Fourth Quarter Challenge – Inukshuk

Fourth Quarter Challenge – Inukshuk

I have wanted to make a felted Inukshuk for a couple of years now. I really want to make a life sized one but I have not been able to do that yet. So for the 4th Quarter Challenge Land Art, I decided to make a small model instead. If you are a forum member, you will remember that Lyn made a diorama with felted stones and she had a wonderful background for photography. I was planning on stealing that idea but didn’t get it done. So you’ll just have to imagine my Inukshuk in the wild.

Wikipedia defines an Inukshuk as “a stone landmark or cairn built by humans, used by the Inuit, Inupiat, Kalaallit, Yupik, and other peoples of the Arctic region of North America. The inukshuk may have been used for navigation, as a point of reference, a marker for travel routes, fishing places, camps, hunting grounds, places of veneration, drift fences used in hunting or to mark a food cache. The word inuksuk means ‘something which acts for or performs the function of a person’.”

Carving Foam

I started with blocks of blue insulation foam that you can buy at home improvement stores here in the US. I carved the pieces with a bread knife. I trimmed all the edges off so that they wouldn’t be square and would look more rock like.

Foam Inukshuk

I hadn’t finished carving all the edges when I took this photo.

Felted Inukshuk

I then covered all of my “stones” with grey/brown wool that a friend gave me. I added a few more details with other wool colors. I started the felting in a stocking in the washing machine and then finished felting them all by hand. I was planning on using wire to hold my Inukshuk together but then I started playing with the stones and decided I would keep them as “building blocks”. It’s just fun to play with them and balance them in different formations. I think I might even make some more. I just need to get more foam.

I just noticed a few blue spots that were not covered completely with wool in the photos. Guess I need to do a little needle felting for complete coverage. Thanks for this fun challenge Zed!



35 thoughts on “Fourth Quarter Challenge – Inukshuk

  1. What a lovely idea for the land art challenge Ruth – I like the fact that you haven’t joined them together but that you can re-arrange them, and I think that visitors to your house would enjoy doing so. Quite a talking point over Christmas. Your first arrangement gives the impression of a person.

    A life-size inukshuk would be quite a challenge!

    With a background you would have no idea of the size of your stones – they could be two inches or two feet high.
    The two upright with one across the top reminds me of Stonehenge

    1. Thanks Lyn. I am planning on leaving them on the coffee table so people can play with them. And yes, it would be a challenge to make a life sized one but if I can make a yurt I suppose I can make an inukshuk! It is really interesting that cultures everywhere made these big stone structures.

  2. What a fun idea! I am sure my kids would enjoy light-weight felted rocks that can be balanced on top of each other in different formations. They really do look like rocks too. I am definitly putting this on my wish list of thing to try. I have a stash of Gotland wool that would make nice rocks in various grey tones… 🙂 Many thanks for the inspiration!

  3. They turned out great, Ruth! I’m glad you didn’t join them too, I’m sure it’s fun to balance them 🙂

  4. I love this, Ruth! I’ve always toyed around with the idea of making little stones, I might give this a try someday.
    Any idea what breed the wool was?

    1. Thanks! I don’t know what breed wool it is. It is made up into batts and it might be a mix of breeds – it is a bit coarse. I’d love to see your stones if you make them.

    2. I like coarser wool for needle felting, I wonder if they’re also nicer for wet felting. Now I need to seriously consider rocks!

    3. The nice thing about wet felting is it works great with any type of wool from coarse to fine. They are just good for different items depending on what the felt will be used for.

  5. Fabulous! Thank you for sharing your process. I spent two days making dozens of faux river rocks……displayed them on our coffee table in a wooden bowl…lovely….BUT the first time we left the house our black lab ate them…..every single one. Fortunately, (a miracle really) she didn’t get sick!!

    1. Thanks Mary – Sorry to hear about your black lab eating your stones. My little Yorkies are not big enough to get anything off the coffee table.

  6. Very cool! I just completed a set of cairns in a similar fashion but felted mine together…think I will try keeping them separate next time…great idea!

    1. Thanks Sheri – we would love to see your felted cairns. You can share them with everyone on the forum. Just click the forum button on the right hand side of this page, you can sign up and start posting once you’ve signed up.

  7. Very cool Ruth especially since you didn’t join them. My grandsons would love toys like that. I will have to try it.

  8. That was a clever idea for the Land Art Challenge! And even more clever not to attach them. I wondered if there was a way to add weight to them for more stability? Or perhaps that is not necessary…?

    1. Thanks Cathy! You could probably add some small washers or some type of fishing weight by pressing it into the foam or gluing it on. But then you could only put them one side down and this way they can be put in any position. They aren’t particularly stable but that’s OK with me.

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