Tuesday, February 28, 2006

About The Office

Ok, so maybe Broadway isn't the best word to describe Bliss, but seriously you name any classic musical or Disney Cartoon and I guarantee Bliss will know at least one of the songs front to back, and will then seranade you with her own rendition.
ps...this is a piece of mouse artwork, i still need a little practice.

The reason I am bringing up Bliss and her lovely singing, is the fact that at the Monster Factory we like to sing, actually we love to sing. Recently we have even begun singing out lines of our conversations rather than saying them...seriously we really are doing this.

I suppose the studio side of the office might have more singing than the office side, long hours hunched over the juki's or cutting out monsters around the table definitely inspire or require a little sing along now and again.

Karaoke, Home-aroke, choral style, pop songs, triple trio, you name it, we are singing it.
So stay tuned all of you who share our passion of singing, you never know when we might start auditioning for more members to the Monster Factory Choir!

And before I go, I thought I would list my current three favorite sing along songs:
(and I am hoping that the rest of the Factory will add their top three aswell!)

1. Fiona Apple ~ Extrodinary Machine
2. Melanie ~ Rollerskates or the Kansas Song
3. Elvis ~ Blue Moon of Kentucky

and what are yours?

Just in Time for Spring

The Monster Factory is growing once again. Hot on the heels of our recently released 'Little Blisses' come even more monsters. We posted PAX, who will join the 'Monsternauts' series, the other day and today we finished a last round of prototyping on six more monsters. We're not sure on names yet but there will be two new monster families.

With the Spring One of a Kind Show only 4 weeks away we've got a lot of work to do but we plan to have all these new additions on hand for the show.

These guys are pretty manic. Picture them running around throughout monster world being chased by various field creatures. They're probably also sceaming. The coloured scribbles on their heads are berries so I guess they'll be a source of food (just the berries, not the whole monster). The line work on the monsters in the photo will all be replaced with silkscreened drawings once these guys are in production. Around the studio they've been known as the 'berry bunch'.

Emmitt and Stephen. These two guys are big favourites. Again, the sloppy marker drawings will be replaced with silkscreening, but generally this is what Emmitt and Stephen are going to look like. They're twin brothers and a little thug-ish but beyond that that we're still working on their story.

Emmitt's close-up.

Here's PAX again, just so he doesn't feel left out.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Artist of The Week:
Tara Donovan

Colony, 2002
A few weeks back I stumbled upon the most amazing work, via a link on illustrator and fellow blogger Shannon Lowry's site. The artist's name is Tara Donovan, and she creates these incredible and unbelievable sculptural instillations from common everyday objects.

Untitled, 2003
Viewed from afar her pieces look like bizarre and beautiful abstract landscapes.

Untitled, Detail, 2003
It is not until you get up close, that you realize what these delicate cloudy masses or jagged sculptural terrains, are actually made up of; Donovan uses a variety of ordinary materials, such as styrophoam cups, pencils, or tooth pics, grouped together in large quantities to create her site specific and "site responsive" pieces.

Moire, 1999
Each material's properties are explored and put to the test, coils of adding machine paper are stacked in large piles of varying heights, and steel pins are arranged in a large cube, held together by only "friction and gravity"... it is all really quite outstanding!

I hope you enjoy her work as much as I have.

You can read more and see more about New York artist Tara Donavan's work here and here.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Week in Review:
(February 20 - 24th)

Reading Week: It's that time of the year again when university students get to take a break from their hectic schedules. I wish the Monster Factory had a reading week... we'd probably have to become a university first. While some of them stayed in the city, others took the opportunity to do other fun and exciting things.

So, what did some of our workstudy students get up to? Xandra took off for the sun in California. She spent her week visiting Orange County, home of the O.C and Gwen Stefani. She's a big fan so it only seems appropriate.

Meanwhile, Daniela spent her week visiting her hometown so that she could take care of some dental work. Probably not the most ideal way to spend a week off, but we all know how important taking care of our pearly whites are.

Needless to say, we miss them and look forward to their return.

Production: People often ask us how long it takes to make a monster and it's usually a round about kind of answer. The Spring One of a Kind show begins in four weeks and three days and we need to make a lot of monsters. We'd like to have a nice amount of stock there so we're aiming for 600 monsters. So, the answer to that question is that it takes 4 weeks and 3 days to make 600 monsters...and we're keeping our fingers crossed on that one.

New Monsters: They're on their way and we're really excited. So far, we are anticipating the arrival of two thug-like monsters named Emitt and Stephen, and a few monsters we've taken to calling the "berry bunch". They look like bushes with berries in them...you probably have to see them to believe them. Let's not forget little Pax. He's our addition to the Monsternaut series... and he's very cute.

