Heidi Kenney of My Paper Crane can make bananas happy or sad, give life to toast and ice cream, and make you want to cuddle with your smores. This talented crafter was recently featured in a NY Times Magazine story on crafting as a business. She documents her work on her blog and sells her crafty goods in her online store.
Right now, Heidi is working with CRAFT to make robot plushies for our press kits for the magazine launch. I got a chance to talk to her in between her busy schedule about the art of her toys.
Nat: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Heidi: My name is Heidi Kenney, I am 28 and I like to make stuff :)
Nat: What kind of toys do you like to make? Why do you choose to make most of your plushies about food?
Heidi: My favorite kind of toy to make is something anthropomorphic. This means I like to take inanimate objects (food too) and bring them to life with little faces, and the occassional tear. I think I like making plush food the most because of all the great textures + fabrics this allows me to use. I also like the challenge of it. Searching for the most perfectly textures fabric for cauliflower, etc.
Nat: Why toys? What makes them so special to make?
Heidi: I love toys! Even if i didn’t have kids, I would still be an avid toy collector. I like creating something that can be viewed as art, and also viewed as something you can play with.
Nat: How do you make them? And why did you chose this medium?
Heidi: I mostly sew them, because it is what I like to do best, and it is what I feel most practiced in. I have on occasion made myself a set of crocheted plushies. Crochet just takes a long time, so I usually stick to the sewing machine.
Nat: Is there a special process or tip you have with sewing that you can share?
Heidi: A big tip to remember when sewing plush is to always make small snips in the seam allowance before turning right side out. You’ll want to make a small snips on inward curves, and cut small notches for outward curves. This will make a big difference when you stuff your plush. If you don’t you will have puckering and funny looking corners. While it might seem like extra work, it will really help with the overall look of your plush toy!
Nat: What are you working on right now?
Heidi: Currently I am working on some banana dolls. I am having fun playing with dye to get the peels freckled like a real banana. I am also making some sad bruised bananas as well.
Nat: Can you share with us a few of your last 2-3 projects?
#1 This photo is one of the happy bananas, this is before I experimented with the dye.
#2 This is the sad bruised banana, as you can see he even has a black eye.
#3 This ice cream in a dish is a special plush I made for an upcoming plush show Plush You.
Thanks Heidi for the wonderful interview!