Vendor Spotlight: Live.Dream.Create but Please Don’t Eat This Food
Live. Dream. Create: it seems like an easy mantra to abide by but as adults it’s easy to overlook the magic of using your imagination. Krystal Tomlinson hasn’t forgotten how to do it, in fact, her felt and polyfil stuffed food and animal toys encourage customers to play just like they did when they were kids.
“Some of the adults think that they’re so cute and they want to get one, but they don’t know what to do with it,” Tomlinson says. Don’t worry—she assures me that they make great desktop trinkets for your cubicle. Besides boosting play and alleviating stress, the toys are highly stylized to look aesthetically pleasing in just about any space (think Claes Oldenburg without the vinyl or towering scales on Etsy).
“Children will run up and immediately know what things are. Even toddlers have wobbled over and said ‘Sushi!’ Their parents look at them and say ‘You’ve never had sushi in your life! How do you know that’s what it is?’” remarks Tomlinson. “A lot of my foodstuff I try to get it as realistic as I can. Sometimes it’s hard to recreate the colors with felt, but I try to make things that are more unusual to find.”
Among the pieces that Tomlinson brings to Night Market Cleveland is a large sushi set that comes with 3 onigiri (rice balls) with different facial expressions, 3 pieces of maki sushi roll, 6 nigiri (tamago or egg, ebi or shrimp, maguro or tuna, sake or salmon, ika or squid, and toro or fatty tuna), and 2 fortune cookies. You can also separately purchase a felt take out box styled after those at Chinese eateries. Each plushie takes on average one to two hours to create depending on how many pieces are involved and their size.
“I do little felt fortune cookies and they have paper fortunes in them that you can take out and fill in with your own fortune if you want. Those are reusable and fun,” she says. Whether you’re utilizing her creations to plan out the perfect scavenger hunt or even a marriage proposal, the products themselves spontaneously suggest that you’ll enjoy doing it.
Live.Dream.Create’s play sets are a favorite amongst daycare teachers looking to brighten up the classroom with an unplugged toy. They’re better to share than real food as these can be cleaned by hand or in the washing machine on a gentle cycle and air-dried. The eco-friendly felt won’t loose its color or fall apart. The items are also sustainable and environmentally conscious; the materials are made from recycled plastics in the USA.
On any given final Friday during the summer, Live.Dream.Create’s NMCLE booth is packed to the edges with Tomlinson’s creations. She brings octopus, baby dragons, sheep, campfire sets, fruit, fish, veggies, doughnuts, s’mores, and her Poptart cozies and iPad cases, organized by type and loaded into stacked crates. “There’s so much stuff I love about Night Market. It’s been my favorite show so far. People are welcoming, asking questions and being genuinely interested in the process. They come play with the stuff, and that’s what it is all about.”
When she isn’t participating at Night Market, Tomlinson can be found at her shop, located at 5245-3B Darrow Rd. Hudson, Ohio, opened only a year and a half ago. The 400 sq. foot space is just big enough to house Live.Dream.Create’s inventory and give the owner a permanent workspace to sew and assemble all of her goods. She also hosts a revolving boutique of 25 local artists’ products in the shop. “It’s not always the super busiest location,” Tomlinson says, “so there are weeks when I do miss interacting with people and I can’t wait to go out and do another show.”
Come visit Live.Dream.Create on August 26th from 5 to 11 p.m, at NMCLE to play with Tomlinson’s handmade toys in person. Make sure you don’t leave your imagination at home!
photographs by Hien Nguyen