Introducing the creative minds behind Mountains and Monsters
While snuggled up on the couch with a fleece blanket last November, Elliott Ingles turned to his girlfriend—who happens to also be his crafting partner—and said, “We should make a mountain out of this.”
And within minutes the scissors were out and Ingles was turning the blanket into the first-ever Mountains and Monsters pillow, roughing out a design and handing it off to his partner, Megan Vicente to sew and perfect.
Before that moment, the couple had made all kinds of toys and dolls out of felt, fabric and polymer clay, but they always kept those creations to themselves, displaying them in their home or giving them away as gifts.
It wasn’t until they created their dopey eyed, smiling mountains that they shared their work with the community, debuting Mountains and Monsters at the Coco’s Cafe Craft Sale late last year.
“We wanted to make something for the sale,” said Vicente, “but we weren’t sure what.
“We wanted something relevant to Jasper, so we made little mountain Christmas ornaments.”
The ornaments, like the full-sized pillows, featured the couple’s signature sleepy eyes and shy smiles, and became an instant seller.
Following that success, a Friends of Jasper National Park employee asked Ingles and Vicente to sell their creations in the Friends store. So the couple got to work, whipping up a whole new batch of the fleece pillows.
“We got a big push from the Friends of Jasper; all the ladies at the Friends—Sue, Heather and Nancy— they are our biggest fans and they support us a ton,” said Ingles, who also credits Lee Ann Cross and fellow artist Tristan Overy for inspiring the creation and continuation of Mountains and Monsters.
“I think the first doll we ever made we gave to Tristan, and he was like ‘this is the best thing ever, you guys need to make more.’”
For Vicente and Ingles, that support is one of the biggest compliments they could receive, not only because Overy’s a successful artist, but because he and his wife are their best friends.
“It’s nice when your biggest fans are your best friends,” said Ingles. “Tristan’s always been pushing us to do more and more.
“We’ve been so encouraged by people liking [our creations] and buying them; we hope it encourages other people to get out and make stuff.”
The couple doesn’t know where Mountains and Monsters will take them in the future, but for now they’re enjoying the ride and taking advantage of every opportunity that comes their way—like making a special mountain with a rainbow for Mr. Gay Canada.
“Sue from Friends of Jasper requested we make one for Mr. Gay Canada, so we made it and donated it to Sue to give to him.”
And last week that gift arrived in Christepher Wee’s mailbox, along with a bunch of other goodies from the Jasper Pride Festival Society.
On Facebook, Wee shared a video of himself opening the package and when he discovered the Mountains and Monsters pillow, his face lit right up and he immediately gave it a hug, saying “It’s the mountains and a rainbow. I’m so touched.”
Ingles and Vicente created eight more of the rainbow-style mountains and dropped them off at the Friends store last week.
“They’re going to sell them and they’re going to donate some of the proceeds to the [Jasper Pride Festival Society],” said Ingles.
To see the plush pillows for yourself, visit the Friends store or follow the couple on Instagram at Mountains_and_Monsters.