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Process: Tin Toys by Loran Scruggs

Feb 11, 2009

by loranscruggs

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(Music by Eric Beug and Boolar. Animation by JuliaPott

Up in the most northern and western part of the United States lies the artsy little town of Port Townsend, Washington. There, in a chilly workshop, artisan Loran Scruggs fashions whistles, airplanes, elephants, sculptures, and all sorts of amazing oddities from the tin that she collects from all over the world. She uses the tab and slot method in upcycling the tin, an abundant and colorful resource.

We were lucky enough to catch up with Loran this December. We visited her studio to produce the fifth video in our Process series, where we focus on the artists’ flow and the conception of handmade items, as shown by the unique and inspiring artisans who make them.

See more Process videos from this series.


  • LaireMarie

    LaireMarie said 11 years ago

    Impressive! Looks like a lot of time put in to making these - very NICE!

  • AlloverArt

    AlloverArt said 11 years ago

    Fun!! Great work! :)

  • baconsquarefarm

    baconsquarefarm said 11 years ago

    Oh my, love her creations and style~ funky fun~ eclectic~ whimsical too~ Great story and read.

  • redyellowandblueink

    redyellowandblueink said 11 years ago

    great video piece. It is so cool to watch and listen to a crafter's process. And great to hear there are other people out there who fascinate at a box or a tin can.

  • PeppermintDaydreams

    PeppermintDaydreams said 11 years ago

    i'm truly a fan of packaging too! i adore your creations Loran!

  • behappynow

    behappynow said 11 years ago

    very beautiful and happy article !

  • dogties

    dogties said 11 years ago

    Great article & Awesome Toys Thanks for sharing!

  • BabbidgePatch

    BabbidgePatch said 11 years ago

    Super cool! wonderful work Loran!

  • thegratulatest

    thegratulatest said 11 years ago

    Oh this is great! I'm also a collector of tin toys. I've got some on my Etsy site including an original tin gun.

  • boopalinabebe

    boopalinabebe said 11 years ago

    Port Townsend is a well-known artisan community, and it's no wonder why with amazingly talented craftspeople like Loran!

  • DuBuhDuDesigns

    DuBuhDuDesigns said 11 years ago

    That was a nicely done video~I love to watch other create, paint, build,'s very relaxing and interesting. Your work is great Loran!!

  • FancifulForm

    FancifulForm said 11 years ago

    Adorable work! I love it!

  • chalkydoodles

    chalkydoodles said 11 years ago

    I love the vintage-look of the pieces. Very nostalgic!

  • IcingOnTheCupcake

    IcingOnTheCupcake said 11 years ago

    Wow, these are such fun pieces!

  • nfall2rt

    nfall2rt said 11 years ago

    What lovely work! It's great to see a video of someone creating because you can get lost in their process with them!

  • gloilocksandbody

    gloilocksandbody said 11 years ago

    What a cozy little shop! Makes me wish I had one of my own. The video was great :D

  • worksofwhimsy

    worksofwhimsy said 11 years ago

    I love this stuff. So fun and bright.

  • blinkonmynose

    blinkonmynose said 11 years ago

    Love tin toys!

  • jodieflowers

    jodieflowers said 11 years ago

    Awesome!!! Very inspiring! I love her work!

  • bellasparty

    bellasparty said 11 years ago

    Great video. Love the pieces!

  • pogoshop

    pogoshop said 11 years ago

    I love those whistles! Kids don't have whistles anymore, do they? The bottle caps and bright colors are wonderful.

  • patriciasaabdesigns

    patriciasaabdesigns said 11 years ago

    The perfect toys for grown up kids!

  • dragonhouseofyuen

    dragonhouseofyuen said 11 years ago

    what wonderful tin toys - just love it all! I am also an admirer of littleblackrabbit who makes wonderful bird tin art!

  • vantiani

    vantiani said 11 years ago

    Oh I love tin toys! And I definitely LOVE this post! Thanks a lot for sharing this, Vantiani.

  • Iammie

    Iammie said 11 years ago

    Cute Stuffs!

  • EpicBones

    EpicBones said 11 years ago

    oh great idea! i love the vintage collectables!

  • elizabethwren

    elizabethwren said 11 years ago

    Just wonderful!

  • redcrowgoods

    redcrowgoods said 11 years ago

    Tin toys are so awesome. It is great seeing the "lost arts" Kept alive by dedicated craft folks. Great video article. Thank you for sharing.

  • loranscruggs

    loranscruggs said 11 years ago

    Eric, the video is great! Ahead of schedule too. Thanks for coming to PT and holding up in our chill air.

  • katiearms

    katiearms said 11 years ago

    Oh wow, really beautiful video. Loran, you're an inspiration!

  • beautifulbridget

    beautifulbridget said 11 years ago

    Wow! Impressive!!

  • weirdwolf Admin

    weirdwolf said 11 years ago

    One of my favorite Etsy shops! Fantastic video. So great to see Loren in her studio working those beautiful old tins...

  • strozzistawzeeh

    strozzistawzeeh said 11 years ago

    YELLOW PHILIPPINES!!!!!! Im proud to be PINAY!!!!!

