The Elephant Doorstop

An Elephant Of No Distinction But Infinite Charm

An Elephant Of No Distinction But Infinite Charm

Do you remember the Elephant of No Distinction But Infinite Charm, who inspired the canvaswork footstool I made for my mother? She’s now commissioned me to work a doorstop with the same inspiration. Naturally she didn’t want me to work it in the same technique. For one thing, the furniture in the living room has been reupholstered since I did it, and the jungle-inspired green background (although the footstool still looks quite happy) would no longer be as suitable as it was.


First Stage - stencil prepared and paint chosen

First Stage - stencil prepared and paint chosen

So we’ve picked a fairly loosely-woven linen, in a sort of pinkish beige (actually, “natural” unbleached linen run through the washing machine on Hot!), and rather than leaving the background completely plain, decided to stencil it with an all-over pattern taken from the lamps. The design is inspired by crystanthemums, as is the design on the curtains (a Designers Guild design which is older than me, and is proof that good design doesn’t date – it hasn’t looked dated or old-fashioned in more than forty years!).

Stencilled fabric

Stencilled fabric

After consulting my clients (!) I’ve decided to use a gold fabric paint for the background pattern. When I tested the stencil on paper the paint ran under it a little, so I chose to use a sponge instead. That seems to help in ensuring that the fabric paint isn’t laid on so thickly as to be unembroiderable, as well.

I didn’t create a proper, regimented repeating pattern, because I felt that it would make the stencil design too obvious. Instead I have twisted and turned the stencil and added extra leaves to fill in any really obvious gaps.


  1. Lady Fi says:

    Wow – quite an ambitious project! The elephant is very charming…

  2. That looks really interesting–and I love the elephant!

  3. Janice says:

    I love the elephant! Looking forward to seeing how it progresses, and how the gold stencilling sits with the embroidery.

  4. Elmsley Rose says:

    It sounds lovely! And what a wonderful name for the Elephant!

  5. Great project. I have a collection of elephants from my travels in Africa, India and other South East Asian countries and they all have different personalities, but names, No. I think I had better go and ask them what they are?

  6. karen says:

    this is going to be amazing and you are right, good design never ages. I adore Designers Guild stuff and can often be seen in their shop in London drooling all over things. I am sure I will be barred some day!!

  7. Penny says:

    Your stencil is wonderful — I’ll be watching everyday to see how this all turns out.

  8. Alex says:

    I really like the freer approach to the stencilling. Looking forward to seeing how this one comes along.

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