Saturday, January 21, 2012

Izak the Camel

 Please meet Izak my camel creation.  I named him after I camel I know!

Designing Izak was  quite a challenge for me.   I stumbled at every turn and did and re-did almost everything.  He just didn't look the way I wanted.  Each day I handstitched with enthusiasm only to unpick my efforts each night.  Finally I'm happy. Hope you like him.

Choosing the fabric for Izak was easy - I went for a soft camel coloured cashmere, with additions of sparse longpile velvet for his ears, and alpaca and mohair for his hairy neck.  The leathery soles of his feet were fashioned from a heavy tan ultrasuede.

Camels have the reputation of being bad-tempered and obstinate creatures that spit and kick.  I have been told that in reality they tend to be good natured, pleasant and intelligent. 

I chose to exaggerate the features I find endearing on camels - giving Izak big knobbly knees,  a long lower lip , furry ears and  long curly lashes.  I needle-sculpted and scissor-sculpted his face extensively to achieve the profile I was looking for.  

His camel blanket has been embroidered in colour-fast DMC threads with cottons, perlé thread, silks and metallic thread;  and adorned with beads and tassels.  His bridle is  rust coloured ultraseude and the reins are plaited DMC.

Camels have weird lips and Izak is no exception. His lower lip is long and 
very expressive and has been wired for poseability.  I have hand embroidered his nose. 

Izak is a one-humped camel  measuring 8,5 cms tall  and 11cm wide from lip to tail. He has a jointed head which swivels and moves.  His unjointed body has an internal wire skeleton allowing for limited movements and poses. 

Camels are unique beasts. Here are a couple of things you may or may not know about them
  • the name camel is derived from the Arabic  ğml meaning 'beauty'
  • their hump stores fat and not water!
  • they are the only mammal to have oval shaped red blood cells
  • when they walk or run they move both feet on one side of their body and then both feet on the other. This gait suggests the rolling motion of a boat, and hence their nickname 'ship of the desert'.

If anyone would like to purchase Izak please email me to discuss.  Thanks.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

All things CAMEL

I haven't been idle since my last entry. Just slow!  I have been wanting to design a camel for ages, but keep procrastinating in fear it won't turn out just the way I envisage.  I have an image in my mind and nothing else will do.  After endless research and sketching  I started with the head, because if that doesn't look right then there's no purpose in continuing.  Unfortunately the first and second prototypes were awful so I still have nothing to show you.  I'm back at the drawing board, adjusting and tweaking ......and improving.

What I can show you are some items around my home and nearby  - yes ....all camel thingys....... which are motivating me to press on until I succeed. And I will eventually -  just watch this space!

This is Izak, and he lives at Imhoff's Farm in Kommetjie, not more than a couple of kilometres from my home.  Isn't he just so special!  I am often to be found on the farm taking photos of Izak and his mates.  Their coats never cease to amaze me ; so many different  colours and textures....ranging from pale cream to tan, light gold and rusty beige.  We will not mention their teeth apart from adding that my camel will not have any teeth!

Izak, Humphrey and Ezekiel waiting to give rides.

I am hoping to show you my finished camel in a couple of weeks.  But till then, I leave you with some pictures of camels I have lying around my home.

Once-upon-a-time I learned how to weave using an old tomato box as a loom.  I only made 2 items. Here they are:

bell - pull

woven cushion to match the bell - pull

I seem to flit from one handcraft to another but most of my work features animals with camels often featuring. Above you will see my first  attempt at long and short stitch in embroidery.

Below is my oak monk bench which I found in a pawn shop. I sanded and restored the oak and had it re-upholstered and covered in this divine fabric. 

That 's about all the camels I have in my home, apart from some framed prints

I adore Indian elephants as well . The top two pictures hang in my bedroom and the photo beneath is in my lounge

My dear friend  Estelle who lives in Dubai sent me this little book which I adore. Its one of those flip through books that bring all the images to life.  Check out these crazy camel expressions.  I think my camel will have a huge lower lip! 

Till then........

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Nounou is an abbreviation of the French word 'nounours' meaning teddy bear.  She is my first creation of the new year. 

Each new year I think about what I'd like to achieve creatively and I set myself goals on how to accomplish this.  Last year , at this time, I told myself I would steer slightly away from making only bears and enlarge my menagerie. Although I still have far to go I do feel I have achieved what I set out to do. 

During 2011 my Eddybare range of animals has increased to  include cats, rats and mice, ducks and dogs (basset hound and jack russell), kangaroo, goat and fox.  This year I hope to continue adding various animals and birds to my range. I will continue to make bears as well.


she loves waving to her admirers!

Nounou is a tiny bear . She is 7cms tall and only 5cms when seated. Her fur is frosted longpile velvet - creamy coloured with a light gold backing.

she loves to pose for the lens

Nounou is fully disk and string jointed allow her to pose in various positions. Her black nose is resin, and her eyes German glass. Tan coloured ultrasuede has been used for her inner ears and paw pads.

Sitting next to Lily on my bed

I wanted to post the next picture so one can see just how small she is. Nounou is quite lost on my double bed, and would prefer to be in my pocket I'm sure. I also thought it a wonderful opportunity to show off my new crocheted amazing handmade gift from my talented mum.

Nounou is feeling sleepy after modelling for so long and bids you all a 'bonsoir'

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Iced Biscuits

I have an incredibly sweet tooth and always enjoy baking and eating. Cakes, breads, desserts and icecreams, cheesecakes.....the list goes on. But never biscuits. They have never really appealed to me. Well all that changed after I attended a hands-on workshop with the talented Roxanne Floquet.   The workshop was conducted in her beautiful home in Newlands  and turned out to be a memorable morning.

learning to outline with royal icing

flooding with softer royal icing....just like colouring in!

Time flew by. The techniques involved were demonstrated and what a thrill to watch her work!  Everything looked so simple and easy... until it was our turn!   Under Roxy's guidance and infinite patience we rolled and cut out our biscuit shapes, then iced them.  I found the whole experience  therapeutic and fun; and best of all we took our creations home to enjoy. I have to confess it took days before I could eat any of them - they were just so pretty and  I wanted to keep them all. 

packaging some biscuits to give as a xmas gift

I will forever be thankful to Roxy for being such an inspiration. I loved the workshop so much I went back a couple months later for a repeat!  Even though I had grasped most of the techniques  the first time I just wanted to spend another morning in her company watching the magic she performs.  These days I have an incredible array of cookie cutters and truly love making biscuits. The biscuits are as stunning to eat as they are to look at.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Too many terriers?

Here is my newest Jack Russell pup.......not yet named. I'm afraid when it comes to naming pups I cant seem to think beyond Lucy and Georgie!  They were the loves of my life and I guess I could have a hundred of them. So please feel free to send some suggestions.

Made of soft white cashmere and standing 7cms tall with tan Sassy longpile markings. Slightly larger than Georgie and Lucy but still fitting easily into a palm.

final touches on the workbench

Facial features and broken coat have been achieved by needle-felting, needle-sculpting and extensive scissor sculpting . Large soulful black eyes  add to her sweet expression and one blink of those sooty lashes will melt your heart.  She has a large black resin nose.

Internal wire armature and firm polyfibre filling assist this solid pup to stand her ground well. She is after all a terrier, and likes nothing more than being out and about, sniffing in the garden and exploring. Her tail is always held high, to match her exuberance and spirit.

Sporting her green Ultrasuede collar she is now ready and keen to be shipped to a home. She is available in my Etsy shop, so please visit her there

who will offer me a home as wonderful as the one I must leave?