A.A. Milne, through Winnie the Pooh, says (nonchalantly pushing his innards back inside of his body), that he [a stuffed toy /or animal doll] is filled with ‘stuff and fluff.’
Well, I know there’s more to it than that!! A lot of work goes into a pattern. You have to try it, and try it again, til it works like a formula for a patisserie. Perfect every time, given no deviation from the original. I like the idea you can make something three-dimensional from something flat.
That’s why I like sewing and crafting. I wanted to test out the effect of textures on animal dolls after I went to Paperchase recently, and they had this adorable terrycloth elephant with velvet feet and ears. I wanted to buy it, but it seemed far too expensive for what it was. And then it hit me as to why I liked it so much: it was the materials from which it was made which made it so satisfying to touch and hold. I had some spare materials lying around my workspace back home, so why not, I thought? I’ll make a toy.
It was probably about four years since I’d last made a toy. So I set to work, in a fast-and-loose style, first drafting a pattern, and then cutting it freehand from my chosen materials, sourced from an upholstery shop in Gabalfa, which has since sadly closed. Tragic, I know.
I used a leatherette kind of material for every part except for the belly, which was a sort of velvet corduroy thing, very satisfying to stroke. It’s a great rabbit. I based the pattern off an antique Steiff rabbit. The pattern loosely illustrated above was subject to a few changes as I modified it there and then.
That was it, experiment over. Well, for now.
I’m interested in animal dolls too though. What’s out there already, how does it play with texture, or with concept, or even maybe the mind?
First off, Evangelione‘s all-cloth dolls have been a solid fixture in my Flickr-viewing experience for a good while. I’m so happy Ms Yeo had an exhibition, and has received work as a result of these dolls… I feel so proud of her.
also these rabbit children by Annie Montgomerie and those more abstracted animal dolls by Tireless Artist too… while Alice Mary Lynch‘s dolls combine my love for sewing and for sculpting animals too… How exciting…
It would be interesting to perhaps play with dolls’ forms on an even more abstract level…