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Interview With Amy From Cozy Rampage

September 24th, 2008

In and out of industrial grade design and fabrication for over 25 years, I am currently developing a studio in West Oakland where I can explore ideas for toy design and production. I live with my super geek husband, our laptops and a flowering Padron Pepper plant. I love grilling fish on my balcony.

I can tell Amy from Cozy Rampage is one of those people where I just sort of want to curl up cat like in her workspace to hang out.
ME:“What?! oh am I IN YOUR WAY sitting on all your papers?! Sorry! Let me move my tail out of your coffee at least…”
I’m also attracted to the name Cozy Rampage, like one is rampaging about but still cozily ensconced with your own kind, or something…

Amy will be at You Bazaar! on November2nd!

How did you get your start in toy design?

While on tour with Survival Research Laboratories
in 1992, I met a defunkt French circus called
Archaos. Some of the stragglers were hired as our assistants, and
those people inspired me to create action figures based on real
people. I studied up on circus archetypes, and messed around in my
studio for a few years with designing a collection of
“non-combat-oriented action figures”. The idea was for a time
traveling circus with a human ringleader and runaway domestic robots
as performers.

photo credit to Babalou

Can you also talk about the crafty endeavors that lead up to it?

This is a long convoluted tale of waxing and waning ambitions, all
kinds of luck, and stories within stories… I’ll try to be brief:

I’ve been hella crafty all my life, from the time I was a tiny kid
and broke into my mom’s paint set to make a picture of Winnie the
Pooh. I earned all the arty badges in Girl Scouts. I did a lot of
cross stitch on the front porch as a kid, and learned to knit and
sew and cook as I got older. I went to college twice- 1st for an Art
degree in the late 70’s in NJ, and later for Architecture in the
early 80’s in NYC.

I moved to SF in 1990, and fell in with Survival Research
Laboratories that summer, which was pretty much at the same time
that I fell out with my architectural career. For many years, I had
a swirl of art, design and craft skills that were either too
specific or too general for most paid work, but very welcome in the
volunteer sector. Working in and around the toy industry (paid) and
the machine art scene (volunteer) helped build skills that
eventually opened doors to work in the movie industry as a model maker.

When did you decide to make it your business?

In 1996, I created a business called Big Fun! Amusement Devices, and
built up a prototyping shop that specialized in toy related projects
such as packaging, trade show displays and toy prototypes. There was
a steady stream of word-of-mouth contract work from about 1996 up
until about 2003. I started Cozy Rampage in 2006 to focus on my own

Your plush robots are great!

Thanks! Each new batch brings new features into the design mix. The
most recent figures are asymmetrical and fit together like a puzzle.

What is that shiny material you are using?
A friend from the 80’s: Spandex

What inspired you to start making robots?

I’ve been involved with SRL since 1990, so it’s safe to say that
I’ve been thinking various thoughts about robots for at least that
long. Last summer, I was yammering on about cryptids and hiding and
masks with my husband, Brian, and an idea for robot themed luchas
sprang to mind. The look on his face told me that it was a very good
idea, so I got started right away.

What other crafty plush (or other wise) things are you making lately?

Plush hats, knit baby socks, embroidered tea towels. I taught myself
bookkeeping and bra making, and also spend a crapload of time
uploading pictures to various websites.

What is it about cryptozoology that you like?

I love the intermingling of fact and fantasy, and I love that I have
ownership of the imagery that I can create.

What got you interested in ‘hidden animals’?

A few years ago, my pal, Jill Miller, was working on a large project
called Waiting for Bigfoot, which
involved setting up cameras in a CA Bigfoot Hot Spot and waiting.
Her thesis involved an interesting part of the Bigfoot story – the
way that people interact with the story is a whole culture unto
itself. She inspired me to look at folk art in a new way, and I saw
a wonderful opportunity for me to simplify my techniques and connect
with my interests in archetypes and prototypes.

Do you make up your own creatures?

Yep. My current fascination with cryptids, luchadors, and robots
gives me a wide stream of character permutations to explore.

How do you feel about the pushmi-pullyu? Fact or fiction?

Haha a trick question! It’s both!

Are you a blog junky… admit it! I web stalked you and you have
more blogs than god. I totally understand as I’m one too (I have one
called ).

I’m too lazy or too crazy to build a proper website, and there are
all these free ones that are handy to use and probably get more
traffic than my own site would. I am a confirmed news blog junkie- I
read a lot of political blogs and then need to cleanse my eyeballs
with fashion and tabloid junk.

