Artist Interview: Felt Flanerie

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Amanda Ondretti is a maker of plush toys and felt goodies under her brand Felt Flanerie. You may have seen her one-of-a-kind creations in the window display of Leanna Lin’s Wonderland. Read more about this Los Angeles artist in my latest interview.

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What’s the story behind Felt Flanerie? How did you bring your brand to life?

My grandma taught me to sew when I was 10. But I got into sewing plushies when I needed some gifts for my four siblings one very broke holiday season and after that I was hooked. I haven’t really looked back since. I love it too much to stop.

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What’s the process of creating your unique pieces?

I start with sketches of the idea and once I’ve gotten a grip on the basic form, I test out the shapes and sew together a crude prototype. Drawing the form from the sketch on the fabric and cutting out all the pieces that will be sewn together. Once all the detail pieces are stitched I sew it up and stuff it. If changes need to be made I make notes and start up a second prototype to fix any issues or oddities. If that second version is satisfactory I’ll make a third one with all the polished embellishments. Once the third versions is stuffed, tags go on and it’s stored away until I can take photos for its online post.

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What’s your dream felting project? Assume that you have all the time in the world to produce one special piece – what would it be?

If I had all the time in the world I’d love to make a huge fantastical forest scape, something I can fill to the brim with whimsical flowers, plants, and animals from the tree canopy to the forest floor. It’d be really sweet if it’s was big enough for folks to walk through too.

Do you have a green thumb or black thumb?

Unfortunately I’m a black thumb, but I’m trying to learn more so I can one day graduate to green thumb tho, definitely would love to grow my own basil and tomatoes.

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How will 2017 unfold for you?

Smoothly I hope. I hope overall 2017 brings felt plushie lovers of all kinds with custom work for the shop. I love when folks come with special requests for custom pieces. Cause I get to step out of my comfort zone and working on something special for someone.

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Visit Amanda’s Etsy shop to order Felt Flanerie goods. Custom orders are welcome and appreciated. You can also connect with Amanda on Twitter and Instagram.

Artist Interview: Jerome Lu

 

 

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Illustrator and designer Jerome Lu was born in Mountain View and raised in the Bay Area. He founded Hyperactive Monkey, a collectible toy, apparel and entertainment company, where he serves as lead creative artist. His creations are inspired by his love of cartoons, comics, toys, video games, and movies of the 80’s.

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I think you’re one of the busiest guys in the art world. How do you stay so motivated?

Awww you noticed that I’m always busy. It’s true I’m always trying to juggle work life, art life, and changing diapers all at the same time. For me I’m a pretty happy go lucky guy because I enjoy what I do whether it’s doing work for a client or for myself. It’s pretty cool I get do draw and design cute things for a living. Also if I don’t really feel an art project is a fit for me I usually turn it down. As for motivation, I always try to think of what Soso would like. Like if she sawing this drawing or toy would she stop and laugh and giggle at it and have fun. That’s pretty much been my motto for all of my art. I just want people to stop and smile at it. :)

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What would be your advice to anyone trying to make it in the toy game?

Don’t chase the money. Make a toy not because you want to make money from it, but because you love your art so much that you want to share with the world a 3Dimensional version of it that you and people can enjoy.

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I love when you incorporate food into art, like your piece for California Love. Where is your favorite restaurant in California?

My favorite restaurant would have to be Taqueria San Bruno. It’s a super small restaurant that it is sandwiched between miles of auto mechanics of in the Bay Area. It’s also super hard to find parking. But they make the best grilled shrimp burritos I have ever eaten. Yum yum!

What is the secret of your awesome bento-making skills?

Try not to have an empty stomach while making fun bento food art. Many cute food critters had to be sacrificed to the lead designer (me).

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When do you think Soso will be able to join the Hyperactive Monkey operations?

Soso is already head Creative Director. She really does let me know if my drawing is good or not. Most of the time she approves, but sometimes it’s a no go. She’s a tough cookie to please.

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Visit Hyperactive Monkey online for more information, and buy Hyperactive Monkey art and toys here.