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Monday, January 22, 2024

Meow Wolf Nimsesku the hamster plush toy

I got to make a plush version of the hamster, Nimsesku from Meow Wolf's The House of Eternal Return art experience in Santa Fe, NM. On one side it looks like a regular hamster but on the other side it's revealed to be a cyborg! Plus there are extra flaps that reveal more robotic details along with a light up feature when you push the front right paw.

Final production version

Final production version

Final production version

This was the first time I was tasked with adding a light feature to a plush. I tested out several different fabrics to see which would still let the light come through using a tri-color LED showing the whole rainbow. Plus it was new to to me to incorporate a battery pack while making sure the stuffing didn't interfere with the electronics. 

Version 1 has two small flaps on the side based on the original sketch. After making this prototype we decided to add bigger flaps and more visuals of the cyborg bits.

 Version 2 has bigger and more curved flaps that reveal the lights and gears. Also the plain black plastic eyes were replaced with gold lamé fabric giving them some shine.

We also played around with different eyes, version two had a golden eye while we moved on to version three with a solid embroidered black eyes.

Keep an eye out throughout The House of Eternal Return for Nimsesku the hamster. It starts in the kid's bedroom, where there is a diagram and an empty hamster cage. If you through further through the portals you may find some version of Nimsesku.

You can buy it here: Meow Wolf Shop

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Meow Wolf Omega Mart Reversible Pastry Plush Toy

I worked on turning the character Shelby from Meow Wolf Omega Mart in Las Vegas into a transforming plush. Shelby is inspired by soft serve ice cream and the designers thought it would be fun to have that character be able to turn inside out of a pastry.

 The Shelby character model was already built, so I just had to translate that into a plush pattern. The body is symmetrical but the swirl on the head was a complicated asymmetrical shape with many different pieces that needed to be gathered to fit with the other pieces.

Shelby plush turnaround

Pastry plush turnaround

The first idea for the pastry side was to  incorporate a möbius strip with a visual line would appear to connect through the pastry to Shelby on the inside. It was a challenge squashing a möbius strip into a solid shape but still retaining the idea that it's one continuous loop. The first prototype didn't quite translate,  the shape on the pastry seemed too lumpy and it was hard to follow the line that went into the pastry as making a connection with Shelby.

First pastry prototype

We abandoned the literal möbius idea as it wasn't coming through on the pastry plush concept, but still wanted the pastry to have some defined lines. It took me a bit but I remembered the round shape of a baseball is two of the same curved pattern pieces stitched together. I figured out a similar shape with the pastry having three identical pattern pieces stitched together to create the disc-like pastry shape.

The second prototype has some color definition with a Neapolitan vibe before it was decided to go with a printed fabric to really have the pastry texture pop out.

Prototype two: Pastry Bottom

Prototype two: Pastry side
Prototype two: Pastry top
Prototype two: Pastry open
Transformation with both pieces showing
Shelby back
Shelby front
Shelby prototype

The finalized version has more stuffing in Shelby which fills out the pastry shape more. Along with a printed fabric that shows the pastry texture.

Final product with packaging

Final Shelby emerging from the pastry

Shelby pastries are available for sale in the Meow Wolf store.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Meow Wolf Cherry Blitz spray horse

I made the prototype and pattern for Emily Montoya's Cherry Blitz spray horse. She created the concept and original sculpture that is at Omega Mart in Las Vegas. She was working on the installation version while I was figuring out the soft product version to make them both ready for the Omega Mart opening in early 2021.

Cherry Blitz finished product, available in the Meow Wolf store


Turnaround working sketch the first prototype was based on. The label was not designed yet, so a space was left for that to be added later.

It has an interior plastic armature, so the legs and neck are posable.

It was a challenge to figure out how to securely attach the spray bottle head to the neck of the "spray horse". The material is a fabric backed polyurethane. It's thick so it took some tweaking to create the smaller shapes and body details.

I still haven't made it to Omega Mart in Las Vegas, but I'll get there eventually to have the most unique shopping experience of my life. Check out the truly awesome Omega Mart Training Video.

Adam Savage also picked up a Cherry Blitz while touring the southwest, check it out here:

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Swirly the Sovereign Snake stuffed animal

Swirly the Sovereign Snake is my latest stuffed animal. Inspired by funny snakes like Sir Hiss from Disney's Robin Hood, I designed my own royal snake.  I think snakes are really silly, so it was fun making a plush version with a bouncy, coiled body. Top it with a crown and you've got a very regal but funny snake.

Alec often draws funny looking snake sketch, be them sad or mad, they always crack me up. I used that idea is putting together Swirly the Sovereign Snake. I played around with a couple different eye looks and ended up with an appliqué solid eye, with highlight and eyelashes. I think the eyelashes add a lot of character.

The finished snake measures:
9 inches long (nose to body coil)
10 inches wide (base to top of head)
7 inches long (body coil)

It's a great pattern for extra scraps, you can patch them all together on the body to make unique markings on the body.

Adding the cape and crown really gives Swirly a lot of personality, as well as their regal attitude.

Once it hand, Swirly is very springy and can be posed in many different ways.

The Swirly the Sovereign Snake pattern is now available for sale on etsy & ko-fi as a digital download. You get the pattern as well as step by step instructions to make a custom swirly snake.

 Make a bunch of new snakes friends!

Monday, March 21, 2022

Meow Wolf Bearret plush toy

 I worked on the plush toy version of Bearret, one on the creatures at the Meow Wolf Convergence Station in Denver. The original sculpture is a design by Caity Kennedy and her team. I worked with them in creating the much smaller plush version.


These are the reference images I was given as the team was constructing the exhibit at the same time I was working on the plush version. From these images I worked up a sketch of some options for the plush toy.

There is always lots of back and forth in interpreting a large sculpture into a small plush toy. The real Bearret has many layers of cut felt to create its body texture. We ended up creating several custom patterns to be printed on the minky fabric through Spoonflower to give the feeling of the multicolored texture of the real sculpture.

Once of the perks of custom printing the fabric was once I had the pattern pieces shaped, I was able to get both the fabric design as well as the pattern pieces printed directly on the fabric.


With its long spindly legs, I wasn't sure if Bearret would need an internal support armature to stay in a standing pose. Luckily by firmly stuffing the legs that was enough to get it to stand and it keeps some flexibility so Bearret can sit and be posed in different positions.

I developed the prototype and pattern for mass production, which is currently in the works. I also handmade a limited edition of 20 pieces for the opening in September 2020.

I haven't been able to get to Denver to see the real Bearret, but I know it's huge. The plush version is smaller and more huggable at about 15 inches tall and 12.5 inches front to back.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Kitty Sweet Tooth plush toy

 Kitty Sweet Tooth is a graphic novel for young readers about the silly adventures of Kitty Sweet Tooth, who as her name implies loves desserts! Written by Abby Denson and illustrated by Utomaru, the book was released this spring.

The editor Robyn Chapman commissioned me to make a plush version of Kitty Sweet Tooth as a gift for the creators.

I took reference images of Kitty from throughout the book and figured out a simple pose and facial expression for the plush toy version.

Her face is a combination of appliquéd fabric and machine embroidery. She is about 12 inches tall from her cute shoes to her ears. Her body is made out of plush minky fabric and her dress is cotton knit fabric with a heart embroidered on it. 

 There is nothing better than reading a book while cuddling with the main character by your side.



While the plush versions were just for the creators, you can still check out the book and join Kitty Sweet Tooth on her adventures!