BUY THIS NOW: MONSTER AND THE SQUIRREL MAKE CUTE AND CREEPY CREATURES
During the East Village’s recent Second Saturday Art Walk, one tent stood out from among the others. Manned by local Long Beach couple Regina—“The Squirrel”—and Molly—“Monster”—a lively setup of felt creatures drew me to their table, where cardboard boxfuls of wild-eyed, crayola-colored faces stared back at me.
Do-it-yourself craft-dom is flourishing rather quickly—knitted and handmade things are popping up everywhere, and the sewing machine is the new apparatus of choice. For Monster and the Squirrel, making things with their hands has become a big part of their lifestyle.
The two women started not too long ago. In April of this year, confined to her bed after getting her wisdom teeth removed, Regina/The Squirrel began to sew. Five months and a ton of felt, embroidery thread, buttons, hot glue, and googley eyes later, the animated pair have manufactured their own burgeoning menagerie of stuffed monsters, creatures crafted from their imaginations.
The toys might look crudely constructed—with purposefully bare thick thread-lines and imperfect stitches—but it’s that sweet and flawed textile that makes it more endearing than an immaculate teddy bear from, say, Hallmark.
Each creature can take up to eight hours to make. Regina, when not working at the Art Supply Warehouse, spends much of her time on her rocking chair working while watching movies. “I don’t mind because we are in our thirties . . . and we’re over the whole drinking and partying thing. I love to sew. It’s fun,” she says.
They draw from their love of old toys, cartoons, and bits and pieces from their youth. Molly’s a big monster fan. Regina’s into old Japanese ceramic statues. And their assorted styles come together and produce felt monsters, cats, owls, bears, and ghosts that are all together cute and creepy.
The two also paint and make art on the side, and their work will be showcased at the Koo’s Art Café Halloween show this year. Monster and the Squirrel merchandise can be found online at Etsy.com or myspace.com/monsterandthesquirrel and at the Kids Are Alright boutique (on the corner of Redondo Ave. and E. Broadway). In addition, the two frequent other local art vendor fairs in and around Long Beach.