watercolour painting of a fox fur stole biting its bum

Vintage Fox Fur Stole My Heart

I’ve met my fair share of vintage fur coats and I’ve seen a good few taxidermied animals, but it wasn’t until I found myself in a vintage shop in Lincoln the other weekend that I was confronted with racks of vintage fur stoles, scarves and hats.  The fur looked rich in colour, very enticing, so I went to stroke the soft looking fur.  At my touch, I saw little fox limbs sway like wind charms underneath.  As I investigated further, more limbs, frozen faces and limp tails became apparent, beautiful and sad at the same time.

Then as I saw more than one animal stitched together (my mind thinks of Human Centipede), designer labels sewn on their underbellies, heads split in half for decoration, it all seemed a bit ludicrous and dare I say it – funny.  If you’re familiar with my sense of humour, you’ll know it’s macabre.  The whole experience prompted me to create this little poem and accompanying artwork.

watercolour painting of a fox fur stole on a hanger

With gorgeous colours, oh what a sight,
And soft to touch, a real delight!
But Lifeless Fox got me thinking
As its glassy eyes watched unblinking,
Seemed odd when ladies must-have-a
Shiny, glorious fox cadaver.
Its spindly legs placed to dangle
With added poppers so as not to tangle;
In order to keep the wearer warm,
Designer made its shape conform
Now its peg-jaw can bite its own arse
– I wonder if death is naught but a farce.

A Date With My Etch-a-Sketch

It lay forlornly faced down, amid an assortment of drawing tools.  I picked up my Etch-a-Sketch, devoid of life; staring blankly back at me.

“Hello old friend, it’s been a while.”

I remembered the good times we’d had; time I happily spent ‘in the zone’ whiling away the hours.  Having neglected my Etch-a-Sketch for too long, I decided to take it on a date to the museum.

lion statue at bristol museumWe rocked up at the Bristol museum, a little flustered from the rain.  As I warmed myself with a cuppa at the cafe, I carefully pulled out ‘Etchy’.  It’s grey face a blank canvas, white knobs glistening in the light – we were ready.  The bottom of the grand staircases are decorated with (to my mind) slightly worried-looking lions.   Sat in direct view of worried-lion, I began my continuous single line, weaving its way around the screen.  My fingers attempted a careful co-ordination of ‘up’ and ‘across’ to get those elusive curves.  Some attempts were less successful than others, granted… But at times slip ups were useful for creating impromptu ‘shading’.  As my line completed its final stroke across Etchy’s screen, I couldn’t help but be pleased at my efforts after such a long separation.etch a sketch drawing of lion statue

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I wandered upstairs to the taxidermy section where wild beasts of all kinds stood their morbid watch.  I settled down for some Etch-a-sketch time with a pig but that didn’t end so well.  Frustrated, I shook my wiggly pig picture and started afresh with the creature next to it – a Himalayan Tahr.  I took my time, starting with the nose, working my way up and around its horns.  My favourite bit was the shaggy fur, as its more difficult to screw it up when you’re trying to be messy.

etch a sketch version of himalayan tahrEventually my Himalayan Tahr materialised onto the screen.  And just in case I forgot what it was, I wrote the name in the top right corner.  Unfortunately, in order to connect the letters you have to use a cursive writing, despite plain ol’ capital letters being the easiest  to create with the Etch-a-Sketch’s straight lines.

I was definitely getting in the swing of Etch-a-Sketching but sadly that was all I had time for.  We make a good team, Etchy and I, so I think we’ll be having another date.