Bridget Hughes from New Zealand has a dream of a world under the dominion of adorable yet menacing dice holders. Her business, Wayward Masquerade, has created many amazing products over the years, but her most popular and iconic is ‘Bagthulhu,’ the Cthulhu-themed plush dice bag. Bagthulhu has seen widescreen praise from terrain-crafting legend DM Scotty and even Call of Cthulhu game designer Sandy Petersen.
So popular is Bagthulhu that Bridget took to Kickstarter to fund a bulk run, and cultists — err, I mean backers — around the world have responded. At the time of this writing, the Bagthulhu Kickstarter is now fully funded and well on the way to hitting its first stretch goal.
Bridget was kind enough to take the time to have a chat with me about Bagthulhu and what else we can expect from her in the future.
First of all, congratulations on hitting your Kickstarter goal. That’s an amazing achievement. What can you tell us about what Wayward Masquerade has been doing up til this point?
Well, basically Wayward Masquerade is me, a demonic sewing machine (it bites) that my Mum got secondhand as a birthday present, and all the ideas rattling around inside my head.
I’ve been making things for as long as I can remember. But the name Wayward Masquerade came about a while back after I made the first Bagthulhu and it turned out to be very popular. Since then I’ve made Dragon dice bags, Hatthulhus, Minithulhus, Koala dice bags, Wolf cloaks, Unicorn dice bags, Ribbon horses … basically whatever pops into my head. I make all kinds of stuff, but since Bagthulhu came out there’s been a lot of dice bags.
Oh, and horse Santa hats.
What made you decide to make a plush dice bag version of an eldritch horror? Why Cthulhu?
To be honest, I’m not really sure. I’d been working on more standard dice bag designs for a while and they were cool and all, but none of them really stuck with me. I’d been sketching out ideas one evening, and I’d given up and gone to bed, and then Bagthulhu showed up and rattled around in my brain until I gave up on sleep and started working on a body for him. He just kinda arrived, mostly formed in my head, and I had to work out the construction details.
A cuddly fabric seemed to work out well. I primarily made him cuddly because he’s adorably angry, and it amuses me no end for him to be angry and adorable at the same time, and angry about being adorable. The fabric I went with is soft, but it’s surprisingly durable and it doesn’t unravel, so that makes the seams more reliable and it makes quite a complex design with lots of small details much more doable.
And Cthulhu is just … iconic. I’ve learned a lot about Lovecraftian mythos since making Bagthulhu, but he’s the one you come across first, usually. And I kept making him because he made people so happy. It’s probably a side effect of having your soul slowly devoured.
I see you’ve set up a stretch goal for Backpackthulhu as well in response to demand. Where else might you go with this? Handbagthulhu? Sleeping Bagthulhu?
I definitely want to do a sleeping bagthulhu. And maybe a hoodiethulhu. I’m also keen on making like a cat cave that happens to be a ‘thulhu, because the idea of an Ultharian hanging out with a great old one amuses me no end. I also have a Hatthulhu design already which I might add as well.
If Hatthulhus include Cthulhu on a top hat, put me down. I’ve seen some of your other works, I love the dragon bags as well. Do you think we will see more Kickstarters in the future with some different designs?
I definitely want to do another KS this year, if possible. Next year … who knows? This year I’m hoping to Kickstart the dragon bags. I just need to come up with a catchy name for them…
What’s the reaction you get at the gaming table from people who have never seen your dice bag before, who discover your dice have been eaten by an adorable elder god?
It’s funny, actually. I’m pretty sure he has some kind of mind control powers. People always want to pick him up and look at him, then they sort of leave him alone for a while, but before long they’re cuddling him and he’s got them under his spell.
People who know Cthulhu recognize him immediately. People who don’t are often a bit confused. Whether they like him or not, not many people can ignore him. He’s too weird.
So do you play Call of Cthulhu? Or anything else thematically appropriate?
I have played CoC before, I’m not currently playing it but hopefully that will change. I’m also a fan of the World of Darkness games, and Urban Shadows. I’m interested in trying out Delta Green and The Void in the future.
Can you give us a hint about any upcoming projects the nerdily-inclined might like to hear about?
There’s a lot, but definitely the dragon bags will hopefully be my next Kickstarter campaign. I’m also working on DM screens, but that’s a fair way off. And an owl dice bag design. And a nerdy cat cave series. And some dice beanbags. I’m also working on goblin and kobold dice bags.
My project list is … very crowded.
Be sure to let Nerdarchy know when you do, they love them some goblins.
Oooh … we can talk about it [a] bit closer to the time.
How have you found the transition from sewing every bag yourself to getting a mass production run of dice bags?
It’s interesting … it’s a whole shift in design and construction really. What’s efficient when you’re making something individually is very different to what’s efficient when you’re making hundreds or even thousands of the same thing.
One of the big things for me, though, was fair working conditions. There’s lots of issues around ethical trading in the manufacturing industries.
I think I’m gonna miss being able to hug each Bagthulhu before they go out to their new victims. All the ones I’ve made have been really personal. It was me or a friend I dragooned who cut out the pieces. It was me who hand sewed their eyes on and got the angle of the brow ridges just right for maximum angriness.
But at the same time … the campaign is about making Bagthulhu more accessible to more people, and a bulk run really is the only solution to that. Plus, I hope I’ll still get to make custom Bagthulhus in the future. A lot of them are gifts. Those are my favorite. We scheme and plot and do re-con to get everything just right, and when the victim meets their new abomination, I usually get a message about it. I get to have this tiny part in people’s stories through this cuddly little monster, even on the other side of the world. That’s pretty awesome.
If there’s anybody reading this who is interested in a custom order from Wayward Design, what can you tell them?
For folks who want a custom Bagthulhu, the best time is now. They’re a little cheaper than usual as rewards on the Kickstarter, but there’s limited spots. For custom commissions in general, folks can get in touch through the Facebook page, the Etsy shop, Tumblr or Google+.
Thanks so much for taking the time Bridget, and best of luck with your Kickstarter’s closing days.
No worries, and thank you!