Spotlight on SPNFamily Creativity and Making A Difference – Little Pop Workshop!

Sometimes it really helps to shine a light on all the good things about fandom – how we help each other, how we help others, how we try to make change in the world. It’s an integral part of fandom, and one that I cherish – that’s why every purchase of Family Don’t End With Blood benefits Random Acts’ important work helping those who need it all over the world, and Attitudes in Reverse with their mission of ending stigma and opening up conversation about mental health challenges to combat suicide. On this #GivingTuesday, if you haven’t read FDEWB yet, you can help make a difference by picking up a book for yourself or for a friend. Most of the Supernatural actors wrote chapters — Jared, Jensen, Misha and many others — in which they shared their own personal struggles and challenges, hoping that will inspire others to keep going when the going gets tough.

The book has been our way of trying to help, but there are so many people in fandom whose creative talents enrich us all and also make a difference.

Recently a wonderful thing happened in the fandom that also benefits one of Misha Collin’s many charitable endeavors. With the help of charitable organizer Stands on twitter, the “I Wish For This” campaign to benefit Lydia Place was launched. Lydia Place works to disrupt the pervasive cycle of homelessness and foster autonomy for families, something that Collins knows about from personal experience. Fan artist Little Pop Work made a customized Pop Funko Misha doll which was signed by Misha as an incentive to participate in the campaign – which was seriously awesome!

The I Wish For This Misha Pop is based on the touching story that Misha has told about his daughter, Maison. When Misha asked his kids what they wanted to wish for as they picked dandelions and got ready to make a wish on them, Maison simply replied “I wish for this.” Misha can’t tell the story without tearing up, and frankly I’ve never been able to listen to it without tearing up either.

Coincidentally, I had just had a lovely chat with the woman behind Little Pop Work, Elizabeth Evans. We met up at the con in New Orleans so I could ask her about the amazing custom Pops she makes. Before I share that conversation, though, I asked Elizabeth how she came to make the “I Wish For This” Pop.

Elizabeth: Stands approached me about making the Pop of Misha wearing the I Wish for This shirt after I had made one for the Indivisible campaign to help Puerto Rico back in October. I said yes because I loved making the one for the Indivisible campaign and also because I fully support Misha and Stands in their efforts to make the world a better place. Originally it was just supposed to be Misha wearing the shirt, but I got the idea to have the Pop holding a dandelion in his hand once I had decided on the bases I was using, something extra to make the Pop Misha a little more special. I’m honestly quite proud of how he turned out because not only was it for a great cause and for people I love and respect, the Pop itself also pushed me technically with the lettering on his shirt and the stubble and details on his face. I had to redo both probably two or three times before I was happy with either. I love projects that push my skills. 🙂

The opportunity to give back was extra compelling for Elizabeth because of the way she – and so many of us – feel about Misha.

Elizabeth: Personally for me, making that Pop for this campaign was a special experience because I really respect and look up to Misha Collins. He inspires me to be a better person and to do more for the people around me when I can. So to get to help with this campaign that obviously means so much to him and to the SPN Family was one of the best experiences of my life because I got to do something special for a man who’s changed me and given me so much.

And to help change the world in the process!

Here’s the rest of our conversation from Nola, as Elizabeth joined me at the vendor table for Family Don’t End With Blood and Fangasm Supernatural Fangirls.

Lynn: So just give me an introduction.

Elizabeth: I own and operate the Little Pop Workshop, which is a custom Pop Funko Etsy store.

Lynn: Tell me a little more about you personally.

Elizabeth: There’s not much really to tell about me. I’m a fourth year grad student getting an MFA in Creative Writing with hopes of writing for television. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was seven years old and reading my first Harry Potter book. I was captivated by what words could do. I work in journalism, which is what inspired my thesis project, and I am the proud cat mama to Kitty Dean, whom I rescued late last year.

Lynn: And more about Little Pop Workshop?

Elizabeth: I’m working on expanding outside of Etsy but that’s years down the road. I started in 2015, so I’ve been doing this for about two years. We just celebrated our second anniversary.

