Meet the Leeds 'hero' who made a 12kg full bodysuit of over 300 soft toys - that he can't wait to go out drinking in
The latest art project made by a Leeds 'hero' is a 12kg full human-sized bodysuit made of over 300 soft toys - and he can't wait to go out drinking whilst wearing it.
Steven Lovell has worked at a mobile phone company for over 20 years and whilst he has never used his studies in graphic design for his career - he hasn't held back from using his skills for his own enjoyment.
Having previously built a TARDIS, restored a red telephone box and made various fancy dress costumes out of it, and with plans to make a replica spacesuit - the 46-year-old's latest project was to make a suit of what he reckons to be around 333 soft toys.
It's human-sized, weighs over 12kg, has a home-made matching hat to go with it and Steven can't wait to go out drinking in the costume he says is 'magnificent'.
Steven, from Rothwell, said: "The toy suit is my first, and possibly already best, project of 2021.
"In around 1997 I saw a skateboarding footwear advert that featured a guy with a full suit made of small toys. I thought it looked great and thought it would be good to have something like that.
"Some years later I had been almost accidentally collecting the small toys that were in McDonald’s or Burger King children’s meals that I used to often get on a lunchtime.
"Although I wouldn’t have enough for a suit, I thought I’d be able to make at least a jumper out of them.
"So I gave it a go and it turned out that gluing and stitching toys to old clothes was difficult and very slow, and would also require a very large number of toys if it was to avoid looking patchy and a bit rubbish.
"When it became clear that I wouldn’t have anywhere near enough toys to do the project justice, I bunged it all in a bag and left it in a wardrobe. For almost 18 years.
"In autumn 2020 I was looking through records of abandoned projects (of which there have been a few), and decided that reviving the toy covered jumper was a good idea.
"It looked terrible though, and wasn’t something I could simply resume.
"So, I decided to go all out and buy some more toys, and put them on a boiler suit. I didn’t know how many I’d need, but from the middle of December I spent £150 on over 200 toys from 11 eBay auctions.
"Then, on the first day of 2021 I began the task of hot gluing the toys onto a boiler suit."
Steven said his project would have been much more difficult without a mannequin and that hot gluing them on was much better than the 'stitching palaver of 2003'.
It took him three weekends to complete - which was a lot more time and effort, and included a lot more toys, than he anticipated.
He kept a list of the toys he was adding and where he says he may have missed a few, there are 'at least' 333 toys on the suit.
Steven added: "My neighbour has helped me slowly come to the conclusion that the things I do are art, but to me it's always felt like just mucking about.
"I'm fortunate enough to never have had children, and it means that I get to throw more time at things like this.
"I've done quite a few other costumes that I've made myself. I used to go out on fancy dress drinking days out with friends and my girlfriend, but friends are busy with sensible family lives and I'm single again.
"I still go out by myself though. To most people, I fall into one of two distinct categories, hero or loser.
"Most people are kind and go for the former but you always get someone with no sense of humour once in a while."
Steven said that whilst he hopes to wear the human sized bodysuit out, he doesn't think he will wear the matching hat with it.
He said: "It’s not going to be easy to store the suit as it’s basically the size of a full human.
"I can’t wait to go out on drinking days out with it, but that could be a long time away.
"I gave it a test-walk round my block and even in mid-January it was hot and involved adopting an odd gait due to how bulky the suit is.
"It won't be practical for a hot summer's day drinking, but I don't mind suffering a bit for my art and for cheering people up.
"I'm looking forward to going out in this particular costume as I think it’s magnificent."