October 7, 2007
Some girls bake, some girls sew… some girls make bugs…
One of the great things about running a shop like this is coming into contact with people like Maritza Soto, a woman who is forging her own path in attempts to live a creative life amidst all the everyday obligations of work and family. An illustrator born and bred in New York City, Maritza now resides in Cambridge, Massachusetts where she designs and sews a fantastical menagerie of stuffed creatures in her home studio.
In her own words, she was “a frustrated daydreamer who got friendly with a sewing machine and opened the door for a whole cast of colorful, fun, quirky-yet-endearing characters”. All those doodles and cartoons she’s been drawing over the years have found riotous new form under her label Soto Softies. And these are not your everyday plush critters. Softies often fall into two categories: those made expressly as toys and those that cross over into the realm of art or 3-dimensional sculpture. Maritza’s could easily fall into the latter category – I first encountered her work earlier in the year with her entry in the first annual Softies Awards contest (Manny the Praying Mantis (below) caused something of a sensation) – but she’s chosen to share her custom creations with the rest of us. Being the original that she is, no doubt she is secure in the knowledge that non-conformists come in all sizes, and that some child, somewhere is just dying to invite a stuffed Zaubermaus – a toy with a name like a Teutonic superhero, and just as cool – home to play.
We have a couple of one-of-a-kind Zaubermausi all our own (See the gang above and on our New Arrivals page.) and are expecting some Lovebugs and Woodchucks to make their way to our door in the next week or so. In the meantime, feast your eyes on some of Maritza’s work below. (Photos are the property of Maritza Soto.) All you crafty gals will appreciate the workmanship that goes into each of her creations, while the rest of us can marvel over her eye for color and pattern, and her ability to transform a few scraps of fabric into handfuls of plush happiness.
Read more about Maritza, and living the crafting life, at her blog. It’s also a good place to keep up with her latest work and show schedule.
P.S. – She can knit and bake, too.
Update: The funky woodchucks Maritza made for us never even made it onto the shop pages. Some of Maritza’s fans who had seen pictures on her blog contacted me to reserve their favorites and the remaining two were snapped up by friends virtually out of the box. Wait until you see the lovebugs though…