As things in this house are about to take on some pretty interesting changes, I will be completely honest that it's both exciting and nerve wracking simultaneously. As the butterflies flutter at the thought of changing this balance that we've managed to maintain, a part of me anticipates the new shape in which our days will become.
With a new addition coming into our home, at the end of this week, I sit back and observe the display of my fuzzy gray boy basking in the last fragments of sunshine on the livingroom floor. How far he has come since the day I picked him up from the Winnipeg Humane Society, 8 years ago(!?) Fearful of so many things I can't even keep track of. From the distance that we've both traveled together, learning along the way how little there is to fear about the unexpected, a part of me has just a sliver of sadness that it's not just going to be 'all about Tim' anymore.
To see him explore and tempt his curiosities, is a certain side of him which I'm still learning to understand. And just on that note, with a flick of his tail, he's off like a shot, cooing and rushing from one room to another, finishing his performace with a meow at the ghost who he so mysteriously entertains. What a character he has become. And so random at that. I quite enjoy the unexpected in each performance he displays.
Because it has been such a tedious road to getting to this state of semi-understanding- as he still continues to surprise me with his new found games and habits- I wanted to introduce the new addition to our family by starting from scratch. From experience with a shelter pet, it's hard to know what you're getting into without knowing their background. And because I so deeply respect Tim's inner sensitivity, I felt it was best to protect that by doing my research.
So, after many weeks of reading and taking notes and asking various questions I never though I would ask, to taking that final leap into the unknown, I can't help but take in these last little bits of the singular bond which Tim and I have shared. Though he isn't going anywhere, it feels different, and I can only hope from here that we continue to grow and share in this new experience together . . . and maybe find another blanket mate on those rainy afternoons. We will just have to see.
No matter the circumstance, he is and always will be my one and only, Tim.
You may remember George being mentioned before, as he is one of my first -of many- stuffed toys I had growing up. He is pretty special considering that I am not the type of person to hang onto just anything, as there's a certain something about him that I almost refuse to part with. His character, to me, is a wonderful reminder of that special bond we, as children, create with our toys. Where imagination takes shape.
With his visible seams, mangled felt tongue, scuffed up pink nose, and tattered silk bow, I appreciate the craft that has held George together for so many years. His fragility is what makes him beautiful in my eyes, as it glazes out the unfortunate reality that he looks similar to an old sock found from behind the dryer. He is who he is and no matter his state he'll always remain my George.
This, my dear is why I love making toys.
For those who are interested in being in part of the puppy draw, but can't make a purchase at this time, you still have a chance to become a participant. All I ask is for ideas, delicious, ridiculous and juicy ideas. By the end of the week, which ever idea is considered for the final project, that person will be dubbed winner (gold star included) and placed in the puppy draw among those who have already made- or are planning on making- a donation to the fund. Hey, we may even decide to name the finished piece after you as thanks for helping with the process. Is that fun or what?
So, on that note, what kind of dog does the lady have?
There seems to have been a miscount whilst lost in a cloud of bunnies. Instead of working to reach the goal of 20, by the end of the week, it looks like I've somehow come up with 23 bunnies! Well, you know what they say about bunnies. Turn your back for one minute, and poof! Somehow I don't remember it being just that simple.
After many late nights, early mornings, scheduled sessions of stuffing faces, pressing eyes, stitching limbs, sorting through belly buttons, I had a moment of wondering if I was somehow -just a little bit- crazy. The visual was certainly questionable; some woman sitting on the floor of her living room, on her grandmother's blanket, in her afternoon pajamas, surrounded by jars of buttons and eyes and fluff and yarn, with a basket next to her filled to the brim with a countless number of stuffed bunnies. And how many times did I watch Back the Future in the process, I wonder. I might have lost count in that area, too.
While I found my hands working without paying much attention toward the end as my eyes tried their best to stay open and in focus, I started to see why it may be a good idea to take a much needed break from toys for a while. The repetition, the impulse, it's unfortunately uninspiring when you're in it. Certainly the end result has its impact and I love getting to make things for others, but right now I'm in need of much bigger challenge. Which leads us fortunately to stage 2 of this "I want a puppy" project.
For today, let's celebrate! Stage 1 is complete.
If you're cheeky and decided to count the bunnies in a circle, above, yes there are only 19 being shown. 4 were sent away for being highly disruptive.
