Friends, here's what we know about our new animal visitor, Gaspard Duck:
Where he’s from, they have a lot of Ceremonies and Festivities. Gaspard says his favorites are Splish Splash and Friendship Day. But a lot of the festivals are boring - like The Enumeration of the Wingfeathers, or Migratory Consideration Weeks. His legs get itchy listening to the other ducks intone their speeches and toasts, and he imagines diving into cool water and practicing his paddling. He hears the swimming in Hazel Village is first-rate, and he intends to take a dip as soon as the pond thaws. The other animals can't wait to see his moves.
I made a painting of Gaspard getting ready to jump into Hazel Village pond by the boathouse. The pond still has little ice floes in it. Lewis Toad is looking on and holding Gaspard's towel. I enjoy imagining Lewis's thought process here: "By gum, he's actually going to do it!"
I also really enjoy thinking about all the ducks of New Ducklingsburg, Gaspard's homeland - don't ask me where it is or how Gaspard got to Hazel Village - and their weird rituals and festivities. This is maybe influenced by some weird bird dances I've seen on Planet Earth. I don't know.
As for where Gaspard came from as a product in the human world: we decided to make a duck because we had gotten a few requests, and especially because there was strong excitement about a duck around the office. Ducks are a good woodland animal, which is definitely not true of all the requests we get. I knew a duck could be cute because I had sampled a limited-edition Canada goose in the past, and that was cute. So we started working on "Mallard 2020."
As always, we knew the whole project would crash and burn if we couldn't get the proper materials. Gaspard has a lot of different colors on himself. It turns out most of the sections could be done with fabric colors we stock for other dolls and animals. But our partners in Nepal needed to find some good quality dark green fleece. We went through a couple of options, but fortunately, they found it! Gaspard was happening!
We were originally going to make the same quantity of ducks as we made for Augustus Wild Boar last year - Augustus stuck around for several months, and pretty much everyone who wanted one was able to get one. But when Kit Skunk sold out so quickly in November, we got spooked and added on to our duck order. It's always a mysterious process forecasting demand, but we hope you can get a duck this time if you want one! Our add-on order isn't arriving for a few more weeks, so if there's overwhelming demand at first, you can expect a restock a few weeks from now.
I don't know why I named him Gaspard. I never know. It just seemed like a good name for him.
It was fun to make up the dress-ups in Gaspard's suitcase. I think it's funny that he has special waterproof stuff AND special swimming stuff - like, is he pro or anti-water? Strongly ambivalent about water, depending on the context! I guess I can relate. And definitely the clothing item that has been discussed the most is Gaspard's Ceremonial Dickie...we have addressed questions such as:
- What is a Dickie? It is a fake shirt collar and shirt front that you can wear under a suit jacket.
- Is anyone else going to know that? Sort of?
- Have we all seen the part in Peter Pan where the dad is getting dressed up and his dickie keeps getting messed up? Yes, that is how we even know what it is.
Anyway I like to imagine all the ducks of New Ducklingsburg with different ceremonial dickies, which they can look at and tell the other duck's clan, home village, favorite color, favorite flower, honorifics, etc. And Gaspard naturally would never dream of traveling without his formal outfit!