Friday, November 18, 2011

Kea - the remake

As you may know, I often repeat animals. Bats and axolotls are frequently revisited species here at Cretur Fetur. But I've remade other things, like the hoatzin. I intend to make some awesome hyenas soon, too. Before them, though, I remade another bird.

Weighing in at about two pounds, it's the clever little New Zealand parrot, the clown of the mountains, the terror of sheep livers, the kea!

New and improved Nestor notabilis!
There's many things I did differently here. First, the embroidery. That was an adventure! I've never embroidered anything before, and I think sadly in some places it kinda shows.

Well, it's not too bad.
Second, the feet. I seem to have discovered the Terrible Secret of Bird Feet. I'm positively thrilled by the results!


Third, proportions. I seem to have a better grasp on that nowadays.


In summary, remakes are not always a bad idea. And it's always good to remember where you started and keep experimenting!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The happy versatility of spherecreturs

For a while back in my youth (i.e. about two years ago) I made little spherepigs. They were clumsy beginner things, cute but not really the most impressive shows of craftsmanship.

Musclepig, unloved for all his lifetime, now a permanent resident of the Cretur Box.
Apricot pig. ... That's all there is to say, really.
So I tried to make them more interesting. First there was a holiday-themed one that ended up being given away at a craft fair. I don't know who got it, or even if anyone ever did; for all I know it floats in the ether and makes woeful little snorting sounds at midnight on Halloween:

Pumpkin pig. Getting better.
Then one ended up pink for some reason, so I decided to take it all the way and experiment with adding appendages:

My favorite part is the little swirly dollop of hair

After the moderate success of the flying pink pig, there were no more pigs for a long time. I didn't want to repeat the pink one and cash in on cuteness; instead, I wanted to start a deal where anyone would be able to make up their own completely custom spherepig. But no one seemed interested in the idea. After a lot of awkward marketing, someone finally took me up on the offer, and I was so happy to make this:
Sort of the evil twin of the pink one

But then it never happened again.

In fact, after that, several aspects of life converged to make a big mess and there were no creturs at all for a while. I lost practice and inspiration, and despite how much I love what I do, I couldn't bring myself to start a good respectable sculpture.

One day, sitting in front of the computer and a bottle of beer, I forced myself to do a warmup exercise. This is what happened:

Ninja Turtles make everything better. Revived by the triumph of my decapitated 80's nostalgia trophy, I rediscovered COURAGE and HONOR and PIZZA and I started poking wool constantly again.

And so, all spherecreturs since have been a lot more interesting and I am actually proud of them. THANK YOU, LEONARDO.

This one, which you may remember from a previous post, is based on a doodle by Stevan Zivadinovic and was given to Phil Barbato as a Christmas present:

Another one where my favorite part is the hair. Little nub-hair!

Then I made two more pigs, very quickly, to contribute to a team challenge from the Plush Team:

I seem to have gotten better at eyes, at least.

The last two were both made last month, were both commissions, and have not been posted here before. They also both like long walks on the beach and mimosas, probably.

The first is a ladybug, pretty straightforward, first cretur where I've dared to use bare pipe cleaners as limbs:

Ladybug, or ladybird, or lady beetle (Coccinella magnifica)

And the second is a wintertime quail, poofing up to keep warm:

California quail (Callipepla californica)

I don't know what the lesson is in all of this but I am sure there is one.

Anyway, I never liked pigs. I know, I know, pigs are cool, pigs are smart, pigs can eat anything, pigs have 6-hour-long orgasms, etc. For a person who has been keenly interested in animals her whole life, I am sure it is pretty weird that I don't like pigs, but listen: they are so smart and so fleshy that they just make me think of gross people. It's an uncanny valley sort of feeling. Did I start making spherepigs as a subconscious way to cope with my strong dislike of pigs? Probably not, or if I did it certainly didn't work. But at least it yielded a lot of experiments and learning opportunities, and looking at the whole history of spherecreturs makes me feel like, at least, I'm advancing.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tamandua, or lesser anteater

There are two species in the anteater genus Tamandua: the Northern Tamandua, which lives in the jungles of Mexico and usually has a well-defined "vest", and the Southern Tamandua, whose vest is a bit blurrier around the edges. There are also some differences in skull shape and gestation periods, but since both species have a lot of individual color variation, it's really difficult to tell the difference between them just by looking, even if you have a specimen of each side by side.

Having said all of that, when I made this one I had the Southern Tamandua (Tamandua tetradactyla) in mind. But if it makes any difference to you, you can imagine that it's a Northern (Tamandua mexicana).

Tamandua tetradactyla
More photos:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Malayan Tapir

A long time ago, a good friend commissioned me to needle felt a Malayan tapir (Tapirus indicus), the largest of the four species of tapir (and, like all of them, endangered).

The kicker: I had to do its baby, too. Which in this case ended up being the smallest cretur I've ever made, at only an inch tall and balancing on two legs. It was quite a challenge, and I learned many things from it, one of them being that claws made of Sculpey not only look better, but they also make it easier for the cretur to stand. With such a precariously balanced pose, it was an important discovery to make!

More pictures after the cut:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Plush You!

Have you heard of Plush You? It's an annual art show based in Seattle (it has traveled in the past to LA and San Francisco) full of the a lot of the best plush and fiber toys known to man, or at least to the internet. This year I am in it! Ahh oh my god I'm so excited!

