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Short Stories: Heinz Bean Can

Feb 6, 2013

by hollylevell

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Here at Etsy, we believe that the story behind an object is often just as fascinating as the object itself. Short Stories is our series dedicated to telling the tales behind extraordinary pieces found or created by Etsy sellers.
Here’s Holly with the tale of an unusual can of beans.
I’m a textile artist who specialises in softening the lines of solid ideas. I’m inspired by our daily surroundings and the unnoticed aspects of life, and how I can alter the status and meaning of objects with my unique textile craft technique.
The Heinz Bean can is where my Supermarket Stitch project came from. I was exploring different objects we come into contact with on a daily basis, and found groceries were a rich area for study. We shop each week in these massive supermarkets and come out with baskets full of goods. After we use them, the packaging is just thrown away, but the beauty of the packaging is what draws us into making those purchases.


Looking at the Heinz Bean can in detail led to this project. I started stitching a flat bean can in my room and began to wonder if I could recreate the can in stitched textiles, transforming it into a soft, nostalgic object. That first can I made was not the best — I had no clue what I was doing. There was a lot of trial and error — parts are taken apart and re-sewn together a good few times until I get the ketchup bottle lid to look just right or the ring pull on a can to look as though you could actually pull on it. I’ve definately got a knack for making certain things now.

We all have a certain fondness for the foods and products that surround us in our lives. Beans on toast on a rainy day or a bottle of Heinz Tomato ketchup in the middle of our table at home become part of our world. I like to think I’m making soft squidgy versions of our lives to hold on to.
All photos courtesy of Holly Levell.

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80 comments

  • maggiesraggedyinn said 6 years ago

    Wow... what amazing work. These items are so well made, a true artist!!!!

  • IsabellaDiSclafani said 6 years ago

    These are fantastic! Well done and unique...congratulations on the feature!

  • LivingVintage said 6 years ago

    Awesome work! Interesting.

  • DecadesOfVintage said 6 years ago

    Your work is just fabulous and unique..

  • Xenotees said 6 years ago

    So great!

  • ThePattypanShop said 6 years ago

    Great work!!

  • SusieBOriginals said 6 years ago

    Congrats on getting all those TM licenses!

  • mattyhandmadecrafts said 6 years ago

    Sweet!

  • gertieloo88 said 6 years ago

    Just an incredible re-imagining of the stuff of everyday banality. All the best!

  • katrinaalana said 6 years ago

    I want the diet coke soft sculpture! Great work! I love your perspective on everyday objects. You've turned something so commercial into a work of art.

  • TreadleLady said 6 years ago

    I love these!!! Looks like a lot of work went into each of these soft sculpture foods. Great work and shop.

  • enthaity said 6 years ago

    Very interesting and good ideas.

  • lepetitowlet said 6 years ago

    Susie B from SusieBOriginals says: Congrats on getting all those TM licenses! __________________ What Susie said!

  • rorymosman said 6 years ago

    These are awesome! So true how often I am persuaded to buy one thing over another by the look of the product packaging! I would love to have a few of these around, and my kids would love them for their play kitchen area! Great work keep it up!

  • GourmetHandbags said 6 years ago

    I love how cute and whimsical these are. I really love food themed items.

  • rorymosman said 6 years ago

    These are awesome! So true how often I am persuaded to buy one thing over another by the look of the product packaging! I would love to a few of these around! My kids would love to have a few for their play kitchen too! Very nice, thanks for sharing!

  • DantesSpirit said 6 years ago

    Please tell us you got the permission of the trademark/copyright holders to create your items based off their items? Otherwise, you're making it look like practicing trademark/copyright infringment is ok, when really, it's not.

  • christineshmisteen said 6 years ago

    so cute~ I love these

  • MegansMenagerie said 6 years ago

    Amazing!

  • amyblandford said 6 years ago

    Very cool! I'm even more impressed that you were able to get permission from all of those companies to recreate their trademarked names & logos on your products. Where I work we license a lot of art, so I know it can be a complicated and costly process! I'm sure a lot of sellers would be really interested to hear how you went about doing that, people are constantly asking about it in the forums.

  • theresatron said 6 years ago

    Its like being transported through a cushiony soft fluffy world of my childhood lol

  • LeasaMarie said 6 years ago

    Soooo Fun!! You make me want to get out my felt and stitch away~

  • auntjanecan said 6 years ago

    Amazing textile art~

  • CafePrimrose said 6 years ago

    Very cool!

  • rebeccagoebel said 6 years ago

    Amazing .. these are so cute :))

  • WoodlandCottage said 6 years ago

    One suggestion: BACON.

  • mazedasastoat said 6 years ago

    Yeah, I was wondering about the copyright aspect of it too... great that such large companies will allow you to makea soft version of their products. Do you just ask?

  • unastigsdottir said 6 years ago

    Wow great work. They look so just right in terms of handmade. I love them all. Love from Iceland.

  • olusholaj said 6 years ago

    That's pretty cool.

  • PurpleButtonCrafts said 6 years ago

    Amazing work!

  • sherischart said 6 years ago

    Endless possibilities placing your childhood memories back into play. Andy's color of his wig just turned green. Hah. Warmest Wishes to your Etsy Year come true.

  • emwi said 6 years ago

    I love these! I always love fun ideas in textile art to make new objects. Great feature!

  • alwaysursblankets said 6 years ago

    wow i love these!!! you are very talented!

