Laurie Kay is #MadeForKnoxville.

Being a human is hard. It’s even harder when you don’t know how or what to love about yourself. That’s why Laurie likes to make monsters, and she thinks you should, too. 

Monsters Made with Love is what Laurie calls “sewing with a self-love twist.” Her work isn’t about helping others create some sewn masterpiece. Rather, it’s about stitching together a perfectly imperfect representation of self-love. The method behind the monster-madness, which she shares through her workshops and sewing kits, is that individuals stitch together a fleece friend that embodies the things they love about themselves while also embracing the things they love a little less.

Monsters can be scary, but as Laurie knows, lacking in self-love can be even scarier. 

“Not only does it teach a lifelong skill, children can exercise fine motor skills and hand/eye coordination. Teens get to express their deep dark ugly monster inside and adults, when do we ever take time to do something for ourselves?”

In Their Own Words…

Monsters Made with Love is “Sewing with a self-love twist”. I developed sewing kits and workshops to help people create a perfectly imperfect fleece monster that represents what they love about themselves, while embracing things that can make them feel a little self-conscious.  

Back in the day, my career was being a stay at home mom and my side hustle was traveling around the country with the auto show circuit. Another important part of the story is that my mother and daughter are both perfectionists, I’m the hot mess in the middle. In 2013, I purchased a make your own creature kit to do with my kids. The book was complicated, the kit was incomplete and my kids were not interested. For me it was a creative outlet with little planning or responsibility to be perfect. I made my first monster and finally the “hot mess” side of me found a new hobby.  

I started making monsters to give to friends who needed extra love in their lives. Kristi’s monster shared her crooked smile and had the round booty she longed for. Pam’s monster was a tree creature “Tree Pose” that represented her love of yoga that she introduced me to. Dan’s Monster shared the two sides of his Gemini personality. Other monsters were made for the special effects master, videographer extraordinaire and man of mystery who’s heart will always be in Texas.  

During my sewing journey, I found that I couldn’t possibly make monsters for all that needed a love, I also realized that people needed to love themselves before sharing their own heart with others. So I started inspiring my auto show friends to make monsters with me and for themselves. I noticed that some didn’t know how to thread a needle or felt that sewing always needed to be perfect, so I naturally took it upon myself to teach and encourage them in their monster making. 

When I moved to Knoxville in 2017, I left the auto show world and fine tuned my workshops and sewing kits to spread the love of making monsters, one stitch at a time. I’ve had the pleasure of doing workshops with The Cancer Support Center, Girl Talk, YMCA, The Restoration House and Middle Path, just to name a few. Making monsters is great for all ages and genders. Not only does it teach a life long skill, children can exercise fine motor skills and hand/eye coordination. Teens get to express their deep dark ugly monster inside and adults, when do we ever take time to something for ourselves?  

I feel everyone should make a monster. College students going away, people healing in the hospital or those with burn out from staring at a computer screen. I currently work with kids as young as 4, mental health patients, special needs clients, businesses who need team building or even just a random gathering of people who want to create together. 

Early 2020, I curated my first art exhibition at Dogwood Arts. We had 30 artists and makers create a monster in their own medium and a fleece monster to auction off for charity. I love to bring the community together in creativity. I hope that future collaborations with the community can inspire others to create, even if it is, one stitch at a time.  

Create your own monster kits can be found at, Ijams Nature Center, Muse Science Center and kitten kits at Scruffy’s Cafe.


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