12.2.09

Going Polar



Have an inevitable snow picture.




Have another one. After Andy's nine day 'at home' holiday, we were cut off by snow. Joy. The gritters didn't come down our winding country lanes, leaving them iced over. So we were cut off, and with a 45 mile commute to work on a motorbike, he was 'at home' again, for most of the week. I'd rather he was safely at home climbing the walls then in a cold ditch with a broken neck, in spite of the general trend to tut-tut at people who didn't or couldn't get to work. Bikes and snow don't go. With the whole village confined, and delivery lorry unable to get through, our one little Co-op soon ran out of supplies. It was stripped. We managed to get one little loaf (loaves being rationed to one per customer) - the last one in the shop. And a carton of goat's milk Longlife milk. Thankfully we already had some normal UHT and the dreaded stuff remains in its box, now we are getting back to normal and have fresh. Lines must be drawn, and Longlife goat's milk is where I draw mine.




Thankfully we had plenty of wood and more than enough food. We and the cats hunkered down to sit it out. Naturally, the cats hogged the sofa. Before he went completely loopy with cabin fever, he did struggle in for the weekend rota, although because of the treacherous ice, his late Saturday night shift and early Sunday start, he had to stay overnight at the nearby, ghastly (and this one
is ghastly) Travel Lodge. So I was home alone with the cats. As usual, I had plenty of things to do, not least of which was designing a prototype polar bear. A great excuse to watch my Arctic DVD and try to grasp the essentials of polar-bearness.




I was also dying to use one of the little glass bear noses I bought last year - only 8mm across at the widest point - it's the tiny black thing I've got pinned to my felting sponge up there, with my two lead bears saying hello to the white woolly blob that was the start of Petra. I wanted a really simply shape, and looked at lots of Inuit carvings - I figured they were probably the experts, and most toy bears I found were really just white teddy bears. Every bear type has distinguishing characteristics, and the challenge of the Polar is that it is deceptively easy looking. As it was, there was much adding and chopping before I finally got what I was looking for.




With a thaw setting in, at last we were able to get over to the woods, where we found evidence of Badger tramping solidly along a path. Badgers have five 'fingers' in a straight-ish row, as opposed to a dog's four pads. They walk along putting their back foot as near as possible to their front foot, so old Brock's trail looked like a two legged race.




Driven by hunger, the little Muntjac deer were down in the bluebell woods, the most walked in part of the reserve. They almost didn't care how near we were, but eventually they sloped off into the beech grove ahead.




To my unkind amusement, Andy had a slapstick moment, when he leaned on a rotten gate post which promptly collapsed under him. Unfortunately there was a large, slushy, muddy puddle just where he landed and I would be derelict in my duty if I did not share this moment with the world.




Now conditions are somewhat better and routines are almost restored; though our roads are still like ice rinks and I count the hours until Andy is safely home. Roll on Spring.


49 comments:

natural attrill said...

Hi G,
I really like your polar bear.
Poor Andy, funny though!
When the snow has gone, perhaps you'll make another trip up north? would be lovely to see you both again this year.
P.x

ginny said...

...you really are so talented... the polar bear is adorable... you create such magic when you bring these creatures to life.
hope you and mr bear are keeping nice and toasty!
ginny x

Jemjoop said...

The shape of him is wonderful. What amazes me is how you can take a lump of wool and make such diverse things as a goose, a house, and a polar bear all look like they were made by the same hand. Your work is instantly recognizable.

Bee said...

I love the little nuggets of dry wit in this post! Your snow creatures and pictures round out the theme nicely.

We had a snow adventure, too -- but ours was a bit more luxurious and involved tramping down the road to the pub!

I'm ready for flowers now. I'm sure you are ready for warmer hands.

Sue said...

What a gripping tale about the snow, all the animal tracks, motorbike worries and the goatmilk saga... I always look forward to your posts and am never disappointed... I wish you would write every day (wistful face) but then there would be no time to make your beautiful woolly friends. Petra looks very kind and safe, which I like :-)

Rima said...

