Horrible Adorables are the creations of Jordan Elise Perme and Christopher Lees; a wife and husband team from Cleveland, Ohio. Horribly successful and adorably cute, their creatures have been on Homespun shelves since 2014. We love having their sweet faces around the shop, and they make wonderful pets, too! Read on to learn more about this business and how they make each creature look alive.
1| How do you describe your work to people who don’t know anything about crafting/art?
Horrible Adorables are odd and fantastical creatures. Every piece we make is one of a kind and constructed from a unique form. Each one is covered with colorful wool felt scales, topped off with eerily realistic glass eyes, and mounted on a plaque. We give so much personality and expression to our menagerie of critters, that we often think of them as alive!
2| How many different creatures do you currently make? Can you list some of their unique names for us? The Macaroonron is melting my heart!
We have set creature styles that we supply our stores with and bring to craft fairs. When we are creating work for a gallery, we are often making one off pieces. The Macaroonron was one of those pieces, initially created for a show in New York celebrating all things cute! We currently have about 10 original characters that show up again and again in our ‘standard’ creature styles. Each piece is one of a kind, even if the inner sculpt is the same. Names are taken from a hodgepodge of actual animal names and turned into fanciful ones like ‘Foxolotl,’ ‘Haremus,’ Slodent,’ and ‘Sweasel Kit.’
3| Why do you make/design things?
We love to create interesting and aesthetically pleasing objects that bring joy to others. Creating the world of Horrible Adorables, and sharing it with our customers is like sharing a piece of ourselves.
4| What do you love about your job?
We like the flexibility that working from a home studio gives. We have the opportunity to work on many projects at once, but at our own pace. Traveling around the country with our work is another huge bonus! Interacting with our fans and customers at craft fairs and gallery shows is one of the best parts about what we do!
5| Was being a working artist always your plan or was there an “aha” moment?
I (Jordan) graduated from art school in 2009 with a degree in textiles. While there I met Chris; my future husband and creative partner. Horrible Adorables was initially my concept. I was creating these odd hybrid animals from wool and felt for my thesis project; which was centered around ideas of hoaxes and deception. Upon graduation I continued to create a menagerie of beasts for fun. They evolved into playful, brightly colored creatures influenced by my job as a freelance designer for the toy industry. I was interested in starting my own business and selling the creatures that I loved to make, but was unsure if anyone would respond to them the way I did. After encouragement from Chris, I applied to an indie craft show and nearly sold out! We were both pretty excited, and decided to pursue Horrible Adorables together.
6| How do you work, and where?
We both work from our home studio in Cleveland, Ohio. Our entire second floor is dedicated to our business. Chris has a workshop where we work on all of the messy parts of creating. It is there that we do mold making, resin casting, foam carving, and woodworking. The clean room is where I (Jordan) spend most of my day. It’s where we store all of our felt and the creatures come together. This room has large windows for ample lighting and work tables for all the assembling.
7| Tell us about your “Curious Critter” series and the rotocast process. What led you to try a new technique?
We really love designer toys, and wanted to see one of our creatures as a collectable figure in a new material. The first thing we did was create a silicone mold from an original sculpt. Next we filled it partially with resin and then hand rotated the mold, letting the resin fill all the intricate parts of the sculpt until it set. This process can take much longer than the typical resin casting process. It also takes much less material and makes the object lighter, because it is hollow. Rotocasting just made sense for the design of our piece.
8| If you could swap lives with another artist, who would that person be?
We really like our lives as Jordan and Chris from Horrible Adorables. We may not be as established as some of the other artists we admire, but we are enjoying working at our own pace and seeing our little business grow every year.
9| What makes a handmade object valuable?
A handmade object is not just an object. It represents the skill of the artist, their passion, and the many hours it took to create it. The object is a small piece of the artist themselves.
10| Using that definition, what’s the most valuable object you own?
We have a large collection of artwork from friends and acquaintances. Each piece is special not only because it’s beautiful, but because we know the person behind it. Often times, the closer we are to the artist, the more we cherish the specific piece of art. I (Jordan) don’t know if I have a particular favorite object, but a newer piece in our collection that I’m in love with is by my friend, Adrienne Slane. It’s a large collage of illustrations hand-cut from vintage books and intricately arranged into a pattern.
11| Tell us one true thing about yourself that people don’t believe when you tell them.
We are also beekeepers! We often joke that we have 30,002 pets. Our cat, dog, and a whole colony of bees! Learning about the inner workings of the hive, their communication, and being able to experience it has been fascinating. Keeping bees is also difficult at times, and we’ve had the stings to prove it! Every time we check in on them we learn something new. The reward harvesting honey is a nice payoff in addition to keeping a happy hive.
12| Give us three more non-crafting-related details about you or your life.
This may not come as a surprise, but we are big animal lovers! We try to live our lives in harmony with the environment around us the best we can. This means being ready to rescue injured animals in need, always buying cruelty free, and taking care of the animals around us.
We love to travel. Last year we went to France for the first time and it was amazing! We’ve visited most of the states and several countries between work and vacations. Even when traveling for work, we try to reserve time to explore a new place and get to know some of the local culture.
A highlight when traveling for us is always getting to visit a local vineyard or craft brewer. We are definitely not connoisseurs, but always enjoy trying something new. Living in a city with so many micro-breweries within minutes of our front door makes it impossible to avoid new and interesting brews to sample.
If you’d like to see Horrible Adorables in person, please feel free to stop by the shop, or check them out online at the links below! Thanks Jordan and Christopher!
Our website: www.jordan-elise.com