Lynn: Happy anniversary! Tell me about how you got started making custom Pops.

Elizabeth: Thank you! I started because I’m a huge fan of Supernatural and I started collecting Funko because of Supernatural.

Lynn: Oh, so this is the fandom that got you into it. That’s awesome, I’m a huge fan of Supernatural too. Obviously.

Elizabeth: Yeah, because they released Sam and Dean and Cas and I had never seen action figures for Supernatural. I was like, OMG, there’s merch, this is a thing!

Lynn: I think we all ran out and bought them.

Elizabeth: I think so, I did too. Almost immediately, I wandered into a Hot Topic and saw them and bought them.

[At this point someone came by and asked about buying a copy of Family Don’t End With Blood, since Elizabeth and I were sitting at the vendor table. We were all sold out, alas.]

Elizabeth: (generously helping me out with the vending) Some of the chapters really made me cry.

Lynn: The actors all wrote very personal chapters, which I think is surprising. I cried too, when I got their drafts even. Okay, where were we?

[This happened repeatedly throughout our chat, and Elizabeth continued to help out with her impromptu positive reviews of the book – and then seamlessly get right back to our interview!]

Elizabeth: So I bought Sam and Dean and Cas, and I started a blog called “Little Castiel”. And I wanted more characters from Supernatural and from that universe, because what keeps drawing me back to that universe is that it’s so rich.

Lynn: Oh yeah, absolutely.

Elizabeth: Fantastic characters and fantastic relationships between them. So I’d seen that people were doing custom Funkos on Tumblr and I thought well, maybe this is something I can do. I’ll give it a shot.

Here are a few Team Free Will Pops that are favorites, with Elizabeth’s descriptions:

My Endverse Team Free Will. Lucifer Sam was another of my early customs and I love how gentle he looks with the flower in his hand. I also love Dean with his gun and Cas with the stoned look in his eyes. This set is one of my favorites.

Updated Team Free Will. Honestly, I have never liked the Sam, Dean and Cas that got released by Funko in 2013, so I’ve always wanted to do my own version of them. I started with Dean, then added Sam and finally within this month added Cas. I wanted them to be more realistic and true to the characters’ appearances (with Dean’s freckles and stubble, Cas’ stubble, and Sam’s flowing locks) than the cookie cutter ones we got before.

My EW Halloween cover Pops. These were SO MUCH FUN to make! I loved the covers when they were released and just had to turn them into Pops. Misha’s was probably the hardest because of the pattern on his coat. Misha did get to see him in Nola and recognized him immediately 🙂

Baby Sammy!!! This is another one of my favorites cause I love season 1 Sam. He’s also met Jared through a fan who took him to get signed in Toronto. I love when fans take my work to the cast at cons and bring back awesome autograph stories!

Lynn: Did you already consider yourself a creative person?

Elizabeth: I’m more of a writer, honestly. I’m in grad school for writing. My father and my sibling are more the artists. But I thought, it’s gonna be personal, it’s something for me, to see if I could do it. So one Amazon purchase and a trip to the craft store, and then six hours later in my living room and I had Gabriel!

Lynn: Ooh, I remember that one.

My first customs ever, the archangel Gabriel and Chuck in his bathrobe. Gabriel will always be my favorite because he was the one that started it all for me and I love him for it:

Elizabeth: (fondly) He’s my special little dude. And from there it kinda snowballed. I made Chuck and I made Claire and just kept going. Then I started making them for Firefly too, which is my other big love. Because they only made five members of the crew, and there are nine. I started posting them on Tumblr and someone reached out and said this is so cute, would you ever sell them?

Lynn: Oh, so it was someone else’s idea!

Elizabeth: It was, I didn’t think I was good enough to sell them at all. My first Gabriel, the original, if you look at him, he’s got paint under his neck, the colors aren’t as clean as I wanted, I didn’t know about sealing the paint then…

Lynn: He’s the prototype though, which is sort of really cool.

Elizabeth: So I never thought I was good enough to sell them, so when someone asked that got the idea rolling, but it was months before I felt comfortable enough to open the shop. Two years later, here I am!

