Monday, October 26, 2009

The Eyes Have It

It's often said that "the eyes are the windows to the soul." As an artist and toymaker, I can tell you that the eyes really set the character of the whole piece. Eyes, stance, shape, mouth--it's these little details that give a mess of knotted yarn soul and temperament. The eyes especially are the breath of life.

My personal toy-making style is to stick to yarn only. I do like the clean, old-fashioned look of a yarn eye. While it is sometimes a challenge to compete with the glossy, more realistic-looking button eyes, I never have to worry about it looking too human (ergo a little creepy). Most importantly, the finished product is 100% soft and cuddly, with no hard bits that can scratch or choke little babies.

If you're an artist, you understand what an absolute delight it is to sit down to work on a piece and see what emerges. When you're really in the zone, it's almost like your hands are on autopilot and just channeling some floating idea. I imagine it's like using an Ouija board. The character just comes to life in my hands, and I'm just an observer.

I made this little fellow for my beautiful one-year-old baby niece (who's a whiz with her animal sounds!) It was serendipitous that I didn't have much time or yarn, since that prompted me to keep the arms short. I cracked up at the effect! His stubby limbs make his pear-shaped frame even more squat and chubby.

Yet, even though he's a fat little lard, he still manages to look superior and self-important. Who oh who does he remind me of? Ah yes...

Of course! The red beard, the snootiness, the chub! It wasn't my intention to channel Henry VIII, but once it came to life, there he was. In all his yarny glory.

So I was quite pleased with how his little character turned out. And even though he peers at me (his creator!) with unmasked contempt, I just adore him.
...which probably tells you a thing or two about my character.


Cami said...

I love it! Only you would find Henry in that adorable lion! Though he is a bit sassy . . .

Holly said...

Great comparison to Henry VIII. That lion is so regal.