Today we get to talk to Mary Casher, the creator of LEFTZ plush creatures, and owner of one amazingly organized studio.
First off, a little back story. Who are you? What do you make?
My name is Mary and I punch stuffed animals... As a child I was a collector of all things fuzzy.
It wasn't until I was laid off from my job as a baker that I discovered sewing. After the initial shock of losing my job, I realized that it had given me a great opportunity to freely express my creativity. My mother helped the process by cleaning out her craft room and giving me bags of fabric. Previously, I had tried sewing quilts and a few pattern dresses. I failed horribly, so the thought of sewing was far from my mind. But I gave it another shot, this time without patterns. As I let the designs freely flow I become intrigued with how creative I could be. During the time I was testing the waters of design, I started shopping at the local thrift stores for fabric. To give a little more spunk to my designs I decided to "punch out" all of their left eyes and stuff them with recycled plastic shopping bags. Thus, LEFTZ was born.
What projects are you in the middle of right now that you should probably be working on instead of doing this?
Ha! Well I just finished up a large order for the Young Blood Gallery & Boutique. I'm also working on plush for the upcoming gallery show at HotPop in Milwaukee, while trying to stock up new designs for Christmas. Then before I can relax I plan on submitting to Stuffed Magazine & Green Craft. So, I should be doing a lot of things at the moment, but this is a welcomed break!
What do you primarily create?
Animals are my primary plush. I did create a limited edition collection called Tribals, which consisted of plush tree people with various accessories such as spears, fish, or fire pits. There are such a variety of animals to choose from, that I am never lacking inspiration. My new collection is called Mini Monsters, they are mainly created with faux fur that I have cut from thrift store stuffed animals. I must admit, I do feel a little bad cutting them up but I love bringing new life to something old.
Where do you find inspiration?
Everything and anything can be inspiration but nature is my biggest inspiration. The colors are always changing and the slightest thing can spark my imagination. Other times I will be standing in front of a rack of clothes at the thrift store and a pair of pants are instantly transformed into a plush cat.
Do you have a favorite book/blog/movie/etc you'd like to recommend?
My favorite blog is www.forgottenbookmarks.com Michael owns a used bookstore. Through his purchases of books he's discovered a lot of fun and interesting things that have been left inside. The photos, notes, and documents left behind are priceless glances into the history of the book's owner.
Where can readers see more of your work?
You can find more of my work in
- my Etsy shop www.arttales.etsy.com
- my blog arttales-leftz.blogspot.com
- or in the July 2010 issue of Stuffed Magazine.
Thanks for giving us a peek into your crafty life, Mary!
Don't forget to look for a selection of Mary's plush in the Winter 2011 issue of STUFFED Magazine!