Christmas was warm and stupidcreaturesy for quite a few families.

Here are some pics.
Hannah L poses with her new custom Stupid Creatures toy, Sapphie, a tree dweller. Everyone seems pleased. Here’s what her mom said in an email when Sapphie arrived:

It is soo incredibly amazing. I am totally blown away. I could not have even begun to make up something that cool (which is why we left it up to you)! This was the only thing Hannah asked for for Christmas and she is going to be so happy when she opens it. It's killing her because I won't let her see it. Anyhow thanks for coming through and creating the most amazing Christmas gift for a thirteen year old girl who never wants anything, not because she is spoiled, but because she appreciates what she has. I just want you to know that I really do appreciate all of the time and effort you put into Sapphie.

You’re very welcome, L Family. Remember to use those Stu-Pons for your next custom job!! I’m really glad they took photos of Sapphie, ‘cause I didn’t!! AAAA

Zoe G. an Asheville Local poses with his new Ready-Made Stupid Creatures new Mona, one of the TicTacks featured in a recent video. Zoe’s mom is a frequent visitor to my studio and has quite a few creatures in her collection. Thanks A Heap!!

Repeat customer Maggie F. from Austin, TX said this the other day:
"Got my creature yesterday!  Thank you so much for sending it to me, he is so wonderful.  I will post good things on Etsy too.  Just know the work you put in spreads so much joy.  We are grateful."

And then she sent me this great pic of her boy, not only holding his new creature Tyrell, but wearing one of the shirts from my spreadshirt shop. Thanks, Maggie!!

To everybody who made this Holiday Season Stupid Creaturesy, you have my deepest thanks!

Darned CPSIA

Hi, everybody.

I have some very strange news. As of August 14th, 2009, Stupid Creatures will officially stop marketing to children under 12 years old. I have nothing against kids and pre teens. In fact, some of my favorite fans and customers are kids under 12. By no means do I want to indicate that I no longer like kids or want to serve them. But there are some new laws in place that now make it unreasonably expensive for me to do that for the time being.

America has established new laws governing the manufacture of toys. Because of some tremendous oversights and mistakes made by various overseas manufacturers (and the Americans who hired them), many, many toys, clothing items and food products for kids were recalled over the past couple of years because they contained lead, toxic plasticizing components called phthalates, and other nasty substances.

The Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act, which applies to everyone from gigantic corporations all the way down to us hand crafters, now REQUIRES each and every one of us to submit to expensive testing of the products we make. In a nutshell, we crafters now have to submit for testing one piece from every run of products we make. Each piece will be disassembled into its component parts, in my case, various fabric, stuffing, thread, my product tag and eyes. And each component part will undergo a test for phthalates, then a test for lead. Each test is upwards of a hundred bucks or more. I’d essentially be paying $800 to $1000 to test an item I sell for $30 to $50 bucks.

I understand that consumer safety is important, but until these laws change to suit small businesses and hand crafters, I have to establish a drastic rule. Only people aged 13 and older may order products from me. What they do with my creatures, or whom they give them to afterward, is none of my business.

This, of course, means that even though all of my work is child safe anyway, I can get a bit more edgy and conceptual with the designs. I can use new and different materials and try new concepts. Who knows if I’ll do all that. Chances are I’ll keep making new runs of new designs just like I’ve always done. Ultimately, this big mess only indicates that we need to bring manufacturing back home to America where we have safety standards already in place. We need to rely more on American hand crafters than big chain stores.

In the meantime, help crafters amend this law by joining groups such as the Handmade Toy Alliance.

Anyway, now you know the deal. If you have any questions, you know where to find me.

Hull Hits Home

Hi, Everybody..

I love receiving word that a creature has made it safely to its new home. I love it even more when pics are sent. But what puts this over the top is some top notch fan art from my creature’s recipient. Young Elijah from Midlothian, VA sent confirmation that the Zombaby Hull has arrived safely.

