Monday, 6 June 2011


No progress on the leaflet yet, I'm afraid. I'm getting rather nervous about this craft fair: it's getting closer and closer and I'm not anywhere near ready.

One of the things I wanted to try making for the craft fair was birds. A while ago, I found a wonderful book by Abigail Patner Glassenberg (of the While She Naps blog - see sidebar). There are a number of patterns in the book, but perhaps the best thing about it is her explanations of the techniques used. I thought I would have a go at some of the patterns - the owl, in particular, is gorgeous - and then see if I could design some birds of my own.

Whilst I've been dithering over the leaflet, I decided to have a go at the most basic of the patterns - the wren, shown on the cover of the book.

I had difficulty sourcing the right kind of wire. Eventually, I just went into an electrical shop, and asked them for some 'very strong wire'. I think I went overboard though: it was very, very difficult to bend, and forming the small, delicate little feet proved impossible...

This is he without his beak, wings or tail.

Actually, I'm really chuffed with him(!) The body design is lovely, and even though it's only made in cotton, he's actually really tactile. Very, very sweet.

I have finally managed to source some of the recommended type of wire online, so I will order some and redo the legs of this bird.

What's worrying me about this is that the proper wire is presumably thinner, or at least much bendier, than the wire I'm using here. If I were to design a bird, and make him in this way, then put him in my unit at the Art & Craft Centre, I can almost guarantee that the next time I went in, he would be lying on the shelf with his wire legs bent at an unnatural angle.

The arrangement at the Centre is that, in taking a unit there, you are required to work one day a week on the desk, and one Sunday every couple of months. Although I go into the Centre more frequently than that - to clean, to restock, to tidy - I don't go in every day. So people tend to fiddle with the bears, or pick them up and put them down elsewhere, and not everybody is as careful as I would like them to be. The result is that often when I go into the Centre, it looks - either like the aftermath of a wild party, with the bears lying about drunkenly - or like a yoga class, where everyone's practicing 'the tree', 'the crab', or whatever.

Teddy bears are quite hardy creatures - although I have occasionally found bears without their ears (on one occasion, without his teeth) - but I am not sure a little bird would stand up to that kind of treatment.

When I first took a unit at the Centre, I did consider putting everything in glass cabinets. The problem is, if you don't put locks on the cabinets, people will just open them, and the problem persists. If you do put locks on them, on the other hand, the fact that they have to request assistance seems to put a lot of people off. Besides, I always thought of teddy bears as very tactile: people should be able to pick them up and stroke them, move the jointed limbs, examine the stitching, etc. You cut off that kind of contact if you use locked cabinets.

I guess I could have a glass cabinet just for birds. Or a few strongly-worded signs. Let's see how the legs turn out when made with the recommended type of wire, first.

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