Wow.. that polar bear is delightful! As is the colourful Winnie below... I just so enjoy seeing your new felt creations and am so happy that they are taking off in such a way for you... I am going to definitely commission one one day :)
Amazing the snow there! It has pretty much missed off this corner of England...
Keep warm n no broken ankles!
XX R

Catherine said...

Very appealing polar bear. :-)
In a strange way I sort of miss getting snowed in - I think it's the sense of being cut off from the world that appeals to the hermit in me! Glad you managed to get through it without resorting to longlife goat's milk though.

Casbah Kitten said...

What a lovely polar bear! I love it's rather large, stable bottom!! So cute. And although snow and ice can be trecherous I think your photos are beautiful and fresh looking. I love snow when I don't have to drive in it!!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Oh, Gretyl. That is a perfect polar bear. I love his look of longing. The ears, the back, the tail....really...just perfect. Polar bears are one of my favourite animals anyway, and this one is wonderful.

Loved the snow pictures! Why is it so funny when our loved one falls into a puddle?? I myself, slipped on a stone in the middle of a middle last Spring whilst on a walk with Edward, Apple and husband. Just sat down with a hard thud right in the middle of the stream. Of course, laughter ensued. Mine included, fortunately!!

Helen/Dudley said...

Oh he is so cute! Will you mail him to the US? helenhg at gmail dot com.

Thanks so much for letting us know.

Frances said...

PG, your bear is a real bear, no doubt about it!

Glad that you did not have to realy drink any of that longlife juice of the goat. Truly for emergencies only!

The landscape photos you've posted are so freshing to my city eyes. Thank you!

You will see bluebells in those woods soon. Great to learn how to identify a badger's tracks. Another thank you!

Dana and Daisy said...

a charming bear, Andy is rather endearing also in his muddy jacket.

Caroline B said...

And we complained about having to walk to Waitrose in the snow - at least we didn't have to resort to UHT anything, let alone goats milk!

Fantastic bear, just oozes character and I love his bum! Check out this incredible piece of film of polar bears & huskies:
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=JE-Nyt4Bmi8

Suze said...

Petra is beautiful...such a wonderful bear! I do love your art...

The joys of living down a lane! They grit ours now, as they put us at the end of a bus route last year...

Flávia Leitão said...

Your polar bear are soo sweet!!
Your work is amaizing!

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

The nose, the nose, perfect for that charming bear. Stay safe and warm.

caraandco said...

The polar bear is just stunning. I love the simplicity of it. I'm not even sure I could have purchased Longlife Goats milk, I think my line was drawn long before that. Thankfully we were kept in milk by our wonderful milkman, and the flour supplies kept us in home made bread.

Do you fancy making a fox?

Jessie Lilac said...

I'm glad to hear no tales of starvation while you were cut off! You've really captured the polared bearness well in this piece. I used to think it was the easy option to copy from a photo, but it makes the world of difference copying from a moving animal even if it's on a screen doesn't it? It's taken me this long to realise that!x

Meliors Simms said...

Petra is beautiful. I think I like best the swooping line of her back from head to tail. Though yes, her wistful expression is very endearing too. Lovely, as is all your work. (and Winnie and I are having a lovely time together here)

Weeping Sore said...

Awwww, the mud puddle! In the midst of such lovely pictures of your polar bear. He looks anything but endangered - the bear.

Jackie said...

I suppose being cut off is what you can expect when you live in the Middle of Nowhere.
The polar bear is absolute essence of polar bear, you are so clever.

Elizabeth said...

Love your polar bear - so much charm and so seasonal!
Life in the middle of nowhere sounds rather cosy about now.
Greetings from windy New York.

Stephanie Roth Sisson said...

YOur creatures really do have life to them- they look as though they have a whole inner world...

Fellows said...

Wonderful story, Gretel, and a beautiful, beautiful bear! We live with snow so much that I am always longing, as you, for Spring.

Sarah Laurence said...

I love the sheep in the snow, and the third photo looks like a painting. Gorgeous! I was wondering how you’d plow a narrow country lane. The polar bear is adorable and well adapted to his climate. Inspiration comes in many forms. Keep warm!

Frances said...

Thank you for the comment. Yes, our new first couple are quite an improvement.

