One more time, with feeling.

A thousand pardons if this looks like something from mid-2009…I made the original version of this embroidery for my exhibit, Encarnación, and when it sold I was commissioned to do another, which I have just finished.

This embroidery is based on a drawing of the Philippine tree shrew, Urogale everetti. They are rodent-like animals, but are actually classified as primates (along with apes and man) and they numbered in their tens of thousands where Kristian and I used to live, on a remote beach property 20 kilometres outside of El Nido town, on the Philippine island of Palawan. Their local name was bising, and they were like a plague in those parts, doing serious damage to crops and orchards, and incredibly noisy while they were at it.

One of the cats (Bastet, it would have to be, since Piggy was terrified of everything) got this one (a rarer occurrence than you’d imagine…Bastet was on the fat side of catness), but when he didn’t eat it Kris took the body and buried it in a quiet patch of sand. Six months later he dug up the skeleton, left clean by ants, and we made sketches of the various bones and bits (in the spirit of scientific research, you understand!)

I like drawings of animal skulls because they are familiar (as skulls), and yet alien to look at. Nobody could make out what this animal was (might have something to do with the Urogale everetti being endemic to the Philippines, though…*wink*)and it was funny to hear the guesses. Unlike the unmistakable message that human skulls send (“Memento mori,”) animal skulls are open to a little bit more interpretation, less clichés.
The embroidered felt “pebble” measures about 6 inches by 4½. It is worked on acrylic felt, with a single skein of coton a broder, using backstitch. I machine-stitched the front and back pieces of felt, right sides together, and then cut a slit in the back to turn the work right-sides-out and stuff the thing. Stitched the hole in the back up with Cretan stitches.

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