I have spent the last twelve months with my Wee are the World kids, each month with a different wee one from around the world, ending today with little Cairo and his companion, Chrissy the camel.
I want to share a little story about Chrissy, because in fact I did not name this camel Chrissy, she came to me with the name. When I was designing this little Egyptian boy and his camel, I was researching camels to see the basic shapes that would help when illustrating the animal.
I googled “camel” and to my surprise and enjoyment I found a darling soft toy camel sewn with fabric that I recognized (see photo above). The camel is one of many soft toys that Pauline McArthur of Funky Friends Factory has designed. She is an amazing pattern designer of three dimensional characters. You must visit her website and you will see the creations that never end from her wonderful talent.
Well, it turns out that the fabrics she chose to make the soft toy, Chrissy, are two of the fabrics I had designed for the Swell Noel collection (in fabric named “Have a Sheri Berry Holiday”). In a very fun round about way Pauline inspired my illustration of Chrissy the camel, after the fabrics inspired her to make it. I just love this connection, because it reminds me that it is a small world after all, and when you find creative friends from around the world (Pauline lives in Australia) they are only a click away. Pauline and I may never get to meet in person, but I feel I know her through the sweet softness of the animals she creates and the personal approach she takes in designing her patterns. She loves what she does and it shows in every stitch she makes.
There is one more round-about to this story. The magazine Australian Homespun approached Pauline to create a custom toy camel pattern for their Christmas in July issue (2010). This is where the inspiration of Chrissy actually originated. As you can see, Chrissy is helping to decorate this cover of the July 2010 issue. Inside the magazine is an article on Pauline McArthur and detailed step-by-step instructions on how to make your own camel that she designed.
Pauline is one of many artists who didn’t start her career in this industry, but took the bold step to follow her heart and her passion for creating soft toys (see photo of Pauline above). She now has a thriving business that she loves to greet every day. I certainly have a soft spot in my heart for Pauline and wish her the very best in the new year with much success in her Funky Friends Factory.