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spacer Friends With You's Mr. TTT, Shoebaca, and Poppings
by Jager

Click here!Friends With You makes magical toys. These plush are infused with art and when you hold one it is said you have a power that wasn't there before. Well, I can vouch for this much: When you hold one you'll be happier than you were before. It's true. Even the manliest of men will smile when hugging one of these guys. Art is the key word here. These plush are all hand made and the folks over at the lab pay attention to detail and give each friend a personality. It's this artistry and obvious love of their job that set Friends With You apart from the pack. Aside from plush, the creators create installation art that has the same quirky sensibilities. Often, they will incorporate the plush in some fashion on a much larger scale. They also create logos, ads, a series of pop up books, and illustrations. Like I said, these are artists creating toys with the sensibilities you would expect.

I was happy to meet a few of the friends at Toy Fair '04, and they were nice enough to share their goodies. I had quite a few smiles with three of their more popular plush. And then the Kindergarten where I teach met Mr. TTT and Shoebaca. They loved the guys even more than me!

Click here!mini Mr. TTT
Three is the magic number. This guy must be the most magic, because he is three parts. His head has an elastic band that goes through the middle of each piece of his body, which is held tight by a ball of red. He's super soft and holds together quite well. When the kids were hugging him he didn't fall apart once. This was their favorite because "He has teeth like me." The colors on Mr. TTT are bright and give him an energy that isn't shown so much in his face. Which seems to speak to me. It's a great design. Also, since he comes apart you can share the happiness and not have to give up your entire toy.

Click here!mini Shoebaca
This guy has quite an "action feature". He has removable kidneys! This allows him to communicate telekinetically with his human companion. Just hold his organs in your hands, ask away, and wait. I have yet to hear his 'voice', but I'm sure it's because my mind isn't clear. One child didn't have this problem. When I asked him what Shoebaca said to him he replied, "He wants you to give me a cookie." Shoebaca is my pick of the three. He has the classic sensibilities that are found in your trusty old teddy bear applied to a fresh new design. His fur is a shaggy but soft brown that gives him the look that he's been around a while. The best are his eyes: Big red buttons. This is just classic. The kidneys add that quirky touch that sets him apart from the rest. The kids were disappointed that they wouldn't attach at any point on his body, (there's Velcro on the kidneys and on his chest) but still thought he was nice to play with.

Click here!mini Poppings
Poppings gives you the charisma that you always wished you had. I've been told in hushed whispers that if you carry one of Poppings five detachable feet/babies (how's that work?) you will have the charm that eluded you in junior high. The round balls of pink are attached to the underbelly by Velcro. The design of Poppings is quite interesting. The poor creature seems to have a hair loss problem. The better part of her body is covered in a very very soft brown fur, but her top is bald. There is a nipple or belly button on the very tip of the head to distract you from noticing it too much, but it's quite obvious still. That just shows you how powerful this guy is. If a Friend who is this bald has enough charm to share, she must be very magical. The eyes here are buttons, but instead of the ordinary round style we have heart shaped, loving eyes. I didn't let the kids fondle Poppings because frankly they are dirty little things and I didn't think Poppings' pink would ever be the same.

Click here!If you are in the market for plush, I would highly recommend Friends with You. The artistry combined with the fun of their toys make for some great toys.

Check out to make a new friend. carries many of the Friends.
Friends With You are currently part of the Subcultures art show.

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Article and all images are copyrighted 2004

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