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.
Jess Quinn is an artist who openly embraces the creativity of childhood. Pompoms, embroidery floss, bits of floral fabrics and ribbons combine together to evoke funny, colorful characters. Her softies amuse me and lift my spirits. Come meet Jess and her work.
Formally trained as a painter at Glasgow School of Art, Jess now lives in Bristol, England where she is a full-time maker and mom to three kids.
When motherhood left her little time for painting she says "instead of snarling at that pram in the hallway I took up sewing and knitting once more and I’ve been making fabric sculpted doll characters ever since. Life is exhausting but rich."
Jess grew up in a creative household. Her own mom is a knitter and sewer and made all of Jess's clothes when she was growing up. Her dad taught furniture design.
Most of Jess's work is one-of-a-kind. Truly no two of these characters are the same. Jess loves bright colors and vintage fabrics.
Garlic Girl by Jess Quinn
I'm particularly struck by the wonderful facial expressions she's able to evoke with just a few lines of thread and some felt cutouts.
Buzzy and the birds by Jess Quinn.
Her dolls and toys have a nostalgic feel, but are still so modern. Here are a few of my (many) favorites.
Carnival Birds by Jess Quinn
Rag Doll by Jess Quinn
Dolls and softies by Jess Quinn
Dolls by Jess Quinn
She makes both animals and dolls from cloth, but she also works with shrink plastic and pegs and clay. Jess draws on mugs and shirts and wooden spoons. I think she could take anything as her canvas and make it charming.
Horse by Jess Quinn
Cat by Jess Quinn
I'm inspired by Jess Quinn's attention to tiny details and freedom to experiment with all sorts of materials. She has a signature style that is easily recognizable and her work is incredibly beautiful.