Thursday, 12 June 2014

#PictoplasmaLostPets Process Blog

This is a process blog post about the making of my pets for the #PictoplasmaLostPets Exhibition. I'm going to write a bit about how I went about translating my drawings into 3D stuffed creatures and some of the methods and materials I used.

Initial Designs

The very first thing I did was draw some designs for the animals I wanted to make. In the trial version of the exhibition I had drawn onto fabric to make the "pets" as giant pillows as you can see here. This time I wanted to make three dimensional models instead so I drew up some ideas for how they could look....


The next step was to create some mini prototypes to test out how I could make the shapes. I made a small bison and small unicorn:


I knew I wanted to make the "pets" out of fake fur because I wanted them to be a bit like those cheap toys that can be won in seaside crane machines. Birmingham has some awesome suppliers of fabrics where I bought materials from two stall holders- one in the permanent indoor market and then most of the main furs from an amazing fake fur stall in the Birmingham Rag Market. It's probably the most fabric I've bought in one go. Here's all the fabric piled up and then the cut out shapes. I didn't use templates for the body shapes, I just cut into the fabric wildly like a maniac. There is no time to be careful about these things.


I have a sewing machine but because the pets were mainly made from fake fur I had to sew them all by hand. This took a long time and so I did a lot of sewing in my favourite cafes and on trains. Here are some photos of times I took my sewing to Cherry Red's in Birmingham with my friend Evgenia and another time when I was sewing the face and arms for the monkey. I often did sewing at home while watching documentaries with my cat as you can see here too.


I bought lots of cheap cushion filler bags to stuff the pets and each pet was stuffed via their bums as you can see here. The final pets were quite large, see the photos below for size comparison between me, the test unicorn and my cat, Lion. So, in order to transport the pets to Berlin I had to un-stuff them, flat pack them in a vacuum storage bag, carry them in my hand luggage and then in Berlin I bought more stuffing with the help of my friend Frauke to re-shape them and do the final sewing.


Frauke also provided translation for the posters so I could do both English and German text versions. I photocopied and laminated these posters in Birmingham so they were ready to be put up around Berlin in the Character Walk area.


You can read a photo comic about the exhibition: part one and part two... and see more photos of the exhibition and the process on Flickr.

I have been sent the most amazing photos of some of the pets in their new adopted families. Here are my favourites:

And I have written a BONUS MONKEY COMIC which you can read over on my website here!

Thanks for reading, I hope this was interesting to some people.

It was tiring work for all humans and pets involved! -

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