Eldoop’s artist and owner Felice Fleisher uses sculpture to combine her love for art with her passion for dogs. Read on to discover the origin story of one of Modern Dogs’ favourite artists from her own perspective, reflecting on her love of sculpture, her connection with furry friends, and her passion for her work.
Recently, one of my clients told me that I must have the best job in the world — custom sculpting the likeness of peoples’ beloved dogs atop handmade ceramic treat jars which, I have learned, make both dog owners and their canine companions very happy!
I’ve got to admit, I agree!!
About eight years ago, after retiring from a long and wonderful career as an executive for Paramount Pictures in the home-entertainment division, I began a new life chapter.
I’d always been artistic and adored working with clay. I equally adored dogs, including my own, and so I decided to play with an idea that I’d had for decades that would marry both loves.
That idea was some kind of special container to hold my dogs’ treats that would also look great in my kitchen. I found nothing that worked to my satisfaction, and soon realized that I could use my own artistic and pottery skills to create just such a container myself. Thus was born my first custom, hand-crafted ceramic dog-treat jar!
I began by trying to capture likenesses of my own two dogs, a Goldendoodle named Delilah and a Parti Poodle named Leonard. I sculpted their images and affixed them to lids of jars that I had potted. I was so delighted with those first efforts that I wondered if others might also like a similar ceramic dog-treat jar designed specifically with their own dogs in mind.
So I began sculpting little clay figurines of dogs from my imagination and adding them to the lids of jars I’d made on the wheel. Then I posted them on a fledgling website I named Eldoop Design after my beloved late Black Standard Poodle, Lilly. Eldoop is Poodle spelled backwards!
Soon after, I began to post photos of other treat jars I had made for friends and family, all featuring lids with sculpted figurines that captured the looks and personalities of their own dogs. I worked hard at relearning and honing my skills as a potter, so that my treat jars would be made to look exactly as I wanted them to, in shape, size and design.
I was thrilled to get my first order on-line from a woman in Missouri, who wanted a large treat jar that would capture her beautiful chocolate Labrador named Brownie. Once Brownie’s order was complete, I added it to my growing gallery on my website. To my delight, word of my work spread, and my little business took off!
These days, I spend the majority of my working time creating all kinds and sizes of ceramic treat jars, all featuring hand-sculpted images of clients’ dogs that are modeled on photos of their furry friends that they share with me.
Along with the photos, I also collaborate with clients to learn more about their pets so that I can come up with truly unique pieces. Finished jars feature not only hand-sculpted likenesses of their pets on the jar lids but also personalized scenes that capture the essence of their dogs’ lives, including favorite toys, treats and settings. No two dogs are the same, and neither are my customized jars!
Clients come from all over the world, ordering jars for themselves or to offer as gifts. Many share how great they feel holding the jars with sculpted versions of their animals in their hand as their real pets come tearing into the room, tails wagging happily for a sample of what’s in the jar!
My work on these whimsical but functional treat jars has also led me to expand to create other kinds of meaningful pottery, including custom keepsakes, urns and larger, free-standing sculptures of dogs (and other pets) that have passed on.
I have been told that the process of working with me to design such pieces in honor of their beloved pets goes a long way in comforting them during their grieving. I feel fortunate to play a role in creating artwork that helps keep the memories of their cherished pets alive forever.
So, I guess I do have the best job ever!! I sculpt dogs!!