleepyKing, Shawnimals and TalkProof. They all have a certain look you immediately recognize. They're consistent, good quality and always cute.

What advice can you give makers who dabble in plushiness?

Have fun! Do what you love to do. There's no fun in making toys for reasons other than creating emotions in people. Whether those emotions are delight, love, laughter or fear is another matter...

Anything else you'd like to add?

Pre-order your next issue of Stuffed Magazine and see our Double Bear feature!

Where else can we find you and your plush online?


Cream City Crafts said...

Great post!

ThePixels said...

Great interview!!! Very inspiring.

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