We've got our work cut out for us, but we will persevere and there
will be monsters at the One of a Kind Show!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Latest Obsession in the Studio

Tracksy may be old news to some bloggers, but it's become a mild addiction at the Monster Factory so we though we'd pass the word around. Tracksy is a simple online web stats tracker. Anyone can get an account at tracksy.com that shows you straightforward web traffic statistics for your site. It's a free service for sites with less than 25000 page views a month. You just copy some html code from their site into the code of your blog template or website. Most web hosts provide similar programs that can be found in the c-panel but we prefer tracksy for its cleanliness and legibility. It's also pretty fun to sign-in and see how your traffic is doing. We recommend eight or nine time a day. Not that we have a problem...

This is a sample screen shot.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Sculptures of The Week!

These are sculpy prototypes for an upcoming project. These guys will eventually be made into silicone molds and then cast in plastic.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

(Our friend Tomislava dropped by the studio the other day. She mentioned to us how her boyfriend Karim knew way more about computers than she did)
Tomislava - "When Karim was eight he was in his room programming video games. When I was eight I was in the forest, jumping out of trees."

(Rhya describing an Elvis dance move that prominently featured his guitar)
"That’s such a crazy dance move; you can tell he’s got no formal training!"

(Confusion between Rhya, Bliss, and Jay-Z)
Rhya - "I’ve got a heart-on for Jay-Z"
Bliss - "(shocked) WHOA!!!"
Rhya - "No, no, no, a HEART-on!"
Bliss - "Oh. (pause) Hey can that be a quote of the day?"

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

the Monster Factory in Action

Our friend Caley Tessier recently sent us this photo, taken not long after we moved into our new studio. Thanks Caley.

Monday, February 20, 2006

New Monster in the Works

Here's a look at the newest edition to the Monsternauts family. We've been calling him"PAX" for now (because of his pack and our new Ikea shelving unit: 'Pax) but that name is destined to change. He is going to assist Kyle and Douglas as they explore the universe. Expect him this spring.

Monster Factory Website Back Online

Sorry to everyone who couldn't reach www.monsterfactory.net for the past few days. We were switching hosts and unfortunately the transition was not smooth.

We are now back up and running. Hooray.

p.s. we also lost some emails, so if you sent anything on Friday please send again. Thanks.
Monster Factory Week in Review

February 11th – 17th

Studio Sale: Our winter studio sale ran from Saturday to Monday so we spent the weekend tending shop at the studio. Our new monsters Dirk, Beth, and Wayne were on hand for the occasion and they seemed to garner very positive reactions. They will make a more widespread debut at the Spring One of a Kind Show. Thanks to everyone who dropped by to pick up monsters. The sale was a success.

Character Development: Monday was one of those days that the Monster Factory lives for. Adam and Rhya got a chance to sit down and brainstorm ideas for where to take each of the monster series that we have made. They were able to outline ideas for each series' own section of the Monster Factory website. They also brought us one step closer to a fully realized Monster Land. Sneak peek: the Wingbacks compete in the World's Strongest Monster Competition.

Theresa: Theresa (whose name I am hopefully spelling correctly) began her workstudy at the Monster Factory last Tuesday. Bliss wasted no time getting her familiar with the studio, having her sew up a ‘Kevin’ just minutes after she walked in the door. The first monster is always tricky but Theresa did a fine job. After cutting out some ‘Sheldons’ together Bliss and Theresa finished of the afternoon brainstorming some ideas for aprons, bags, and even lunch boxes.

Noémie: Noémie (whose name is pronounced “no amy”) also began her workstudy last Tuesday as part of Adam’s crack ‘Communications Team’. After a full introduction to the Monster Factory, Noémie began working on her first project. She is heading up an effort to create a Monster Factory mailing program.

Marketing and Communications Plan 2006: The Monster Factory has never had much free time, in fact we rarely have time enough to work on everything that we would like to work on. Case in point: there has never been a single effort made to market our plush monsters. Not that you’ll see monster billboards anytime soon, but it would probably be a good idea to get the word out there...just a little bit more. Enter the ‘Communications Team’. Buoyed by the enthusiasm and confidence of his Ryerson Fashion interns, Adam is developing ‘Marketing and Communications Plan 2006’. Hopefully this effort will pay off over the course of the year. At the very least it should be a fun challenge and a chance to work with some talented students. Also, it's fun to say, ‘Marketing and Communications Plan 2006’.

