Have a read at Holly's history, crafts and thoughts on the art toy culture, along with a couple of reveals for Cavey-collaborations :)
TOYSREVIL: I caught win of your ability back in 2009, during the era of The Tarantulas' Teen Wolf in 1/6, for when the connection was made between Holly Stanway and A Little Stranger. How long has A Little Stranger been practicing her craft actually?
HOLLY STANWAY: I've been making things since i was teeny tiny, but i've been working under the guise of A Little Stranger since 2008(ish?) before then i sold handmade soft toys and dolls clothes online under the name Hollypop.
TOYSREVIL: Nice! It's always interesting to see some history - especially creations in the evolutionary path, IMHO. And thanks loads for sharing! Loads are known about you for your plush creations, and most notable Hey Cavey (more on that later). Has that always been your focus from "Day One"?
HOLLY STANWAY: Not at all! Cavey only came to life just over a year ago and i've been working on custom plush and art for years, so it's funny that the simplest thing i make has proven to be the most popular!
TOYSREVIL: Are you an artist from the get go, or developed thru time and being in the hobby?
HOLLY STANWAY: I've been making things ever since i was little, and it just happened over time. I've never really had a plan as such, i just got with the flow and do what's fun and interesting at the time. I never thought plush would end up being a career for me - it was always more of a hobby. I studied model making at university and went on to work prototyping action figures and toys for disney, hasbro etc, for a few years. I convinced my boss to let me sew the clothing when we did action man prototypes, and it all went from there, i just figure how hard could it be? ha ha!
[Collaboration with Triclops Studios for "Actionman 4040"]
TOYSREVIL: Differing names and identities being presented both in person and via online by loads of folks - Do you keep an active separation between ALS and Holly yourself?
HOLLY STANWAY: I try and keep them together really, A Little Stranger is my limited company name that i go by professionally and online, it covers all my creative stuff. I get known as 'Holly of A little Stranger' quite often, i think people think theres a little team behind the name, but it's just me! :)
[Little Girls In Monster Suits: Custom Plushies from 2008]
TOYSREVIL: Coulda fooled me! How is the scene in UK? In particularly the plush scene? (The "Arts" scene might be too broad a term, wouldn't it?) How is it like being "artistic" or "designerish" in UK? Standing amidst friends and fellow warriors? Or alone on top of the hill? (With the whirring of sewing machines echoing in the moots beyond).
HOLLY STANWAY: Its pretty great! I've met some lovely creative people through the art/toy scene and made lots of wonderful friends. It's really nice to share interests with people, and i'm never short of amazed that if i need help or something doing that i can't do myself that there's always someone i know who does, or a friend of a friend or whatever. Although i would love to live in LA for the weather, i love living in the UK and all the great friends i have here :)
[More collaborations with Triclops Studios]
TOYSREVIL: What inspires Holly? What influences A Little Stranger, and makes her "tick"?
HOLLY STANWAY: Animals, Japan, fantasy movies, and having fun! And putting googly eyes on everything
TOYSREVIL: What is the process of creation? Do you draw first, and sew later? Or the other way around?
HOLLY STANWAY: I rarely draw, my drawing skills are shockingly bad. My worst nightmare is being handed a sketchbook like "draw me something!!" you're guaranteed to get a wobbly rabbit drawing, ha ha ha. i start with the eyes, and pick out colours and textures of fabrics that i want to use. Everything else is made up as i go along, i tend to work better that way. I rarely have a concrete plan that i work to.
[Below" YetiPlush from 2008]
TOYSREVIL: What do you actually like to do (2D or painting etc) besides plushes? I see you had a lot of prints on your shop, but do not see you doing much of that recently though…
HOLLY STANWAY: I love to paint! I paint quite a lot but i stopped posting it online cause i never thought anyone was interested, i do it more for myself
TOYSREVIL: So who are interested to see Holly's illustrations? A show of hands please? (*Raises-both-hands*) - What toys do YOU collect? And what else do you collect, beyond toys? Are what you collect a reflection of what you produce?
HOLLY STANWAY: Dolls! Mostly Blythe and BJD's, i have a couple of Lut's and a Lati. I collect doll shoes, too - they're the one thing i cant make! I love Tokidoki, Gloomy Bear and Friends with You. Anything Rilakkuma/mameshiba related, too!
