I’ve recently made a new felt picture of lapwings so I thought I’d show you how I went about it.
As you’ll know, if you’ve read my other blogs here, I live on the East Kent coast in the UK and am particularly fond of the local birds. I’ve seen some beautiful flocks of lapwings including at a small nature reserve just along the coast at Oare. I’ve not attempted lapwings before though they are really beautiful birds, so I thought I should have a go.
I’ve only seen lapwings in quite large flocks – I’ve never seen one on its own – so I thought I should have at least 2 birds in the picture. I did a quick sketch to help me decide on the size and stance of the birds
I started with the background. The birds at Oare were on the wet, grassy edges of a lake, very near the sea. Here’s the background laid out & ready to start felting.
I spent a while thinking about how to represent the lapwings’ lovely iridescent feathers and decided on lots of prefelt.
I had some blended greenish wool that was perfect for the main feathers though I had no idea where it came from or what it was. As I made some prefelt I tested out the shrinkage – mostly just to be sure it would felt rather than getting a specific shrinkage.
Then I set about prefelt for all the other lovely colours. The dark green sections are scraps of recycled silk from my favourite source: a charity shop scarf. The others are mixtures of different merino wool colours. I was particularly pleased with the dark section on the right which was a bottom layer of blue and top layer of charcoal grey. It was just the effect I was hoping for. With hindsight I should have used silk for the light green & pink / purple too as that would have given me more shine.
Here’s the prefelt cut up & arranged in a bird shape.
And here are the 2 birds once fully felted but still wet
And here I am deciding how to position the birds on their background.
I needle felted the birds into the background then added eyes, other face details, legs (using recycled tapestry wool) & head plumes. If you look closely you can see I also fiddled a little with the background: needling in extra strands of grass to soften the edges of the water.
The lapwings went straight into an exhibition with 4 other big pictures plus some smaller pieces at my local gallery: the wonderful Horsebridge Community Arts Centre in Whitstable. Here’s my display (not a great photo, sorry).
And I’ll finish with a quick shot of a beautiful painting I bought at that exhibition. I’ve been looking for something to hang over my bed for ages and I thought this was perfect.
Painted by my friend, the artist Josephine Harvatt. The title “When you wake up it’s a new morning” is particularly apt for over the bed. I love it. If you want to see more of Josephine’s beautiful work, here’s an Instagram link.