This week we caught up with the lovely Suzanne the talented artist behind Peculiar Pals. Suzanne works in clay without molds and custom designs replicas of your dog. A few examples of her work are below, but there are lots more on her ETSY page.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am 43, married and we have a Miniature Bull Terrier called Teddy.
What inspired you to start your business?
I originally studied Accountancy however, I had always had an interest in arts and crafts. My husband and I decided to try pottery at evening classes, we did this for a couple of years and really enjoyed it. During this time we frequented craft supply shops on a regular basis and this is where we came across polymer clay. I made a bull terrier head based on our miniature bull terrier Badger with our first block of polymer clay and I went on to sell this piece on eBay. That was the start of my business and with Badger as my inspiration many Bull Terrier items followed. I now make most breeds of Dog and I have even made a few Cats, Rabbits and a Horse!
Where are you based?
We moved up North just over two years ago to a 200 year old cottage, set in a 1/3 of an acre of mature gardens. A lovely setting from which to make my little creations.
We’re obviously enormous dog lovers here at Wagging World. We’d love to know more about your dogs.
We had a wonderful little Miniature Bull Terrier called Badger, he was our baby. The move to the cottage gave him a new lease of life and he enjoyed 6 months in our new home, but sadly passed away on the 4th July 2013, he was thirteen years, 7 months and 1 day old. We were devastated by his passing and we were unsure whether we could ever have another dog. However, our house was no longer a home without a four legged companion and in March 2014 Teddy joined our family. He is Badger’s Great Great Nephew. He may be a relation but he could not be more different! He has run us ragged and wants to be busy all of the time. One similarity between them though is a love of learning tricks, there are lots of videos of both Teddy and Badger on my Facebook page doing tricks.
Do you have a background in design?
Back in school I opted for the Sciences however, funnily enough my Art teacher at the time felt I should carry on with my Art studies. Maybe I should have listened to her! I am completely self taught and looking back at photos of my earlier work, my new designs are definitely more detailed and precise. I was recently commissioned to make three Bullmastiff Gamekeepers, this introduced me to the human form with my sculptures and I also needed to use wire armatures for this design which was totally new to me. So I am always learning.
How does your commission process work?
I ask for clear photos from both sides, front, back and overhead, along with nice clear close ups of the face front and side on. I also ask for a photo of the chosen pose if possible, this is especially important if the Dog/Cat/Rabbit has complicated markings as they would look different when they were sitting compared to when they were laying down. I can make accessories such as clothing, favourite toys, baskets, collars most things are possible, this makes my miniature creation more like it’s real-life counterpart.
Tell us about how a typical day in your life would go when you’re working on your commissions?
Teddy gets the first three hours of my day, I make his breakfast, we do a trick session and play some of his interactive games, then we go for a walk, followed by cuddles on the settee then he goes for a nap. Then I start my work, I make sure I have all the photos I need for the commission. I don’t use paints with my models, each colour is hand mixed clay, so I then need to mix my clays for that particular piece. I do not use moulds either, so each piece is truly handmade and unique. Then it’s just a case of using my hands and my long metal pin to turn the clay into the Pet I have been commissioned to make.
Where can we buy your work?
I mainly sell through Etsy and my Facebook page, I can also be contacted direct at email@example.com I am on Twitter and Pinterest and I recently opened an Instagram account. I’m based in the UK but I ship worldwide (which is an easy process).
I know it’s only August, but Christmas isn’t too far away. What’s your deadline for ordering for Christmas?
The festive season is a really busy time for me and my list is filling up fast. My deadline would probably be the end of September having said that I was taking Christmas 2015 orders at the end of last year! And I am already fully booked until October.
If you’re a designer or know about an artist that you think we’d love let us know about them on firstname.lastname@example.org