“ I think mice are rather nice, I wouldn’t mind hearing this just once or twice”- The opening words to a poem written for me by mum in the early 70s, when even my teachers were getting tired of my obsession with mice!
The books I read- Beatrix Potter and the Wind in the Willows; the things I collected; the pictures I drew and the stories I wrote all centred around some rodent hero (or villain!). Even the arrival of Shandy, my first-ever pet mouse on April 14 1974, an auspicious event, didn’t cure me of my passion for rodents and to this day I prefer to have a little rodent companion at my side. Currently the adorable degu Ira, who with his now sadly deceased brother George (named after the Gershwins) inspired the name “a fine set of whiskers”, thanks to their remarkably fine endowment of the same!
It seems that rodents are like marmite, a love – hate situation, with tails most cited as the problem for those who fall in to the latter category. But it really is surprising just how many people I come across in my travels that are rodent fans.
On a recent trip to Derbyshire, my mum and I visited the town of Tutbury and happened upon the lovely SUKI Craft Gallery which supports both established and emerging artists. They search for unique hand crafted works in materials, ranging from ceramics and glass to paintings and prints with a focus on supporting British talent. Thanks to a lovely silver squirrel brooch, I was drawn to the work of Elouise Makes . When I read about the owner Rosie Deegan I knew I’d found another person after my own heart!
Rosie’s business of handcrafted recycled gold and silver jewellery is inspired by her personal love and admiration for animals. She has a fondness for mice in particular, and has kept pet mice several years. In fact it’s her first mouse ‘Elouise’ who inspired the name of the business, sound familiar?
Her affection for the creatures that she creates shines through in her lovely jewellery and she plans to launch an Animal Charities Range which will support animal welfare through donating a percentage of Elouise Makes profits to associated animal charities. Ensuring that along with the ethical and recycled materials that she uses, her positive impact on the world goes far beyond the lovely jewellery that she creates.