Welcome, and thanks for dropping by....
When did It all start?
It was an overcast day in 2008, I was waiting at the Het Spuis tram stop in Amsterdam and had a few minutes to kill. I had just finished giving an oh- so-so English Language class to summer students, whose eyes had glazed over as I tried to teach them the joys of the English Language. It was hot and sticky and frankly not nice….
With those few minutes I wandered into Waterstones Bookshop to find some coolness and found myself in the “Craft and Hobby” section. In need of a pick-me-up, my eyes fell on “Stupid Sock Creatures” by John Murphy and I started to smile. I bought the book and laughed at Murphy’s creations all the way home. That book sewed the seed of an idea that I should stop teaching English and start making my own creatures that would make people smile and want to own. John Murphy had done it, why couldn’t I? Soon every spare wool sock in the house had been sewn and stuffed. My early designs were fairly abstract and frankly weird, but as time passed I watched, sketched and made more and more dogs, and started to sell a few on Etsy.
That was 2008, and teaching English is now a dim and distant memory. The sock creatures are now Hawkes’ Hounds, canine companions still using a sock but now sporting pure wool or felt bodies.Back in England since 2014, one year later I have finally unpacked my work room and able to restart making Hawkes’ Hounds.
I have a thing about woolly socks, be it Cashmere or Shetland pure wool and most of my plush animal heads are made using these materials. The material is given a hot wash and manipulated to get a felted effect.
Felt and Boiled Wool
Felted or boiled wool is often used for bodies and limbs often sourced in local flea markets, unpicked and treated to a hot wash to get the thick texture I like. Chenille is another favourite.
Nano Felting is the technique that I use to make the dogs eyes because it is a great material to model with, and each set of eyes are unique.
Back and front legs are given a weighty base using rice grains, with other parts stuffed with natural wool for a firm feel or fiberfill for a more "squeezable" finish. There is good tutorial on how to stuff over at "While she naps" if you want to see how it can be done.
The hounds are not toys for small children and that is reflected in the use of rice rather than plastic pellets that don't give the same effect.
Tweed, Buttons and Trim
Hounds need collars right? All the hounds have unique one-off collars made from tweed, check or cotton and faux leather or waxed cotton trimmed with vintage buttons.