  • strozzistawzeeh

    strozzistawzeeh said 11 years ago

    lovely process! it feeds me a lots of ideas!

  • twolefthands

    twolefthands said 11 years ago

    Great video, my grandsons love their whistles!

  • theduskyjewel

    theduskyjewel said 11 years ago

    Love the ladybug and vintage bottlecaps!

  • StudioAMF

    StudioAMF said 11 years ago

    I love her commentary on using hand tools. I have a studio full of power tools and can appreciate sometimes wanting to simplify. I do love my power tools though! Crochet during the day, power tools at night!

  • ColorTheSky

    ColorTheSky said 11 years ago

    A huge fan of tin toys & thrilled to find this seller. Thanks

  • uncorked

    uncorked said 11 years ago

    I have bought 2 of Loran's whistles and they not only look amazing, but they are the only thing that gets my dog in the house! Awesome video Loran! You are an inspiration!

  • urbanwoodswalker

    urbanwoodswalker said 11 years ago

    Way to GO Loran! ♥ Love LOVE your work...ALL of it! ♥

  • brownbunnybyiris

    brownbunnybyiris said 11 years ago

    Very cool work!

  • gilhooly

    gilhooly said 11 years ago

    Loran,Thank you for making such wonderful works and sharing your process and space with the world. I just love seeing artist's studios and tools! All the Best to you, Barbara

  • Vanessa Admin

    Vanessa said 11 years ago

    Loran, I sent this video to a friend of a friend from Port Townsend. She says she knows you! Her name is Counsel. Anyways, small world!...Small world filled with great handmade items! Way to go with finding such beauty in what many would consider trash.

  • jensingh

    jensingh said 11 years ago

    What a great piece-I truly enjoyed seeing that wonderful slice of an artist's life-viva la flow!

  • loranscruggs

    loranscruggs said 11 years ago

    thank you so much everyone! what wonderful comments. Also a great big thank you to Eric and Kelly and the person at etsy who told Eric about my tin work.

  • MakeMeOver

    MakeMeOver said 11 years ago

    What a creative process! I love the recycling of vintage tins - I enjoy recycling of vintage fabrics almost in the same fashion. "The flow" does work it's majic!! Thank you so much for sharing your talents with all of us.

  • GommStudios

    GommStudios said 11 years ago

    I was a metal sculptor before dedicating myself to stained glass art. The video reminded me of the days when I wanted to learn more about metal smithing. Very wonderful to see you doing your inspirational work.

  • Signs

    Signs said 11 years ago

    These are all so awesome! :D I love these toys.

  • Geminimoondesigns

    Geminimoondesigns said 11 years ago

    She is a genius!

  • tiedyedmonkeys

    tiedyedmonkeys said 11 years ago

    I love vintage tin toys, and it is wonderful to see someone creating with that kind of feel. I also love the reusing of stuff that would be thrown away! Thanks for sharing.

  • chubbycheeksweaters

    chubbycheeksweaters said 11 years ago

    Very clever!

  • sisply

    sisply said 11 years ago


  • sandali

    sandali said 11 years ago

    Classic -- love this !!

  • reginasstudio

    reginasstudio said 11 years ago

    What an inspiration, and to think all this tin could be taking up space on our planet in a land fill, and instead it is these beautiful pieces of art- you rock Loran!!

  • onewomanstudio

    onewomanstudio said 11 years ago

    Really great work- I truly believe we could all live (and create!) forever on what we find, save, scrounge, recycle, repurposed- you get the idea!

  • mythunderstood

    mythunderstood said 11 years ago

    Love it!!!!!!!

  • floraldots

    floraldots said 11 years ago

    Very unique. Great Job!

  • QuercusSilver

    QuercusSilver said 11 years ago

    So great, I watched it twice!

  • califrag

    califrag said 11 years ago

    So awesome - my custom ordered 'copter Loran is AMAZING.

  • PreciousPromisesAust

    PreciousPromisesAust said 10 years ago

    I love the whistles, very creative.

  • mingtaphotography

    mingtaphotography said 10 years ago

    Great!!! So amazing!!!

  • rasehallstudios

    rasehallstudios said 10 years ago

    I want to share this on Facebook!

  • Yayahandicraft

    Yayahandicraft said 10 years ago

    Amazing!! I'm so impressive, she is a really artist!

  • SaltysPirateDen

    SaltysPirateDen said 10 years ago

    too cool !

  • omordah

    omordah said 9 years ago

    Something about these little sculptures just grabs you! I love them!

  • yaelfran

    yaelfran said 9 years ago

    amazing!!!! CONGRATS!!!!! Yael

  • SomewhereInMyAttic

    SomewhereInMyAttic said 9 years ago

    love them, very creative.

  • dabbledesigns

    dabbledesigns said 9 years ago

    Awesome toys and a good use of recycling!

  • giraffroandfriends

    giraffroandfriends said 9 years ago

    I love these vintage toys!!

  • WiltsieBridgeCS

    WiltsieBridgeCS said 9 years ago


  • glampad

    glampad said 9 years ago

    I luv this! I luv that she uses materials that were destined to be tossed away...

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