Lerwick entrepreneur Donna Simpson presented one of her musical heroes with a very personal gift at the weekend.
Donna Simpson, who styles her company Da Local Yokel, got the chance to give one of her popular bobble head figures to singer-songwriter Newton Faulkner before his sell-out gig at Mareel on Friday night.
Mr Faulkner appeared delighted with his own dreadlocked caricature which took Donna about three and a half hours to create. It also happened to be the 100th of her Mootie Me range that she has produced so far. Her fiancé Kevin Williamson helped her film the making and presentation, see below.
Donna said: “I’m a massive fan of Newton Faulkner – I first saw him seven years ago in Aberdeen and have been listening to him ever since. It was number 100 and was a special one for me. I was particularly excited to make that one that’s why it was so quick.”
Despite her well-received gift, Donna does not intend to make a Mootie Me for every visiting celebrity, though she also presented one to folk musician Seth Lakeman when he visited Shetland last year.
She has seen demand for her Mootie Me figures, which each have oversized feet and a spring loaded “bobble head”, explode since she set up her company in July. She now has a full order book and has cut back her two part-time jobs to 15 hours per week to cope with the work.
The 3-D caricatures each take about five hours to make at her home “clay station” – a simple white board – but Donna says that she needs the stimulus of an outside job with human contact to keep her sane.
Demand for her Mootie Me caricatures has been so great she has put new orders on hold and been unable to build a stockpile of her smaller Gansy Gang figures which are generic “old Shetland folk”. These have been most popular with tourists but she has temporarily stopped posting them south as there have been problems with breakage in transit.
Donna added: “It’s really booming, really taken off far more than I expected and I am having to turn down that many folk now.”
Her interest in modelling polymer clay figures started when she was on holiday and saw a craftsman making them as people waited in a busy shopping centre. She bought one and then thought that she could do better herself. After undertaking a young entrepreneur course where she had a crack at making miniature trowie figures, she went into production.