I get to make some items for the 2012 Holiday Gift Gallery at Paint Creek Center for the Arts! I am in my usual excited-but-anxious mode.
Last year I made "Tookies" (finger puppets). Late last week the new gift gallery coordinator dropped me an email to introduce himself and I asked him what he thought -- more Tookies or something else (but still along those lines) and I also asked how many. He wrote back and said:
"My call is that we could definitely use some more finger puppets, but I would concentrate on dolls if I could suggest it. Something new would serve you best it think, especially if you make some them somewhat seasonal themed. But you’re obviously clever in the kind of animals and characters you portray, so I’ll leave that to you.
I don’t know how long something like that would take you. Is 20-25 pieces reasonable?"
I have been trying to come up with something that will be nice enough to sell, but not so difficult (for me) that I can't make more if one thing turns out...you know?
I have been looking back through some photos of older gloves-creatures and here is how things have evolved into Tookies:
Waaaay back in 2006 I was in an online art group and we did various swaps. One was "Stuffies with a Secret". I can't sew -- especially back then. That is when it first occurred to me that I could use a knitted "magic" glove and cut away fingers, sew up the edges, embellish it, and stuff it. The "secret" that these guys had was there was a jingle bell inside of them and they made a sound.
As you can imagine, I had lots of leftover fingers from the first project. That is how "Juniors" came into being for Art-o-mat. They were just little dolls (also with a jingle bell in them). The fingers were the little guy's legs. No arms, no distinct body or head...just a face and the yarn at the top for hair.
Next came "All Ears" -- they were rabbit-like finger puppets and the fingers were now the ears of the creature.
I think the first set still had a bell in them.
These took a LOT of time and sewing because I didn't embellish them as much and I was scared to death they'd come apart or unravel or something. They were incredibly time consuming.
Then the All Ears guys morphed into these guys. I think this is when I started calling them "Tookies".
The fingers were still separated but not quite the ears of the rabbit-creatures.
I started using yarn on the edges to decorate it but also (mostly) to assure myself they wouldn't come apart easily.
Then the Tookies started getting less and less of the fingers left on. This is from the very last batch I did, but there was another one in between this photo and the one above it.
This is the version of Tookies that I prefer.
I added the cushy comfy thick soft yarn around the bottom edge. Again, to lessen the work a little and to add to the tactile experience...plus...these guys are really not going to come apart easily. And yet, I have shaved time off of the production by doing them this way.
And this is a "Tooklet". It is a doll (rather than a finger puppet).
They are made with two fingers for the legs and some of the hand part still attached. I use rolled-and-stitched fingers for tails, arms, horns, and ears. The face and the top of the head are the same as a Tooky.
I made Tooklets for the Northville Art House's Holiday Art Market last year. I haven't made any since then and I am trying to remember how I did them. I will try and look back through the blog to see if I told myself. (This is one of the reasons I do the daily blog...so I have a sort of reference to look back at.)
I've been sketching a little to try and come up with something new-ish...maybe with a hint or a nod to the Tookies/Stuffies kinda guys, but still different. I'm not ready to show any of the sketches yet because I am not sure I can pull any of them off. In addition, I am also going to make a totally unrelated doll/creature/puppet (not sure what exactly yet) for Paint Creek's "Holly Dolly" silent auction fundraiser to benefit PCCA. I will share more of the details as the time gets closer.
Wish me luck -- this will be pretty interesting/amusing/frustrating/etc...but it will all work out (like it usually does).