Three Little Maids

It's that time of year when I deliver my contribution to the yearly Teddy Bears of Witney catalogue.

Only one edition this year, and a bit different to my usual style. I thought it would be nice to have a basic kitten design and call them after sweets, depending on what colours they were.

So this is 'Sherbert Lemon', always my favourite sweet. The design seemed faintly familiar and at first I was worried that I'd inadvertently plagarised the ubiquitous 'Hello Kitty'. (Which of course, I would never do, having quite strict morals about that kind of thing).

Then I traced it back to a toy painting I did back in 2006, 'Koko With Checks' thinking at the time what fun it would be to actually make this in real life.

A little later I used the basic shape again for a Christmas card, 'Angel Cat'.

And then I dug deeper, linking all this to some little Japanese dolls which I picked up for pennies when I was about 16-17. I'm so used to them that I'd almost forgotten about them, but they've obviously lurked in my creative subconscious.

I didn't know until a few days ago that they are Kokeshi dolls and are MASSIVE! Not in size, but in popularity and collectiblility. One is quite old and has a single baby doll inside her. She is my favourite. Or maybe he?

The other two also vintage, but more recent and have two nesting dolls inside. None of them are signed and I'm certain that they are simply mass market items, not the really valuable artist kokeshi.

My own 'Kokeshi Kittens' also have heavy, wobbling, heads and are a devil to stand upright. But they do, with a little care. Just.


joanna said...

Truly scrumptious, they really are. Delightful!

Dartford Warbler said...

They are so sweet and how clever of you to put all those ideas together and come up with a new toy.

My three year old granddaughter had "Mrs Mouse`s Cupcakes" for her birthday this week. She loves the book and wants to hear the story again and again!

jfidz said...

As ever, the simplicity belies their clever and very effective design.

The BUTT'RY and BOOK'RY said...

Oooooooeeee!!! These are "MEOWWWVOLUS"!!!! Purely PRRRRRfect!!!! Heee
Blessings Linnie

Janet Metzger, Artist said...

OMGosh Gretel...they are simply stunning!!!!

Those little faces..too cute.

Janet xox

Charlotte said...

mmmm Sherbert Lemons, love them.
The kittens are great I love the idea of sweets and felting names.

Anonymous said...

Just as well your favourite sweets are sherbert lemons - you might have had a bit of a time designing someting based on my favourites .... midget gems!!

Claire said...

Such a simple design Gretel but all the little touches are so sweet, the little heart, stitching around the tummy, the collar and little 'flower' by the ear. Just gorgeous
A shape which you have tinkered with over the years in various forms and "Sherbert Lemon" sounds and looks yummy.........

A sunny morning here, looking out one window it's blue sky and out the, other grey clouds and threatening........typical SPring weather.

Claire :}

Lorraine Young Pottery said...

Congrats on getting your kitties in the catalogue, they have a Japanese simplicity too them. I adore the pink one on the card.

Lorraine :>}

School on the Heath said...

Sherbet Lemons, oh my, can you still buy them?
What dear little kittens. I hope you make sure that they each go to a good home.

Frances said...

Now here's a funny thing, Gretel. This post of yours has led my memory back many decades...6 of them for the technically inclined, to a time when I was a little girl longing for a kitten.

I used to clip pictures of kittens out of magazines and concentrate and concentrate on those pictures, willing them to actually come alive, giving me a lovely little kitten.

Well. No kitten sprung from those clipped out pictures in my scrapbook. I learned to read, took up with words and lessened my sole obsession with pictures, and actually fell in love with a beautiful beagle puppy...my very first pet.

Still never had a kitten or cat for a pet. This in now way keeps me from greatly admiring your lovely feline creations. xo

Acornmoon said...

When I first saw your new kitty creations I thought that they looked Japanese inspired, maybe you took in the influence from your lovely old dolls without knowing it?

They are as sweet as the confections they are named after. Maybe we will see them in book form one day?

Kathi said...

So simple and oh so sweet-little lemony kitties! ♥

Twiglet said...

Purrrrfect! (Sorry!) As you say - I can see your influences but your kitties are definately from the "Middle of Nowhere". x Jo

jerilanders said...

Little lemon colored wobbly-headed kittens, what a sweet treat they are! I love the way you are able to express so much personality using simple forms. It is not an easy thing to do. But these are just charming.

Beertje Zonn said...

The Three Little Maids are lovely!

Beertje Zonn

Stephanie Roth Sisson said...

Dear Gretel,

I haven't popped over for awhile and seeing where your creations have gone has me sitting over here with a HUGE grin on my face. Wow and wow and wow, wow!


Anonymous said...

I came across your posting for these little gems on the needle felting facebook page. I thought to myself "those look a lot like Middle of Nowhere's work..... interesting". And then through the magic of facebook followed links back to here. I laughed when I showed up on your blog. It is no wonder, I always adore your work. I am still in awe of the immaculate finish that you get on your needle felted pieces. Amazing! Its fun to catch up on your blog!