Do you feel pressured to upkeep all your blogs?

No, it’s totally a fun thing to do. The only pressure is from
buildup- if I don’t process stuff on a regular basis, it piles up
fast. I made a ton of stuff in the years before digital cameras came
about- getting film processed was really expensive, so a lot of
stuff did not get documented and is lost. I really enjoy the ease of
modern picture taking, and having lots of images, and the tools to
manipulate them.

Which is your main one?

I use the Cozy Rampage site on Blogger as a list of things I’ve
made, so that’s probably the main one. It’s not complete by any
means, but it’s linked to all of other sites I use, like Flickr and
yelp! and Linkedin and Tuna Quest and all the others. I know, it’s a
little goofy to click around so much.

Who are some of your favorite bloggers?

Yikes- I have a list of bookmarks a mile long, but here are a few:

and of course boingboing and craftzine – these two provide an
endless stream of cool things to investigate. BTW, I’m enjoying
reading your blogs, originally from posts on the craftzine site, but
now clicking all around. I want to make that little kid’s jacket you
wrote about. Hey, we should link!

I’m always interested in other peoples work habits and work spaces.
Do you set specific work hours for yourself or work when you’re
feeling creative?

My default work condition is Every Day. Depending on what else is
going on, I try to put in at least 3-6 hours a day. If I don’t get
to my studio for one reason or another, well, that’s ok cuz I’ll

probably be there tomorrow. My workspace is about 2 miles from my home.

Are you super organized or messy?

A whole lot of both. I enjoy making a mess, and then cleaning it up
and making the next one. I waitressed for many years and that
probably has something to do with this cycle.

What does your workspace look like (include pictures if you like!)?

It is messy on a truly deep level right now since I moved into it on
Aug 1 and then jumped onto 3 projects in a row. The space is a
lofted area in a warehouse shop with two friends. I climb up a funny
ladder to a space with a sloped roof where I have 2 desks and some
shelves. Here’s a picture of my desk from today.

Who are some of your favorite indie artist/crafters and why do you
love them?

Most of my friends make some kind of art and/or craft, and it’s been
super fun to watch people become jazzed about this or that and start
making stuff more seriously, or trying materials they wouldn’t
normally use. Another posse I belong to, Dismal NV, does a lot of
work in cardboard and paint, so I expect to bring that mojo into my
robot toys soon. Here are some pix from this summer’s big project
where I helped construct the 13 paper mache rocket powered donkeys:

As far as people I haven’t met, I really like Spooky Daddy, Moxie,
Heidi Kenny, Vickangaroo, Hillyhill and Doma.

Thanks so much for your time!
Thanks for asking! See you at the You Bazaar, if not sooner! My
studio is in West Oakland and you are invited over for coffee and a
look-see. is where you can
buy my stuff online. in
Oakland CA is where you can buy stuff in person.

The interviewer, Minnie, also blogs about crafts and other things at Thank You For Not Being Perky.

Interview with Hae Eun Park creator of Planet Tokki

September 19th, 2008

The upcoming You Bazaar in San Francisco (November 2) will be showcasing so many great vendors we decided to share them with you early via interview! I’m excited to post the first one with Hae Eun Park creator of Planet Tokki. You must check out her web site and adorable plush creations!

Planet Tokki is home to silly and quirky creatures with their own stories and different adventures. On Tokki, you’ll find creatures like Plinki the carrotbunny, Dooboo the Tofu man, and legions of squeaky poos. Planet Tokki is lovingly handcrafted by Hae Eun Park, a plush designer that divides her time between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Your web site is cracking me up. I love Planet Tokki and need to move there immediately. Were you a crafty creative kid? Who inspired you most?
Honestly, if I knew where Planet Tokki was, I’d be there right now! When I need that perfect tan and an ocean breeze, I’ve got Hinky Fluff. When I need that brisk winter air, I’ve got Kokkiri!

I’ve always been crafty as a kid in all senses of the word–sneaky and creative. If something in the house was broken, I’d always be the first one there tying it with strips of a tee-shirt, using smashed rice as glue, opening the gadget up and tinkering with its insides. I used to also devise booby traps around the house and backyard for my other 5 hapless siblings to fall into. My biggest creative inspiration is my dad who is an eccentric man. He holds about multiple degrees, is an Acupuncturist, poet, inventor, and now in law school at the ripe age of 70!

