My friend Clive Hicks-Jenkins, currently snowed-in at his house in Wales, recently posted some pictures of favorite Christmas ornaments he and his partner have made, collected, or been given over the years. I loved seeing them and told him so, and he asked if I'd post some of ours too.
For most of my life, I've had an animal-and-bird theme going on my Christmas trees. There are lots of snowflakes, crocheted by my grandmother and by me, and a few large red balls, some glass bead chains, and various baubles and decorations made of paper, glass, cloth. We have half a dozen clothespin dolls, some representing Figi islanders in native sarongs, made by a close friend during her Peace Corps stay there in the late 1970s, and some representing other people, made by me around the same time. The rest are animals and birds, some that I made and some collected. Except for the Chinese feather-birds like the rooster above, of which I have quite a lot, I haven't added anything much in recent years, but maybe I'll get around to making some new creatures: a beaver, bien sur, and maybe a moose, and a Canada goose! I'd love to make an owl, and a snow goose, and an arctic tern...
The pig at the top of the post is one of three felt creatures I sewed in the mid-1970s: there's also a lion, and a bright green fish.
A frog, in painted wood, from southeast Asia or Indonesia - my mother found this one and several others like it in the 1980s.
A Chinese cardinal surveys a pink papier-maché giraffe, circa 1965.
A sequined polar bear, found in a shop somewhere.
A dear little chipmunk, also from my mother, whittled out of wood. When I was young I tamed a wild chipmunk. For several years it would sit under my window and call me to come out and feed it; it would also come out of its hole when I whistled to it; it ate out of my hand and liked gingersnaps better than anything else.
There are ten or so of these little painted Indian horses, all in different colors. They're tiny - about 2 inches long.
And a personal favorite, this papier-maché zebra-of-a-different-color, also from the psychedelic mid-60s, when I was maybe fourteen. He's making me want to try out some papier-maché again, and add a few creatures to this peaceable boreal menagerie!