Monday 18 November 2013


Tobias, the Girafonte

Family fables are wonderful.  And so it was that a grandfather created stories about Tobias, an animal who was half Hippo and half Giraffe. Against all odds, Tobias's parents fell in love although they were a mixed union, one being a hippo and one being a giraffe.  Tobias was a sweet boy but usually found himself having difficulty fitting in. The others in Hippo school didn't quite know what to make of him, and neither did the children in Giraffe school.  Yet, he usually found his way into their hearts with his sweet and giving nature.  This little quilt is an illustration of the time he saved young Ify from drowning in the river Nile and falling prey to a crocodile.  The other giraffes from the school house windows watch in amazement as Tobias saves the day.
Janos Fenjves, Tobias's creator, was a great story teller, and delighted children for many years with his stories about an oddball who didn't quite fit in anywhere, but worked hard to enrich the lives of those around him. An autiobiographical theme as Janos was one of the many who survived the war only to find himself trying to build a life in a strange land.  Janos passed away one year ago, and his loss is still greatly felt.  We hope that illustrating his Tobias stories will help him remain in our memories and create new opportunities for great stories of outsiders fitting in, for many generations to follow.  

DetailThis quilt was created using both hand dyed and commercial fabrics, appliqued, with satin stitch, free motion.

The worried giraffes watch Tobias come to the rescue

Ify clings to Tobias


  1. This is fabulous. The detail marvelous. I had never heard of Tobias so I found the story wonderful. So many children (and adults) feel they dont fit it. Great work!

    1. Thanks so much Diane. Your support and feedback is really appreciated.