Candy Joyce is a seamstress, designer and zombie nut who has managed to combine these passions in her company Flipping Zombies. To celebrate our 12th issue out on 8 Feb (and first birthday) she spent quite a few Saturday nights and Sunday mornings making us an Alan Sillitoe doll.
I love zombies; their relentless nature makes them terrifying monsters but they’re also great for social commentary. Don’t believe me? Well, you’ve got your zombies as a symbol for consumerism in Dawn of the Dead, zombies as a symbol for class struggle in Land of the Dead, zombies as a symbol for human isolation in 28 Days Later. And now we have Dawn of the Unread, a subtle twist on the zombie genre, where writers, frustrated at library cuts and bookshop closures, return from the grave in search of the one thing that can keep their memories alive: ‘boooks’
David Wong, author of This Book Is Full Of Spiders: Seriously Dude Don’t Touch It, uses a zombie analogy to comment on religion, but for me, it’s an observation on creativity.
“The zombie looks like a man, walks like a man, eats and otherwise functions fully, yet is devoid of the spark. It represents the nagging doubt that lays deep in the heart of even the most zealous believer: behind all of your pretty songs and stained glass, this is what you really are. Shambling meat. Our true fear of the zombie was never that its bite would turn us into one of them. Our fear is that we are already zombies.”
The creative spark is as infectious as any zombie virus. If you use your spark well, it could even keep your name alive from beyond the grave. Flipping Zombies combines my love of being a zombie fan, a seamstress and a graphic designer. Flipping Zombies are digitally printed cloth dolls that are normal people on one side and ‘flip’ inside out to turn into…brain hungry zombies. Someone, perhaps in homage to Peter Andre’s ‘insania’, once described them as being adhorrible (adorable/horrible) which I think sums them up nicely.
I design each doll using Corel DRAW, then, once I am convinced that they are adhorrible enough, print them out and begin the process of cutting, stitching and stuffing them together. The sewing of each doll takes about an hour but the design process varies. I have made a wardrobe of design templates for clothes, shoes, hairstyles etc so the outfit of each doll comes together quickly. The time consuming bit is researching and drawing additional wounds and hand drawing the faces.
I really enjoy creating bespoke designs, so was really excited when James asked me to create an Alan Sillitoe doll. Our main decision was whether to make Mr. Sillitoe old or young. We opted for his golden years. There’s no ageism here at Flipping Zombies!