A New Form of Canid

Wolf or Fox?  Both, and neither.

The other day I got the urge to make a pine needle basket.  It’s been two years since I took a half-day workshop on the subject, but remembered pretty well how to do it.  And I had a box full of pine needles that I collected from our downed trees just after the December 2009 snow storm.  The work seemed to go a little faster than I remembered, but still I worked on this piece over the course of four days.

Afyter finishing the basket yesterday afternoon I started on the polymer clay animal for the top.  I wanted a wolf, and gathered a few reference photos.  I’m happy with the modelling, but the color was impossible!  A wolf’s coat is so complicated with hairs tipped in different colors than the bases.  And there’s really a lot of beautiful pattern though much of it is subtle.  So I decided to try to capture the colors in paint rather than in the polymer clay itself – an approach I almost never take!  Because the undercoat was reddish, I used that color of polymer, fading to cream on the feet, belly, and muzzle.

As far as the wolf goes, my concept was firm, but my execution left a lot to be desired.  I just couldn’t get the colors right.  Because of the color of the clay, it was tempting to turn him into a fox, but I didn’t have a white tip on the tail and the feet weren’t black.  A fox would probably have been more successful.  But I ended up with an unidentifiable, but pretty cute, canid!

The clasp is an antique button with a knotted raffia loop.  The hinge is a piece of ultrasuede that I glued to the inside of the base and lid.  Of course I couldn’t resist adding a little beading.  And my signature – doesn’t show in the photo – is a little polymer leaf shape stamped with my name, brushed with antique copper mica powder, and glued to the inside bottom.  I really like that little signature stamp!

Despite the problems with the animal, I’m happy with this piece.


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