How long do they take?
For Name Signs, allow four to six weeks because there is often a back log. However, if you need the sign for a special occasion such as a birthday or family visit, I can usually give your order priority. The turnaround time for Initials is about two weeks.
Can you do other animals?
Sorry, the answer is no. The seven choices that I offer–bears, dogs, elephants, mice, monkeys, penguins and rabbits–have relatively simple forms and are easy to pose. Ducks, giraffes, tigers, ladybugs, horses, whales and other creatures present challenges that I prefer not to undertake. Most importantly, I love what I do. If I didn’t enjoy making an elephant strumming a guitar with his trunk or a monkey looking a mirror, I’d have the wrong job.
How big are they?
Small initials are 6″ x 6″, large initials are 8″ x 8″, short name (3 – 4 letters) are 8″ x 14″, medium names (4 – 6 letters) are 8″ x 19″, long names (7 letters +) are 8″ x 24″. First and middle names, such as KEVIN ALEXANDER depend on the size of the frame.
How do you make them?
For the solid colors I use Canson Mi-Tientes, an art paper that is highly fade resistant. I design the animals’ clothing with my Silhouette Cameo and print them on lightweight card stock. Customers can request any colors they want. I also use the Silhouette machine to cut out the animals, the letters and the accessories. It’s a wonderful invention that allows me to work with much greater precision than was possible before. Twenty years ago, when I first started making Alphabet Animals, I cut out everything with scissors, even the animals’ eyes. I used wallpaper from discarded sample books for the patterns.
What gave you the idea for Alphabet Animals?
As a child, I loved to draw and luckily my mother always kept me well supplied with crayons. As an adult, inspired by the artistic talents of my own two daughters, I took courses in drawing and painting at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education and the DeCordova Museum. When I took a class in children’s book illustration, the teacher Ilse Plume suggested that I try collage. Soon I was in love with the medium. Among my creations was a mouse alphabet which inspired me to maake the name signs for children.