Textile artist Cat Rabbit first took to plush toys as a way to pass the time. “I first started making little plush toys for friends when I was studying at university,” she explained in an interview with AG Gallery. But what began as a simple hobby would soon blossom into a career. “My interest in textiles grew from there and I began experimenting with embroidery and 3D felt techniques,” she says.
Based in Melbourne, her work includes illustrating books for children and collaborating with her creative friend, Isobel Knowles, under the name Soft Stories. But it’s her plush toys, or rather, soft sculptures, that really made a splash. All completely hand sewn, her pieces are made without using a pattern, so that each one is a stand-alone work.
As such, her work—though undeniably playful— isn’t meant to be played with, but rather, admired from a safe distance. “I like my work to engage a wide audience, so there are elements that appeal to young children and also an older generation,” says Rabbit. “My main objective when creating new work for exhibition is to incite feelings of comfort, joy and nostalgia – when I make a piece that encapsulates all of these elements, I am satisfied with the work!”
Her whimsical characters include a croissant-headed creature and anthropomorphized mushrooms. “I like to devise new characters all the time!” says Rabbit. “I get an idea in my head or sketch something out and am not satisfied until I work it up into a 3D character.”
Take a look at some of her work in the gallery below.