My new website can be found at http://www.quernuscrafts.co.uk/

Wee Donk (b.23 January 2010)

Hot on the heels of her request for Wee Dan and Wee Cuillin, Pamela asked if, by any chance, I also did donkeys. "Not until now!" I replied, and once I again I relished the challenge of trying out a new design!

Donk, a 5 year old stallon, is one of those gorgeous donkeys with a fuzzy grey coat that just looks so soft and cuddly. The challenge for me was getting that soft, almost airbrushed effect, which I think is very different from a horse's coat. And so I decided to use a Skinner blend. (I had used this technique for the Antelope, and knew that it could work well if done in the right proportions.)

For the body I made up a pale grey clay with a pinch of brown to soften it, and then an off-white grey. I then made up the Skinner blend (click here for more info about Skinner blends). I rolled the resultant blended sheet in a short plug and then shaped that into a ball. You can see the way the two colours are blended quite clearly in the picture.

I repeated the process for the face, only this time I made a smaller three way Skinner blend with two triangles of grey sandwiching a triangle of white to create a white stripe framed by grey. It took a bit of work to keep the white strip central, but in the end, I like the way it turned out.

The trickiest part of Wee Donk was getting the ears right. I've now seen a lot of donkey ears courtesy of Google searches! The main issue wasn't so much the shape, it was finding a way of making them robust enough, because the ears are the most fragile part of all Wee Horses - and being that much bigger, Wee Donk's ears would be that much more vulnerable. So in the end, I decided to use two short lengths of thick silver-plated wire and embedded them in the ears, attached the ears to the head, and cemented them in with liquid polymer clay. They now feel pretty secure!

The mane was another interesting challenge for me - rather than the flowing strands of a horse's mane, Donk has a short stubby main, as well as an adorable wee tuft between his ears. I extruded two colours - dark grey and off-white - and then made up a mini-Mohican tuft with short lengths of clay, and then made the mane by cutting even shorter lengths and placing them on their ends where the mane would be. I used a similar technique with the Wee Zebras, although with Wee Donk, I 'fluffed' up the mane with a scalpel. As you do. I also 'fluffed' up the white clay within Wee Donk's ears - overall, I think I've managed to achieve a 'fluffy' look all round! His tail was made with a few strands of dark grey clay.

I think Wee Donk looks rather fine with his two chums, Wee Dan and Wee Cuillin - thanks again to Pamela for commissioning the three of them!


  1. brilliant - my type of crafter! I find "Well I do now!" a useful answer too.

  2. Thanks Heather - I wonder what wee clay meercats would look like... :)