More From Jan Scott

More From Jan Scott

Canvas 3: arctic Fiber Gold, Qiviut!! Now that is Canadian

Now I was on to canvas 3. I had been looking and thinking of quintessential Canadian topics, I considered moose and had selected a couple reference photos that I may do at some other time but just wasn’t quite what I wanted. Then I started thinking about the arctic. Muskox!!

My brother Dave is a Geologist, he has worked up north most of his career. He told me of being on a mapping traverse and stopping to sit on a bolder. He had been innocently enjoying his lunch when he heard a Whiffling sound behind him. So he turned to see what it was. It was a muskox squinting at him. He seemed to be trying to figure out what Dave was, likely hoping for a sexy new female muskox and not an interfering male one. He got a little closer and seemed to realized it was only a geologist having lunch, did a snort, looked indignant, turned and left. INSPERATION!! I will do a muskox. (But without Dave and the rock).

I kept to the same work process as before, Research first; off to the internet to look at lots of muskoxen, eastern arctic, western arctic and Greenland. I looked for various pictures with details I wanted. Coloring, body shape, horns, feet, nose, eyes. I spent hours having fun surfing Google images. I made of folder of the ones I thought most helpful.

When I had a good selection of reference photos in my file, I grabbed a scrap of paper (which now I can’t find to show you) and did a quick composition sketch to fit the 12×12 square format. I wanted the muskox to be emerging from the background. So I would need the head and shoulders forward and land for the muskox to stand on. Ok I will need a background to work this from. I am not fond of getting wet if I don’t have to so needle felting is my preferred method of working. I made a gray brown back ground so I can add foliage and muskox to it. I used a felting tool I purchased at the fiber festival Twist. It is perfect for background work! You can get it here

For the background I used some of the leftover fin-wool form Miaka’s great fish cat cave and some Shetland in a gray brown. I measured out the felt so that I had enough to rap around the stretcher bars of the canvas and secure it to the frame.

Next was to build up the core of the muskox and base. I had used an armature in the frog but here I was only working with part of a muskox, so the front legs and one back one have an armature, as well as the neck, head and horns. It was very handy to be able to tilt his head up so I could work on his chin!!!


I continued using Rideau Arcott for my core wool. It was free, unfortunately it was also dropping veggie matter all over the floor. But it made a good solid base for the muskox and the promontory he is standing on. I added the armatures in as I built up the structure. The flexy neck was really odd in this under layer form.

Next I went to the living room and started searching for the colours I would need, I used alpaca for some of the black and reddish brown as well as merino Shetland and assorted bits I wasn’t sure what they were anymore. The pull it apart over and over again blending technique really worked well here. I used the photos to try to get a realistic colour. I started adding the colour layer from the Hooves and nose first and working up the body. I blended only a bit at a time and re-blended to create more so there is uniformity in that I am using the same base colours but the exact percentages are changing as I mix each batch. I was not blending to the point of a uniform colour so the individual colours still showed as I used them which lets the eye blend them. I also considered the light source as above and slightly behind the muskox. So you have was lightening of the colours from both sun damage and visual lighting conditions to consider as I worked up the fur.

To create the fur effect I used a combination of securing the fibers at one end and the fold over technique to get the shaggy fur look. I used a single needle and a tiny bit of black blended alpaca for mouth and eye details. It was amazing how little fiber could create so much detail.

Mounting: With the canvas removed it was easy to use double sided Carpet tape to position the piece and then sew it around the stretcher bars. I again used the indentation of the stretcher bars to give myself more height for the piece. I carefully adjusted the foot and attached it to the promontory then adjusted the head down and made final adjustment to the horns. This is the show and tell presentation at the guild. Sorry that Froggy is giving you a cheeky butt view.





17 thoughts on “More From Jan Scott

    1. thankyou it was so much fun trying to blend just the colour i wanted for the next layer.

  1. Stunning piece Jan! He looks so real and ready to jump down from the picture and investigate the frog. I enjoyed reading your process too.
    Being a city girl, I would have been terrified to discover a musk-ox sniffling at me whilst I was eating my lunch.

    1. thankyou i think Muskox is considering headbuting the cheeky frog! Dave had lots of fun adventures while mapping in northern quebec. im glad the Muskox didnt decide to be offended by geologist eating on his rock.

  2. Wonderful job Jan! I enjoyed the story and the process. The musk oxen looks so real.

    1. thankyou! it was lots of fun working with the shades and tints of colour and so soft. i was useing alpaca mixed with the mereno to get some of the shades i wanted.

  3. Great project for Canada’s 150. Wish I’d thought of it. Also wish I had your talent with needle felting.

    1. thank you! the number of different teckneeks and ideas was really amazing. there will be a book of the show available shortly . the OVWSG face book page will likely have a post about it.

    1. Thanks! Fluffy gold from the arctic! quiviut is so expensive it could be a good industry. but the high arctic produces the best fiber. i would love to try to weave with the outer gard hairs. there are rya from Iceland that look like fun. it may be interesting to embed in felt too…. now you have me thinking!

    1. light gauge weir and pipe cleaners! i just needed to be able to move his head out of the way to work on his legs and neck. i have some hevyer im using with an experimental dragon, at the moment he has stubbly plate like a stegosaurus. (or Godzilla). i may redesign him once i have his feet done.

We'd love to hear your thoughts!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: