Dr Mole came into being as a result of an email through Folksy from Eloise, a lovely girl who had previously bought a Wee Sheep and a Cozy Reindeer Cat to cheer up her friend.
Eloise's dad has just heroically completed 30 years as a GP, and she wanted to mark the occasion. He does a skin cancer clinic, and Eloise wondered if it would be possible to do a mole (and just to be clear, we're talking about the cute, furry kind that digs up your garden). I hadn't made moles before, but straight away I could visualise how this wee character would look.
To get the right fur effect, I played around with the Starry Night cane technique and took it several steps further than I had before. I roughly chopped up black and grey clay and then whizzed it up in the blender (one of my best purchases!) Once it was finely chopped, I pressed the clay pieces back together and rolled them through the pasta machine. I kept cutting the sheet in half, stacking the halves on top of each other, and rolling it through again. I did this more often than I have done before, and the resulting cane was full of very small, thin, fine strands of the different clay colours.
And I didn't stop there! Once I had stacked the cut slabs into a cane, I then reduced the cane, cut it into four equal lengths and stacked them back together again. I then reduced this cane down again by stretching and pressing the square cane, and cut that cane into four equal lengths, repeating the process. This gave a even finer cane of small fine strands of clay, and gave a much more realistic fur effect than I've achieved before.
Once I had made by the fur cane, I covered a ball of clay with thin slices taken from the cane, and then rolled the ball gently in my hands to blend the slices together. I was careful not to blend the clay too much, or the fine fur effect would have been lost. (As it is, it's quite difficult to see on these photos, but take it from me - it definitely looks like fur close up!)
The mole shape itself came very naturally - it's such a lovely shape to make! - and I cut the hands and feet from Super Sculpey beige clay, which has a wonderful flesh tone to it. (I use it for cat noses too.) 'Dressing' Dr Mole was fun too - the stethoscope was made out of silver and black clay, and the doctor's bag out of brown clay. And I made the glasses by wrapping some thinnish wire on round plyers (that was a little trickier). And overall, I love the effect - he's one of my favourite characters, and Wee Moles will definitely join the Quernus ranks!