We will be posting Art Star Craft Bazaar Vendor profiles pretty regularly now through the big weekend – May 11th & 12th! First up is Cutesy but Not Cutesy. Meet the maker behind the brand – Diane Koss.
Art Star: Did you go to art school? If so, where did you study?
Diane Koss: I started out as a psychology and biology major at The College of New Jersey in Ewing, NJ. That only lasted about one semester until I switched over to be a Fine Arts Major with concentrations in metalsmithing, photography, and performance art. Unfortunately, there were no classes in monster-making, that came later!
AS: What types of items will you be selling at the bazaar?
DK: This year I will be selling my hand-stitched furry monster plush along with fur-lined monster hoodies with horns for infants through adults. I also have screen-printed t-shirts for kid’s and adults, hand-painted dishware, and a brand new line of monster plush called The Grumpsters!
AS: How are your items made? Describe your process.
DK: All of my traditional monsters are hand-stitched without machines. I usually work in an assembly line-like system where I cut them out all at once, then stitch all of the bodies, then stuff them all, and then add the face, horns, and bird to each one to give them their own personality. I use black thread in order to highlight each stitch that I make, I think it gives them more character and adds to the handmade feel of them. The hoodies and The Grumpsters are all individually sewn on my workhorse of a sewing machine. The Grumpsters have added a whole new level of excitement for my process since I get to piece together their little outfits before stitching them all together!
AS: Are you able to make your work full-time? If not, what do you do for your day job?
DK: I have been a full time monster-maker for almost 5 years now. It’s been a very long journey as I learn more and more about what works for my business and for me, as an artist. But in the end, the pay off at the end of each year of knowing that I’m able to support myself with my own two hands and a needle and thread is worth every bit of struggle I face.
AS: Who are some of your favorite artists?
DK: I am completely obsessed with and inspired by Louise Evans of Felt Mistress. Her work never ceases to amaze me. I also love the art of Washington based Illustrator Justin Hillgrove. His monster illustrations are just so incredible. I also had the opportunity of running into Austin based illustrator Graham Franciose while at a show in Austin a few years ago and I have been completely smitten with his work ever since.
AS: What are you reading/listening to right now?
DK: I just started reading “At Home: A Short History of Private Life” by Bill Bryson, one of my favorite authors. And I just started re-watching the entire series of “Felicity” on netflix while I work.
AS: Where would you like to see yourself and your art/craft business in the next 10 years?
DK: Ideally, there would be a few employees in a well-organized, sun-drenched warehouse space shipping out monsters to all corners of the world. And possibly a store front.
AS: Are there any bazaar participants that you are excited to check out this year?
DK: Gosh, do I have to choose?! I can’t wait to see them all! I must admit, though, I always love seeing the art of Laura Berger and I might have to finally snag a piece from Horrible Adorables for my new home!
Thanks Diane for sharing this with us! Visit her at the Art Star Craft Bazaar (booth # coming soon!) on May 11th & 12th or her Etsy page. Check out the rest of the amazing vendors selling at this year’s bazaar here.