So I grew some balls and…. made it?

For most people, entering an online contest is a piece of cake right? I mean in a first world country, competitions and taking initiatives are the new Pavlov’s dog reaction. Ding ding–do your thing, get a thing. Simple.

Half my life ago, some kind of phenomenon emerged: An incredibly common yet inhibiting pathology had surfaced–something that could turn any T-Rex into a cowardly mouse. Since then, I have been battling with it and nothing was ever the same.

Reality Check through Imagination

ImageAfter taking some time to learn and slowly let go, I found out about a design contest on Immediately, I was inspired to rework a concept that I had from a while back by incorporating my dormant passion for music & a cartoon sh*t storm that brewed in my head. Essentially, it’s about a bunch of anthropomorphic cats of different breed names & origins (mirror various ethnic & geographical origins) coming together to play in an international folk band.

“His name is Jeremiah Johnson”, I said to Mr. C while doodling this and hearing a walking bass line in my head– “He is an Abyssinian + North American Short Hair Cat”.  Within minutes, I went all  “Harold with his Purple Crayon”  and came up with more crudely drawn characters.

By the time I finished doodling, I was excited to turn them into 3D yarn critters despite knowing that it’s going to be a very long project.

Birth of the Cool: Who is J.J.? 

While I was trying to map out the stitches for central character Jeremiah “J.J.” Johnson, his back story just came to me:

As one of the youngest from the Johnson family, Jeremiah P. Johnson Jr. was named after his granduncle (grunkle) Jeremiah Charles Johnson–who is endlessly optimistic, super chill and monumental in size.  Maybe it’s the similarities, but J.J. absolutely adores his granduncle.  After all, Grunkle J was a musical prodigy who always spoke highly of Paw Chambers and sincerely believed the upright bass was the coolest thing on earth!  He eventually got to perform on stage with Duke Meowington & Meows Davis a couple times.  As a result, Grunkle J’s stage presence with legendary jazz musicians had turned him into a musical legend in town! “Too bad I never had a chance to meet Paw Chambers”, Grunkle J would always say… “it would’ve been a revolutionary experience–and literally so!!”

So that’s how J.J. fell in love with the upright bass: The history, stories, rhythm and tunes. After all, jamming with Grunkle J is always rad.  Whenever J.J. picks up his bass, he feels that life is exceptionally ducky no matter how bad his days may get. That’s why his double bass mirrors the colour of ducks–to share the joy and make life ducky by playing on the streets. These days when J.J isn’t busking, he’s seen working very hard with his International Folk Music bandmates (whom J.J. accidentally named as the Oyster Crackers).

Back to Ms. Taffy

Maybe it got lodged in the vacuum, but my tiny grain of confidence had disappeared. 48 hours remained and I still didn’t even have J.J.’s head finished.  How the @)#(*$ was I suppose to make it? Thoughts went through my head as I contemplated about giving up again.  “Competition is not my thing any more.  I’m 30 and have not much success–the other people are like… Martha Stewart-ing their amazing arts and blogs while minding their children and being a full-time astrophysicist. Why do I even bother?”

Good thing I still got friends and some sanity left.  With their support, I was reminded of my goal: It’s not about creating a perfect design and showcasing my immaculate skills, nor is it to wow or bedazzle others.  This is an important exercise for me to consciously put myself into a highly uncomfortable situation and keep on trying and doing something I love.  I know the strings could have been better, the ratio of the bass could’ve been more precise, the tuning mechanism could’ve been more realistic yada yada… but I’m learning that imperfection is ok with the time constrain.  At this age, I can say that I am only aiming of completion.  With that said, here is J.J.:



If you’re still around and want to support me and J.J., visit :  and give me one heart for support! Just look for “Molly Marmalade” in your keyword search (CTRL+F) and you’ll locate J.J.  You can also check out other incredible artists–and best thing is you can vote for 5 contestants!


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