Animal Collectibles for Farm and Garden Fans

These animal miniatures created by a North Carolina artist are the perfect way to express your farm-love.
Welsh Mountain Family

Welsh Mountain Family

Two adults guard their child in this family portrait that was inspired by the artist’s visit to Wales where he visited a farm that had over 700 ewes.

Photo by: Image courtesy of Colin's Creatures

Image courtesy of Colin's Creatures

Two adults guard their child in this family portrait that was inspired by the artist’s visit to Wales where he visited a farm that had over 700 ewes.

Are you an animal lover but don’t have the time, space or desire to take on the responsibilities of a pet owner? Colin’s Creatures, based in Asheville, North Carolina, offers a delightful alternative with a wide array of lifelike animal figurines made from handcrafted porcelain and woven fur. These charming collectibles have become increasingly popular since Colin Richmond launched his studio in 1993. Prior to that, he had worked as a business consultant in the corporate world for many years but being a square peg in a round hole eventually motivated Richmond to find a new vocation. The result was a highly unique one-man operation that expresses his love of animals and utilizes his creative talents. 

While some of his customers focus on collecting the different breeds of sheep or lambs he creates, others make their own menagerie of his work including alpacas, camels, lions, goats, donkeys, pigs or other animals for home decorating, seasonal displays, Christmas gifts or themed arrangements for weddings, baby showers and birthdays. Sheep, however, remain his most popular creations. “It brings me great pleasure,” he says. “I travel a lot to research the sheep. And sheep people, agricultural people, are just the most delightful people in the world. It’s so rare to meet an unpleasant person that handles animals.”  

The artist arrived at his process for creating sheep and other animals through trial and error in the beginning but the production is now a refined step by step procedure that combines porcelain, castable stone (aka hydro-stone) and imported woven fur from Steiff-Schulte in Germany to make animals that feel as good as they look. Whenever Richmond embarks on a new animal design he first researches it thoroughly, attending heritage farms, agricultural shows and meeting with breeders and experts. The creature’s fur is always the first consideration in production. “The fur dictates the scale of the animal,” Richmond notes. “I use six to eight different kinds of mohair which is typically the most expensive and lots of alpaca and wool.” He says he is often offered the shearings from breeders’ of alpacas and sheep but can’t use it because, “it’s got to be a woven fabric. Otherwise it’s just clumps of fur. It has to be sticking up to look natural.”

Once the fur type is selected, Richmond carves the most distinctive features of the animal, which will be porcelain, the  heads, legs and horns. He then carves the  body out of a castable stone and makes a rubber mold of it. When carving the body, he cautions that “you have to accentuate the curves because if you don’t, it looks like a block. You have to make it extreme for anything to show up through the fur.” Once the hydro-stone body and the porcelain appendages are cast, he glues them all together and covers them with the woven fur.

Highland Cattle

With their long horns and thick wavy coats of hair, Highland cattle (also known as The Heilan Coo) are a familiar sight in the rugged terrain of the Scottish Highlands. These miniatures can be created with their heads angled up or down or looking straight ahead if you want to place them on a mantel at eye level.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Colin's Creatures

Alpaca Family

Available in various colors of fur (white, brown, dark brown, black), these lifelike miniatures are made of porcelain, castable stone and imported woven fur from Steiff-Schulte in Germany.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Colin's Creatures

Belted Galloways

A familiar sight in southwestern Scotland, the Belted Galloway is a heritage beef breed that originated from Galloway. In the U.S., these are often referred to as Oreo Cows. 

Photo By: Image courtesy of Colin's Creatures

Camel Caravan

Native to the Middle East and the Horn of Africa, the one-humped brown camel (also known as the dromedary) is recreated here in handcrafted versions made in Asheville, North Carolina.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Colin's Creatures

Berkshire Piglets

These reproductions of the Berkshire pig that were first brought to the U.S. from England in 1823 are 3 inches tall at the back and all porcelain except for the tail.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Colin's Creatures

Chick Trio

Covered in soft alpaca fur, these sweet peep collectibles make an ideal gift for an Easter basket. 

Photo By: Image courtesy of Colin's Creatures

Corgi Clan

These delightful dog figurines represent different breeds of the popular Welsh Corgi, which is used to herd farm animals in Great Britain.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Colin's Creatures

Woolly Kisses

A Cotswold ewe kisses a baby lamb in this handcrafted set from Colin’s Creatures. The head and legs on the ewe are porcelain and it is covered with woven mohair; the lamb is covered in wool. 

Photo By: Image courtesy of Colin's Creatures

Grey Donkeys

These docile creatures are covered with short gray and white fur and have long rounded ears that stand straight up.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Colin's Creatures

German Rams

With their black faces, horns and legs and silver long fur, these German Grey Horned Heath Sheep are quite unique in appearance from other breeds and are associated with the Lueneburger Heide, an area between Hanover and Hamburg, Germany.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Colin's Creatures

Llama Herd

Cuddly is the word for these lifelike llamas that feature long mohair white fur and tall, slightly curled ears.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Colin's Creatures

Black and White Duo

A pair of Galway black and white Ying and Yang twins snuggle for warmth in this sheep portrait of a popular western Ireland breed.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Colin's Creatures


The West Highland White Terrier, which is more commonly known as the Westie, has a distinctive white coat that is typical of this Scottish dog breed.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Colin's Creatures

Santa's Elves

A different type of elf celebrates the holiday season in this display of three sheep who are ready to serve Santa in their red and green booties and stocking caps.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Colin's Creatures

While Colin’s Creatures are distinctive for their lifelike qualities,  tactile appeal and well proportioned size, they are also low maintenance. The only thing they might require over time is some minor lint removal. “Just moisten your hand and brush it off,” he advises. “No reason to use soap and water on the fur. You don’t want to saturate it. The glue would come undone.” 

When I asked Richmond which animal presented the most creative challenge from a production standpoint, he came up with several examples.  “A creature can be challenging in different ways.  Anything with horns such as rams and cattle are a fun challenge to carve because the horns must be symmetrical.  The lion on the other hand was not only a challenge to carve because it is all porcelain and thus a very large mold but it is a challenge to make because it is all airbrushed, the body in two colors before firing and the alpaca mane has three colors that go on after it is all glued together. “

Richmond retires a handful of his creatures every year, some because he doesn’t have room for the molds in his small studio and others, such as the  bison and moose because his suppliers stopped manufacturing those specific types of fur. The lack of appropriate fur is also a reason why he doesn’t, for example, create different breeds of cats. “All I can do is a black cat because that’s the only fur than I can find but it got boring.” As a business man, he caters to his customers’ preferences and sheep, lamb and rams remain top sellers but Richmond would love to make more gorillas, chimpanzees and other primates but unfortunately there isn’t sufficient  interest from customers or the marketplace for those items at present so they will stay retired.

Currently the majority of Richmond’s buyers are in the U.S. but he does have some devoted customers in New Zealand, Australia, Spain, Germany, Great Britain and the Netherlands. He also plans to do further research on sheep and goats in the countries of France, Germany and Switzerland in the coming year so you can expect to see some new breeds on display at Colin’s Creatures in the future.

“I truly enjoy what I do,” he states, “and would do it if I won the lottery. Sometimes I’ll carve for my own pleasure and probably the customer will never see it because I just wanted to see if I could do it.”

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