Those green gloves (and many other things that Michelle has worn for the cameras are from the very mid-range company JCrew.com. It is grand that M is not just cosying up to the Big designers, but ... she is going to be featured in the new issue of Vogue.

Stay tuned. Cheers!

muddy red shoes said...

very polaresk bear, loverly.

tlc illustration said...

Such adventures! (I'm so wanting spring. *Don't* want snowy pictures on my screen! :-) Very ap propos for your darling polar bear. (Everything you produce in this medium really is fabulous.)

lettuce said...

inevitable snow pictures - but also necessary, and lovely
(especially the one with the semi-buried sheep)

and Petra is just right.

Rosehaven Cottage said...

He is adorable! And that tail... that is downright cute beyond words!!!!!

Cindy

Kim said...

The little bear is pure magic, and so is the pony. You're soooo clever, Gretel :)

Kim x

carolyn said...

Petra is such a darling, perfect from the tip of her tiny glass nose to the end of that gorgeous rounded bear bottom! As for bottoms I'm afraid I'm considered quite, quite horrid by my husband for laughing at "other peoples misfortunes" ie. slapstick moments. I try so hard not to laugh that I think I actually make it worse.

Libby Buttons said...

Love the enchanting polar bear. My favorite part is the nose and the tail. Love the story of the snow-in. Are those ewes really up to their shoulders in snow?! WoW!
smiles
"LiBBy"

Merisi said...

That is one sweet polar bear!

I am relieved to hear that the snow and ice are retreating. We have had the most wonderful winter landscape last night, after more than 24 hours of constant snowfall everything was covered by a fluffy white blanket. Very early in the morning the temperature climbed for a couple of hours and some of the snow started to melt. Now it is back to snowing. Vienna has superb snow removal services, and my neighbourhood is well served by grocery stores and the like, no car needed, thank heavens.

Have you ever heard of Hans de Beer's children's books about a little polar bear? My kids loved them.

Rebecca said...

Oh oh oh! He is just adorable. I'm smitten.

Linda said...

Wonderful site...great art...amazing polar bear. I'll be back!

Pearl said...

You had some major snow for sure. Glad to hear it didn't get uncomfortable for you. Having food and your cats certainly made you feel cozy.
Love your bear. You really captured the little round back they have when sitting.

Take good care.
Hugs,

Uschi said...

Having lots of snow is always a (far too seldom happening)break for me to remind me to slow down!
Everything is amazing and different.
Your felted bear is fantastic! A real character!!!

Sue said...

Lovely, lovely bear!

moonbindery said...

Your bear is just great--all of your felt animals are wonderful characters. Hope the rest of your winter is goat milk free. :)

June said...

Petra, is just perfect.
Clever you :o)

spinyurchin said...

Hi PG!
Fantastic animals. I couldn't believe my eyes ... illustrator AND toy maker. They look like the kind of toys that come alive at night when the household is asleep. Good on ya!

Kathie said...

I love watching your two-dimensional drawings become three-dimensional. I have seen a lot of needle felting and yours ranks as some of the best out there. I hope you love making it as much as we love watching you make it!

Rachael Rabbit said...

Gretel - your talent is just endless - honestly - each piece is always breathtakingly cute and gorgeous and perfect ....

I have to admit to loving snow - I never want it to go away!

Gigibird said...

I had no idea that it was possibe to buy longlife goats milk....and in a little village shop!!

I love your bear especially his cute little tail:)

Those lead bears look very familar....I think I may have one tucked away somewhere..........

Bone*Head*Studios said...

If this isn't the most precious thing I don't know what is!!
blessings,Flora

miko said...

I love your polar bear. I want him! Is he for sale? or should I say 'fur sale?'
I have just realized I have a blog with google...for gotten all about it, never used it. Are they easy to get going and adding photos to etc.?
Trouble is I spend too much time at the computer already.
Mik

FruteJuce said...

Lovely polar bear, so full of character.

BumbleVee said...

your bear is great..... I am spending some time going backwards through the posts...just found you today.

what type of wool do you use for these that you get it so smooth? ... I must admit to liking kind of a rough hewn look on some of my little guys that I am making...but, a smooth one might be nice. Or..is it just that you needle it till it is all smooth... or do you clip any stragglers? ...