Photoshop Lesson: On Wednesday afternoon we took some time out to get a quick Photoshop lesson from Adam. He tended to get carried away with the ones and zeroes but in the end Bliss, Xandra and Noémie learned a few handy tricks that should save them some time.

New Monster: Friday ended on a high note with the creation of a new prototype pattern. There wasn’t enough time to sew the new guy up, but we have confidence that we’re on to something good. He or she (we name the monsters after they’re completely finished) is going to be a companion to Douglas and Kyle of the Monsternaut series. It seemed that they needed someone to help them fly their spaceship.

Tune in next week for more monster news.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Sketch of the Week

Today marks the dawn of a new era at the Monster Factory: the Hightop Era. We're talking ankle support to spare! Not to mention extra long laces. And also (we hope) some nasty dunks.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Here we go again, more strange talkin' from the studio:

(Last week there was an unpleasant smell in our building. Someone was coming from office to office trying to find the source, though they didn't knock on ours. Bliss figured out why.)
"I wonder why they didn’t knock on our door? I guess we do have a reputation for smelling good."

(A fairly random outburst from Rhya while she was sewing)
"You know what? I’m through with compromise!"

(Xandra describing the foods she doesn't like. Lettuce is one of them)
"I don’t like iceberg it makes me throw up."

(A girl named Beatrix came by our studio sale with her mother. She decided she wanted to get a Stanley monster who reminded her of a friend)
Beatrix - "He’s like the Stanley in my class."
Rhya – "Is Stanley afraid of spiders too?"
Beatrix - "Stanley’s afraid of everything!"

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Things We Make: Buttons!
Since Adam did such a good job of showcasing our button machine the other day, I thought it only fitting to show you what our buttons look like. Please keep in mind that this is only a small cross section of our selection. Every Monster Factory character has their own solo button, and there is a variety of other interesting monsters who can be seen chilling, hanging, or lounging about here and there.

Wall Flower, semi-formal let down.


Kevin's socks.
Sooo good.


We make 1 inch buttons, and they are guaranteed to snazz up any jacket, bag, or well where ever you decide to pin them. The entire selection, and there are many more, will eventually be available on line. If you are interested in purchasing some buttons, email info@monsterfactory.net, for more information.
About the Studio
by Bliss Man

This is the bulletin board that sits next to my desk in the Monster Factory studio. I have a ten year old sister named Adriana who is super amazing. She wrote this poem for school and I keep it close by. It's a good poem so I recommend that you read it. Click on it to make it bigger and more legible.

P.S. Did you know that writing Rhya's name so often makes me want to spell Ryerson with an "h"? Rhyerson, that's better.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Week in Review

(February 6th - 10th)

Production: This week was spent mostly 'in production' due to our up coming studio sale. We had set our goals and were trying to meet them. This meant long hours cutting out and sewing up monsters. It was a pretty tight race but in the end we made it thanks to Xandra, who stayed extra late with us on Friday. Heroine indeed.

Daniela: She's the newest member to our super awesome workstudy crew. She'll be giving Adam a hand in executing the Monster Factory marketing plan 2006. We're all excited about taking over the world...

New Monsters: The greatest achievement of the week was finalizing our newest monsters. It was certainly a challenge, seeing as we were knee deep in production. We managed to give the patterns a final tweek and off they were to be sewn...by us. One day we'll have an army of sewers! I've promised myself this many times while sewing the many monsters we sew. It gives me comfort.

After giving the monsters their names (the fun part) we had the difficult task of naming the series. Sometimes this is easy and sometimes not...this time it was not. We were coming up with abysmal names and kept on suggesting names like, the "Heartbreakers" which, of course, was already taken. We were kicking ourselves over that one. How perfect would that have been?

We finally settled on the "Little Blisses". This was the name of an original series Rhya made for my birthday way back when. They were very sweet monsters made out of some fabric I'd given her a few months before. So, for the record, these monsters were not named after me...but you have to admit it is a pretty awesome name...tee hee.

Monster traits can also be a very fun part of monster making. Again, we had trouble. I think it was due to the distraction of sewing and thinking at the same time. We knew that they looked kind of slow and were intense in showing their affection, but sometimes that's hard to put into words. Adam came through once again and we were off to the printers!

Alas, it turns out that one of our biggest lessons this week is that many printers are closed on the weekend. Boo-urns! The story has a good ending though. Adam ended up at a Staples not too far away and the tags were printed. He then made it back to the studio where we tagged the "Little Blisses". Please give Beth, Dirk, and Wayne a warm welcome to the Monster Factory.

