Saturday, 16 February 2013

Interviews: Kei the Monstar Maker

UK-based blogger, crafter, and Monstar maker, Kei (of Unfortunately Oh!) recently let us into her world of monsters and shared a little of her life as a mad scientist seamstress...

What prompted you to start documenting your crafting projects on Unfortunately Oh! ?
When I first started to post photos of my projects online, people asked me how I made them. This ended up with a couple of tutorial posts and after seeing a number of awesome craft blogs, I decided to follow suit. Unfortunately Oh! was set up as a base where I could share crafting tutorials, though it's morphed into a bit more than that!

Were there any blogs in particular that you found inspiring in the beginning?
I started following a whole bunch of blogs at the same time, but I always found (and still find!) cool stuff on blogs like Flamingo Toes, Dollar Store Crafts, and Can't Stop Making Things

Many of the things you make are not as creepy-cute and scary as a monster. Do you enjoy making darker, spookier creations as a variation?
Yes! I do love dark and spooky things, so it's always fun to make things along that vein! I want to make items along that theme more frequently, it's just a case of fitting it in with the other styles and themes I love.

Have you made other types of dolls / toys before?
When I was a child I had one of those toy-making kits and ended up making a toy cat stuffed with old school tights! Then when I was older, I made a couple of ragdolls based off a pattern I found on the internet. I also customised a few old 11" dolls with paint and hand-sewn outfits, which had more of an alternative theme.

So it's been something of a lifelong hobby then?
Kind of. I've always been encouraged to be creative, but I didn't turn my eyes to toys and dolls until I was around ten or eleven.

How did you come up with the idea for Monstars?
I don't completely remember how I came up with the idea for Monstars. There have been monster-themed dolls in shops but they've always been mass produced and often only in a single colour, never unique. I made my first Monstar, named Percy, using scraps left over from old sewing projects. The name 'Monstars' was inspired by the title of the song, 'MOnsTar eAT CanDy & cHocOLaTo' by Japanese band the fool.

The Polka Dot Terror, a Monstar that found its way to HSL back in 2011

When you start making a Monstar, do you have a specific image in your mind, or do they develop as you progress?
I work using a few home-made patterns and decide upon which fabrics to put together, but details such as the eyes and mouth, any ears/hair, and the occasional third leg, happen as I go along.

That must give you a lot of freedom to make almost any kind of monster you wanted then. Even a teddy-eyed octopus monster or a doll-eyed fish yeti?
Why not!

How long does each one take to make?
About one and a half hours each, sometimes longer if I'm putting in extra details or doing fiddly bits like ears!

Each doll seems to have a personality of their own. Do they have individual back stories?
I'm working on it! They definitely seem to come to life as I make them. I feel a bit like Dr Frankenstein!

If you could bring one of your Monstars to life, Victor Frankenstein-style, which one would it be?
Percy, because he was my very first Monstar. I would like to know if he likes his hair and if he wishes I'd given him a scarf instead of a bow tie.

Percy, the original Monstar (far right)

Is Percy your favourite or does that honour go to someone else?
I don't have favourites, that would be unfair on the rest!

If you had the chance to work with another artist/crafter on a fusion between a Monstar and some of their works, who would you work with and what would you create?
It's a garden dream, but I would love to create a Music/Monstar fusion with the singer/pianist, Jill Tracy. Her music is splendidly dark and delicious! The fusion would be a musical Monstar. The Monstar would be designed to compliment her music and contain a voice box so that when its head is pressed, Jill Tracy's music would flow out.

Finally, could you give a message to our readers who enjoy your work?
My Monstars have loving hearts, so please continue to love them back!

Many thanks to Kei for doing the interview!

Pepe Monstar

If you'd like to see more of Kei's crafts, or to get your hands on a Monstar, check out the links below:
Unfortunately Oh!
Etsy Store


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