Behind the Scenes with Vicki from Andapanda

I had the good fortune of discovering Vicki from Andapanda when I stumbled across one of her gorgeous panda softies earlier in the year. Her collection of handmade toys and accessories are just bursting with colour and personality and it’s my pleasure today to give you a little peek into Vicki’s creative mind.

Handmade Koala Toys, Softies, Stuffed Animals by Andapanda

Andpanda is…

My craft and illustration project that began in 2005. I design and make original, handmade textile accessories and plushies in my studio/shop around the corner from the Picasso museum, in the Borne area of Barcelona. I have an online shop and also sell in other shops in Spain and around the world.

The handmade products you can find in the andapanda shop include plushies, bags, purses, gadget cases, accessories, and cushions made with a mixture of fabrics printed with my own designs and recycled, vintage, Japanese and Spanish fabrics. All of the plushies are based on my own illustrations – from the most well-known to the most unusual animals! The name andapanda came from one of my favourite animals, which also inspired our first ever plushie: a panda.

Handmade Toys, Softies, Stuffed Animals by Andapanda

My artistic/educational background is…

I studied Art at school until I was 18 and it was always my favourite subject but for various reasons I ended up studying Psychology at University in the U.K. After University I did an English teaching course in Barcelona, where I’ve been living now for almost 8 years.

In my first year in Barcelona I started making jewellery and realised I wanted to get back to my creative roots and so I did various short Art and Crafts courses, at the same time as teaching English in a Primary school. I then did a 4 year part-time illustration course and that’s when I started started designing accessories and plushies from my illustrations.

My idea of complete happiness is…

A really sunny studio/shop with a sea view, lots of space and a garden at the back full of plants. Travelling. Having more free time to do fun things and also to illustrate children’s books and make all the new products I have in my head and in my sketchbook.

Handmade Penguin Toys, Softies, Stuffed Animals by Andapanda

Andapanda Shop in Barcelona, Spain

My favourite memories from my childhood are…

School summer holidays, turning the sofa into a tent, making cress egg heads at nursery school, transfer stickers that you scribbled over with a pencil to make them go onto the paper, playing the recorder, reading Roahl Dahl books, making mix tapes from the radio, scavenger hunts, spending hours on the swing in my garden and making things from craft kits, felt and recycled materials.

If I were a super hero my super power would be…

Being able to speak every language in the world and stopping pickpockets when they’re trying to get away by making banana skins and brick walls suddenly appear in front of them. {Note from ed… the visual image of the banana skins and brick walls had me in stitches!}

Handmade Toys, Softies, Stuffed Animals by Andapanda

My design style is influenced by…

My love of animals, nature, colour and everything kawaii. Living in Barcelona and going to Japan. My childhood – especially books I liked.

My favourite materials to work with are…

Wool felt and fabrics. About five years ago I discovered Japanese fabrics online and loved the illustrations used in them. But I didn’t want to buy them unless I could actually make something out of them and that’s what motivated me to learn how to use a sewing machine and to do a short dressmaking course.

For my plushies I particularly like using wool felt and fabrics with polka dots or stripes and with nice textures like cord, fleece and upholstery fabrics. I like seeing fabrics with a certain texture or colour and imagining what animal it will soon magically turn into.

Handmade Toys, Softies, Accessories, Buttons by Andapanda

My secret talent is…

Sleeping. I’m like a koala – I can sleep for hours and hours at a time (when I get the chance) and fall asleep pretty much anywhere. I once even managed to fall asleep standing up during a not very interesting concert.

When I look around my workspace I see…

Lots of colour, fabrics and plushie animals smiling at me. Nodding Maneki Neko cats doing their best to bring me good luck. A neverending pile of things waiting to be cut, sewn or finished and depending on the day, more or slightly less creative chaos! I’m always running out of space, boxes and time to keep everything properly organised (but it’s going to be one of my New Year’s Resolutions.)

The next handmade item I plan to make for my store is…

Big animal cushions. I’m currently working on a new range of products for babies and children using my animal  illustrations and my own fabrics that I’m going to finish designing in January.

Handmade Tiger Toys, Softies, Purses by Andapanda

Thank you Vicki, we thoroughly enjoyed getting to know you better.

If you’d like to view more of Vicki’s work, you can visit the Andapanda shop, blog or facebook page.

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