autistic artists

Artist Q & As

Artist Q & A: Annie

This is part of an occasional series highlighting artists and crafters who make stim toys or stim jewelry available at Stimtastic.

Annie makes weighted lap pads for Stimtastic.

Can you tell us a little about how you got started making the weighted rice bunnies? 

I saw on Stimtastic's tumblr that they were willing to offer weighted lap pads if they were made by an autistic or otherwise ND individual. At the time I was a very poor college student paying for my own tuition and bills, and I had a love of sewing as well as a sewing machine, so I spoke to the shop owner and it all went uphill from there!

Why did you choose this particular shape? 

I was thinking of what animal silhouettes would be bulky enough to hold a good amount of rice. It took some thinking to figure out which animal would hold up to slight wear and tear, would still be recognizable, and hold a decent amount of weight. 

bunny1.png

Rice Bunnies

handmade weighted lap pads

(Photo description: rabbit shaped lap pad in magenta fabric with darker purple geometric pattern)

What led you to offer them at Stimtastic?

The fact Stimtastic was interested in selling them! I want to start an Etsy for some of my sewing work, but I definitely got my start on Stimtastic instead of the other way around.

What do you enjoy most about making them?

Picking out the fabric! Once I get to the fabric store, theres a whole wall of colors to pick from. It's definitely the best part about making them.

Does being autistic/ND factor into your work?

It definitely does. Making the rice bunnies actually takes a lot of energy, and I work full time, which is why the rice bunnies aren't in stock most of the time. Other than that, it takes a lot of energy and focus to sit down for a few hours to make them, but it's very rewarding!

What is your relationship to stimming or alternatively what role does/has stimming played in your life?

Stimming is something I've suppressed most of my life unfortunately. I wasn't diagnosed until later in my life so it's interesting looking back and seeing everything through the lens of "I do this because I'm autistic." I always associated it with just needing to be a mover, or having anxiety, but looking back I realize that most of what I do and have always done was related to stimming!

Where can people learn more about your work? Do you have an Etsy shop, Tumblr, Facebook page, etc?

I don't have a dedicated tumblr or Etsy yet, but I hope to make something for my work within a year or so. It's just a matter of having the time and energy and trying to build a clientele for commissions and products. Once I create something, I'll be sure to share more information! Until then, feel free to follow me on tumblr: clamperls.tumblr.com (I used to be theannieplanet but have since moved!)

Artist Q & As

Artist Q & A: Sabriel

This is the first in an occasional series highlighting artists and crafters who make stim toys or stim jewelry available at Stimtastic.

Sabriel has been making beaded animals for Stimtastic for about a year.  

Can you tell us a little about how you got started making beaded animals?

I've been beading since I was a little kid. My sister taught me, and it quickly became a special interest. 

What led you to offer your creations at Stimtastic?

After I realized I'm autistic, I wanted to be as much a part of the community as possible. I've been stimming with my beaded animals since before I knew what stimming was, and when I heard Stimtastic offered handmade stim toys from autistic artists I was thrilled at the opportunity to get back into beading. 

What is the inspiration for the types of animals you make? Do you have a favorite?

My favorite to make is the lizards and my favorite to stim with is the damselflies. I basically just make what I remember how to make.

A photo of Sabriel's work station with an in-progress damselfly and sample pals. 

A photo of Sabriel's work station with an in-progress damselfly and sample pals. 

What do you enjoy about working with beads? 

Beading can be really calming, and it's a great distraction when I'm upset and a great way to keep my hands busy when I need to be productive. It's so stimmy too!

Does being autistic/ND factor into your work?

I probably wouldn't remember how to do it if it hadn't been a special interest when I was a kid. I can work for hours because of the way I can focus and I'm sure I enjoy it a lot more because I'm autistic. 

Would you like to share a photo or description of your stim toy collection or favorite stimmy object?

Some of my stim toys, feat. my cat

Photo description: A mostly grey Tabby cat sitting behind a set of stim toys, including a puzzles cube, 6 tangles, a beaded lizard and chewable necklaces.

Photo description: A mostly grey Tabby cat sitting behind a set of stim toys, including a puzzles cube, 6 tangles, a beaded lizard and chewable necklaces.

Where can people learn more about your work? Do you have a way for people to place custom orders?

I have a tumblr, cynicalcripplepunk.tumblr.com, where people can message me to request custom orders or learn more about my work. If I get enough interest I would make an Etsy. 

Product Write Ups, Stim Toy Write Ups, Stimtastic News

Textile Stim Toys by Katherine Bale

Stimtastic is excited to be introducing a new line of textile stim toys created by autistic artist Katherine Bale. 

Handmade Felt Fidget Balls

Teal Felt Fidget Ball

Teal Felt Fidget Ball

This fun take on the classic stress ball is made from 100% 23-micron (very soft) Merino wool from non-mulesed sheep.

Each ball has a soft silky surface and a densely solid interior, making them our firmest yet softest-textured stress ball. Felt Fidget Balls are soft enough to squeeze, firm enough to bounce, and feel smooth and warm to touch, making them pleasant to simply hold.

Felt fidget balls come in 6 solid colors and each one is unique.

 

 

 

Handmade Cotton Fidget Cords

Short Fidget Cords in Turquoise and Grape

Short Fidget Cords in Turquoise and Grape

Katherine came up with the idea for woven fidget cords based on the ties and straps on hoodies, sweat pants, and rucksacks that she likes to stim with. In addition to being a great stim toy, she hopes that the fidget cords will save some wear and tear on clothing as well.

The fidget cords come in two lengths, a 14-inch version that is long enough to wrap around the hand and firm enough to create pressure and an 8-inch version made from super soft yarn into a very soft lightweight fabric that is terrific for holding or running through your fingers.  

Each cord is handmade from 100% cotton and has a clip to attach to a belt loop, bag, key ring etc.

 

About the Artist

Artist Katherine Bale

Artist Katherine Bale

Katherine Bale is an autistic fibre and textile artist working from home in Wales. Her stim toy designs are inspired by the everyday things that she likes to fidget with and a desire for natural material versions of fidget toys. 

Katherine began sewing at a very young age, started knitting and crocheting over ten years ago, and now spins, weaves, and felts as well. She has recently decided to use these skills and her passion for the unique properties and application of each natural fibre to start a business.

All of Katherine's designs are hand-made from natural materials. As someone who cares deeply about animal welfare and the environment, she chooses to only use wool from sources with high standards of welfare and to finish her pieces with cleaning products that are environmentally friendly, not tested on animals, and contain no animal ingredients.