Second Quarter Challenge – The Bird Bath

Second Quarter Challenge – The Bird Bath

Annie and I were having lunch and looking out into the garden where a pigeon was having a good soak in the bird bath …

… and Annie said “he needs a rubber duck” and that’s how inspiration struck for the second quarter challenge!

I decided on a cartoon-like picture because the idea is funny 😊. My plan was to make a simple picture in the form of a ‘jigsaw puzzle’ of nuno felt shapes.

I inserted the photo into a word document, stretched it sideways a tad, then printed it as large as possible on my home printer – 29cms (just under 11½”) wide. Then I traced the main outlines and added the outline of a duck.

First the difficult part – choosing the fabrics to make nuno felt!  I have many boxes of fabric to sift through so it was a mammoth task – here’s just one box.

And a couple of days later, here are eight nuno felt pieces.  I made two for the pigeon (top right of photo) because I couldn’t make my mind up about which fabric would work best.

I made a tracing paper cut-out so that I could mark then cut the main outline from the green nuno felt – unfortunately I lost the curve at the end of the pigeon’s beak during cutting.

I put some baking paper on my ironing board then a piece of heavyweight iron-on interfacing (slightly smaller than the green nuno felt) on top of that with the sticky side up.  Then I put the green nuno felt on the top.

I used the freezer paper method to cut out the shapes for the bird bath, duck and pigeon then simply inserted them in place.  (See this blog post for how to use freezer paper to cut shapes from felt https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2021/05/09/key-dish-and-pot-plant-mat-1920s-style/ )

Once everything was fitted together, I realised I’d made a mistake.  I hadn’t put a board under it to flip it over to iron the backing on (the felt wouldn’t allow enough heat to reach the iron-on interfacing so it had to be ironed from the back).  So I took a deep breath, grabbed hold of the baking paper and flipped the whole thing over.  It worked!  I ironed the interfacing to the back of felt and all the pieces were held firmly in place.

I pushed some thin, black darning wool in the teeny gap between the nuno felt pieces to make an outline – I used a ‘blunt’ needle that is designed to sew up knitwear to push the wool right in.

When I’d finished inserting the black wool I thought it looked too ‘heavy’ so I pulled it out from around the pigeon and duck then replaced it with thin, blue darning wool.

I stood back to look at the picture – what had I been thinking – the birdbath was ’floating’ on the background like a flying saucer!

It needed its stand, as in the original photo.

I cut a stand shape out of the green nuno felt then filled it with a piece of dark blue nuno felt.  I turned the whole piece over and put a patch of iron-on interfacing on to hold the newly inserted piece of dark blue felt.

I wanted to put some detail on the pigeon and I experimented with sewing but it didn’t look right.  So I simply drew a few feather details onto the nuno felt with an indelible black laundry marker pen.

I needle felted blue darning wool to make the rim of the birdbath then needle felted the duck and pigeon eyes directly into the nuno felt.

When I made the green pre-felt I wasn’t tidy with the edges because I had intended to trim it, but in the end I decided that it looked good with rough edges so I left them as they were.

Here’s the completed picture.  The photo below is very true to the actual colours of the nuno felt – unlike some of the process photos above that were taken in varying light conditions!

I put the textile picture into a glass fronted clip frame to hang on my wall.  Job done!

 

If you’d like to take part in the second quarter challenge, it’s now very easy to upload your photos – just click on this link –  https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/community-photo-submissions/

And should you wish to write a guest blog post about your fibre work, please contact Ruth Lane through the ‘Felting and Fiber Forum’ – https://feltandfiberstudio.proboards.com/

 

25 thoughts on “Second Quarter Challenge – The Bird Bath

  1. That is a fab project Ruth! Thanks for the details as we can see exactly how you arrived at the lovely final results!

  2. Love it Lyn! I can just imagine Annie’s comment about the rubber duckies.
    Thank you for your detailed steps too. It opens up many possibilities for the second quarter’s challenge. Helene ❤️

  3. Lovely playful picture with great textures. The looks passing between the pigeon and duck are particularly funny. You were right about adding the stand too. Must admit when I saw the photo with the baking paper and washer shaped weights I did think ‘spaceship’ so the stand really grounded it. 10/10 on rising to the Q2 challenge.

    1. Thank you LIndsay. That’s the thing with pictures – they often evolve as you work them – I hadn’t intended to include the stand but it wasn’t until I was nearly finished that I realised how daft it looked!

  4. I just love the birds’ expressions too. The pigeon looks decidedly taken aback – could it be what the rubber duck is saying to it? I wonder what it is saying.
    I love the source picture too. It tickles me the way the birds sit in the bath, then wash and then drink the bath water!
    Great picture Lyn.
    Ann

    1. Thank you Ann. Perhaps we should have a speech bubble competition 🙂 Our bird bath gets filled umpteen times a day – when the starlings arrive the bird bath looks more like a fountain with all the splashing.

    2. Speech bubble comp is a good idea. ” You’d be surprised what I see people get up to in the bath!” for instance.
      We always say that Sparrows are the urchins and Starlings are the loveable yobs of the bird world. Sometimes you can’t hear yourself think at this time of the year with the babies shouting “feed me” at mum & dad.
      Ann

    3. 🙂 Yes, there are a lot of baby starlings coming to the bath now. When they’ve emptied most of the water out, a sparrow comes to sit in it and all we can see is his little head poking up over the rim!

  5. You guys crack me up! Who else would see a pigeon having a bath and think, “his bath needs a rubber ducky!” 🙂 Great challenge piece, and fab story behind its inspiration too 🙂

  6. I just think it’s great that, having met the two of you via Zoom, I could hear your voices (including the laughter!) so vividly as I read the start of this post!
    Thanks for making me giggle and for sharing another great tip for making art work from fibre.

    1. Oh yes, we do like a giggle! It was a good experiment of how to put nuno pieces together but it’s tricky to cut delicate detail from the nuno felt because of it’s thickness (like the curve on the beak that I didn’t manage). Maybe if the whole thing had been larger it wouldn’t have been a problem.

  7. Love it! You definitely need to have a speech bubble competition 🙂

    It’s funny how we can hear you now when you’re both together talking. It’s great that you have so much fun together.

    Thanks for the detail on putting the nuno pieces together. My post is going to be similar but with prefelt. It is hard to get fine details in felt unless you are on a really large scale. But your pigeon and rubber ducky are adorable.

    “Rubber ducky, you’re the one, you make bath time lots of fun…”

    1. Thank you Ruth! We can put voices to the comments now – it’s great. You could probably win a slogan competition for a rubber duck company with that 🙂

  8. Your work looks great Lyn. My birdbath is very similar, and I have a daily running battle with those pesky pigeons raiding the bird table.

    1. Thank you! It’s a full-time job keeping the bird bath replenished isn’t it? But it’s a constant source of pleasure watching all the different birds that use it.

  9. Just brilliant Lyn. You had me chuckling as I could hear the two of you discussing the pigeon’s needs & collapsing into giggles.

    So pleased you added the stand to ground the picture – just brilliant.

  10. I love this post. Your idea made me smile, and I learned a lot too. I don’t know why, but I have only felted fiber through fabric a couple times. I have several (Darn Good Yarns) Sari Silk skirts, that I need to do something with. They are too short for my legs, and my granddaughters aren’t interested in them. Drum carding fiber batts, and felting silks, might provide some good summer adventures.

    (If anyone out there would like a silk skirt, please let me know. Maybe, we can make a trade of something?) Capi

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