Lynn: Did I just see that you did Popden Swain? I love that. I’m a huge Louden Swain fan.

Elizabeth: I did. They loved it too.

Louden Swain/Swaingels. These are another set that’s been a while in the making. I’m a recent Swainer, only having been listening for close to a year now. I started listening to them back in January before I was going to the SNS concert at Houscon and I just fell in love. I love their sound, the lyrics, how much power and emotion they put into their performance, everything. The Pops joined my Workshop before Nola and I got to show them to the band at the con in a photo op and at autos. Rob remembered them from Instagram and I swear Borja looked like a little kid being given his first puppy when he saw his little Pop self. One of my favorite experiences at Nola, hands down.

Lynn: Did you take them to a photo op?

Elizabeth: I did, the very first photo op this weekend. They were like Ahhh I saw these on social media! Rob and Stephen found them on Instagram. I think the one who was most excited was Borja, he just lit up.

Lynn: Well the Borja one is really cute. They’re all adorable.

Elizabeth: And then for this con I added removable Swaingel wings for Scout (Scoutstiel), so Billy and Stephen and Mike have their wings. I’m hoping to make [Creation photographer Chris] Schmelke when I get home.

(Which she did!)

Lynn: Has the reaction from everyone you’ve made a Pop of been overwhelmingly positive, if you’ve had a chance to give them to the person?

Elizabeth: Yeah, I have a thing, I’m a giver. I don’t like having the actors pay me, I’m making them technically of your face…

Lynn: It’s a compliment to them, I know they must love it.

Elizabeth: Ruth Connell just made me cry. She got it and she says, ‘this is for me?’ She took my phone and did a video for me. Like, Stop it, you! But yeah, the reactions are overwhelming for me, since I started out not knowing if I was good enough.

Lynn: They’re awesome, and I think it filled a niche. We all love the Funkos anyway, and having one of your favorite character – or now expanding it to other parts of the SPN family too is wonderful. What’s been your favorite one that you’ve made, or the best experience in sharing it with someone?

Elizabeth: My favorite is always Gabriel, whenever I get asked this question.

Lynn: Because he was first?

Elizabeth: He was. He’s the one that started all this. It’s representative of me taking the first step into a new world that I wasn’t expecting to be any good at. Assuming that confidence. And for me, I may act confident on social media, but I’m actually shy and have a lot of anxiety and they’ve helped me with that. They give me something to help calm down.

Lynn: Kinda therapeutic, sure. And something you know is going to bring a lot of joy to other people.

Elizabeth: That’s why I keep doing it. I love it when people go OMG this is amazing!

Lynn: I feel the same way about the books. Whenever someone tells me that reading Family Don’t End With Blood inspired them or helped them keep fighting or brightened a dark day, that means so much to me. What have your experiences been like giving it to people who inspired them? Is there a favorite experience?

Elizabeth: Well, Ruth is definitely up there. I was really excited I got to finish that one because that was such an intensive project. There are only two of them – I made her red dress Rowena. And that was a commission from someone last year. Her husband really loved that version and wanted it, so I did all the curls in the hair and was like, never again! And then I started going to the cons and thought well, if Ruth ends up at a con with me, I would make one for her and that would be the last one I would make. And this is it. I’m not doing that one again! And then we started the campaign to get Ruth here in New Orleans – I mean, a witch, in New Orleans!

Lynn: It’s a no brainer.

Red Dress Rowena. I made this originally as a special commission for a fan, but then decided to make one for Ruth Connell if I ever got to meet her at a con. She finally got it in Nola and even had it up on stage with her!

Ruth on stage with her Rowena Pop

Elizabeth: We had a big twitter campaign, and it happened, so I thought okay, I’m gonna make this. I finished it two days ago. So that was up there. Another one was one that I didn’t actually get to do myself – Shoshannah Stern actually purchased the Eileen Pop in my shop and bought it for her daughter. And I didn’t find out until she tweeted me about it. And then she sent me an excited “it just came in and it has hearing aids, and my daughter is signing and freaking out” and I was like OMG. I wanted to meet her so badly but couldn’t make it to New Jersey.

