Last Fall, I was approached by a very special woman in the Madison community to make a series of Fuzzies for her family. Earlier that year, her husband had passed away from brain cancer after battling the sickness for over eight years. She wanted some mementos made from his clothing that her family could keep near and dear to their heart.
Though this was the first time I had met Brandi, I felt an instant bond. She was such a warm, caring person, and even though she had been through so much, she was positive and upbeat and so very welcoming. She told me their amazing story, showed me around their beautiful, colorful happy home and even fed me some delicious soup. When I left their house a few hours later, I felt I gained a friend.
I'll be honest. This was one of the most difficult commissions I've ever had to do. I couldn't help but think of their family CONSTANTLY as I was building their Fuzzies. I could not imagine what they have been through, and I couldn't believe how calm and thoughtful Brandi was. It was hard to initially start cutting into the shirts, knowing Chris had worn them not that long ago.
|Cutting the bodies out of shirts.|
I had so many conversations with Stephen about this project - it was really tearing me up inside. He kept reminding me that this service I was providing for the family would be so meaningful - that I would be making them happy - so I shouldn't feel so sad about it.
|Laying out all the pieces.|
He was right. As the Fuzzies started coming together, the colorful fabrics and patterns looked so joyful, I could see them coming to life.
|The hand-stitching is complete!|
|Limbs, waiting to be sewn.|
|The limbs are stuffed - let's put 'em together!|
Brandi provided me with some special mementos to include in the Fuzzies. Each Fuzzy has a piece of a HEADRUSH t-shirt patched onto the front of their outfit. HEADRUSH was founded in 2004 by Chris and Brandi Funk whose mission is to significantly improve the future of Brain Tumor research, treatment, and survivorship.
She also gave me several pairs of Chris's cycling socks pinned with a CF snowflake pin, to stuff in each one. I did my best to stuff them close to the Fuzzy's heart, because if it was squeezed hard enough, the pin could be felt - another symbol of Chris's love.
|It's stuffing time!|
|The pinned socks which where placed near the Fuzzies' hearts.|
|The Funk Fuzzies: Biaco, Rennen, Dotson, Olri, Joca, Panlow & Oodrie|
Though this was a very difficult project for me, I can't imagine how Brandi felt when she saw the Fuzzies for the first time. I am so happy she asked me to make them for her family, because I love the idea of her children squeezing their Fuzzies, thinking of their dad.
If you are interested in learning more about HEADRUSH and Brandi's family, you can find more information here, at the official website.
Thanks for letting me share this very special project with you!