The opening is this Friday, Oct 14, 5-9 PM, at Schmancy.

I fully expect everyone in or around Seattle to be there on time and snappily dressed. But if you, like me, are far away and can't or won't see the show, you can at least have a look at the pieces I sent:

I know it looks like a real animal but it's a hare head on a dog body

I did not mean to deceive you, this is just not a thing that exists

Finally another alebrije! Yaaaaaay!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Ernst Haeckel's anemones

Back in June, the Mad Scientists of Etsy issued a challenge – create something inspired by Ernst Haeckel.

Being a big fan of the man's illustrations, I looked among his many plates for something that looked a. more like an interpretation of a creature than an easily recognizable animal, and b. was doable in wool (as opposed to, say, something like this). And so I came upon his Actiniae plate:

and decided to start this adventure with the little orange fella at the bottom right corner. Who, in real life, actually looks like this:

After a lot of work and some thrilling experimentation with steam dyeing using a spray bottle and a vegetable steamer, the result was this:

 It looks like the illustration and not much like the real anemone, which is a departure from my usual modus operandi, but an enjoyable one.
It makes a really nice desk companion. Sort of a cheerful marine sunflower that always faces you.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Happy October, Cretur Fetur Comeback Month!

Hello everyone!

I know, it's been a long time. I left the blog with no warning in the middle of a series of posts about an animal behavior conference. I did not get kidnapped or anything... mostly what happened is I went to Serbia. It was pretty amazing, and I'm still uploading photos. Here's a couple just to show I ain't lyin':

View of the Sava river from Kalemegdan fort (that's me in the foreground!)
Inside of a Church in Sremski Karlovci
Part of Tito's collection of relay staffs (that's not me in the foreground)

I also took a bit of time off of the hectic race to keep up with commissions, in order to explore other ideas that I had knocking around. I'll be bringing you up to speed little by little, dear blog. Let's do this in chronological order, shall we?

If you follow me on Tumblr, Facebook, or Twitter, you may have already seen some of these photos. But you certainly haven't seen them all, and anyway it's nice to have it all in one place.

For today, here's a couple of pigs that think they may have heard a noise in the house at night. They are not certain, but their little minds are racing with horrible possibilities.

The green one has already been taken away to a hopefully less alarming home, but the violet one is still up for grabs, and even more terrified now that she's got no one to speculate and go "oh god oh god what was that" with. Please take her, I have things to do and can't go around comforting pigs all the time!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Notes from a conference Part 2: Psychological Aspects of Abuse and Neglect

This is part 2 of a 4-part transcription of my notes from an IAABC conference. Part 1 is here. Keep in mind that these are transcribed notes, and thus don't really read as a blog post so much as a series of musings.

Warning: This is going to be a pretty sad one, being about animal abuse/neglect and PTSD and such. Skip it if you feel it will upset you, as that is not my intention. The next couple of posts will be a lot shorter and a lot less depressing.


Psychological Aspects of Abuse and Neglect

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bats- group photo

Oh my god, look at all these bats!

Today's stars are the Mexican Freetail and the Little Brown Bat, both of whom I've made before, but you'd hardly be able to tell considering how different all my creturs are from each other. What can I say, consistency is dull.

Mr. Freetail

Mr. Brown

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Notes from a conference Part 1: Compulsive Disorder Across the Species

Hi! I went to a conference in Rhode Island last weekend, organized by IAABC. I took lots of notes in a semi-disjointed style, writing down particularly intriguing points in my notebook. In the interest of purity, I will transcribe my notes here pretty much exactly as they are in my notebook, across a 4-post series spanning 6 conferences (I took more notes in some than in others; some talks were mostly geared towards professional animal trainers and thus I couldn't quite relate). Here is the first one:


Compulsive Disorder Across the Species

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Spotted Bat & Island Flying Fox

Oh hi! It's been a while, again!

What have you been up to? Me, I've been making bats and going to animal behavior conferences. Yeah! It was pretty awesome. I took lots of notes, I'll show them to you soon. Say, wanna see a couple of bats I finished recently? Here, take a look:

Spotted bat - Euderma maculatum

Island Flying Fox - Pteropus hypomelanus
More pictures:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

More bats! Good heavens!

Here's two new designs that I finished this weekend – one regular bat that used to be a brooch, and one brooch that at least looks very very similar to the first bat I ever made. I used Sculpey for the brooch instead of Lumina, which allowed me to have much more detail AND fabric-less wings that I am actually really happy with! Hooray!

Honduran White Bat
with amazing embroidery action!
I'm told this is a "brown hoary bat" but it looks like a Mexican Freetail to me

What else is new? More bats. Lots of bats. I made a fruit bat, but the photos didn't come out so well, so I'll try again tomorrow morning and post them then. I'm also going to start work on one of these guys, apparently one of North America's rarest mammals:

Spotted Bat

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

2010 Secret Santa presents: three-cretur photodump!

Last year I overzealously plunged into not one, not two, but three secret santa gift trades. I will probably keep it to a maximum of two in the future, but I can't deny that I'm very pleased with the results. I'll make this a two-parter; today I will post photos of the presents I sent, and later (as soon as I receive the third present, or maybe sooner) I will post photos of the ones I got.

I present to you the Mr. Burns Toad (a new species discovered a couple of months ago in Colombia), an octopus, and a spheredoodle:

I do not know this creature's scientific name! O noes!
They went to different people, but they had time for friendship

More pictures after "read more":