Madawaska is a wandering nesting spirit. She spends her days walking through the forest waiting for birds to nest in her hair. When a bird family has chosen her head as their nesting ground, she finds a safe place to stand under the shelter of a taller tree. She listens to their conversations as they prepare their nest on her head and quickly becomes up to date on all the latest bird gossip. The Swallows always chirp about the grand pine tree that the Blue Jays live in, the Swallows squawk about the grain stash the Chickadees hoarded without sharing, and the Cardinals simply chatter about how pretty they are compared to any other bird (the Finches do not agree with this one bit). Currently she is the proud hostess of three brand new robin eggs. The Robin parents are already discussing what Universities they want their young ones to go to, as well as whether or not to put them on a strict worm and moss diet.
This is the first time I’ve used non-traditional elements on a plush toy (the straw nest and feathered collar) but I felt very strongly about using them. Even though those elements are not handmade by me, I think they give an extra detail to her overall design. I love the spotted pattern on the feathers. Her teal eyes are from a new colour of felt I went bonkers over when I found it at a fabric store (some colours of felt are super hard to find). They echo the striking blue of the robin eggs in the nest, making her appear friendly to potential nesting birds. ^_^
Inspiration. Madawaska was inspired by several things...
1) Animals. Obviously I'm super into deer, but I've also been really getting into other animals, especially birds. I also love rabbits, hedgehogs, raccoons, chipmunks (they will be a part of the "Animals" series)... and pretty much any kind of northern wildlife that lives (specifically) in my home country of Canada. I drew the original ideas for these two when I was on the train. You can see my original sketch here.
2) Cocorosie. American sisters who live in France and make the awesomest music ever. I have been listening to them obsessively lately, especially their song "Animals" (you can listen to it here). I love these lyrics in particular:
- I always knew that I would spend a lot of time alone
No one would understand me
Maybe I should go and live amongst the animals
I'd spend all my time amongst the animals
And on the tracks I would go they lead to the sea
To be amongst the animals
So tragic! I don't know why, I just really love it.
3) Nature. Both Madawaska & Petawawa's names are from locations in Ontario, Canada near the area I would go camping with my family during the summers of my childhood. I have very fond memories of roughing it amongst the Canadian wilderness. I was also inspired by the scenery and nature I saw when I visited my parents in Nova Scotia a few months ago. I'm usually into bold colours, but when I was coming up with ideas for these two plushies, I decided to try a softer palette. I'm sure it's from being in Nova Scotia. See for yourself... here's what I captured when I was out there (in September '08):
(Click HERE if you want to see the rest of the pics from my trip.)