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Mr. Owl

While sitting at my cluttered desk, between distracted glances outside into the cold mini-forest outside beyond my apartment window, I find myself contemplating the fuzziness and warmth of Hooty ™ the owl perched within arm’s reach. I purchased him, interestingly enough, at our local major electronics outlet. My daughter was shopping with me that day, I don’t remember exactly when, sometime a couple years ago. I bought her a Socky Doll ™ by the same brand, which is a striped and sock-like doll resembling a red cat with bright yellow eyes.

The idea of these little creatures, is that once heated in the microwave, they exude a French lavender scent, and when rested upon, warm your aching, or perhaps just cold, shoulders, neck or hands. I have not been able to bring myself to microwave this doll, or the sock doll for that matter, despite the allure of the pleasant lavender scent, and the warming powers it would have upon my aching shoulders.

This owl is one of the subtler varieties, not turquoise or pink, but your average brown and cream color owl. As natural as a Hooty™ could be. The fabric is plush, dense, scented and clean. His design is not necessarily original, but rather familiar and sweetly like something you would find drawn in a child’s storybook.

To be honest, the weight of the doll is what draws me. It resembles that of a smallish feline, comfortably sleeping on your lap, but does not require feeding, brushing, or avoidance of ninja-like claws should it be accidentally and unceremoniously disturbed when you decide to stretch your legs. He is a drawing you can touch, seeing it and feeling at the same time. This Hooty is multi-sensory art, if only to me.

Intelex Group USA is the manufacturer of this kind of doll, assorted other plushies, and even boots, slippers and animal shaped handwarmers (apparently coveted by gardeners and golf enthusiasts per the website, which also indicates that “No other manufacturer has the same level of experience and expertise in this highly specialised industry. All of Intelex Group products exceed the relevant safety standards, including the British safety standard BS 8433:2004, the European toy safety standard EN71-1/2/3 and the American toy safety standard ASTM-f963.”)

All in all, the greatest thing about this owl, and the primary reason he occupies the “inspiration” real estate of my small workdesk, is because of the embodiment of both the desire for a link to, or reminder of, the natural world, and also my embarrassing obsession with the cute and cuddly (and unrealistic) representation of that same world. An interesting dichotomy; an often common denominator of things that are fascinating maybe only to me. Like a fuzzy sword, it inspires me to connect the unconnectable, the hard with the soft, the real with the unreal, the technical with the natural. Is this the nature of art? Silly me, waxing philosophical because of Hooty the owl. I do believe though, that almost everyone could use one.

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