TOYSREVIL: How did Hey Cavey come about? And why is it decidedly "separate" an entity with A Little Stranger? (Different website and all). Was that ever a "plan"? Or process evolution? What is the origin of Cavey?
HOLLY STANWAY: Cavey came about because i wanted to make something simple, instead of my quite elaborate custom plushes. A lot of girls i know like to take pictures of their dollies when they're out and about places, which they then feel more comfortable posting online than lots of pictures of themselves - i wanted to bring this idea to plush!
The idea for Cavey started off quite abstract, i just knew i wanted something simple to look at but the driving force behind the character would be it's personality, and i ended up basing Cavey on my pet guinea pigs, who are very shy and cute. I loved the idea that a Cavey would be hiding somewhere and you had to quickly grab a photo of him cause he's shy.
A little Stranger is to Cavey what Kidrobot is to Dunny. I wanted to keep it separate from the beginning because the feel of Cavey is so different to my other work. I also have lots of things in the works for ALS in terms of plush production, but i cant say any more than that at the moment ;)
[CAVEYs Reviewed on TOYSREVIL]
TOYSREVIL: Push comes to TOYSREVL-shove here: Choose your favorite Cavey plush, as well a favorite A Little Stranger figure. It can be your absolutely proudest production to date, or the most receptive of from collectors and fans worldwide.
HOLLY STANWAY: My favourite Cavey changes every time i got to take one off the shelf to take out with me, and i think they' be upset if they knew i was picking favourites! :)
My favourite A Little Stranger work has got to be Sully, which was one of my first plushes i made experimenting with cast rein faces and a plush body. I could never bring myself to sell her!
TOYSREVIL: I really like that Hey Cavey is all adorable anywhen, while A Little Stranger's plushes most times seem borderlining on extreme, veering towards the more "dangerous" aspects of the notion, or am I seeing too much into things?
HOLLY STANWAY: Thats why i keep them separate, Cavey is a much more light-hearted, appeals to most people kind of character. A Little Stranger is a bit more take-it-or-leave-it, i think. It's a lot more personal to me.
[Assorted customs done for shows and for sales / Yes, Holly does commissions too]
TOYSREVIL: Cavy celebrates it's birthday this thursday! And you've organized a birthday-'party in a physical-space, as well a load of collaborations with a slew of UK artists? That is heck loads of stuff to be done and done thus far! What were you thinking? What other surprises are you planning?
(You rock, of course).
HOLLY STANWAY: It's a lot of work on my part but it'll be worth it: getting other people to do their take on Cavey has been really fun, its always interesting asking someone to design a plush, if they don't usually work in plush. They will almost always come up with things that are hard to do, impossibly detailed, a shape that can't be easily achieved in plush - and this is how i love to work, getting pushed beyond my comfort zone always results in great plush.
[Above: Cavey-Collabo-Sneaks revealed so far
Below-left: New Teaser from Joe Knapper
Below-right: New Teaser from Jam Factory]
HOLLY STANWAY: I can't say too much about the surprises in store for Caveys birthday, but i can tell you this: there will be two birthday caveys. One will ONLY be on sale at the party, and lets just say he's....yummy :)
[Details to score your Birthday Caveys HERE]
[Birthday Cake-vey - limited to 10pcs and Purple Birthday Badge Cavey - limited to 65pcs]
TOYSREVIL: The teasers look amazing so far - it's goon be a swell birthday party! What should folks look out for from A Little Stranger, in 2011? And what's Hey Cavey up to next, before it's (is it a "her" or "him" actually?) birthday?
HOLLY STANWAY: I wish i could tell but i wouldn't want to jinx myself - let's just say there's some exciting stuff coming up for A Little Stranger! As for Cavey, we've got his birthday party coming up and you'll be able to catch me, and a special cavey, on a few booth at SDCC 2011 :D :D
TOYSREVIL: Fair enough. What's life without a little surprise, huh? Thank you for your time, and in closing, pleasse share with us: Why the moniker "A Little Stranger"? What's the story behind the name?
HOLLY STANWAY: Well, i'd been wanting to update from my Hollypop image. It was all very pink stripey and cutesy which reflected the work i was doing at the time; custom soft toys suitable more for kids. I wanted something more 'grown up' to reflect the work i was doing. I had also taken the step at that time to go freelance, and didn't want to get typecast making cutesy stuff, if i was dishing out invoices with Hollypop emblazoned on them :)