Please talk about how you discovered Planet Tokki.
It was late 1999, I was about to enter my junior year in college. I was antsy and my brain yearned for something strange and quirky. I bought an old stuffed animal how-to book at a used bookstore and tried to make my first plush. I failed miserably and made what was supposed to be a squirrel, but looked like a seal/lizard. The error gave me an idea though. I should start making hybrids of creatures and see what happens. They started out as presents for friends and then took on a life of their own.

The story of Planet Tokki came out very naturally on its own. I’d simply look at one and know it was supposed to eat poo, or that this one here was supposed to be the town drunk. There would be no other way about it! I’ve always felt like more of the mouthpiece for this world!

Also, people need to buy many Planet Tokki creatures so that you can fund another trip of discovery to Yang-pa island. What dwells there? Discoveries such as the Daucus lagomorpha, or “Carrot-Bunnies” are def . enough to peak my interest! Do you have any new discoveries you plan to unveil at the You Bazaar?
Yang-Pa island is the newest discovery at Planet Tokki. This island is still a big mystery to the Cheezbourg Naturalist Society of Hinky Fluff Island. Even what is known still perplexes the researchers! Daucus lagomorpha, or Carrot Bunny (aka Plinki) are only one of the many peculiar creatures that reside there. Tofu People are the most pervasive species on the island, but are peaceful and docile. Eggplants, however, are a dangerous lot. Many a luckless victim strayed too close to an eggplant den and found themselves knocked down by a gang of eggplants! Researchers have just discovered a beady-eyed black bean that collapses when approached by creatures other than black beans! More research is pending…

The main research responsible for the discovery is in Hinky Fluff Island and led by diligent Naturalist, Jingy Scubb. Their biggest hurdle is wading through the enormous amounts of red tape in the Hinky Fluff local government. Lately, the authorities have been more distracted by the poo overpopulation that permeates their island than exploration. Only time will tell when the funding will go through. In the meantime, however, Dr. Scubb makes solo treks on her own dime to the island to study the Tofu People.

Do you think that earthlings are ready to be exposed to the Planet Tokkians (correct me if this is the wrong term!)? We can barely steward our own planet and here are all these lovely creatures… I wonder if they can they defend themselves.
Unfortunately, Tokkisomians are blissfully unaware of anything outside their planet. In fact, it was only recently that each island was made aware of each other! As you could imagine, this caused a great upset that lasted for months. Each island believed they were their own planet! So the very idea of Earth is a lost topic in their mind! Fortunately for Tokkisomians, no earthling will ever find Planet Tokki, as this planet exists on a parallel dimension.

I don’t doubt that Tokkisomians can defend themselves either. Matilda, a swamp moose in Hinky Fluff, is known for charging intruders and smothering them with her underbelly; Carrot Bunnies have a mean bite when cornered; Ninja Barnacles are painstakingly trained in the art of Barnacle Ninjitsu!

Are you a contributor to the Cheezbourger Daily? If so, how do you communicate with the rest of newspaper staff? Do you have a universal translator? What is your office/discovery laboratory like?
The Cheezbourger Daily is sent to me via bike messenger who is mum on the details. I only wish I could contribute to such thought-provoking investigative journalism! My own office is my apartment filled with stacks and stacks of fabric, a laptop, and endless amounts of fluff flying about. Sometimes I find plush stuffing in my cereal…

I’m sad to read that you may be taking some time off from being an ambassador to Planet Tokki. Say it ain’t so!!!
It’s true. I will be putting Planet Tokki on hold as of May 2008, but this is not an end. In fact, the hold is so that Planet Tokki can grow. As it stands now, I can’t continue to design, create the story, and sew all these little guys at the same time with the growth that is occurring with the company. So, I am researching solutions. When it returns, Planet Tokki will be bigger and more polished. Just wait and see..

Can I get a date with Goomi?! He’s hot!
Goomi….I spoke to some Hammies on Kokkiri Island who said there are rumors that Goomi is indeed looking. I’ll keep you posted! A barnacle king that can cook and fight? I see what all the fuss is about!

You can buy Planet Tokki plush at:
Wink SF, 4107 24th Street, San Francisco, CA
Planet Tokki will also be at the following craft fairs:
You Bazaar – November 2
Felt Club – November 16
San Francisco Bazaar SF – November 30

or online at

The interviewer, Minnie, also blogs about crafts and other things at Thank You For Not Being Perky.

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