Lovely Creatures for Gentle Souls

Victoria, Canada

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TheSecretNest is taking a short break


Note from shop owner Thanks for coming by! I am away on holiday until May 23rd 2022.

See you when I'm back!

- Karina

Note from shop owner

Last updated on May 6, 2022

Thanks for coming by! I am away on holiday until May 23rd 2022.

See you when I'm back!

- Karina


Contact shop owner



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About TheSecretNest

Sales 201
On Etsy since 2008

Inside The Secret Nest

I come from a family of artists/creators who are always working on one project or another – being excited about creating something is my natural state. In art school I was drawn to sculpture as a discipline because I could learn how to make almost anything. I graduated from the Alberta College of Art and Design (Calgary, Canada) with a major in sculpture and later studied theatre prop building at the Banff Centre in Canada. I love materials and working with my hands to create beautiful things.

I think of my work as similar to the view of life through a microscope. The closer a viewer gets the more there is to see in the details. I strive to make things that look great from a distance and draw the viewer in with even more to see.

The magic happens in my small studio in the Rock Bay neighbourhood of Victoria, BC Canada. I have a space in arc.hive - an artist run centre full of artists and makers of all types. My small studio is overstuffed with art supplies as I've tried and loved pretty much every art medium you can name.

The Secret Nest Creatures draw on all of my favourite techniques to create a really unique and appealing type of sculpture. The felt and other soft materials are lovely and tactile, inviting touch. I've found I can give each animal a real personality when working on their faces in clay. I love modelling the faces, hooves, and horns with my hands. There comes a point in making each sculpture when they seem to come alive. I have found that having one in the room with me is almost like having a pet - they have a real presence.

The creatures start with a prototype of the animal's face made in oil clay. I make a mould from these prototypes which allows me to cast the rough shape of each head. As I finish and fine tune each head, the personality of each creature emerges.

Once the heads are made I start the long process of making a pattern for the animal's bodies. This involves a lot of trial and error as I draw out patterns, cut them out, sew them up, turn them right side out, then stuff them. Often there are seven or eight versions before I get the exact look I want.

With the pattern made up, the bodies of the animals are sewn from wool felt and stuffed with glass beads and wool batting (the glass beads add weight which makes the creatures lovely to hold). I then hand-dye the bodies to get their colours roughed in. I needle felt over the stuffed bodies to add details to the colour - spots, stripes, and other fun things. Needle felting also gives each animals a smooth and lovely pelt.

Depending on the animal, hooves, horns, gills, ruffs are also sewn on. This part is really fun and creative for me - I love making the little details.

This sculpture series began with a series of pencil drawings of imaginary animals. Original drawings and archival fine art prints of these drawings can be found in my shop too. I do all of the printing myself so that I can ensure the prints capture all of the detail and subtlety of my originals.

Questions? Please feel free to contact me!

Shop members

  • Karina


    A love of animals is clearly visible in my artwork and a young girl I had plans to be a veterinarian or biologist. I now primarily use sculpture and drawing to express my fascination with animals and my delight in all things tiny and mysterious.

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More information

Last updated on May 11, 2022
Frequently asked questions
Do you do layaway or payment plans so I can pay over time?

Yes, I do! Ideally I like to have payments completed in 4 months or less. Contact me and we can discuss!

Can I pick up my order locally?

Yes you can! If you live in Victoria, BC, Canada or will be visiting you can pick up your artwork from my studio.

Where can I see your illustration line?

Visit my other shop for my line of watercolour greeting cards and prints here: