Auckland grandma crafts stunning lifelike portrait of dog from fur collected from carpet because it was 'too nice for the compost'

The 86-year-old grandmother crafted the artwork out of fur left on the carpet.
The 86-year-old grandmother crafted the artwork out of fur left on the carpet. Photo credit: Newshub / Supplied

A great-grandmother who designed a portrait of her daughter's dog from fur left on the carpet said it was too nice to use in the compost.  

Auckland woman Julie Ryan, 86, has seven children, 17 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren.   

She adores her daughter Josie Ryan's five-year-old dog, who she describes as being "full of jazz" and a pet "the kids love to bits".  

Her love for Ted reached new heights when she decided to make a realistic-looking portrait of him after gathering a bag of his fur.  

Josie said she was surprised to see what her mother had created.  

"When I first saw it, I honestly just thought 'What is this?'" Josie told Newshub.  

"Over Christmas she had told me she wanted a bag of dog hair for her compost, so I scraped the dog hair off my carpet and gave it to her," she said. "Then not long after, she wanted a picture of the dog and I thought to myself 'I bet you this is going to turn into a felt project', because she is known to make some extraordinary pieces."  

"I provided the picture of Ted to her and made it clear that whatever she made from the fur was not to make it into my house.  

"She sent the portrait to me the other day to show where she is up to now," Josie explained. "I'd thought maybe she would make a felt cushion." 

"Our family are all arguing over who gets to own it. No one is directly asking for it but we are all just voting for who we think should be assigned it."  

Ted smiling at the camera.
Ted smiling at the camera. Photo credit: Supplied

Josie said her mum "adores Ted" and described them as "quite good friends".  

"I'm not sure how Ted will feel when he sees it but he is very open-minded," she laughed.  

Josie said she is unsure of Ted's exact breed, but originally was told she was getting a labra/retro-doodle, "but got Ted". 

"First time dog owner, the breeder saw me coming a mile off." 

Julie explained to Newshub she originally asked for the fur to use in the compost.  

"It was just before Christmas that I revealed I had new cleaners who had taken all the dog hair from my carpet. I really enjoyed using it for my compost," she said.  

"Josie told me she could help, and on Christmas day she gave me a lovely present and a paper bag of trimmings of the dog, and scrubbings out of her carpet.  

"I like a little animal matter in the compost just to keep the game going, and I was sad when the man took it all away."  

"When I opened up the bag I realised the hair was too nice for the compost. I was fiddling around with it, and at first I thought perhaps I could make a dog rug with it, but realised it would be too tender," she said.  

"Then I asked for a photo and tried to make a picture of him copying the photo, and here we are.  

"This is the second month of the development, I just have to lift it off in sections and glue it on to the felt beneath."  

Julie Ryan said the entire family adore Josie's pet dog, Ted.
Julie Ryan said the entire family adore Josie's pet dog, Ted. Photo credit: Supplied

She told Newshub she didn't need to clean the dog fur as it was "already quite clean".  

"It's a totally green project that I'm doing," Julie said. "I'm using his lovely golden, curly hair and I'd give myself a pat on the back for it."  

Julie said she's received a mixed reaction from her family, but "mostly they like it".  

"Our 10-year-old grandson said 'I wonder if the dog will bark at it', and so we will hang it low on the wall in the dark and await developments," she laughed.  

"I would love to give it to Ted and for him to see it hanging in the hall," she said.  

"I am hanging on for Ted's opinion. I think he would rather have a sausage, but we will see," she laughed.  

Julie said she first got into arts and crafts about 20 years ago and has "loved experimenting" ever since.   

"I've done a lot of different arts and crafts, my friends over in Australia were the ones who introduced me to silk felting," she said.  

"For this piece I'm using Ted's hair, but I've combined it with some red and black wool for the lining of the mouth and other areas," she explained.   

When asked if she'd consider making a living out of it, she responded: "I don't think I'd live long enough to make a lot of money out of doing this, but it's been fun so far".  

"I think it will be really cute when it's all finished."