Tell us a bit about yourself (name, location, affiliations, personal stuff).
Hi my name is Timothy Haugen I get competitive when I see the work of talented artists. Skilled artists make me want to create something better then what I’ve done in the past. and I live in Minneapolis Minnesota. I make handcrafted collectable toys. I began my toy venture making vintage inspired art toys which included fantastic miniature animal dolls, marionettes and hand puppets, http://www.handcraftedfantastictoys.com. Now I’m into designing adorable soft toys and other goodies exclusively on sale at my Etsy shop. In addition to the sculptural work of softies I also enjoy digital illustration. I have illustrated greeting cards of my characters and combined my illustration and sculptural skills by making paper toys.
What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it?
I remember receiving a kit to make clothes pin people for Christmas. I must of been fairly young because my mom helped me with most of it. Every Christmas the best part was unwrapping the holiday theme pin people from storage and placing them on the tree. My mom was always encouraging my artistic side with crafts. Today she is my most valuable supporter and is always there to help me with my shows.
What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?
Art fairs, gallery shows, antique toys, paper toys, craft stores, and gift shops but I’m mostly inspired by other artists. I get competitive when I see the work of talented artists. Skilled artists make me want to create something better then what I’ve done in the past. For instance I saw some amazing paper toys online and I had to drop everything and make one of my own. I’m always trying to come up with a cuter idea, one better than the last. My favorite part of creating is the design stage then taking that idea and turning it into something tangible.
What are your favorite materials?
I love working with felt. Felt has a long history in the toy world, partly because its so easy to work with. I like taking something (felt) considered crafty or maybe even tacky and turning into a well crafted handmade toy.
What have been the most valuable lessons learned from other artists on Etsy?
Aside from the usual tips about setting up your shop and running a business, don’t pay any attention to Etc. in the forums.
Why should people buy handmade?
I buy handmade because I like to show the artist how much I admire their art and the best way to do that is to support them by buying their work.
What features/services would you most like to see on Etsy?
Besides Etsy I spend most of my online time at flickr. One of the features they have is the ability to leave comments on the photos. I would like to be able to make a comment on other artists work without having to send a convo. Somewhere within the heart section. Sometimes you just want to say that you appreciate someone’s art with an AWESOME!!
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
On a nice day I’m usually taking advantage of the bike paths in Minneapolis area. Otherwise you could find me wandering the aisles of my local craft store trying to find something that I can spend my money on.
Read any good books lately?
I like to collect old books on toy making. Anything from soft toys to puppet making with great vintage illustrations is welcome in my library. I recently acquired a book on making marionettes called, The Complete Book of Marionettes.
In ten years I’d like to be…
Very successful with my art. I dream BIG and hope to accomplish all my goals. A short time goal of mine is to be published or self publish a children’s book with my illustrations.
Right now I’m at a point in my life where my art is taking off and every month there seems to be some good news to share. Etsy has been a part of that success. Thank you Etsy!!