16.5.08

All creatures...

My studio has been hit by a mini-plague of flies. For the last three days I have been acting as door-lady to a steady trickle of blow-flies. First thing in the morning they are clustered at the window like anxious commuters at a train station. They are definitely emerging from within, and almost certainly from a crack joining the attic. No smell can be detected, so I think we can rule out any little 'presents' left by one of the cats. They seem to be lessening in number, so hopefully whatever it is - wherever it is - is almost done decomposing.


Out on night time patrol in the rainy back garden, with my old pair of snicker-snacker-scissors. Beware all slugs and snails, my veg seedlings are at your mercy - and you are at mine! With the gentle rain and darkness emerge the worms, swiftly pulling themselves underground as I make my progess through the vegetable patch. And there, behind the soaking tub, is dear Mrs Toad, doing her usual round as she seeks a juicy snail supper. This corner of the yard is littered with the remains of past feasts - as a careless person chucks their Big Mac carton on the floor, so she strews the patio with eviscerated shells. Maybe she needs a little litter basket?




Despite having to give most of my time to my lovely new illustration job, I did finally finish my NFEST challenge - Synthia. (I was going to call her Madame Syn, but thought the reference not quite nice for a needle felt toy, if anyone is old enough to remember the infamous Cynthia Payne).
She is the one snail who hasn't come to an unfortunate end, via my scissors or Mrs Toad's voracious appetite. I know she was only curious to discover what thyme smelt like. Now I have her in the shop, along with Rose - (Rose is now sold to a new home).



- I can put my mind to my two orders, not the least of which is an extravaganza of toy making for Stephanie. We went through various designs -




- but eventually I tempted her with a monkey.



We whittled it down to a skinny one, possibly with a few little extras...an embedded music box is a distinct possibility. Steph is brilliant to work with, she is as dotty about vintage toys as I am, and so enthusiastic; between us we hope to create something rather special, and I can take my toy making up to the next level.

(Oh look, another fly. Would you like your coat sir?)

25 comments:

Aglaya said...

You're my new needle felting guru!:) I love your work. All your needle felted creatures are fabulous!

sdzsmith said...

I love to see how your drawings translate into their 3-D counterparts. My daughter would probably love to know how to do this sort of thing!

d. moll, l.ac. said...

You do have such a touch with the needle, your creations are totally unique from anything I've seen.

Erica-Jane said...

I don't want this to sound patronising, but Im SO proud of you!!!!!
I guess I don't have the right to feel 'proud', but I just love the animals. It's so clear that you enjoy it so much.
I've followed your blog for yonks, and have 'internet' known you through various forums prior to your blog.
To see this amazing evolution of what is quite clearly an amazing, creative talent you have. Your imagination has always been your strength, and your sketches and drawings have always been intimidatingly good.
But...what you are doing now, this corner you seem to have turned creatively, IMHO, is f-a-b-u-l-o-u-s!!
Oooooh! I love these critters!

Eric
xoxoxo

frazzy dazzles said...

I find it amazing that you can translate your skill from drawing to your wonderful needlefelting and come up with such a faithful representation of your first sketches! Such different media yet such fantastic faithfulness! You are so truly talented - Jen

PG said...

:o) Thank you so much everyone - I feel quite grateful that I have finally found my niche, AND I enjoy it - that it the best thing of all!

Catherine said...

The new felt toys look great - I can't wait to see the monkey, the sketch is wonderful and I'm intrigued to know how you might get a music box inside...

PG said...

Hi Cat! No big secret, I am just going to needle felt round the box, which will be a bit fiddly, but no more than doing a pipecleaner tail. I think...we'll see. It might not work!

Gail said...

Hi Gretel, just wanted to add to what everyone else is saying ... wow, they are all lovely - I'm always keeping an eye on you blog to see what new creatures you create ;)
Sally says hello too ;)
-Gail x

Puddock said...

Toads are wonderful aren't they? I bumped into one in my garden yesterday - always a mystical experience.

I wonder if you could needle-felt a big warty toad...?

Tea & Margaritas in My Garden said...

I just love these toys you`re making!

tea
xo

Austin Maloney said...

Nice work. I like your blog. Would you like to do a link exchange? I'm a fellow artist trying to build my ranking by getting more reciprocal links. If interested please email me at:

amaloneyart@gmail.com

ladysnail said...

hello gretel! your felt creations are amazing! i love stoppping by your blog to see what you have created next. this time a snail! i wish i had some pennies as i would giving cynthia a new home. i havent seen any snails making the rounds yet and as daft as it sounds if i see any on pathways i pick them up and put them in covered green areas so they dont get stood on.dx.

julie said...

Your two latest creations are gorgeous and it's wonderful to see your sketches for the next ones. Hope your fly problem abates - maybe the lovely toad could be coaxed inside your studio and help you despatch a few or is it frogs that eat flies?

Francie of The Scented Cottage said...

Synthia is magnificent ! But you know what I am waiting for...I have been building up my Paypal account too.
We've been under the weather here but starting to rebound...I am thrilled for you about the new job.

(())

Vickie said...

This is so nice to see your process of sketching and then to translate it into a sculpture. Your creations are lovely!

OldBagNewTricks said...

I'm astounded at how your sketches magically transform into little felted sculptures!!! Wow. You are such a dazzling talent -- I've been kind of a away for a bit, from one project to another... but it is always a treat coming back to your enchanting blog. And Mrs. Toad has her work cut out for her, so to speak. (I'm still wrapping my bnrains around there not being front porches in England... Shocking! I never noticed.

Jenny

kate smudges said...

I can hear the snicker snacker scissors making fast work of any veggie-eating snails. I like your toad - want one too, please!

Ah, I guess I am old enough because I distinctly remember Cynthia Payne. Your Snythia is far better looking and quite possibly might start a new movement to 'eat blow flies instead' movement among her snail compatriots.

Hope those flies are gone soon ... and oh my, I like the monkey designs.

carolyn said...

Golly I could never take a pair of sissors to a snail or a slug but then I guess that's why I can't grow veg!

Rima said...

Yikes! Those poor slugs!!
Your latest works are marvellous Gretel... as ever... I am so pleased that you're flying with this and also very excited about the new secret project! Hooray! You know I might just have to commission a little chap one of these days when I am less poor!
AND.. oo music boxes! Yay!!... I have bought from this company before and they're great for music boxes of all sorts and parts.
Wishing you many creative felt-stabbing and painting days and wishing those slugs super-dash-scissor-escape powers! (obviously that they dash away from your veg too!)
Hugs XXX R

Jess said...

I lOvE Synththia's pink bits!! Whaddayamean OLD enough to rememember the original Cynthia? Old? hehe.x

Caroline B said...

Dusty Rose is so sweet, I'm not surprised she found a home straight away. Love the shell on Synthia. Scissors to slugs - oh no,yuck,no...guess that's why my veggie patch is, well, patchy.

razzler said...

I love Synthia! She's lovely.

Elizabeth said...

Loved your descriptions of garden patrol versus the pests.
I think you know Penny of Natural Attrill - her family were in Marrakech and it was super spending time with them.
They are great admirers of yours.
All best wishes

Rosehaven Cottage said...

Dusty Rose is just adorable doing the doggie body language for "let's play!" (not kidding on that one).

I love your sketches... particularly the monkeys. I'm looking forward seeing them come to life in the future.

Hugs,
Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage