MiVT: Wild Woogs
MORRISVILLE, Vt. (WCAX) - Natalie Carr is a creative spirit, and her work directly reflects that.
“My favorite sport is sewing,” Carr sings.
She says has always been very artistic and started making sculpture creatures out of whatever she could find back in 2014 while she was teaching in Thailand. In 2017, she moved back to the United States and focused on pet portraits in Washington. “But it didn’t feel like, whimsical or warped enough, so I was like, I need to get back to monster-making,” she said.
That’s when she went all-in on Wild Woogs. “Wild Woogs are soft sculptures. They’re made from used materials,” Carr explained. “Vests, sweaters, coats, blankets, fabric scraps that I find on marketplace or Craigslist.”
Carr began selling Wild Woogs at local markets and craft shows after moving to Vermont back in 2020. The critters come to life in her Morrisville studio. They’re all made by hand and are one of a kind. “They all start as little sketches in my sketchbooks, and I usually start with their eyes. So I’ll select the number of eyes that I want to use, five eyes, three eyes, four eyes,” she said. “I also get inspiration from, if I’m hiking and I’ll see a weird shaped mushroom or like a knot in a tree, I’ll be like. That’s a woog face, and I’ll jot it down in my little sketchbook or something or take a picture of it and then draw it later.”
All of the materials she uses are second-hand, including the stuffing and the exterior of the critters. Most of them are soft, but some of them do have breakable clay faces. That’s because unlike your average stuffed animal, these are catered more towards adults than kids. “I wanted to create them to be sophisticated enough where an adult is drawn to them, can see the craftsmanship in them, it can brighten a day after a long workday or whatever. But I also wanted them to be youthful or playful enough where it resonates with your inner child,” she said.
Wild Woogs take a long time to make, from sourcing to hand-stitching and stuffing. Carr says she’s gotten nothing but positive feedback on her adorable animals. “When I first started making them, I’m like, no one is going to buy these, no one is going to pay for these, they take me so long. And people are. People are buying them, people are starting to collect them. I have a lot of people that come back and buy more than one, which I never thought would happen,” she said.
While she hopes to expand to online sales in the future, right now, Wild Woogs are only available at farmer’s markets and holiday craft shows. This unique take on the traditional stuffed animal can only be found -- and made -- in Vermont.
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