Friday, 10 January 2014

Prim-ness - 'Hopestill'

I've been waiting  for several weeks to show my latest character,   as I'm so excited about where she's taken me -  but she was made as surprise a gift for my very dear friend and mentor Shell, in the States; and due to the Christmas post delays has only just arrived in her new home!

Please indulge me while I explain the back story.  Long time readers will know I really loved making my dolls,  but I got into a rut with them and spent a while focusing on my embroidery. Much as I love and continue that,  I have been thinking for some time that I really wanted to create animal characters,  but with a real difference and meaning. Something unique, which is not just pretty, or interesting to look at,  but which has a real connection with the person it belongs to on a deeper level.

Over the years I have made a lot of things in different styles because I  thought that's what people might want, and because I constantly feel the need to 'prove' myself. I've been standing at the fork in the road for a long time, and  finally found out which path I needed to take. This lady just popped into my head and needed to be made tangible.

This is Hopestill,  the Hare of Happiness,  running through the countryside,  spreading love and good things. She has her own special tale which I've written.

 Her clothes are old and worn because of all the hard work she's done for many years,  but because of that they have their own beauty.

 Her eyes are soft and full of wisdom and compassion.

 The old rusty keys she carries unlock many secrets.

Her old feed sack is never empty, it's always full of love, no matter how much is taken out.

Hopestill is made entirely of fabric, but her 'keys' are  cast and re-sculpted from paper clay. The original key used for the model is a Victorian bunch which has been in my family for ever - I  have no idea what they were for,  but they're lovely. She also has a tiny antiqued clay heart in her apron pocket.

I think I'm going to call this style 'Prim-ness'. It's not really Primitive in the full sense,  as there are probably too  many techniques involved, but in the basic form and simple concept,  and use of  natural products. Hopestill is as environmentally friendly as she can be, because that's very important to  me.

Now I'm working on the next creation, but meanwhile I am completely thrilled that I've just received a commission to create another special hare.

Here's a peek of some of  my gatherings and makings  for her so far.

Thanks for letting me share my excitement. I wish all of you  in the US who are shivering in the Polar Vortex, comfort, warm breezes and signs of spring very soon. Take care and keep  as snug as you can.x


  1. Lovely bunny, she'll be very happy in Bunnyville with Michelle and the bunnies!

  2. I am visiting from Shell's blog and your gift to her is a true treasure. Hopestill and her message are priceless. I shall be visiting often. Creative Bliss...

  3. Oh, oh, oh, she is so very beautiful, and from what I know of Michelle, suits her new owner to a tee. I love every detail that I can see and I'm sure she's even more lovely in person. I love the soft, worn, very-much-loved look about her. Can't wait to see the new bunny!

  4. Such a beautiful bunny! The keys are lovely - were they hard to make? I am loving the colors on the sneak peek too!

  5. What a lovely bunny ---Hopestill !! I am sure she will be quite happy with Michelle in North Carolina. I met Michelle through her website and blog and we FINALLY met in October 2013 at Quilt Market in Houston, Texas (where I live but I'm a North Carolina native !!). Michelle is a doll and so energized and creative !! It was such a joy to meet her. While I don't have a blog, I can dream can't I ??? But I AM on Facebook (who isn't ??) as Tay Cutchin Satterfield. I have several friends in the UK and I'd love to add you to the list !! Great to "meet" you Jules !!

  6. such a great hare full of character, your friend Michelle must be over the moon with it. Yes this is a path you travel very well I am sure we are goung to see lots more hares over the next few months.

  7. Hopestill is beautiful Jules and Shell is a very lucky lady to have her. I am so excited to see where your new path leads you, I am sure it will be filled with whimsy and beauty. Happy stitching, Deb

  8. Hi Jules , I just discovered your blog , lovely , I have joined you . I can hardly believe you have found pussy willow already . My friend and I always look for the first catkins .
    I live in the midlands , nothing happening here yet .
    Love your rabbit.

  9. Ho Jules, I just love your Hopestill. You have inspired me to make my own again. Keep creating.i think it is our lifeline!

  10. Jules - Hopestill is really beautiful - she looks so peaceful too. I love her face and particularly her eyes which are so cleverly done - are they painted? Congratulations of your next commission too - can't wait to see Hopestill's cousin! What a start to the New year.

  11. The key looks a lot like one I have for a bureau - maybe that's what it was for? Hopestill is really lovely, serene and kindly - well done!

  12. A treasure Hopestill is to me just as the friend who created her. :)
    Love you to bits!


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