Perhaps you know of Ginger Small, the little hamster character I have been working to pin down for a good while now. She is very, very shy, being a small creature in a big world. I have worked with a variety of incarnations of her wee physical self as a way of pursuing a sense of character for her, so that she might share her story with me in word-form, as she has been rather reluctant to do so. And I so very much would like to see little miss Ginger’s adventures become a picture book for children of all ages one day.
About a year and a half or so ago, I created a little felted version Ginger and played with her a bit in the studio. Her facebook friends seemed to really love this little three-dimensional Ginger and sent cards and gifts her way.
But all the while, this rather quiet, awkward and somewhat adolescent version of Ginger didn’t seem to match the confident, fashion-savvy cheek of a hamster that can be found in the drawings I make of her….
This little Ginger was far more quiet and bookish and chose to mostly stay at home nestled in the embroidery basket practicing the art of divination with tiny Tarot cards. It is not lost on me that this side of Ginger is really the tender side of myself…
And so, as we must never push a shy creature too very far out of her comfort zone, I crafted a couple of rounds of paper doll versions of Ginger for the Halloween and Christmas holidays that year. Her friends were thrilled!!
This version of Ginger didn’t feel so shy with masks to hide behind.
Felted Ginger, being a bit of an introvert, continued to make friends one by one, choosing a more intimate exchange of thoughts and ideas.
This went on for a good while. Whenever I had the chance, and an idea came to me, I would catalog Ginger’s adventures in illustrative format. I love doing this best of all. I know I have shared some of these adventures with you over time….
Then, just the other day, I was catching up on the blog writing and workly adventures of one of my favorite writer/illustrators, Jackie Morris. Jackie’s work is such as I hold to be True North in what I like to find in books-with-pictures. My kids have grown up with her imagery captivating their imaginations, as well as my own. She has written and illustrated many gorgeous books and you can see them all here: http://www.solvawoollenmill.co.uk/jackie-morris-books. Her latest book, Something About a Bear, is due out quite soon and I for one can’t wait to get my very own copy. I may even treat myself to an actual signed copy from the site above, all the way from Wales!
While perusing Jackie’s lovely blog, I came across a sweet video of her reading her new book aloud to a small bear critter named Mary, who was, I came to find out, born in the pages of this book. Jackie’s friends at Celestine and the Hare made a felted version of the little spectacled bear in Jackie’s book and I dare say this little felted version of the bear has taken on quite a personality!! I love reading about her and hope she finds herself in the pages of a book all her very own at some point. She is a delightful little bear and you can see her often these days in the recent posts by Jackie on her blog.
Sweet Mary, her friend a Snow Leopard and their collective adventures had me glancing across the studio to my own little felted critter, wondering if maybe, with a little more hand work from me, the felting needles and some extra wool, 3dGinger might decide to venture out into the world a little more for her own adventures.
And so I took her off the shelf and got back to working on her….
I felted some more brightly colored wool onto her which plumped her up a bit. After all, one of the nicest things about hamsters is their plumpness! I updated her ears and added a proper tail – the tail being one way to tell a hamster creature versus say, a mouse, or a gerbil.
Soon, a more grown-up, less awkward Ginger emerged….
And while felting as an art form is not something I’d say I’m destined to do as my Life’s Work, I would say this updated version of herself has turned out rather sweetly.
She still is the sort that likes to hang out amidst cups of tea, paints and quietude….
But she has also found there is much she likes to do. Like going to the aquarium.
Enjoying a climb in the garden.
Or sitting by the brook where flowers lean in for a drink. Don’t fall in, Ginger!!!
Ginger, like my own self, very much likes to spend time amongst the faery folk. She visits them at their hut where she drinks honeysuckle tea and discusses lofty and otherworldly ideas.
I have heard tell that the faeries enjoy her company as much as she loves theirs.
Like all of us small creatures, Ginger occasionally ponders Beings larger in scope and more powerful than her little self.
One day, she would very much like to go to Ireland. But for now, she is content with nestling into shamrocks available to her closer to home and listening to the Irish music that so often graces this place in which she resides.
This upcoming winter, Ginger and I are going back to Taos, New Mexico. Most times when I go to Taos, Ginger is off finding her own adventures as I don’t have much time amidst teaching a workshop. But she does manage to rest and have a little fun on her own.
On this next trip, however, I will not be tied up in teaching. I have been given the great gift of time and space as a Writer-In-Residence at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House for a couple of weeks in January. This will require a little financial finagling with time off work at my Day Job and the coverage of some travel costs. But Ginger and I will figure it out together. I have a few ideas on how to make it all work and Mabel’s has graciously given me a place to stay, a small stipend and a solid meal each day I am there. I am truly honored and humbled to have received this gift.
I’m so excited that I stumbled across Jackie’s little bear Mary, who in turn inspired me to revisit the three-dimensional version of Ginger whom I have now nicknamed 3dG. Thank you Jackie and Mary! It’s such a miracle to be able to check in on the week to week processes of artists via the internet and to have the opportunity to build a character here myself, as well as share my day to day, week to week, month to month…. (year to year!) processes here too on this little blog-place. I am thankful to all of the artists and writers out there who have kept their blogs as I have over the years. They (we!) are a gift to the world at large I believe.
When visiting my son at his new grown up apartment at school yesterday evening, my newly invigorated and courageous Ginger climbed up onto a globe in the shape of the whole world. She told me she rather feels “on top of the world” since getting through this most recent patch of growing pains. We shall see where her adventures take us.