The post is part of an occasional series called “Awesome Handmade Toys.” These posts feature toy makers whose work I think is particularly fresh and inventive. You can see previous posts in the series here. I also pin toys to my Inspiring Softies pinboard on a regular basis if you’re looking for more inspiration.


Today we’re in for a real treat. I spoke with plush artist Lauren Venell about her work making large scale custom plush for clients and galleries and having toys manufactured overseas.

Lauren Venell with one of her Sweet Meats

Lauren has done some really impressive work. Take a look at this giant, wearable Mr. Burrito and I think you’ll see what I mean:


Mr. Burrito by Lauren Venell

How do you go about planning this type of project? And how many hours of work went into making all that rice? Lauren tells me all about it, and the burrito pillow that preceded the wearable version.

Stuffed Full by Lauren Venell

Lauren creates plush installation art in gallery settings as well. This piece, entitled Stuffed Full, takes us into a butcher shop where all the meat is plush.

Example of packaging for Sweet Meats by Lauren Venell

Even the packaging is convincing.

Lauren also has toys manufactured ovderseas, first her Sweet Meats and now a new line called Deep Creeps.

Deep creeps
Leonardo the Octopus, a Deep Creep designed by Lauren Venell

Hear how she ended up with an 18-wheeler full of plush and zero sales (ahh!) and how she turned it all around. There’s a happy ending here, I promise!

Lauren and I had a terrific conversation. We speak for about 45 minutes. Listen to the interview by clicking below or subscribe to the podcast for free in iTunes:

You can see more of Lauren’s work here, and connect with her on Twitter, too. If you’d like to learn more about Lauren’s experience with manufacturing I recommend reading this Q& A she did with Rena Tom last year.



Have a question for Lauren or me? Or just want to tell us something? Go ahead and leave a comment here and one of us will write back. Thank you and enjoy the interview!

P.S. I’m working on creating a legitimate podcast. It’ll be about indie plush and creative business practices. I hope you’re as excited about it as I am. It’s coming…

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