The idea for moveable totem poppets — puppet animal shapes — first came to artist Erin Sparler in 2001. “At that time they were more fine art and conceptual,” says Erin. “I always knew they were meant to move, though.” It was years later, in 2012, that she came up with the idea to create chipboard shapes of her designs for use in crafting and art projects. Her business EyeConnect now sells these moveable embellishments that can be painted, stenciled, stamped, and otherwise decorated — including with IMAGINE Crafts products, as you’ll see — for unique accents to any crafting project.
Eyeconnect’s line of Totem Poppets features a wide range of animal shapes, from the snail to the whale. They are made to be assembled with eyelets for pose-ability.
EyeConnect also sells Lace-ups, shapes that are designed to be assembled with ribbon, lace, leather or strin. This playful line includes a hot-air balloon, a stocking & garter belt set and a corset.
The emphasis on totems make these embellishments unique as crafting items. A totem, says Erin, “is an animal you feel a connection or affinity too. It may be an animal that you see often in your day-to-day life, or an animal that has traits that reflects your personality or just speaks to you.” On EyeConnect’s website, each item includes a description of the animal and what the totem means; the crab, for instance, “is a symbol of the cycles of renewal and regeneration…If you have a crab as a totem, consider approaching your goals from a different direction.” But if totems aren’t your thing, you’ll still find the animal shapes versatile enough to be used as creative elements in your projects.
The shapes’ kinetic elements also make them distinctive. They can be posed in a particular way:
or used in a project where they are meant to be moved around — like this owl, held up by little Elon, Erin’s son.
Here are a few ideas for using the shapes: add them to scrapbooks, art journals, and greeting cards; hang them from a mobile, a wreath, or a chandelier; affix them to a canvas; put them on a chopstick and play with them as shadow puppets. “The ‘pose-abilities’ are really endless,” says Erin. Fresh ideas can be found on EyeConnect’s blog, which is frequently updated with new projects by both EyeConnect designers and other bloggers and artists.
Keep an eye out for new EyeConnect releases in the spring, which — sneak peek! — will include mythological creatures and fantasy animals.
Erin used irRESISTibles for all the fab projects you see here. To inspire you to make your own creations, she provided us with a tutorial for this gorgeous horse:
Totem Poppet Horse
irRESISTible Neon Texture Spray in Electric Purple, Electric Blue and Electric Pink
irRESISTible Pico Embellishers in Wedding Dress and Tuxedo Black
1/16″ brass Eyelets
1. Coloring: Pop the pieces out of the chipboard backing before spraying them. I sprayed the pieces with irRESISTible Texture Spray in Purple, Blue and Pink. I did not coat the pieces completely; I decided to let a little of the chipboard show through for interest. Tip: Lay out your pieces and decide which direction you want your animal to face before painting.
2. Trick: Attach the legs and wings that you want to be in the back first. The joint holes are covered by the front legs and if you place them on first, it will be very difficult to get the back one on.
3. Assembly: You can use 1/16″ eyelets to attach your pieces, as I did here. Or you can also use mini-brads, twine, a rubber band or even a dab of glue (although then the piece won’t be move-able.)
4. Detailing: I normally like to add the detailing to my pieces before assembling them. This way the detailing goes all the way behind the pieces, which I just think looks cool. However, since this one had just a little detailing on the wings and the tail, I decided to add it after assembly. I used the irRESISTible Pico Embellisher in Wedding Dress on his tail and wings, and the black on his hooves and for an eye.
At some point I think I may come back and add a mane and more detailing as well. I like to live — and play — with my designs for a little while. As I look at them I often see things I want to add. So, I find its best to err on the side of less is more at first and then I can add more detailing as I think of it.
Once my Totem Pegasus was complete, I used a dab of Gorilla glue to attach him to a skewer so that I could play with him. Finished size is between 5-7”. You could also place him in a scrapbook, on a greeting card, or in an art journal with a bit of double sided foam tape. The “Pose-abilities” are endless!
Giveaway! How would you use EyeConnect products? Comment on this post by Monday, November 24, for the chance to win a totem, eyelets and a bottle of irRESISTible!