Oyster Cracker is the sun and Dolly is the heart.
Every piece I create is a journey. Melissa wanted both her Dolly and Oyster Cracker in fabric. I think my heart knew what would be involved as I worked so my brain kicked in to help.
I told myself that Oyster Cracker was the sun and Dolly was the heart.
Melissa on Dolly, "Dolly has the most gentle soul that I ever met.... She loves to love and be loved."
For more reasons than one, Dolly was going to be the biggest challenge, so I started with her. Dolly was often scruffy because she was often broody, but in Melissa’s eyes, her Blue Bantam Silkie was always perfect and fluffy, and that’s how she wanted her fabric Dolly. My vision of Dolly was a little bit of both, scruffy and fluffy. I found several fabrics I liked, and narrowed it down to five different faux furs, including small areas of flannel here and there. My goal was to capture Dolly’s spirit, to remind myself to not get bogged down in trying to make her look real, the right fabric and construction will carry that, I just want her to be as sweet as her memory. Everything about Dolly was sweet, tender, unconditional, selfless, and vulnerable. And this is how I made each decision in creating her fabric self.
"....Dolly loves to share a dust bath with Oyster Cracker everyday in the late morning. Often, I will peek out the window to spy on them to find her resting her chin on Oyster Cracker's wing, both completely boneless in dust bath heaven..."
About halfway through working on Dolly, I wanted to get the ground work going for Oyster Cracker. I needed to step back and let the progress on Dolly settle and I needed a little rest from the emotion of working on this little grey ball of fluffy sweetness. So I turned to the sun!
Oyster Cracker was a big Buff Orpington. In reading Melissa’s stories of her beloved hen, she described everything about Oyster Cracker as big- her love, her hugs, her friendship(with both humans and hens), her warmth, her softness, even her eggs were big! Melissa wrote of Oyster Cracker in her blog, "Oyster Cracker was the sweetest most caring and loving chicken I ever knew. She was special from the beginning. A big fluffy yellow mass of feathers and fluff, she had no problem hopping into my lap each and every morning."
Now, the funny thing is that Melissa wanted her to be a pocket hen! All that bigness, in a pocket hen! My first thought was her fabric should be happy and warm, like the sun. And even in her small pocket hen design, she needs to seem big. Once I decided on her fabric, everything just fell into place.
Many of you will know these two hens if you follow Tilly’s Nest. Melissa ordered one of my earliest custom hens. She wanted a fabric Tilly. And now it was time to add to the flock with Dolly and Oyster Cracker. I’ve gotten to know Melissa and these three hens. Their story is both unique and universal for all of us who love our flock. There is a bond that is difficult to fully describe, but we all know it and feel it, and when it’s in front of us, the pure joy and love is plain to see.