Friday, June 27, 2014

Canadian Artist Showcase: My Friend Monster

Far, far away on the West Coast of Canada in Victoria, British Columbia, a creative “creature-maker” births monsters from rescued wool sweaters and heaps of love. It all started in 2009, when Terri Wild was intrigued with the idea of crafting with upcycled wool sweaters.  Soon after, My Friend Monster was born, and has since continued to make one-of-a-kind, eco-friendly monster plushies.

Photo by Sarah Funk at Silver Lamb Studios
Recently, we were able to ask Terri a few questions about her unique creations.

Why monsters?

Hm, good question! My short answer is: Why not? The long answer is that I stumbled across “creature” making as an art form one day while surfing the Internet and I was intrigued. So I tried it...you could say it was love at first stitch!

Photo by Sarah Funk at Silver Lamb Studios
Describe your creative process. How do you go about creating your monsters?

First, I search all [of] my local thrift stores for wool sweaters. [They have] to be at least 80% wool or it won’t felt. I use lambs wool, merino, cashmere, angora, etc.
Then I launder and felt all the sweaters in my trusty, top-loading washing machine. Wet felting is the
process of “shrinking” the woolen sweater in hot water and soap with agitation. This creates a fabric that is perfect for crafting with! Some sweaters have to be washed twice to attain the desired level of “felted-ness”, others don’t felt the way I want at all...it is always a bit of a mystery! After air-drying, the sweaters are ready to go!

Next I cut each sweater apart and sew the monsters one at a time, without using a pattern. I design as I go, so each monster turns out to be one of a kind! I have techniques that I repeat, such as the way I construct the mouth or legs, but I don’t sketch it out or create patterns before I make the monster. My workshop is usually piled high with cut up scraps, and folded colourful sweaters, which inspires me as well. I love finding colour and pattern combinations that make interesting monsters! I find that the more monsters I make, the more inspired I get!

Where is your favourite (or most inspirational) place?

Oh dear, do I have to pick just one?! Nature and animals inspire me, and I think undersea creatures are the most fascinating! The seashore and the local aquarium are my favourite places. I love watching documentaries about coral reefs, as well as the deep-water creatures that are so crazy looking!

Photo by Sarah Funk at Silver Lamb Studios
What is your dream project?

To make a monster so large [that] you can climb inside his mouth and snuggle up for a nap.

What do you enjoy when you aren’t creating your adorable monsters?

When not birthing monsters, I am hanging out with my husband and our 9-year-old daughter. I enjoy spending time outdoors, hiking and camping. I also practice karate, and love to play soccer.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be? Why?

Oooooh! Good question! I would love to be able to teleport anywhere in the world. I could visit any country in an instant! Either that or telekinesis - I would love to make the dishes wash themselves...

Photo by Sarah Funk of Silver Lamb Studios

Check out the My Friend Monster Etsy Shop to take a closer look at Terri's incredible creatures!