  • constructiongirl said 6 years ago

    Truly stunning work...I am even MORE confused by copyright issues than before though...

  • feltonthefly said 6 years ago

    Fascinating work....

  • artdecadence said 6 years ago

    Think the companies would be rapt...fabulous work...Andy Warhol would also love! Your details, and obviously patience, are inspiring!

  • FallenAngelBrass said 6 years ago

    The licensing must have cost a fortune. I know that Coke alone would break my bank.

  • laceyanne29 said 6 years ago

    The work is lovely. I'm not a fan of highly processed, packaged foods though.

  • felixpuncrocoi said 6 years ago

    Hobnobs! Oh I wanna go back to England!

  • fbstudiovt said 6 years ago

    I love the tribute to the beauty of packaging. Most of us walk through the isle of our grocery stores and co-ops, not giving a second thought to all the hundreds of hours of packaging design that goes into each product on the shelves. There are so many artists behind those plastic labels, and I'm sure many of them would be thrilled to see their designs reproduced in a handmade soft sculpture!

  • ArtOfNathanielBart said 6 years ago

    Do these keep well?

  • LetsAllMakeBelieve said 6 years ago

    love! i want English Breakfast now :)

  • Mindielee said 6 years ago

    I'm adding my name to those who would love to know how you obtained permission to use the trademarked names and logos of these famous companies.

  • SissysArt said 6 years ago

    Nice work but isn't that stuff violating trademarks?

  • JLynnSupplies said 6 years ago

    Hope you can find some creativity someday..............

  • artglassfusion said 6 years ago

    I too would love to know how you obtained permission to use the trademarked names and logos of these famous companies....I think a lot of people would.

  • QueenBeeVintiques said 6 years ago

    That's thinking outside the bean can! Talent and imagination...fabulous!

  • edwardheinz said 6 years ago

    AWESOME!!!! I Especially LOVE the Heinz Beans and Heinz ketchup bottle considering my last name is Heinz . Job well done you arre trully a fellow artist.

  • isewcute said 6 years ago

    Fascinating to see what drives a person's creativity!

  • happycat2 said 6 years ago

    Amazing!

  • HouseZiccardi said 6 years ago

    The talent shown is undeniable. The questions raised concerning trademark/copyright have certainly been highlighted.

  • claudiadelrio said 6 years ago

    Amazing work, well done.

  • ESTATENOW said 6 years ago

    WOW.. Amazing..

  • poosiekat said 6 years ago

    Lovely work.

  • DeepSilence said 6 years ago

    Interesting.

  • hollytron said 6 years ago

    This is a really lovely Idea, and beautifully executed - I've always loved the Lyles Golden syrup tin, and it looks so hugable in fabric form! <3

  • teatimealchemist said 6 years ago

    cute work, i love it <3

  • ScruffyKat said 6 years ago

    ~These are great I love how you used thread to "shade" in the letters so cool~

  • bbandjBakery said 6 years ago

    What an amazing amount of detail and great work! You have a true talent!

  • EdensWake said 6 years ago

    awesome, i love this!

  • gracearchives said 6 years ago

    So creative! What a fun form of art:)

  • iammieCLAYshop said 6 years ago

    So fun!

  • oliviajoffrey said 6 years ago

    Holy frijoles. So creative & original. I would like to feature you on my blog. Will be contacting you...Olivia

  • minouette said 6 years ago

    That's awesome!

  • kalarae17 said 6 years ago

    How cool!

  • sianilou said 6 years ago

    I absolutely LOVE Holly and her work! And as to the rights question obviously she has permission or she wouldn't be adversing them online! To be honest guys, think it's probably easier to message Holly directly with questions than comment! Much love xx

  • FreakyPeas said 6 years ago

    ....squidgy!

  • pouch said 6 years ago

    Amazing work...this lady's shop is like a run-down of the top 20 most loved foods from the United Kingdom...you haven't lived until you've eaten a packet of Quavers! I imagine this shop would be pretty popular with all the ex-pats who can't get their hands on the real thing anymore :)

  • DeathByVintage said 6 years ago

    cool beans...xoxo j

  • mazedasastoat said 6 years ago

    Sian-Louise, I think we were hoping for a public statement from Holly about copyright issues... or even better, a feature by her on Etsy about how to get the license to use household names. Surely it would be easier for her to just post a mass reply than to answer everyone individually? We're not (or at least, I wasn't) insinuating that she's doing anything illegal, but copyright is a problem for many of us & I'm sure we'd all be interested in learning how to go about getting the appropriate permissions.

  • thecatspyjamas said 6 years ago

    Great work!

  • aressa said 6 years ago

    So cute and unique!

  • jwlc said 6 years ago

    Spectacular work! Man, if I had these when I played house as a kid...

  • mlezcano said 6 years ago

    I've just spent some time in England and love the way you've used so many of the English favorites, marmite for one or Quavers! Awesome,

  • Wallboss said 6 years ago

    Very cool!

  • onlymadeonce said 6 years ago

    Wow. This is great stuff! Love them

  • nativestrandsjewelry said 6 years ago

    These look like fun items!

  • wonbien said 6 years ago

    Awesome stuff. Awesome.

  • BaxCatandCo said 6 years ago

    Very cool, thank you for sharing!

  • LittleBeeSquibsCraft

    Bee Squibs from BeeSquibsDesigns said 6 years ago

    wow truly Brilliant work .

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