One day before Christmas last year I was selling some old work at a Christmas Flea Market with my bearded lumberjack illustration swashbuckler friend Mr Steve McCarthy. It was here that another bearded swashbuckler music maker came along and admired the jumble sale of work I had on display. This man was the lovely James Vincent McMorrow who I only met briefly that day with his lovely girlfriend Emma. I was unaware at the time that this was the same James I had been listening to whilst working away In my studio. Afterwards James mentioned online he had liked my work and from there we stayed In contact with the intention of someday collaborating on something creative. Time passed and due to our work loads we really had no idea of what we might do. One day I randomly suggested that we should do something that interacts with James audience. I wanted to step away from all types of live illustration and drawing pictures on stage and really wanted to incorporate craft and my studio based work somehow. So I proposed the idea that I would create a James Vincent McMorrow Plush doll on stage during one of his gigs and at the end James would offer the doll to someone In the audience, similar to when bands would throw drum sticks or a towel to the fan filled crowd. James was instantly excited about the idea and he suggested that we should do this at his first Irish gig of the year at the Forbidden Fruit Festival.
The week prior to the gig I began creating the James doll as the set on the day would be just an hour long and not enough time to create the plush JVM the way I wanted It. So I decided I'd make 89% of him before hand and Mr Potato Head him on the day adding all his hair and facial features on stage.
The week leading up to the gig was a mash up of hilarity, excitement and nervousness. This was a unique project we were attempting so much so It became difficult to explain to people. I'm making a doll of James which he will then throw into the audience? The funniest thing about the whole project were the nights when I was creating a doll of a guy who I had met briefly at a Christmas Flea Market. We had only met In person that once. The next time we would meet would be the day of the gig. So many times I had those awkward moments thinking to myself with needle n thread In hand; " Should I give him nipples? " " I wonder If he'd wear a shirt like this? " Emailing Emma his girlfriend looking for intimate details of what James wears was beyond funny and I think both Emma & James were as nervous of seeing this plush doll as I was.
Monday arrived holding the sun above its head for the entire Festival. I took it as a damn good sign. I stood amongst the festival pioneers with doll In hand waiting to meet the man himself. It was a day I won't forget and I couldn't have collaborated with a nicer guy. Both James, Emma and his whole band made every stitch worth It. I hope we get up to some more craftiness again sometime soon. Heres to a great day of amazing music, people and making the craft of sewing a little more rock n roll. Thanks James, Emma, Susan ( who ordered the sun ), all the JVM gang and to all who made it to the show.
THE MAKING OF A JVM PLUSH BUDDY
My rough initial sketch of James
Gathering the ingredients needed
sculpting the head
Body taking shape
Sketching the face with felt!
Playing with facial features
Rough shirt template
Doll with temporary face! Creepy!
JVM Guitar. Made from wood, buttons, string, paint and wine for me.
Leather fun sized guitar strap
Button machine head! How Badass grrrrr!!!
This Is a face imprint of an old M.A.S.K figure I had on my desk whilst
I was making the guitar. I put It inside the guitar. Why? I dunno but the creepy thing Is
I think It looks a bit like the guy who caught the doll
at the gig. GULP!
I wanted to include a boat In reference to James song If I had a Boat but
In a subtle way. I thought one of the greatest boats anyone
could ever have a merit of being a legend
is a Blue Peter Boat Badge.
James girlfriend Emma told me that James has a cherished
pocket watch on him at all times so I included this accessory for the doll.
Its from a collection of watches I found buried In the wall of an old
jewelers with my Dad a few years back when we were
renovating an old shop. Inside I changed the time to the title of one
of James songs Early In the Morning .
If this doll was In any way voodoo James Vincent McMorrow may
awkwardly have my name on his back. Best check that out lad.
THE DAY JAMES THREW HIMSELF INTO THE AUDIENCE
The realisation of what we were doing just before the gig back stage
James signs himself before launch
Forbidden Fruits greatest catch 2012 goes to this man.
Mr Arran Murphy who refused to take the doll out of
the plastic as he was giving it his girlfriend. Couldn't have had
a happier end to the day. What a legend.
Thanks to Emma J Doyle for her awesome photos of the day.
Will have more pics up soon.