Last year I made Mom a felted picture of tulips for Mother’s Day. She is very fond of tulips but not so much taking care of plants. Thus, the felted tulips seemed the best option. I told you about them last year (https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2020/05/10/a-bouquet-for-mothers-day/) so I hoped you might be curious if I gave her another tulip.
This year we have been having a long slow spring. Spring flowers started early and have lasted for weeks! It is a big improvement over some springs. We occasionally go from snowbanks and snow mould to crocuses to 20c+ weather in the space of a couple of days to a week (there is a lot of flooding those years). Ottawa is a wonderful place to experience weather in one year you can live through +40c to -40c. (I am glad there is a lot less of the -40c than when I was a kid)
this year with such a slow spring we got to enjoy the flowers for much longer! While we were working on the sinking garage sort and clear, I snuck out to the front garden to take a few pictures to see what would inspire me for this year’s Mother’s Day Felt picture.
The violets are out as well as the lungwort but mom really does like tulips
1-3 Harratige Violets and Lungwort
It’s still a bit early and there are more daffodils out than tulips in full bloom so let’s see what we have for inspiration options.
4-11 2021 Early Spring Garden
After much deliberation, I chose the lighter of the peachy pink and orange tulips.
12 The photo was taken May 2nd, 2021. The needle felted picture is based on this tulip and was started the evening of May 6th and then worked on over the next 2 days while Glenn still puttered on the garage clearing.
The base layer is an inexpensive commercial felt in antique white. I have shifted the grey background to a more blue tone. The wool is a combination of superwash merino, Corriedale and a small amount of BFL. The background was worked with both a single T36 as well as the fake clover tool with T40’s.
13 I used the template method of transfer, although the felt was thin and light so if we had a sunny day I could have done the window or lightbox method. I did not want to use the black permanent black markers and could not remember where I had put the coloured permanent markers so I used coloured pens instead. (the lost markers could have been replaced at Dollerama but are not considered essential!!!) I measured out the 5×7 box and since my cardboard mat has also disappeared after I cleaned my desk I just kept checking with the ruler to make sure I was staying in the correct size for framing. (It is a lot cheaper to work in a standard size so you don’t need to cut a custom mat later.)
Looking at the picture, I have the Red Maple tree out of focus as the background. This is very gray/brown out of focus bark and is not really as appealing in the felt version. Well, we can fix that, if you need to move a tree, go ahead and move the tree! If the sun is not shining, just turn on the sun In your painting if you would like it to be there! you are God in your creative world! So I used the Magic of Tree-be-gone and switched it out for the amorphous sky and nondescript foliage.
14-15 I laid in the background first and used both the single needle and fake clover multi-tool to get the background blocked in.
Yes, that is more what I was wanting.
16 Messy desk yet again
Next, let’s look at the colours. I ransacked my wool to find Pinks, purple, navy, greens, yellow, white and a scarlet red I could blend with the pink. The red was from a bit of superwash merino I had bought from the Black lamb and used on last years’ tulips. Unfortunately, I got quite absorbed in the colour blending and layering before I remembered to take another picture.
17-19 thin wisps building up the colour
I had started with the yellows and peach colours at the back part of the flower and worked forward. I found the tulip needed more contrast at the intersection between the edge of the leaf and the background. So working with the fibres generally parallel to the base of the picture I added wisps of a slightly darker blue to the edge, then folded the fibre back into the blue. In a few spots, I used my fingernail to pull back the tulip so I could work in the blue(if you don’t have scary talons an awl would have worked too).
20-22 getting a stronger contrast along the edge of the tulip
I decided after adding the contrast I needed to add bits of lighter wisps to keep the sky from looking too grey. I cut up and blended bits of white and blue. If you are doing a lot of cutting little bits of wool you may want to wear a mask (I know we are still doing a lot of that, but in this case, we are avoiding wool lung, not covid)
I was finally pleased and decided it was time to see what it looked like framed. I had bot extra frames from Dollerama for my felted picture workshop. I use to have Ikea picture frames but they now are using Plexiglass which isn’t as nice with wool pictures. (plexi is not as clear as glass and can get quite a static build-up, not the best if it’s only lightly felted). So I went with the Dollerama black wooden frame, I may get a precut mat upgrade later since the frames now come with a thin paper mat. Unfortunately, we are still in lockdown so no upgraded mat is possible at this time.
Yes, I think Mom will like that!
When I was done I printed out the info (Happy Mother’s Day 2021 and the photo that inspired the picture.)
I also collected the pieces I had used for the template, the reference picture and a bit of the wool I had used. I put them in an extra-large sandwich bag to keep as a reference. I will eventually get around to organizing my work into a binder showing photos and references used on each project.
I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day and Maybe even received a mother’s day present. (Possibly tulips or some very nice wool? Or the whole sheep?) Even many years after having expired from old age, my furry kids sent me a spectacular felting book; “Landscapes in Wool, the art of needle felting” by Jaana Mattson. I am looking forward to reading more of it. The back part of the book has paintings in felt she has made while the front half has step-by-step instructions on how she has made some of her pieces. I’m always intrigued to see how other felters work and see if there is something they are doing that I could incorporate to improve how I work.
It’s going to be 23c today so I guess spring is over and it’s time to get the 2 pails with dahlias out to their planters. After a call to Canadian Tier, I found out the garden center is open and the lines were much shorter in the evening (do not tell anyone, I still have a couple more plants to find). Glenn came with me. he pushed the cart I pushed the walker and selected plants. I was successful and got most of the herbs and vegetables as well as a purple Raspberry and an exotic-looking honeysuckle! We put all the pots tucked between the planter boxes in the driveway.
29-30 No felting for me until I get most of this planted.
I also checked out the front garden the tulips are trying their best but are not going to like this weather.
31-33 The later spring garden
34 This is the same tulip I was felting. Now it is almost finished blooming and will soon drop its petals. What an amazing colour change!
I hope you have been inspired by spring. If your own garden has not inspired you this year then I hope you will find inspiration here and borrow mine! (Maybe just ignore the construction sign, though it is colourful!)