June 2020 For June, let's go to Australia! And, in fact, let's stay there through July - there's so much to see!
The Cutest Bats in the World!
Ready for a surprise? Nearly 25% of all mammal species are bats! I still can't quite get my head around that, but I've found the statistic in many different places, so I trust it's true.
Bats are divided into two suborders: megabats and microbats. Flying foxes are a genus of megabats whose faces bear a remarkable resemblance to foxes.’ They live in the tropics and sub-tropics of Asia, Australia, East Africa, and some Indian and Pacific ocean islands. There are 4 species of ‘flying foxes’ in Australia: the black, the grey-headed, the spectacled, and the little red. The black is the largest with a wingspan reaching 6’ and weighing a kilogram.
Flying foxes are critical to the health of Australia’s forests. With a diet comprised largely of the pollen and nectar of the fruits of hardwood trees, especially eucalyptus, and a nomadic lifestyle, they are the forests’ primary pollinators.
Despite the critical role they play in the environment, flying fox populations are under pressure from loss of habitat, and also encounter many dangers associated with humans. Electrical lines, fruit tree netting, and fences are among the many hazards kill and maim thousands every year. In response, bat rescue groups have sprung up all over Australia. The bats I've drawn are from the Tolga Bat Hospital in Queensland, Austrlia. A photographer visited and took several photos and I was fortunate to get his permission to draw from his photos.
Here's an inspiring video about the rescue and rehab of a grey-headed bat. I'm eternally grateful there are people like this amazing care-giver in the world. I hope you enjoy it!
Here's the finished book. Its pages are 5 1/2" wide by 8 1/2" tall, and there are 64 of them. As you can see, there's a built-in satin ribbon bookmark and satin ribbon ties to close it. Making these books is a great joy to me. I'm thinking of doing a book on making blank books. Stay tuned!
Here we are - two Aussie wanna-be's - me and my mascot, Tilda.
My being an Aussie wanna-be has to do with my grandfather, Arthur Percival Stone, who was born in Brighton, England in 1888. As a young man he and his best friend, Ed Poole (no relation!) determined to emigrate and seek adventure in Australia. The wonders of that far-away land captured their imaginations, and they weren't to be deterred from their goal! So, one day they packed up and went to London seeking their papers from the Australian consulate. But no! It was closed that day! But all was not lost. The US Embassy, right next door, was open, so they came to the US instead. Well, perhaps this explains my fascination with Australia - I should have been there!
Now let's get to Tilda. She's a wanna-be because she doesn't represent an actual Australian animal. I wanted to needle-felt myself a mascot and after looking at lots and lots of pictures of different Australian animals, I came up with this composite. Actually, I didn't see any pictures of animals with curly tufts in their ears, but why not? Anyway, she's been a great mascot, inspiring me and giving me pep talks when I need them. Thanks, Tilda!
And a Real, and Amazingly Real One - The Quokka!
Here's a link to a good quokka video by National Geographic.
But this video is best of all! It's "The Ultimate Guide to taking Quokka Selfies. You just mustn't miss this!Enjoy!
Who can resist these faces? these body shapes? They're known as the happiest animals on earth, perhaps because of their perennial smiles!
Like so many Australian animals I've read about, the Quokka population is under pressure, reduced by 50% since colonial times. They used to be widespread in Western Australia as well as in the islands off the Western Australian coast. As with so many native species, their numbers have been drastically reduced by the activity of man and well as the predatory species the colonists brought with them, notably foxes, cats, and dogs.
But on the brighter side, there is a significant population on Rottnest Island. "Rottnest" is Dutch for rats' nest, a 17th century Dutch sea captain having mistook the quokkas inhabitants for large rats. Apparently, a few years ago a man took a selfie with a quokka and it went viral, resulting in an uptick of tourism on the Island, and an accomapanying increase in the quokka population!
Quokkas are related to kangaroos, both being macropods ('big foot'). Resembling both kangaroos and rats, they can live to 10 years of age. The adults are about the size of a house cat. The females have one Joey at a time, and can give birth twice a year.
Here's my attempt at a Quokka in stoneware. She's about 4" tall and was fun to sculpt! Next month, a Numbat!
June Coupon - Sales Proceeds go to Animal Rescue Organizations
I'm offering you, my precious subscribers, 20% discount in my Etsy shop. And, this month, I'm donating all proceeds to animal rescue organizations. Any sales from the Bear section will go to Idaho Black Bear Rehab. Proceeds from all other sales will go to Sierra Wildlife Rescue. Everything in the shop is hand made by me. From June 1 to June 15, just use discount code FORWILDLIFE20 at checkout. I ship the day after I receive your order, and shipping is free. Click on the image above to go to my shop!
This Month's Free Downloadable Art
Just this past fall, several years after completing the drawings of the five flying foxes, I did four more drawings of Australian animals and combined them with collage to create a series of 9. This little koala is one of them. Hope you like it!
To download, click on the image and it will open in a new window (from dropbox.com). You’ll see the image, and at the upper right of the window you’ll see three little dots. Click on them to open a menu, then choose “download.” Please note that this image is copyright protected. I’m sharing it for your personal use only. Also, it's nearly 4 mb.
Wonderful Animals of Down Under!
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