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/