The post is part of an occasional series called "Awesome Handmade Toys." These posts feature toy makers whose work I think is particularly fresh and inventive. You can see previous posts in the series here. I also pin toys to my Inspiring Softies pinboard on a regular basis if you're looking for more inspiration.
In middle and high school I took a lot of art classes, both in and after school, and I enjoyed them and learned quite a bit about color theory and composition, but the thing I struggled with most was staying loose. Teachers would always say, "You're too tight. Try to loosen things up." And I would try, but I didn't really know what that meant.
It's hard to describe what being "loose" in your art means, but I know it when I see it and I admire it immensely.
When it comes to plush I think Doinky Doodles work is about as loose and free as it can get. In many ways it's the opposite of what I produce. And it's pretty great.
Doinky Doodles is the work of Pixin, an artist living in Singapore. She takes thrifted clothing and makes it into all kinds of imaginative softies.
I love this series of dads with their strained expressions. They look like they've just been called to a surprise meeting with the boss in the Executive Conference room and they don't know what he wants.
Two sweet toucans snuggle together on a branch. Look at the branch, though. It's black, and gingham, and two different browns and bright red. It's a wonderful branch.
This piece is just beautiful. Pixin is an expert with expressions. See how the guy up front is looking at the one in back? And without arms to catch themselves if they lose their balance, there's this sense of tension. Will they fall off?
Lego is is square. It's based on everything being a straight line. Here is a Lego house with crooked windows. If I were making a plush version of a Lego house you can bet that I'd be sitting there with a ruler trying to get it all to be perfect. It has so much more life this way.
Here you can see Pixin's construction skills. Don't let her naive style fool you, there's complicated three-dimensional thinking going on here.
No two Doinky Doodles are the same, not just because the material gets used up, but because Pixin has retained a childlike adventurousness to continue to experiment. Her work is skillful, but clearly made without a pattern. It's incredibly imaginative and, well, loose. What for me is still an elusive quality comes so naturally to her and for this, I have immense admiration for Doinky Doodles.