Now, Hull’s trip was not without its wrinkles. Elijah’s mom first spoke to me while having some difficulty negotiating my Etsy page. It was a bit glitchy and hopefully by now I’ve fixed it.

So while Elijah’s mom and I were over the phone trying to address the Etsy glitch, I had the privilege of speaking to Elijah as well. He’s a nice kid and outspoken for his age. I heard his dad in the background cursing my book because of all the extra sewing he now has to do to keep his family happy. Ha.. Plush is work, you all, but it’s worth every effort (note the pic of the happy kid holding a handmade stuffy).

I think Hull was bought last Thursday, and I got him to the mail on Friday. Today (Wednesday) Elijah’s mom emailed to ask if there was a tracking number for Hull since he hadn’t arrived yet. I ran the USPS tracking info, and was given a very strange report.
Picture 9
Apparently Hull had made a slight detour to Oak Creek, Wisconsin. I cobbled together a map (below) so I could better grasp the concept of the trip Hull must have taken while in the care of the USPS. I wish he hadn’t been taped up inside a cardboard box. He could have taken loads of photos and bought souvenirs from every state he visited while on his winding, meandering journey to a destination just one state away from his origin. Sakes alive.
hull's trip

Of course, nobody from the customer service hotline at USPS could help me with the whole Wisconsin thing. Did it really happen? Is the USPS a big, swirling idiot or was the tracking system simply wrong? The good still outweighs the bad, though. I do like our postal system. Even though they give no guarantees for delivery times, even though we customers pay certain prices for certain services (priority mail typically arrives within 2 to 3 days to most destinations, but it’s not guaranteed). At any rate..

At the moment, I’m in my studio just sweltering despite the sun having set hours and hours ago. Nothing will make me enjoy the summer heat. I mean, if I had some kind of solar panel that converted the obscene amount of summertime radiation into hundred dollar bills, I could be persuaded to change my tune. But alas, that’d be too helpful so of course it’s not going to happen. It’s time for me to go home and shower and change my sheets for the ninetieth time this week (‘cause of all the excessive perspiration. I swear, I don’t go number 1 between May and October). It’s been a long day and tomorrow will be even longer. I’ve got a meeting with the editor of my new book tomorrow, so I’ll be cranking out material from the crack of dawn till I see the whites of his eyes. Can’t disappoint the ones who butter your bread, right?

Sakes.. I’m talking all out of my head now.. I’m so tired I’ve stopped making sense. On that note, I’ll leave you with a really great drawing from a really great youngster.

Thanks, everyone!

The Studio Stroll was a lot of fun

Boy am I wiped. It’s the Tuesday following the RDA Spring Studio STroll for 2009. I’m here in my studio trying to wrap my head around the day and make my to do list.

Anyway, for tough times, the stroll did me reasonably well. The Zombabies were incredibly well received, so were the Glumys. I only made 7 Glumys and they’re gone already. The Zombabies have been reduced in number by a reasonable half. You can find the rest on the Merch page.

The stroll began rather slowly on Saturday and took a good half day to get really rolling. People visited me from Roanoke, VA, Georgia, South Carolina, Hawaii and of course locally. All my juju fish were eaten, which was fine. I’ve had juju fish out now for quite a few strolls for the people to chew on while they ruminate a possible purchase.

I was really pleased to see Belma Jean Rhodes and Sirius Allergees go to a Georgian couple. It’s rare you see two of my big ones go at the same time. I’ll miss them a lot. But soon I will have replaced them with other monsters. I’m not all that worried. Though, Sirius bore the last remnants of a brown sweater my sister gave me for Christmas one year. The sweater had become too small to get my head through, so I hacked it to bits and made Sirius.

Local metalsmith David Earl Tomlinson and his son Drake came in to play for a bit. Drake drew me a really great monster in my guest book. David Earl is working next door to my studio temporarily. See his website

Next on my list is writing a book, developing character concepts, a little big-industry toy design, and more production of more monsters for more shows. I love being an artist. I must watch for falling boulders.