A Giraffe is born

This story started back in the middle of June when my daughter-in-law and I were shopping at Joanne’s Fabrics. She spied a 99 cent piece of material and suggested that it looked like I could make a giraffe out of it since I was making art dolls. She also said that her sister collected giraffes and so I purchased the remnant and took it home. A few days later, I sculpted a pretty cute giraffe head which laid on my work bench for weeks. Finally I decided to take a piece of yellow calico material that I had and do a prototype for the giraffe body. My first attempt at drawing the pattern was too small as was the second. Grrr…this giraffe was starting to get under my skin! Finally, the third enlargement of the pattern looked like it was the right size. I was on my way!

Gerry G Laughing

Was it my imagination or was that face laughing at me? Anyway, I finally took the leap and cut the sides and neck from the piece of giraffe patterned material. Looking good. But, what’s this? The underbelly is way off. Grrr… I swear that Giraffe is looking “down his nose” at me from the work bench!!

Gerry G looking down nose

Well, now I have just ruined the last piece of the patterned material big enough to do the underbelly so I toss the whole mess aside and there it stays for a week or so. Until yesterday afternoon when I decide I am going to finish that giraffe or know the reason why! I go into the studio and there he is with a “haughty” look on his face…

Gerry Girrafe haughty

Now I know you can see for yourself the different faces this critter is making ..I am not crazy! Well, I took one look at that smug face and said “you will not defeat me, little man”! I dug through my bin of fabric and came up with a solid yellow knit  which was the perfect shade for the underbelly. The first try was a bust (again). I turned out the lights and went to make dinner. I swear I heard him laugh!  After dinner I had to go back into the studio to fetch one of the phones that I had left there earlier. While I was in there, I sliced and diced and stitched and sweated and at long last was successful in making a perfect fit for the underbelly! Yay! I was so excited that I stayed there until I constructed the armature for the piece which would require a sturdy foundation because of the heavy (grining) head.

This morning I couldn’t wait to get in there and complete Gerry’s birthing process. I crocheted a tail and created a mane by looping yarn on a piece of sticky tape which I then folded over and machine stiched along the bottom taped part. (These two pieces had to be incorporated into the design later as I was hand stitching from the tail to the top of the neck). The next tactical problem was inserting the armature into the body. I had to rip out part of a seam to do this. Then I filled the “feet” with lentil beans for a little weight (my daughter-in-law’s suggestion) and stuffed in the fiberfil as I was doing the hand stitching. At loooong last (pun intended) I was going to attach the head to the armature! But of course there was a problem with the hole in the sculpted head being too small and the armature top being too tall..sigh…so I went back to the drafting board and came up with a brilliant new plan to attach the head to the armature. I won’t go into detail but let’s just say thank goodness for hot glue and duct tape…an artists best friends!

So in the end, Gerry, who I named after a pal of mine that has a very “distinguished” looking face, came to life after all! He gave me a good challenge but I think he is glad to be here and I can promise you this. He will not become a part of  someone’s collection (sorry Trace, maybe next time…in another life… when I make another giraffe). And Gerry lives happily ever after. The end!!

Gerry G finished

Gerry G sideview of details



  1. Bonnie Said:

    I must say, your patience and determination paid off. Gerry is one handsome looking giraffe!

    • theartfulcodger Said:

      I thought so but then, I HAD to! lol!

  2. Cathy Said:

    How are you at elephants?

    • theartfulcodger Said:

      Well, that would be a whole other challenge as I never did a giraffe before either!! Yipes!
      How much time do you have…ha ha!

  3. Kaci Marie Said:

    How cute 🙂 I bought the same fabric from Joann’s, made a wire armature, wrapped it in batting then sewed on the fabric…only to find out that the fabric was too heavy for the wire I’d chosen and it’s little legs went sliding in all directions like a baby deer on ice! oops 🙂

    • theartfulcodger Said:

      That’s where I got the material too. Good thing I used a wooden armature. Guess it was beginner’s luck! lol!

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