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Basil Finds a Home

First in the Commission Case Study Series

I thought I would write about the commissioning process for a few different items so people can see how it works.

First up is Basil the Water Vole made for the lovely Maggie who I had met at Craft in Focus at Wisley and then came on a needle felting workshop. Here he is in his new allotment showing his new tribe his name!



Maggie says "I was initially enchanted with the character of  Bert and his gardening adventures and stories of his loveable water vole family and I was delighted to meet him at the craft fair at Wisley - along with Karin & King Norty too!

It was then I thought of asking if you (Karin) could make a water vole for my tribe - a "Bert cousin". 

I wasn't sure how to go about commissioning a bespoke Water Vole at first but we met again at a mouse workshop and I discussed it seriously with her then and she was so good to work on him straight away checking all the details with me of the wool colour for his top and the tartan for his cap."


Maggie asked about a cousin for Bert to be called Basil and we discussed if she wanted him on his own or with a garden shed. One we had decided on what she wanted, I gave her a price. Usually I take money up front but for large commissions I can take a deposit and the remainder later.

Bert type Water voles come with a tank top and flat cap so I asked her if she had a colour she would prefer for his tank top.



I then ordered some Harris tweed offcuts for his hat and she helped Basil choose which he would like.



I had a bit of fun on social media with Basil we did a few animations of Basil choosing his wool and getting his tank top made by Bertram.







Once he was finished and had his cap and tank top, I sent Maggie some photos to check she was ok with how he was. I always get super nervous at this point because I think of the person while I am making their animal and I so want them to love them. Luckily Maggie was delighted, so we had a goodbye photo and then I wrapped him up in gift wrapping, with a shovel and flower pot and some travelling choklit and send him special delivery. Because Water Voles are certainly a special delivery!




Maggie sent me an email saying he had arrived safe and sound and photos of Basil in his new home, meeting his new friends which is always lovely to see and Maggie was kind enough to send me a few words for this blog too.



"Basil is a Water vole and a delightful & much loved character who has settled in very happily with his new tribe and new home. 

I'm so thrilled with him and all his accessories from his cable knitted tank top and tartan flat cap and he brought his own spade and plant pot and gardener's string.

 I got him a few extra little gardening tools and he's loving showing my tribe his skills ! The little 'uns have made great friends with Basil and are joining in the gardening action -  he always seems to have a stash of biscuits...


It was great to see "sneak peek" pictures of "Basil in progress" and the fun of him developing with the other shed creatures -he was ready in just a few weeks .

He is called Basil after a favourite gardening uncle who enjoyed a biscuit and a cup of tea!

Every single one of your creatures is unique and has their own delightful character from the expression in their eyes and face to the postures they can move into.  Your understanding of the animal anatomy and behaviour and character that develops is so detailed and shows immediately in the finished work.

There is only one Bert from the Shed - and now only one Basil and I'm delighted with my clever gardening water vole!


Thanks to Maggie for such kind words.


Some animals are available ready made, or made to order on my website, or If you would like to commission your own creature, or copper work, you can contact me to ask for details. Having a budget in mind is helpful for me to get an idea of what might be possible. I can make animals more or less detailed depending on budgets and size requirements. You can get an idea of prices on the Commissions page

Welcome to your new home Basil, I think you will be very happy there!


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©Karin Celestine  Monmouth, Wales

United Kingdom