Classic children's stories are a wonderful source of inspiration for stuffed animal and doll makers. Many of the classic tales are now in the public domain which means that they either have expired copyrights or are ineligible for copyright protection. No permission is needed to use works that are in the public domain and that's great news for artists because we are free to interpret the characters from these stores in any way we choose.
I shy away from creating characters from stories with active copyrights, and I certainly wouldn't sell work based on those characters, but the public domain is open territory and there's so much incredible material to be found there.
Here are just a few of the children's stories in the public domain:
- Peter Pan
- Alice in Wonderland
- The Wizard of Oz
- Black Beauty
- all of the Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes (one of which inspired my Humpty Dumpty doll)
- The Tale of Peter Rabbit
- The Wind in the Willows
- the Raggedy Ann stories
- Red Riding Hood
- Goldilocks and the Three Bears
- all of The Brother's Grimm fairy tales
- Aesop's Fables
And I know there are many more. If you know of other stories or fairy tales that are in the public domain, please add them in the comments so that we can have an even longer, more inspiring list.
For my newest pattern I took inspiration from the classic Edward Lear poem, The Owl and the Pussycat, a piece that's in the public domain, and created a felt Owl and Pussycat set.
The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
'O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
What a beautiful Pussy you are!'
-from Edward Lear's The Owl and the Pussycat
The next time you're looking for inspiration try interpreting characters from one of these classic stories. Each one is so rich in visual imagery and surely provides enough ideas for a whole lifetime of making.