I WAS DELIGHTED WHEN MY GOOD FRIEND, CLARE, TOLD ME THAT SHE WAS GOING TO HAVE A BABY.
What wasn’t so helpful was her deciding that she wanted the sex of the baby to be a surprise, thus making the finding of a suitable gift all the more tricky! (how very inconsiderate of her;))
I knew I wanted to make something. I wanted it to be useful. What about a mobile? Babies seem to like those…
But what form should this mobile assume, I asked? It had to be relatively neutral, of course. No pink FAIRIES or ASTRONAUTS (although I must guiltily confess that I was “almost” persuaded with the latter option, if only to try and exert at least some influence over the taste of this soon-to-be-introduced-to-the-world little darling!). But no. That would have been selfish of me.
So, whilst trawling through the wonderful images packed onto Pinterest, I found my inspiration: a beautiful grey felt whale, surrounded by gorgeous paisley fish.
Aha! MOBY DICK it is!
Admittedly, this is not the most obvious choice for an infant bedtime story, not with all the hostility and violence between Captain ISHMAEL and the monster, Moby Dick, and all. But notwithstanding the novel’s darker passages and adult musings, there is no question that Moby Dick is a literary classic, and unfortunately, it seems, the book is not as widely read as certainly it should be.
The appropriateness of the works was, alongside my choosing of it in the first place, however, vindicated, as I proceeded to commandeer a copy of a lovely little board-book of the Herman MELVILLE epic, which illustrated the novels plot line, characters (Ishmael, Moby Dick & DAGGOO) and key words (Octopus, HARPOON (yes, really?!)). It’s vivid orange and blue hues contributing the colour scheme I used in the final version.
The mobile was made using grey marl felt for Moby; spotty grey and orange fabric for the shoal, and DRIFTWOOD collected from LAVERNOCK beach just outside Penarth, which just also happens to be a geologist’s delight, if you’re interested…
As a last minute addition, I decided to incorporate four beautiful small shells at the end of each arm that I had collected from SANIBEL Island on the West Coast of FLORIDA last April, including a tiny SAND DOLLAR. Florida has a special place in Clare’s heart, and I thought she would like having this little piece of THE SUNSHINE STATE hanging in her nursery to remind her of all the happy holidays she has spent there over the years, and will hopefully enjoy more of in the years to come.
And so this will be my gift to the lovely Clare Jr : The promise that he will never be without stories, and that he will forever have the imagination to bring all stories to life.
God bless your little cotton socks – I can’t wait to meet you!