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UK Woman Makes Artwork Out Of Old Toys Which Sell For Up To £1,500 A Pop

A woman who describes herself as a "big kid" has her dream job - making artwork out of old toys which sell for up to £1,500 a pop

A woman who describes herself as a “big kid” has her dream job – making artwork out of old toys, which sell for up to £1,500 a pop. 

Zoe Pocock, 48, has “unleashed her inner child” and get to play with discarded and recycled toys – whilst positioning them in frames to create quirky pieces. 

After being made redundant from her job as a manicurist in March 2014, she decided to lean on her creative side and make wall canvases using Barbie dolls, dinosaurs and figurines. 

The mum-of-two has sold 64 of the toy works of art – which range in price from £55 to £1,500 for special commissions. Each piece ranges in size – from A5 to a metre and a half both ways – and can take up to a week to complete. 

Zoe colors the frames with metallic leaf and individually glues down each toy. 

Zoe, an artist and designer, from Lewes, East Sussex, said: “It makes me so happy – it’s like being a kid again.” 

“Who doesn’t love playing with toys? I do.” 

“And I get to open boxes of them every day.” 

“I sold a piece on the first day, and it hasn’t stopped since.” 

“I struggle to keep stuff on the website, it sells out so quick.” 

“It’s been crazy. I hope it carries on doing well.” 

Surrounded by toys sent in through her toy amnesty to her studio in Southeast London, Zoe set out on creating her first canvas. She sold her first piece – which is also her favorite – to a beauty salon, but says she regrets not keeping it. 

“I wish I’d kept it. It had this big bright pink metallic frame,” Zoe said. 

After that piece went down a treat, Zoe continued to make the canvases and had requests for all sorts of occasions. 

With a focus on reusing materials and the environmental impact, Zoe uses frames that have been chucked away or donated and buys ones that she thinks look ‘amazing’ – helping to add to the uniqueness of each design. 

Discarded plastic toys. Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

She said: “I’m constantly thinking of ways I can make them look great.” 

“I do a lot of them for people in the US as they seem to be very sentimental.” 

“Some of the parents have kids who are in their 30s, and they are surprising them with toy art.” 

“I’ve also done really special ones for people who have lost children.” 

“I’m sending one to California soon that costs £1,500. The frame is from a Ralph Lauren shop window.”

Zoe says that no two pieces look alike – and she usually opts for toys she has to hand at the time. 

She creates rainbow inspired pieces, full blackout canvases with a singular gold item and amalgamations of colorful pieces, her favorite to design. 

Zoe said: “Blackout pieces take so long, but I save all my favorite pieces for those as they’re annoyingly a really good seller.” 

Before commencing with each piece, Zoe has to decide if she’s coloring the frame, which can take up to two days to complete. Then the process of setting the toys in the frame begins, sometimes using a couple of boxes per piece and admits she can get a bit carried away. 

“It can take anything from day to a week. I find it hard to stop sometimes,” she said. 

“The smaller and more intricate pieces take over a week to make.” Zoe says she loves what she does, and her work enables her to “connect with her inner child”. 

Produced in association with SWNS.

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