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Wild Ones

The Horndribbles will satisfy your animal urges.

"He puts the word 'penis' in there," Richards points out. "He's a real perv. That guy's got real issues."

"You start reading these descriptions," Cassidy confirms, "and by the end you're like,'This stuffed animal's really fucked up.'"

"We kind of have the conceit that these creatures are real. And once you play along, you're in it," Duesing sums up. "When you start getting interested in this stuff, it becomes a bigger world, a conceptual world. And I think that's something artistic."

Not everyone agrees. "When the Horndribbles were up at WaterCourse last year," Cassidy remembers, "I'd be working, and people who didn't know I was involved with the project would ask me questions like, 'This doesn't really qualify as sculpture, does it? This is just a bunch of felt. Come on, it's a stuffed animal. Lame.' And I'd be like, 'Well, um, actually...' It's awkward. And I know that might happen again. Sewing is not an accepted medium right now at all. I hope that there will be enough people who see it and can understand it. It is an art."

"Usually you go in a gallery, scan the room, look at a picture for a few seconds, scratch your chin and then move on," Duesing notes. "It's a very dry experience. I don't know where the Horndribbles fall between high art and low art, but people are genuinely entertained by them."

And while Richards is open to the idea of licensing his hordes of handmade monstrosities for manufacture, he's still very wary of taking that step into legitimacy -- not to mention adulthood.

"If I mass-produced them, I'd be finished with the Horndribbles," he says. "If that happens, it'll be the thing that pays for my house in Hawaii, but it won't be my baby anymore. But I am realizing that with the comeback of The Lord of the Ringsand video games and comic books, people still want to be kids. They're sick of having to grow up so fast. That's what I want the Horndribbles to do, to take what people had as a child and keep it as a grownup and look at it from that aspect. I don't think it's about art. It's about being a kid again."

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