Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Those Cute Little Mice

One day, several months ago, a customer entered the gallery, a little upset looking and clutching a small color catalog. She asked, in a frantic voice, "Do you carry Wee Forest Folk?" She was so upset, I had to ask her to repeat herself several times until I understood what she was saying. When I told her I didn't, she asked if I would please carry them. The owners of the store she had buying them at had retired, closing up, the artist doesn't sell direct, and she had no place to buy them. It was at this point I had to admit I had no idea what Wee Forest Folk were.

She showed me the catalog she was clutching. It was full of mice. Mice all dressed up and doing things. OK, I'll admit it, I thought to my self, with a great deal of disdain "Mice sculptures? Really? You've got to be kidding." I thought it, but I never let that show. I asked the women a few questions about the mice...were they handcrafted, made in America, etc? The answers were all the right ones for my self imposed criteria, but still...mice sculptures?

I asked the customer to leave me her information and I'd see what I could do. I figured I would do some research and, if the minimum order was low enough, offer to order them for her. I had no intentions of caring them in the gallery. I got in touch with someone at Wee Forest Folk and got the whole story. It seems that the mice first came into existence 37 years ago, crafted out of bread dough by Annette Peterson. Bread dough doesn't hold up very well, so now they are molded out of a stronger material. Each piece is a casting of an original sculpted by either Annette or her children, Willy and Donna.They are then meticulously painted with great detail. They are produced in small amounts and retired regularly. It all sounded great, but still...mice sculptures?

They offered to send me a sample, a beach bound mouse called The Little Dipper.I was amazed when I opened the box. First of all, they are so much tinier than I expected. The Little Dipper is only 1 1/4" tall. And the amount of detail on such a little thing...wow! From the spout on her inner tube to the starfish on the beach to her pink cheeks, it was all there. I'll admit it, she was a cutie. But still...mice sculptures?

I decided I would do a very small order and see what happened. Those first few mice have spread like...well, like mice. They now have their own shelf in a case and new friends arrive regularly. The Halloween ones just showed up and they are as cute as can be.

So, mice sculptures? YES!

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