Thursday, September 11, 2008

Plush Art, what is it?

During the last couple of years I have noticed an appearance of cute, outrageous and sometimes macabre, soft toys. They often represent comic/pop culture and (so they say) offer more soul and character than traditional soft toys and teddies. They appear in exhibitions, magazines and craft shows. I well remember making all sorts of toys for my children when they were young – there just wasn't the multitude of toys available as there are today, and anyway I didn't have the spare cash to spend on what was available at that time. Even now each new grandchild is welcomed with their own individual soft toy.
I am now reading that these toys are categorized as Plush Art. And they are intended for adults, not children. These adults are not ashamed to admit their love of soft toys. They are assembled at kitchen tables, using fabric scraps, recycled materials and anything else that is appropriate for each new character. Soft toys are now being re-invented by artists.
Perhaps the (young) adults of today have not experienced homemade toys in their childhood. Their parents may have been working and there was not enough time to make toys, and so purchased toys satisfied their children's needs.
The majority of our younger generation do not seem to 'know' handcrafts. Handmade items, not just toys, but children's garments and simple home goods, are now being produced by the few who can 'make'. They are marketed as the new, the latest 'thing' and demand high prices. They seem to be not much different to what we did as part of our own family activities many years ago.
I am reluctant to post images of Plush Art because of copyright issues but recommend you visit I would love to hear your comments (click on Comments below and follow the simple procedure)
Whilst on the subject of 'toys'. In Spain recently I visited the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao. In the forecourt of this futuristic museum is a giant 'toy' dog titled Puppy. It is completely covered in blooms and is part of the Guggenheim's permanent collection. Not a single petal seemed to be bruised or left to settle on the ground beneath. It was constructed by Jeff Koons in 1992 and was exhibited in Germany and Sydney before becoming part of the permanent collection of the Guggenheim Museum in 1997. This topiary sculpture depicts a West Highland White Terrier and is built over a wire structure. It is 12.4 metres high - note the size of the people in the photo. The buildings behind Puppy are not the Guggenheim Museum htttp:// but those across the street.

Brandon Parkes born 8 June 2008 with his stuffed toy

Puppy sculpture at the Guggenheim Muesum, Bilbao, Spain

Next Blog: The power of a painting

1 comment:

  1. Hi Diana
    As usual, really enjoyed your latest blog. You know, my grandmother made me my very own stuffed toy when I was little, it was unique and totally special - would have counted as highly creative in todays times too! Did you make Brandon's? As for the "flower puppy" at the Guggenheim that is just "awesome" - your visit must have been so inspirational!
    Look forward to the next "installment".