In the beginning
I have always enjoyed making things, someone or something catching my imagination and taking me down a particular avenue of thought. I love sewing and stitch using old and discarded fabric with a history - but not only that. I like working with paper, wood and old vintage metals, to make something unexpected that will bring a smile to someone.
My Grandmother taught me to sketch the animals around us and those of my imagination, and my mother taught me to sew - helping me to use her old heavy dark green Husquavarna machine that seemed fierce at the time. With her help aged 9 years I made a giant tortoise that I could sit on, dragons and yes dogs, lots of dogs.
A Working Life and a chance to get making
I left craft and making behind when I started work in London in a variety of roles, there didn't ever be time to stand still. In 2000 my husbands' work took him to Romania, The Netherlands and finally Sweden in 2010 - we moved there and then I had the chance to start learning and making again, painting, sketching and stitching.
Re- learning to design and make creatures that looked like something took some time. I chanced upon John Murphys' book “Stupid Sock Creatures” and I realised could make animals from old socks. The humour and designs got me laughing – and thinking. I dusted off my sewing machine and I started making my own creatures and selling on Etsy. All the while my faithful hounds sat by my feet as I sketched and stitched and little by little, I stopped making alien-like creatures and I started to make Hounds.
In Abby Glassenberg’s 2013 book Stuffed Animals: From Concept to Construction I learned how to make hounds that could sit and stand without falling over, had legs that waggled. I started use repurposed wool fabric from old coats and hats or skirts as well as old woolly socks as a base. Wire framework now made the hounds poseable and strong
Hawkes Hounds is born
Me and Mr H returned to South London, England in 2014 and with time to unpack and make myself at home again - Hawkes Hounds was really born. I made the Hounds and he captured them with his camera. In 2017 my hounds trotted along to Sam Tofts’ Little Mustard Shop and sat alongside her whimsical characters until the shop closed at the end of 2019. I now make Hawkes Hounds to join the annual Artists Open House events in Brighton in May and December and limited commissions.
When we moved to Romania in 2000 the Street Dogs and their cheeky puppies started to work their charm on our lives and by 2005 we were the proud owners of three, Max, Graham and Frank. Max and Frank were joined by Princess Margaret the Show Cocker to be my companions and confidents in all my travels.
You can see dogs like Max and Frank at any dog rescue web site, sporting toothy under bites, heads that don't quite match bodies, but always, always, always with big characters and a story to tell. My own mutts are here. Max who had rickets as a puppy with really bendy front legs who tried to remedy it by getting hold of a packet of calcium tablets and ate the whole lot in one go. Frank, appeared at the gate after living under a car across the street in Bucharest. Frank used to get so excited with life that he would jump straight up onto the car bonnet before we went out. Thankfully the car had collected a few scratches of its own before. These are the faces that inspired me in the beginning when Hawkes Hounds' started and the dogs at Dogs Trust continue to inspire to this day.