It's unclear whether Jeff Root believes that idle hands are the devil's playground. But while you or I might fritter away holiday downtime at the folks' house with a little TV or a big nap, a couple Christmases ago a bored Root decided to monkey around in the Kendall studio of his mom, an avid quilter. A few wool scraps and some thread later, a little cat-monster followed him out.
Upon returning to his San Francisco home, Root, a former projectionist at the Little and the Cinema, was encouraged by his friends to create more critters, and the crude cat-monster has evolved over the last two years into a lovable West Coast species called Woollyhoodwinks. There are now five different sandwich-sized Woollyhoodwinks --- Junco, Ludic, Reddy, Ozard, and Fluke --- that currently have the City by the Bay abuzz with their pointy yet boxy cuteness and free trinkets with purchase. Root has fashioned all of his Woollyhoodwinks by hand, but he recently sent out fabric for machine-cutting to keep up with demand. So until the next batch gets assembled in late winter, the available Woollyhoodwinks are entirely homespun.
The Woollyhoodwinks website (www.woollyhoodwinks.com) is a visual and aural delight, thanks to the whimsically elegant graphic design of marketing director Scott Runcorn and the impossibly catchy Woollyhoodwinks animated theme song, with words and music by San Francisco lo-fi artist Phil Dumesnil. The lyrics make some surprising assertions: Woollyhoodwinks don't always come in peace, they can read our minds, and in order to survive "they sit, they stare, they think, they care, they wink."
Journalistic integrity compels me to mention that the Woollyhoodwinks can't actually wink, but the other claims check out. They sit and stare constantly, and now that I look at Ludic, my Woollyhoodwink, it's obviously thinking and caring, and no doubt infiltrating my thoughts.
--- Dayna Papaleo