With puppy talk making up the most of my days, it has been a great pleasure and coincidence that a good majority of my side work has been involved with the animal - aka anipal- social network. From helping with the branding for a dear friend and a pet clothing line, Black Baron, to creating a character for the lovely social media pup Sadie Shih Tzu, I must say that I am very touched by the joy and inspiration which our pets provide us.
I never realized what sort of impact our pets can have on our every day lives until I watched Black Baron grow from a simple thought to an existing brand, all in a matter of weeks. Inspired at the start by a little black dog named Millo, some vintage (human) clothes transformed into tiny shirts for pets, and two creative women who love their pets, this sort of inspiration is so incredible that it's hard to put the pencil down.
It has been an amazing experience, to look around at the energy, imagery and entertainment which our pets provide us, and the shapes and forms those ideas become. I haven't experienced such a creative high in years, nor have I believed so firmly that so much is possible. Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of trust, persistence, pencil . . . and fluff on four legs. Incredible how so much creativity can exist quite literally right under our noses. High fives and belly rubs all around.
Photographs by Rebecca Sandulak
Did I mention that I have 20 bunnies to put together in the next few days? Eek! Where did they come from, I wonder. We are quickly approaching phase 1 of this adventure. With some Dr.Pepper, Nina Simone and Tim blanket breaks, it should be a fun few days as the pieces literally come together to kick off "So What..."
Did I mention that I need more hands?
Well, as most of you may already know by now, I'm a huge fan of bunnies, and any time I have chance to make them . . . well that's what I do. So, as I started to notice a certain drawer becoming full of mini balls of yarn, which were too small for big projects but too big to waste, the "scrap bunny" notion was born. Oh how that drawer is clearing out! And my my, there are so many bunnies!
Though not all bunnies will be totally scrappy, since I know how much we love to coordinate our sweaters with our ears as much as possible, I have managed to make most of them fully without improvising colors -yet. For those of you who do like a little bit of improvisational craft, as the drawer stash grows smaller and the options become limited, you'll be able to have a grab at the most unique of bunnies on the bunny planet. The first 10 bunnies sold will go with a Dear Libby discount. For more details drop me a line to reserve your bunny.
Scrap bunny launch coming VERY soon. Now where to find 40 hands to build all 20.
So the girl seems to talk a lot about projects and ideas, but never seems to share the process work or finished result. Hmn, I sense things are changing around here, as I've caught myself sitting with pen and paper on more days than usual, encouraging myself to open up, experiment and share. A cup of tea, an open curtain, beaming sun. How much there is to be grateful for. Sunshine and thoughts, grapes and jasmine.
As I still catch myself falling into old habits of over-questioning and over thinking and wondering if I'm making the best decisions, I'm also learning to catch those things more quickly and focus on what I am driven by, and surround myself with those things to keep my line of focus clear. I can so easily lose sight of my own goals if I'm not too careful. I had to find a way to exercise my interests in order to keep things moving. At first, I had no idea what those interests were, until I stopped looking for them.
Apparently I love to learn, and remember most things by taking visual notes, diagrams, informational maps. I've been learning about the constellations, how to plant cherry tomatoes, how to raise a puppy, the sharks of the world, how a horse's legs bend and move. Doing the mind work is what lets me practice my work without even seeing it as work at all. I love love love being an illustrator.
Coming back into illustration at first glance was a little intimidating, as I was given some projects in the process of getting myself back into the swing of things. It was like getting back on a bike again after a really long time, where I worried a lot about what could happen. There was even a point where I questioned if I could follow things through, as my hands were still pretty slow at picking things up, not communicating so well the imagery in my mind. My speed needed work, and I had to just let the wobbly parts pass.
The projects I've been given the pleasure to work on, I unfortunately can't quite share as of yet, as they are still waiting for publication, launch or finalization. Either way, they were in great timing, as each one has come one after the other, giving me little time to stop and over think my way out of it out of fear of screwing things up. Each project provided me with a different challenge and a different form of inspiration. It was then that I started to pick up the pens more easily on my own terms. The wheels started turning with more and more consistence and even a bit more determination.
As there may be moments where some projects just don't fall through the way they should, I am going through this process with incentive, one which I am even still learning to take seriously and give to myself as reason to believe more solidly in my work. By sharing with others through this process, including the process work, I think these next few months are going to be very interesting for both of us.