The Panda's Smile

Felted wool panda bear artisan
There are so many stories behind each product. This one is about our panda bear. Our felted wool animals are, well, just about irresistible. They pretty much fly out the door soon after a shipment arrives. They've come a long way since their early days. 

It can be hard to create an animal when you've never seen it in person. Photos help, but don't always convey the scale, the three-dimensionality, or the personality of the animal. A few years ago, the artisans went to the national zoo, where they were amazed to see lions, tigers and elephants in person. Afterwards the hippo's grin was a toothy one and the lion's mane even more glorious.

Some animals just take longer to develop and the panda was one of these. The body was a little long and narrow, the eyes a little too high - just not quite "panda" enough. We've been working on minor tweaks and thanks to modern-day technology, we've been able to problem-solve in real time, across many miles. With the women working with our field worker Nancy in the office in Panajachel, and us here in upstate NY, we were able to adjust the eyes, the shape of the belly, and the slight smile, communicating via email and Photoshop. 

We think we finally have it - and judging from Nancy's and Diega's smile in the photo above, they agree. Even the panda is smiling now!

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