Saturday, January 19, 2013

Groucho Bunny


 This is my third attempt at making an animal that is not in miniature.  I fell in love with a bunny made by the talented Mary Jardin Wimberley of Mary's Secret Garden. I bought the pattern from her......and here is my version!    I couldn't source all the exact fabrics and materials needed, but went with the  best options available to me.  Hope you like him. May I take this moment to thank Mary so very much for sharing her knowledge with me.


Groucho stands 28cms tall to the tips of his ears and only 19,5 cms to the top of his head. When seated he is just a plump palmful.  I chose supersoft Alpaca with a lovely 14 mm pile in beige and white for his body, but used a longer 22mm pile in white for his face.

Needle sculpting Groucho's face took an age as I was looking for fat cheeks and a wriggley nose.  Once that was done I scissor-sculpted extensively to achieve the look I wanted.  His dark eyes are German black glass with handmade Ultrasuede eyelids. Long dark lashes and white horse-hair whiskers finish off this little rabbit.

Groucho is jointed 5 ways and can be posed in many positions.
His ears have not been wired but can still be posed in 'up' or 'lop' positions. They are softer this way and Groucho doesn't mind me carrying him around by his ears!

                    Groucho has a fluffy white cotton-tail, like all bunnies.

His wriggly , rabbity nose was made from spare Alpaca , shaved and stitched into place and his muzzle was created by needle sculpting. His nose, paws and feet , eyes and inner ears have been handshaded with copic markers and blenders.

Groucho has been stuffed fairly firmly with polyfibre mainly but has loads
of pellets inside him to provide a lovely weighty feeling when seated in one's palm

He has been lovingly finished off with a sewn-in 'Eddybare' label  and a satin bow around his neck.

It was an absolute joy to be able to work on a design that I could sew on a sewing machine.  This is not something one is able to do when working on miniatures and it was a lovely change.  Groucho will be living with me and is not for sale.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

St Bernard puppy

A few months ago my granddaughter Erin asked me to make her a St Bernard puppy for her birthday gift.  She very sweetly and politely told me it should have a whisky keg around its neck.  She was very precise in what she wanted and I dared not tell her I couldn't deliver!   She thought I could do it, and had no worries that I would fail it was off to the drawing board again.  This is my version of a St Bernard pup with his whisky keg. 

St Bernards are large, solid dogs with shaggy fur. Never all white or one coloured ...... but  they always have a white chest, white feet and white tip to their tail.  I chose a soft furry 14mm pile Alpaca in white and a brindly-brown for the contrast colour.

At first I had to needle sculpt the shape of his face to develop his long muzzle and then scissor sculpt slowly and painstakingly to develop his facial features . 

 Eyes are black German glass and his nose has been fashioned from polymer clay; baked hard and then painted and sealed.


 Making such a furry dog in a miniature was a daunting task, and I battled with every limb!  Each time I tried to turn the fabric the right way round the stitches would pop and tear and I would have to start again.  Perseverance paid off and voil√†!   He stands just under 7cms tall.

Gaining their name from the dangerous St. Bernard pass in the Alps between Italy and Switzerland, the breed was famous for rescuing people lost in the snow and in avalanches. This was not an easy or safe job for the St. Bernard, and many  perished themselves in the avalanches.

 They are rumoured to have carried a brandy or whisky barrel around their necks but this fact is apparently a fallacy. Even so, mine has  a keg which I sculpted from Apoxy-Sculpt before painting it and adding the colours of the Swiss flag.
Can you imagine being lost in a snow blizzard ......cold and wet,  hungry and thirsty, possibly injured.........and then seeing this face appear through the swirling snow - bringing relief and help - must be such a welcome sight.

The most famous St. Bernard to save people at the St Bernard Pass was Barry (sometimes spelled Berry), who reportedly saved somewhere between 40 and 100 lives. There is a monument to Barry in the Cimetière de Chiens and his body was preserved in the Natural History Museum in Berne.

This little pup has no name yet.  If it were up to me I'd have named him Beethoven after the St Bernard in the movie .......or Barry , after the famous rescue dog............but the choice will be Erin's. I have no doubt she will come up with something original.