How an Ohio couple created an imaginary world with their “Bindlewood” shop

Chris Ryniak and Amanda Louise Spayd create a world of fantastic creatures out of their home in Bay Village, Ohio. We talk about the inspiration and the process behind creating an imaginary world.

Welcome to Bindlewood! The online toy and art shop is home to the fantastical creations of Chris Ryniak and Amanda Louise Spayd, a Bay Village-based couple who work full time to populate their imaginary worlds.

Ryniak’s designs are a virtual zoo of “Friendly Monsters”. With their big, expressive eyes and toothy grins, his creatures walk the line between spooky and cute. In his “Morning Scribbles“, Ryniak posts a new creature drawing on a nearly-daily basis. With that kind of output, everything gets the monster treatment. Vegetables, insects, robots, household appliances, animals and unidentified blobs all become subjects. You can see some of his favorite drawings become the subjects of his toy line, ranging from sizes small enough to fit in your hand, to huge beasts that a child could ride. His editions of these toys, released online, normally sell out as quickly as they are released, and have led to collectors with whole rooms dedicated to his work.

Spayd’s line of toys and designs take a slightly darker tone, but also revolve around one primary icon: the “Dust Bunny“. While not always a straightforward “rabbit” per se, the Dust Bunny will have a dazed expression, protruding teeth, and a general sense of mystery. The large Bunnies are cloth bodies creations, stuffed with wood chips and cotton. Their sculpted faces cute expressions offset by realistic glass eyes and cast resin teeth. Their bodies can be a simple doll-like form, or elaborate costumes with painted felt wings, beadwork or antlers. Then there are the smaller companions, made from cast resin, with names like “Pipsqueak” and “Dewdrop””. These two-inch high figures may be simpler in design, but have the same bewildered expression in their faces. She also has an extensive line of fashions and accessories bearing her art. Her designs even led to the inspiration for a short animated film: the award-winning stop-motion short “The Maker“.

Watch CLE Weekend’s profile video of the artists talking about what goes into their work, how it’s changed their lives, and what it’s like being working artists in the Cleveland area.