The End

Greetings from the Studio Sale

The new monsters finally have names! Meet “the Little Blisses”. Wayne is the big green fellow, Dirk is the purple guy who looks like an angler fish, and Beth is the little blue sweetheart. So far they have had a warm reception from everyone who has dropped by this weekend.

The new monsters are settling in well.

Beth tries to “keep it together” but her enthusiasm has a way of getting the best of her.

Wayne regards himself as a good listener but his attention has been known to wander.

Dirk is a known instigator who is usually able to charm his way out of trouble.

The rest of the fellows have welcomed them with open arms.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Studio Sale Correction!

The Monster Factory dropped the ball this week. We sent out an announcement for our studio sale a few days ago with the wrong days of the week. The dates were right but no one really looks at the dates. We sent out a corrected invite but inevitably it won't reach everyone. So, to clarify, the studio days and hours are as follows:

Saturday, February 11th - 11am to 5pm
Sunday, February 12th - 12pm to 5pm
Monday, February 13th - 12pm to 8pm

Sorry if we inconvenienced anyone.
Greatest Drawing Ever!

No offence to Rhya's Sketch of the Week but this drawing needs attention. In the upcoming weeks we may do a feature on the Monster Factory's little art collection but there can be no delay in posting the newest jewel in our collection's crown. A birthday gift to me, this pencil crayon masterpiece was created by Caley Tessier. He may be horrified that we are posting it in public view but the Monster Factory loves this drawing. Mr. Tessier possesses considerable talents, and though he considers this one of the worst drawings he has ever done we believe that everyone will see what we see, a work of genius. And yes, your eyes do not deceive you, it IS a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger dressed as Caesar.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Sketch of The Week

Enemy meets Friends
Two Days Until the Newest Monsters Arrive

They are unnamed as of right now but the newest additions to the Monster Factory are on schedule to be launched this weekend. We are having a Valentines Day studio sale and monster launch this Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Please click on the invite below for more information. Also, I have included a link for a map to our studio.

Studio Location: http://www.monsterfactory.net/html/contact.htm

Quotes of the Week

Quotes, Quotes, Quotes. It was a busy week of work, but a slow week for quotes.

(Rhya on a particularly uninspired piece of design work)

“Don’t you feel that it’s a rip off of…of everything?”

(Xandra describes the 1990’s)
“It was a generation of suck.”

(Another classic(?) dialogue between Adam and Bliss)
A - "Hey Bliss we're one quote shy for quotes of the week."
B - "Why?"

A - "We haven't said anything good."

B - "Do you want me to make something up?"

A - "No."

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Matt James' Valentines

Matt just emailed us a sampling of the valentines cards he has been working on. We thought we'd pass on the info to you.

"Hey Folks,

Matt James here. In an effort to gain from the crass commercialism that is VALENTINE'S DAY, I made a bunch of beauty cards. 25bucks to save your marriage, impress your friends or just bolster yer art collection.
Here's a sampling,
Beauty on,


Beauty work Matt. Anyone wishing to contact him can send an email to:

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Feature Artist: Matt James

I first discovered Matt James about three years ago when his paintings were hanging in a Queen St. West gallery in Toronto. The show was called, Adventure! How could I resist? His paintings of sullen elephants and monstrous sea creatures were enough to get my attention. I’ve been a big fan ever since. Enjoy...

8.5 x 10 inches - acrylic and india ink on masonite

Self Portrait with Whale
24 x 20.5 inches - acrylic and india ink on masonite

The Mediator
35.5 x 26.75 inches - acrylic and india ink on masonite

Small Tree Lady
acrylic and india ink on masonite

Show Off (unicycle)
8 x 10 inches - acrylic and india ink on masonite


You can check out his work in the back "salon" at 1080 Queen St. West, otherwise known as 1080BUS.

Folks in the Kitchener/Waterloo area can check out new work at the Jane Bond.
#5 Princess St.W. in Waterloo. 519 889 1689

He's also making some Valentine's that will be selling for the low low price of $25. They are acrylic, pen, and ink on card stock.

Anyone interested in a valentine can call him at 416 573 5053 or email him at info@mattjames.ca

website: http://www.mattjames.ca/NewWork/

Monday, February 06, 2006

Around The Office

Meet the Monster Factory Plant Life.
These three lovely cacti live a very happy existence on the north-east corner of Adam's desk.
He does a great job of taking care of his plant friends, protecting them from Bliss and my waving elbows and clumsy arms.

But these cacti did not always have it so easy. In fact, Adam had to travel to the depths of a desert, (a desert that shall remain nameless), to rescue his three prickly amigos, from the clutches of the "EVIL BUZZARD BOYZ".

