Combining Techniques and Materials

Combining Techniques and Materials

I’ve been planning this picture for a while.  It’s not the first time I’ve combined techniques, but this time I wanted to add more dimension to the picture.

It may seem like an odd choice of subject, but my sister Lorraine has loved elephants all her life and this is a little thank you for the Trunk Show I had at her Quilt Club a few months back.

I started by dyeing some silk and wool, then making batts.  My original intent was to use the silk for texturing on the trunks, but the area was too small and since I wasn’t going to use it over all the elephants I let the idea go.

I built up the trunks, faces and foreground legs with coarser wool underneath, sewed them closed with wool thread and used resists under the ears.  The eyes are garnets.  I don’t know why the pics look brown, the prefelt was shades of gray.






The base was made beforehand with Corriedale.  Before placing the elephants on I used batts for the water, sky, background and tree tops.  The light beige ground is hand dyed silk gauze.  I also used bits of Oussant fiber (from France) sent to me by forum member Aphee.  They are the brown and beige areas in the foreground.

Of course, I had to add a little silk to the water and sky.

The tree trunks are silk/merino mix.

Once the background was all laid out, I added the elephants and needlefelted them down.  This is before  felting and fulling.


I did get some texture in the elephants, but the picture was a little flatter than I wanted so I added some needlefelting and fiber to the tree trunks and around the legs, hand embroidery on the toes and around the eyes, stitching and free motion stitching in the foreground grasses.  Also the Oussant flattened losing it’s springy texture so I needlefelted more of it to give better dimension.20150926_125059

The treetops in the background were purposely left vague to let the elephants have center stage.  More needlefelting and adding fiber for dimension and texture.

20151007_155604Some detail closeups.

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Final hanging on the wall.  I may have fulled it a little too much but I was worried about the thickness of the dimensional parts.


I sure hope my sister likes it.

31 thoughts on “Combining Techniques and Materials

  1. That’s excellent, Marilyn! Even before adding the details it turned out really well. I bet your sister will love it 🙂

  2. It’s lovely! I like the way you kept the ears ‘loose’ because it really gives depth and detail to the elephants’ heads – and the toenails are so sweet somehow. You were right to not add too much detail to the background so that the elephants stand out.

    1. Thanks Mary! You’re welcome. I’m glad I remembered to process. I sometimes get so engrossed in what I’m doing I forget.

  3. Wow – just WOW! I sure hope Lorraine brings it into quilt group for show and tell and we can get a closer look at it. Marilyn – it’s amazing!

    1. Thanks Peggy! She hasn’t seen it yet. But I’m sure she’ll bring it to show the group.

  4. Quite an accomplishment, Marilyn! It is not easy depicting animals in felt, but your elephants are grand. You made some wise choices of materials and colors. Your sister is sure to be thrilled!

    1. Thanks Cathy! I took my time working on this in stages to try to get the best results.

  5. Your sister will be a very silly person if she doesn’t like it! It looks beautiful and you certainly managed to give it a great texture and interest. Well done, Marilyn!

    1. Thanks Leonor! She can be silly but not when it comes to elephants. 🙂

    1. Thanks Ginny! Stop by the forum and show us some of your mixed techniques sometime.

  6. The picture you created is fantastic! I love the ears too as others have mentioned. The details of the plant matter and on the eyes are very nice. I bet she is going to love it! 🙂

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