An Interview w/ Jordan Perme from Horrible Adorables

Meet Jordan Perme, a Ohio based artist who creates fabulous felt taxidermy!  Each piece is hand sculpted & then covered w/ colorful felt pieces.  We met Jordan at last year’s Art Star Craft Bazaar where she introduced Philadelphia to her vast array of creatures.  Some were free standing, but most were mounted to painted wood plaques.  My husband & I snagged 2 for our home & I can’t wait to see what she brings this year.  I was curious to learn more about her.  Check out my interview w/ her below, as well as some photos of her working in her studio on a new piece.  You can purchase her work at art star or at booth #95 at the bazaar.

Megan: How did your idea to create your felt taxidermy come about?  Did
you begin making these while you were at art school?

Jordan: I am fascinated by the famous hoaxes of showman P.T. Barnum,
sideshow trickery, curiosities, Crytozoological wonders (such as
Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster) and by the enthusiasts of this
study who passionately collect evidence in an effort to prove these
creature’s existence.  My cumulation of interests inspired a thesis
show at the Cleveland Institute of Art where I created a Room of
Wonder for a delusional collector.  Within the space there was framed
tintype documentation of the collector ‘hunting,’ a hand drawn field
guide and plenty of curious faux taxidermy creatures!

M: What is your creative process like?  Do you begin w/ a sketch or
just start sculpting?

J: I do a lot of quick sketches for ideation, but I don’t think too
much about what the final product is going to look like.  Once I start to
sculpt the foam, the shape changes and evolves.  I will start to see a
new creature emerge and the majority of the time, it ends up looking
quite different from my original drawing.

M: How do you come up w/ ideas for your different characters?

J: Each sculpture is unique and one of a kind.  I visualize existing
animals and wonder what they would look like if they had strange
features such as horns, a long snout or gangly teeth.  These new
additions further distance the creatures from being a specific,
recognizable animal and also give them an other worldly appearance.  I
am often asked, while showing my art at various fairs, what type of
animal a given sculpture is supposed to be. My response is usually
something like “Oh, it’s an antelope-kitty-giraffe hybrid of course!”

M: What is a typical day like for you?  Do you have a day job or do
you make your art full time?

J: I am in my studio all day, every day!  In addition to creating
fantastical creatures, I am also a freelance soft toy and repeat
pattern designer.  I work for major toy companies to ideate new plush
concepts and produce prototypes of soft toys.  I also work a lot on
the computer making graphic repeat patterns that are used to decorate
everything from plastic to fabric toy components.  Working in this
industry has definitely influenced my art work, as it has become more
playful in appearance.  Many people have even bought my faux taxidermy
to decorate their nurseries!

M: When did you launch your business & how has it grown over the years?

J: Upon graduating from college in 2009 I began to look for a ‘real
job.’  I found that with no industry experience, it was extremely
difficult to find any position in my field that was looking for recent
college graduates.  I had dabbled in freelancing before and decided to
take a few projects here and there until I could find something more
permanent.  I found that the projects that I was taking on were
incredibly rewarding and since I was able to make up my own schedule
(wake up in the afternoon, work till 4 in the morning) there was a lot
more time for me to do my own art work and keep a good studio
practice.  With a normal 9-5 job, I don’t think I would be able to
travel to as many art fairs and have much time to build up stock.  I
have had an Etsy site for years, but decided to relaunch the ‘Horrible
Adorables’ line again in 2010.  I haven’t been doing the indie craft
thing for that long, but it has led to many great networking
opportunities and I have been getting nice feedback that has made me
feel even more secure in my pursuit of a non-traditional line of

M: Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?

J: In 10 years I would love to be able to support myself solely from
my art work and continue making the things that I love.

M: Are there any specific artists that have inspired you and your work?

J: My favorite artists are Yinka Shonibare, Kiki Smith and Yoshitomo
.  I am inspired by indie crafters and am on Etsy at least once a
day checking out whats new!

M: Out of all the felt sculptures that you have made, which is your favorite?

J: I get pretty attached to each sculpture after I complete it and
often times, my favorite is whatever my newest creation is!  I am glad
that other people enjoy my art too, enough to purchase a piece for
themselves, otherwise I would probably hoard all of my creatures and
have an entire space as a faux-trophy room!

M: I would love to see a giant felt sculpture.  Any plans on doing any
large installation pieces?

J: I would also love to make a giant felt sculpture!  I’ve had it in
my head for a while to make something quite large (as big as a full
sized deer??) but I can’t seem to find the time that it would take, to
create something at that scale yet.  I almost need to have a gallery
show in the works to get me moving on it!

M: Aside from having your work at art star, where else do you sell
your work?  Do you have any exhibitions booked in the future?

J: I will be at the Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn this summer (June
11-12) and will be applying to a handful of other shows this year.  I
have also been talking to a local Cleveland gallery and boutique about
having a little Horrible Adorables storefront within their space.. but
we are still discussing all the details.  More on that later!

M: Any special projects on the horizon?

J: I am passionate about puppets and I would love to do some
exploration into making my creatures as marionettes and animating them
in short films.  I also love vinyl artist toys.  It would be so great
if some of my creatures could be produced into limited edition toys
that an even wider audience could enjoy!

M: Anything else we should know?

J: I have a lot of new horribly adorable creatures in the works.
Please stop by my booth at the Art Star Craft Bazaar to check them all
out and say hello!

Find more about Jordan & her Horrible Adorables on the following sites:
her website
her etsy page
her blog

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