Knowing that Bliss and I would never believe such a treacherous tale, Adam took a photo to back up his adventure:

It also should be said, that I am feeling a tad wee bit under the weather tonight.
Kyle was nice enough to draw everyone a portrait:

As you can see the "EVIL BUZZARD BOYS" have come to torture me!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

MF Week In Review

(January 30th - February 3rd)

Work Study Posting: Early in the week we sent a posting, via e-mail, to Ryerson University looking for fashion design and communication students to give us a hand. We had done this a few months before and though we only got 2 responses they were from the best students ever: Xandra and Najeha. We thought ourselves the luckiest monster makers ever. I should mention that when I attended Ryerson there was a bulletin board and that's where all the workstudy postings were. Back in September I made sure that our posting was on that bulletin board. I was kind of surprised at how few responses we got. The mystery is solved!

It turns out that since I graduated in 2003 the system changed. These days the way to get postings to students is to have Audrey at the tech's office e-mail it to all the students attending Ryerson's school of Fashion. Talk about direct marketing. Needless to say we've had a huge spike on our website and many phone calls and e-mails. After responding to all of them we spent the later part of the week conducting interviews. It's been great meeting with students and we look forward to working with them.

Pax: The newest member to our studio family is named Pax. Pax is a storage unit that Adam purchased from Ikea on Monday. Since getting rid of our old shelves we were in desperate need to find a place for all of our stuff.

Adam takes issue shopping at Ikea because of the low-grade quality of their products so this was difficult trip for him to make. There weren't many alternatives which also made it quite frustrating. Perhaps due to our low expectations of the future storage unit we are very happy with our Pax. Our mini fridge fits into it perfectly so now people don't have to look at our make-shift kitchen anymore and the drawers allow us to store monsters in an orderly fashion. Adam spent part of the week building Pax with the $3 screwdriver he got at the corner store. The screwdriver didn't really make it to the finish line and wasn't quite worth the $3 he paid for it.

(Adam's photo montage)

Production: As always there is the construction of monsters. We're working towards our Studio sale (Feb. 11-13). We start out by making a list of monsters we're going to make and the number of each, depending on their popularity. After that I organize all of the monster pieces and then we get sewing. This week we sewed up all the monster parts like the tongues, spikes, wings, and teeth. We also hand stitched the Heartbreaker's teeth and Otis' eyes. This week we'll bring it home by sewing up the entire monster bodies.

The Sugars: Rhya worked on some drawings for the site. They're awesome! All I have to say is high tops, flying cassette tapes, and flying records. Adam immediately made a desktop from her drawings...check it.

Adam's Birthday: We celebrated Adam's birthday on Thursday by having a nice lunch at the Rebel House with our friend, Grace. Boy, was it good. We put in few hours at work and then headed out for more feed with the family....it was a good day for eating.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Sketch Of The Week
ummm...i don't really know what to say about this sketch...except that it sure was fun to draw!
I sort of forgot that I no longer have a home scanner so this had to be shot with my camera, with help of my incredibly powerful ikea livingroom lights...ahh ikea.
(note to adam: I tried to find the ikea name for my lights, but to no avail...but they are the ones in all the commercials with the "it's just a lamp" tag line)

Here is a little detail shot.
Work Study at the Monster Factory

I thought I would take the time and write a quick note to any Ryerson students who saw our workstudy posting and are checking out who we are and what we do. As you may have already guessed the Monster Factory is in the business of making plush monsters. We got started a couple of years ago as a part-time venture and about eight months ago we moved into a full-time studio. This coming year we are planning to broaden our horizons and spend more time writing, illustrating, and even developing a small clothing line.

The reason for our workstudy posting is that Bliss Man, one of our three partners, is a Ryerson Fashion graduate herself and thinks that our little studio would be a great environment for students to learn. Having logged workstudy hours herself, Bliss tries to ensure that our students have a worthwhile experience at the Monster Factory. So far the students we have had working with us have had fun and developed their skills.

We encourage you to give us a call and find out if the position sounds right for you.

Bliss and I would just like to say a big Happy Birthday to our partner in crime Adam!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Quotes of the Week

Oh joy, it's that time of the week again. Here's the Monster Factory talking crazy:

(Rhya on the benefits of running)

“Mentally it’s so good for you, it just pounds things out of your head.”

(Bliss on the difficulty of sewing Lucy the monster)
“It’s not actually that hard to sew. It’s just…furry.”

(Najeha describing how busy school has been for her lately)
“I kind of miss those lonely days in Bangladesh with nothing to do.”