Unearthing our new Hedgehog range...
We are thrilled to announce a brand-new range of adorable Hedgehog designs inspired by my encounter with a hedgehog in need. For a long time, I have wanted to make a Hedgehog collection, as I love these cute little nocturnal creatures. I have even been involved in a local Hedgehog rescue group!
Immortalising them in clay seemed like a good idea as they fit with the wild native animals theme I have been creating. They're a vulnerable species in the UK and so I also wanted to make the release of this collection an opportunity to talk about the plight of these charming creatures. So, I'll be giving you a run through of my experience with looking after a Hedgehog as well as how I created these final designs!
Whilst I was living at my Mum’s house during COVID, I got involved with the Corsham Area Hedgehog Rescue who do an amazing job of taking in injured or unwell hedgehogs in the local area. They also have excellent advice for locals on how to look after a Hedgehog if they come across one. So, shortly after joining the group, I ended up taking on the rehabilitation of a sweet little hedgehog lady called Regis. She had been quite poorly and needed to gain more weight, so my young nephew and I decided to take her off of the organisation's hands so that they could focus on the more sickly ones.
We both fashioned a cosy hedgehog hutch and popped her in there so we could monitor her and feed her a healthy hedgehog diet. My young nephew was totally enthralled with this sweet but spiky animal, he’d never seen one in real life before! She was quite underweight and also temporarily blind when we took her in, but by the time we had fed her up for a week or so, she had doubled in weight and got her sight back!
After my time with Regis, I became passionate about learning how to make my garden more hedgehog-friendly and also passing this information on to others. Hedgehogs, once a common sight in gardens across the UK, are now facing alarming declines in their populations due to habitat loss, road traffic accidents, and other human-induced factors. This is bad news for the delicate ecosystems in our gardens, crops and other wider green and natural spaces. We need large numbers of insectivores like hedgehogs to keep down the number of plant-damaging insects like beetles, worms, snails and caterpillars. I also think that regardless of what they can do for us, they deserve to be protected and thriving just like any other creature!
On to the ceramic Hedgehogs!
This new collection includes Salt and Peppers, Egg Cups, Trinket Dishes, Money Boxes and Planters. Our particular favourites are the Salt and Peppers; they're adorably small, and both pots are slightly different to each other which we think makes them much more characterful.
My design process began with modelling the Money Box first, stylising the shape to give them the Hannah Turner treatment! After I had finished the modelling process, I took a very basic cast so that I could slip-cast some samples and decide how to decorate them.
I then played around with hand-sponging underglaze colours and painting on the little button noses!
Next came the tricky bit, as my on-glaze details are all added using screen printed decals, rather than stamping into the clay or having raised detail, so how to add the spikes??
I decided after a few trials of sponging when in Sri Lanka, that the best result was by creating artwork using pen and ink. Then using Illustrator, this was converted into a digital file to be sized up or down and angled correctly. Getting the spikes on print to then wrap around the body at the right angles was the biggest challenge, but I got there in the end!
Below is the final Hedgehog Money Box, with a slot in the top for your hard-earned coins, and a rubber stopper underneath for emergencies!
So we now have a full complement of Hedgehog products being launched this autumn. This new collection (or should we call it a prickle?) includes the little Salt and Pepper Shakers, the Trinket Dish (not too flat as that looked like a squashed hedgehog, and nobody needs to be reminded of those! ) We then have the Hedgehog Egg Cup, Hedgehog Planters and Hedgehog Money Boxes. That should be enough for any hedgehog lover to dot one in every room of the house!
Designing the stickers for the packaging was fun. Seeing them against a wooded setting, I am now inspired to do some printed designs as well and maybe even add them to the tableware collections.
Alongside the existing Red Squirrel Salt and Peppers, Wolf Egg Cup, and the Wild Boar range, the Hedgehog is yet another of our British native animals in my repertoire, now in stock on our website, this Autumn.
I hope you love these new Hedgehog designs as much as I do, and can gather a little family of them in your home to remind you of the of the wonderful but fragile natural world at our doorstep!