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Elephants and Avatines

When the global pandemic kept us all home to shelter-in-place, I thought it was going to be easy for me. My weaving studio is a short walk from my home on our secluded woodsy property. I have materials that could last for years. I can weave, cut and sew, dye, spin and create to my heart’s content. But something happened in the solitude of a quiet studio with uninterrupted days stretching before me.

My imagination was choked. I went up to my work space each morning determined to be productive only to find myself pushing cloth around on the cutting table.

Back in January, I had made four hand-woven stuffed elephants for three babies in my life and another for my friend Lucy.

Years and years ago, before seatbelts were required and telephones were connected to the wall, young Lucy had asked her parents to see the “avatines”.

“What’s an “avatine?” her confused parents asked.

But at only four-years-old, Lucy couldn’t describe the beast. For months the mystery lingered until a trip to the zoo cleared up the question.

“Avatines!” Lucy ran toward the elephant enclosure.

The fourth and most beautiful stuffed toy was an avatine for Lucy.

During the initial days of shelter-at-home all I felt like making was elephants.

I felt alive and excited when I was cutting or sewing the cute little creatures. I decided that making anything was better than nothing so I continued. I kept making them until they grew into a herd.

I enjoyed watching them in their natural habitat and capturing their antics in candid photos.

I have been able to transition into making actual garments again, but I return to the avatines for comfort. They make me smile.

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