Friday, June 6, 2008

Mark Hundley of Bisbee Stitches interview!

Mark Hundley is awesome! Schmancy has been selling his plush for years and his work never fails to elict a delighted response from everyone who sees it. Whether it be due to the oversized eyes, the enchanting stories or just the adorableness of his toys in general, he's developed quite a well deserved following!

Have I mentioned that he's also just an all around great guy?

Mark and I traded emails right before Obama claimed the Democratic nomination. (It's an important note. Please keep reading to see why.)

Schmancy Gallery: I've read that you started making plush as gifts for your niece and nephew. Were you working in a 3d format prior to that?

Mark Hundley: Well, I did a few 3D sculptures here and there out of wood or cardboard or whatever. But not much.

SG: Were there any other reasons you were attracted to making stuffed toys?

MH: Yeah. It fits my personality pretty well, I think. And it's neat to be creating these little things that make people smile a bit.

SG: In my experience, the first thing that people notice about your plush are those incredible eyes!

MH: Thanks!

SG: Were you influenced by any sort of animation?

MH: There's definitely a lot of Japanese cartoon imagery influence there, but I don't really watch much anime. A few years ago , I made a very purposeful effort to teach myself how to make the eyes exactly how I wanted. I even made a few pieces that were basically giant eyeballs with arms and legs.

SG: I really enjoy the stories that come on each Bisbee tag! How do you come up with these? Do the dolls "speak" to you?

MH: Kind of. I basically spend a few hours on each one and by the time I'm finished, they just sort of have this personality so when I write the cards, it's just like describing someone you know really well.

SG: On your Etsy page you say that you've made over 2,000 unique handmade stuffed animals! How are you able to make so many different and distinct plushes?

MH: I dunno. That's not the hard part, though. The hard part is actually finishing each one before I start another because sometimes I get a great idea for something but I still have, like, 3 hours of sewing to go to the finish the first one!

SG: How difficult do you find it to be working without a pattern?

MH: It was kind of difficult at first . But figuring out how to make the shapes work in 3D as I see them in my mind is the most creative and fun part for me , now.

SG: Do you think that living in the small town of Bisbee influences your work?

MH: I think maybe the first few years , where I would sit outside this bookstore on Main Street and sell my work was a big help. The immediate feedback from people was a good way to gauge what was working and what I needed to work on more.

SG: Do you think that you would work differently if you were to live in a larger city?

MH: Absolutely! I kind of feel isolated down here, sometimes, but it's also been good for me to have the space to develop my own style without being influenced by what other people are making.

SG: Your Barack Obama Stitches are wonderful!

MH: Thank you.

SG: Do you think you'll make a commemorative doll if he becomes the Democratic nominee?

MH: Maybe. I already sent 2 to the campaign for his 2 kids, but I haven't heard anything back, yet.

SG: What's on the horizon for Bisbee Stitches? Any huge plans for the remainder of 2008?

MH: I wanna try to get into a few more shows if I can. Mostly I'm looking forward to getting back to work on my book. I've been wanting to do a "Stitches" story book for a long time and I'm finally getting it together . Hopefully it'll be done and ready to print in about a year or so. It's going to be neat!

Mark will be showing with Ashley Goldberg at Schmancy on Friday, June 13th from 6 pm-9pm. Until then, be sure to check out his Etsy store!

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