Two weeks ago I mentioned that my plushies will be in Stuff This 2, a plush art show at Rivet Gallery in Columbus, OH. The show is open from now until December 31st (if you’re in Columbus go check it out!). I created two original one-of-a-kind plushies for the show. Here they are:
Madawaska is a wandering nesting spirit. She spends her days walking through the forest waiting for birds to nest in her hair. When a bird family has chosen her head as their nesting ground, she finds a safe place to stand under the shelter of a taller tree. She listens to their conversations as they prepare their nest on her head and quickly becomes up to date on all the latest bird gossip. The Swallows always chirp about the grand pine tree that the Blue Jays live in, the Swallows squawk about the grain stash the Chickadees hoarded without sharing, and the Cardinals simply chatter about how pretty they are compared to any other bird (the Finches do not agree with this one bit). Currently she is the proud hostess of three brand new robin eggs. The Robin parents are already discussing what Universities they want their young ones to go to, as well as whether or not to put them on a strict worm and moss diet.
This is the first time I’ve used non-traditional elements on a plush toy (the straw nest and feathered collar) but I felt very strongly about using them. Even though those elements are not handmade by me, I think they give an extra detail to her overall design. I love the spotted pattern on the feathers. Her teal eyes are from a new colour of felt I went bonkers over when I found it at a fabric store (some colours of felt are super hard to find). They echo the striking blue of the robin eggs in the nest, making her appear friendly to potential nesting birds. ^_^ Madawaska is currently on display and for sale at Rivet Gallery.
Petawawa is a ballerina for The Animaltown School of Interpretive Ballet. In one performance she played the role of a fawn who pranced, jumped and twirled to a beautiful violin solo. The moment on stage was so empowering for her that from that point on she knew she wanted to be a deer. She made a hooded deer cape and practiced her graceful fawn dance moves before she tracked down a small herd of deer. She performed her prancing fawn steps for them and they were convinced she was a one of their long lost deer spirits (mostly because she knew the secret hoof shake) and accepted her into their clan. Petawawa was so overjoyed with happiness that she jumped up and cheered, but as she did this the ribbon on her hooded cape became loose and it fell off. It was revealed to the whole herd that she was really just a girl in a cape. Petawawa was crushed as her dreams of becoming a deer were ruined. Fortunately the herd of deer were so impressed by her prancing that despite her being human, they accepted Petawawa into their fold. Sometimes Petawawa finds it a pain to sleep in the field at night and she says it’s hard to eat grass and bugs, but overall she is extremely happy of her new life with the wandering deer herd.
Petawawa is my love for deer transfused into doll form. I also really liked the idea of a doll wearing a deer cape. The antlers are stuffed, and the cape is fully lined with super cute Japanese fabric of a rabbit and raccoon. The maroon and dark pink felt fabric are also part of the super rare colour stash I recently found. I think she really looks like a ballerina with her pulled back hair and ruffled collar. (Her eyes are both the same colour of light pink even though they look like two different colours in the photos). I LOVE the fabric of the raccoon getting set on fire (LOL), and I was so happy I had an excuse to use it again! ^_^ Petawawa is currently on display and for sale at Rivet Gallery.
Inspiration. These plushies were inspired by several things…
1) Animals. Obviously I’m super into deer, but I’ve also been really getting into other animals, especially birds. I also love rabbits, hedgehogs, raccoons, chipmunks (they will be a part of the “Animals” series)… and pretty much any kind of northern wildlife that lives (specifically) in my home country of Canada. I drew the original ideas for these two when I was on the train. You can see my original sketch here.
2) Cocorosie. American sisters who live in France and make the awesomest music ever. I have been listening to them obsessively lately, especially their song “Animals” (you can listen to it here). I love these lyrics in particular:
- I always knew that I would spend a lot of time alone
No one would understand me
Maybe I should go and live amongst the animals
I’d spend all my time amongst the animals
And on the tracks I would go they lead to the sea
To be amongst the animals
So tragic! I don’t know why, I just really love it.
3) Nature. Both Madawaska & Petawawa’s names are from locations in Ontario, Canada near the area I would go camping with my family during the summers of my childhood. I have very fond memories of roughing it amongst the Canadian wilderness. I was also inspired by the scenery and nature I saw when I visited my parents in Nova Scotia a few months ago. I’m usually into bold colours, but when I was coming up with ideas for these two plushies, I decided to try a softer palette. I’m sure it’s from being in Nova Scotia. See for yourself… here’s what I captured when I was out there:
(Click HERE if you want to see the rest of the pics from my trip.)