The Creature Round Robin Project is a fantastic project devised and hosted by jewellery designer/maker Olly of Wollies with 3 other designer/makers (members of the UK Handmade forum) taking part as guests: Shaz of Oddsox, Kathleen of Murgatroyd and Bean and Julia of Hand Knitted Things. The rules that the participants had to follow were:
1. Describe a creature – post to next person
2. Draw a picture of the description you receive – post on
3. Make the creature from the description and picture you receive – post on
4. Add the features to the creature you recieve – post on
5. This is where you get back the creature you originally described and have a chance to add any final details before posting back to the host…
UK Handmade caught up with the Creature Round Robin Participants to find out all about it!
What made you suggest this Round Robin idea?
OLLY (Wollies) : I knew that there would be many makers of creatures on UK Handmade, so I thought I'd get one going. I wanted to suggest a project that would involve clear cut stages, starting from the very beginning when the creature is imagined. I thought it would be interesting to start with a written description and see how each creature would evolve from writing, to drawing, to pattern, to 3D creature. I really wanted the project to evolve like an exchange of ideas, a discussion. That way, rather than having each person making an isolated contribution, each participant would respond to a previous idea and interpret it in their own way.
Tree Urchin (Olly)
What attracted you to this Round Robin idea?
OLLY (Wollies): I loved receiving all of the descriptions and sending them off, it was really exciting. I had a peek at all of them and I loved the way each one was really individual, both in the ideas and the way the descriptions were written. Some were quite precise, others more like a story. Overall, people put so much care and time into what they sent around, it was great.
SHAZ (OddSox): My crafting centres around creature making so when I saw that Olly had started the idea I was very keen to be involved. I’m a follower of her blogsite where she shows lots of interesting work from other artists and regularly shares her latest drawings and creations. When I found out that Julia and Kathleen were also going to be taking part, after investigating their work I just knew we were going to end up with some great creatures!
JULIA (Hand Knitted Things): A spur of the moment decision. I’d just completed a design for my first toy pattern and thought it would be good to get involved in a project with other designers of similar products.
KATHLEEN (Murgatroyd and Bean): Olly introduced me to the idea for this project and suggested that I join UK Handmade so that I could take part. I hadn’t heard of the website before and was intrigued by the online creative community it was offering. I was drawn by the idea of working with other makers whom I ‘d not met before and leaping into the unknown - would I be up to the challenge?
Which bit did you enjoy most?
OLLY (Wollies): I have just loved working with others on a communal project. It is very satisfying to know that your hand has contributed to making someone else's creature! Also, I think that crafting is a very solitary activity, so doing swaps is nice because it establishes a communication with other makers.
SHAZ (OddSox): Olly planned our Round Robin brilliantly – she sent us a handmade printed instruction booklet carefully explaining all the stages. To be honest I was a bit scared of Stage 2 as this involved drawing another persons’ creature description. Drawing isn’t my strong point and I don’t usually do this stage when I’m making my own creatures. As it turned out, I really enjoyed this bit - plus it was a lovely sunny weekend so I sat out in the garden to do it!
JULIA (Hand Knitted Things): Choosing the fabric, cutting out the pattern and starting to construct/sew the creature.
KATHLEEN (Murgatroyd and Bean): I think one of the most exciting aspects of this was the anticipation of what the next parcel would bring! As soon as I’d torn open the parcel I’d be itching to get started on adding my bit. I particularly enjoyed translating Olly’s detailed sketch into a 3d creature - this was also the bit I’d been most concerned about meeting the challenge! I had to really think about how I’d construct suitable legs, shape of head and arms on a small, delicate creature. I experimented with several small scale templates before cutting out any fabric. The quick turnaround of roughly a week for each stage of the project was great for keeping up momentum too.
The Dak-Dum-Neha (Kathleen)
What have you gained/experienced from this project?
OLLY (Wollies): Absolutely! It was a pleasure working with all of these lovely crafters. Maybe we could get some new recruits and do an even bigger one next time :-)
SHAZ (OddSox): This project has encouraged me to pick up a pen and sketch book a bit more often and I’m enjoying it! It also made me think about how to turn a flat drawing into a three dimensional creature using fabric rather than socks. After seeing my original description evolve into a beautiful drawing and then turn into the gorgeous ‘Inky’ it’s shown me an alternative way of working.
JULIA (Hand Knitted Things): Working with the other contributors has been a great experience. Seeing how others interpret descriptions and designs has been the best part and very inspirational.
KATHLEEN (Murgatroyd and Bean): It was great fun working with Julia, Shaz and Olly and I’d love to do it again some time. The experience has made me think more closely about how I go about translating designs into three dimensional objects. I think that you can sometimes get a bit safe and complacent in your own designs and it’s good to be challenged and made to think about your creative processes. It was a fun and thought provoking exercise.
Would you do it again and would you be brave enough to host one?
SHAZ (OddSox): Definitely! Olly’s template is a perfect one to adapt to other ideas too. I’d consider hosting one in the future but I’d have to clear the decks of other projects first though!
JULIA (Hand Knitted Things): Yes, definitely I’d take part again! If I hosted a RR I’d want to organize it in a similar way to this one.
KATHLEEN (Murgatroyd and Bean): Yes, I’d definitely take part in something similar again and would encourage others to give it a go. Olly did a smashing job pulling it together and I’d agree with Julia & Shaz that she has given us a great template to follow on future Round Robins, so yes, maybe I would be brave enough to host one of my own soon time soon.
For more information about the participants check out their websites and blogs:
Host: Olly (a.k.a. Wollies)
Shaz (a.k.a. OddSox)
Kathleen (a.k.a. Murgatroyd)
Julia (a.k.a. Hand Knitted Things)