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The Gang

COCO the CAT Cat head

Coco, the original inspiration for Tomato Catshop, was a beautiful tortoishell girl. Unusually for a tortie, she was placid, good natured and adored cuddles. In the days when you could still buy kittens from pet shops, I brought her home when she was 8 weeks old; she was 17 when she finally succumbed to cancer of the throat. She liked nothing better than to play with whichever writing instrument I was using or to sit in the bathroom sink and drink from the tap. But best of all was to drape herself around my head in bed on the pillow. She slept wonderfully whilst I listened to the soft lawn mower in my ear.

 Coco photo

 

 Skozi on the Beach

 

SKOZI the GreyhoundC/UP skozi

This is my current companion. A rather cheeky ex-racing greyhound who sometimes forgets he has retired (especially on the beach - pictured here). A complete ingenue when he left kennels, he has settled into life on the outside with relish. Tall enough to surf the kitchen counters and long enough to take up a whole sofa, he loves to collect items to display on his mat - a sock, a plastic jug and a parsnip formed his latest 'installation'.

DONKEYDonkey head

Donkey is based on an in-mate of The Donkey Sanctuary at Sidmouth, Devon, about 7 miles from my workshop. Drawn by my artist friend Charlie Brown, he represents all the donkeys that live out their days in comfort at the sanctuary, often after hard lives. There's nothing quite like driving past their fields in summer with the windows down - the donkey chorus is resounding! See our links page for more details of the charity.

 Donkey photo
 

BODGE the BADGER 

Badger outlineBodge started coming to the back door of my house in the Devon countryside a few years ago. He would come just after dusk and snaffle the plate of peanuts, apples and raisins I put out for him whilst spitting out the carrot and dog biscuits. A truly marvellous sight to see him only a few feet away from me on the other side of the door. One night he came with a youngster, probably one of his offspring, showing him all the best caffs. Then he stopped coming a couple of years ago as suddenly as he had started. 

 

CHICKEN

chickenChicken is the only member of The Gang who is entirely fictional. Over the summer, Sarah, a student at Plymouth College of Art, came to gain some work experience with me and Chicken was her project. From cutting the stencil to mixing the inks to the final printing on tea towels and cushion covers. Sarah demonstrated that she certainly has the knack for screen-printing .... and er, making tea.
 Sarah photo