Lynn: She’s wonderful. That’s a great story though, I love that.

Since I’m a big fan of all the women of Supernatural and of the upcoming Wayward episode (and hopefully spinoff) I love that Little Pop Work has done so many Pops of the Wayward women of SPN – including another for Shoshannah!

The Wayward Wonder Women. This started as a nugget of an idea after I saw Wonder Woman in the theaters for the first time. I started thinking about all the powerful women I knew and Kim and Briana (though these are technically Jody and Donna) popped into my head and I wanted to make a Wonder Woman/Wayward Daughters mashup of them. I’ve kept adding to the collection since with Danneel Ackles, Genevieve Padalecki, Lisa Berry, Alaina Huffman, Ruth Connell, Kathryn Newton, Katherine Ramdeen, and soon I will have Samantha Smith and Vicki Vantoch in the group too. I love the idea of making these inspiring and powerful women into Wonder Woman because they are Wonder Women. I also have the Wayward Wonder Women as part of a shirt campaign to raise money for Family Promise of Lake Houston, a local charity I support that helps families get back on their feet after circumstances like loss of a job, loss of a family member or loss of their home. The campaign has raised about $200 so far, so I’m really happy, and it’s still going.

Wayward. This is my complete (so far) Wayward collection with new character Patience. I am so excited for the pilot and have almost everything crossed I can possibly cross so that they get a series pickup. This is going to be amazing. I love how this spinoff (unlike Bloodlines) grew organically within the show and within the fandom, and also it’s anchored by two women who have worked their asses off to get where they are and have earned this shot. I can’t wait to see where it goes.

My Queen Charlie and Handmaiden Dean. These were probably some of my most popular Pops, and I got to present Felicia Day with a set at Comicpalooza this year. She almost didn’t believe I was giving them to her. She also remembered me from sharing them on Twitter and once she realized who I was, she yelled “You’re the Pop person?!”

Elizabeth with Felicia Day and Charlie and Dean Pops

Shoshannah Stern and her WonderWoman Pop

Little Pop’s work has expanded outside just the characters on the show to the people (and things – if you can dare to call ‘Baby’ a thing…) that make Supernatural the phenomenon that it is. There’s a Pop of writer Robert ‘Bobo’ Berens, and one of the Impala. And even one of the show’s creator, Eric Kripke himself!

Robert “Bobo” Berens. I made this to go with the Wayward set. He is one of my favorite scriptwriters for SPN (only second to Robbie) and I’m so happy he’s on board with Wayward. I saw his passion for the project in the episode “Patience” and I think with him at the helm, this project is going to be amazing.

My Impala Pop. This one was YEARS in the making and I finally finished it in time for Nola. I had started on this long before Funko made their official one and was determined to see the project through. All the modifications, the front grill and bumper, the back bumper, and the door handles were all hand made and sculpted and a friend of mine, Melanie, drew the Sam and Dean for their windows. I’m so happy with how the Impala turned out. It’s definitely one of my crowning achievements.

My Eric Kripke Pop! I made him in a set with Shawn Ryan who co-runs Timeless with him. Eric and the whole Timeless crew have been really supportive of my Pops and I was so excited to get to make this and to give him something to thank him for all he’s given me.

Kripke with Kripke Pop!

On this #GivingTuesday, I wanted to celebrate fandom’s and the SPNFamily’s tradition of giving back in whatever way we can. Many of Little Pop Workshop’s designs have benefited various charities, in addition to bringing great joy to everyone who sees them, which is very important to Elizabeth. And every copy of Family Don’t End With Blood you purchase benefits Random Acts and Attitudes in Reverse, which is very important to Jared, Jensen, Misha and all the actors and fans who wrote chapters in the book.

Thanks for the chat, Elizabeth! And keep up the good work. You can follow Elizabeth at @little_pop_work on twitter to see what she comes up with next!

You can order Family Don’t End With Blood
on amazon, where it’s currently on sale! And
help Random Acts and Attitudes in Reverse too!

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