a little spring cleaning
Artist's notes on inspiration and materials:
I think there is a yōkai we have all met, and it has all sorts of different names in different countries. Several languages call them dust kittens or cats, in French they are 'moutons' (sheep), in German 'wollmäuse' (wool mice), in Bengali they are dusty rabbits (dhulo khorgosh), and in English and some other countries 'dust bunnies'. I think that once we name an object like this, they almost certainly develop a spirit and a sense that they have a reputation to live up to.
In the Ghibli film my neighbour Totoro their cousins the soot sprites or 'susuwatari' are visible in the old house as the new owners move in, and enchanted ones help stoke the boilers of the bathhouse in Spirited Away.
These fuzzy little beasts form when particles of dust meet tangled up bits of hair and other debris and with the help of some static electricity become the little creatures that lurk in corners and under furniture. I noticed a lot more comment on dust build up during the pandemic lockdowns - in England we were in lockdown for almost a year in total (between March 2020 and July 2021) - that's a lot more dust being generated at home! An article in the Guardian by Australian columnist Brigid Delaney about her battles with lockdown dust read "It’s disgusting, these disgusting grey masses that drift across the floor. The large ones resemble the ghost of a rat. I watch them move, they could almost be alive."
To be honest, I don't mind them (and if you are going to have rats in your home then ghost ones are preferable!) - they are pretty inevitable after all. I think they must be pretty laid back beings - they always know they'll be back in no time. My versions, who I call hokorimono - simply 'dust' or 'dust things' and look like scribbles with eyes, appear in my 'brushes and brooms' print, and also have turned up on a few of my pots - now some girls are trying to tackle them, sending them into the air around them.
My pieces are painted in a naïve and simple style, with visible brush strokes and differing paint consistencies. It is important to note that these dolls are made from real wood which will have naturally occurring markings and grain, and sometimes there will be small amount of bleeding along the grain, which is to be expected when using untreated wood - please make sure you consult the pictures carefully before purchasing. She has been finished in a top coat of matt acrylic.
A note about 'Wood Girls'
This wood girl is turned from American Tulipwood and hand painted in the U.K. by me, a British artist, exploring patterns and scenes encountered by me on my travels and in daily life.
Stamped underneath with roaring bear logo in blue ink
Approximately 17.5cm high.
Please note: THIS IS NOT A TOY and should be kept out of the reach of children.