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A Quick Request for Chickadee Eggs

A Quick Request for Chickadee Eggs

As you may have read earlier, I had made Chickadees for all my brothers-in-law and my Mother-in-law.  https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2021/09/06/an-army-of-chickadees/  Brother in law #4 brought his chickadee home and hid it in his house and waited to see if his wife would find it.  She liked the chickadee but was not so amused that she had to go find it.

While I was in southern Ontario, I was helping my sister in law who is married to brother-in-law number four. She mentioned it would be so cool to have a nest and eggs to go with the Chickadee. I can’t do much about a nest at the moment but I may be able to do something about the second request.

My Mother-in-law’s chickadee was still hanging around the living room. He/she had left the almost empty bowl of nuts and was keeping an eye on the other bowl with different nuts from the coaster holder. Excellent, I can try to get the scale correct.

1  Mary’s Living room Chickadee keeps an eye on the nuts

So off to the internet to do some research but being quite busy with assisting with elder-care, I did not have the leisure of a thorough search of the topic. I did find that the eggs of a Carolina chickadee had been photographed but I had trouble finding images that were definitely labelled as the northern chickadee’s. Well, my sister-in-law (and the chickadee) lives in Virginia so the local eggs would be of a Carolina Chickadee to be correct. (It might confuse the Northern Chickadee but it is unlikely she would find only a Carolina chickadee to date anyways.) Ok, it looks like the eggs are small and mostly white with brownish spots. I can do that.

I had brought the dragon I was working on and a few bags with different colours of wool. So I dug around until I found some white. I think it’s some of the Corriedale roving. I also had a tiny bit of white alpaca and some reddish-brown that was courser than the Corriedale. I am not sure where I picked it up or what it was but it may be perfect for this.

I created the egg shape from the white Corriedale,  then made 2 more since One egg would get lonely. (so that is three in total.)

I blended the alpaca and coarse reddish-brown to give a mottled variegated tone. I then broke the fibres into short pieces under ½ inch long. I selected a thin wispy amount and draped it over the egg shape in a band towards the fatter end of the egg.

I tacked down the fibre in spots, trying both the 36 and 40 triangular needles.  Where poked, the colour darkened significantly and in between the pokes showed a much lighter and less distinct brown.

At this point, I considered using the sharp embroidery scissors. This would trim the fibres so that only the attached fibres/spots would stay making more distinctive dots. The problem with this would be that I would lose the lighter in-between shade and I would have to be sure that each spot was well embedded before trimming.

Plan B; lay over thin wisps of white to bring down the intensity of some of the darkest spots. This worked well. I wish I had a bit more of the white alpaca on hand for the outer layer but the Corriedale work.

Unfortunately, I was very focused on getting a few minutes at a time to work on this and the little dragon project and I do not seem to have taken pictures as the project progressed! I am sorry!  So I can only show you how it turned out.

2 Look I found in the Napkin basket

3 eggs!

4 – 6   Egg close-ups

We had more wildlife in the backyard while I was there.

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7 – 10 Sparrow, Woodpecker, Robin, Bluejay

I hope you have been having fun felting and playing with fibre.

 

Update:  I left Oakville promising to be back on Friday evening with my husband. I had planned to sit with my mother-in-law and make Dragon’s wings. (she had been so intrigued watching me bend and twist wire to create the armature. she continued her interest as I added the layers of wool to start the body, so I wanted to let her see what would happen next with the wings.) Unfortunately, my Mother-in-law did not wait for us and died peacefully in her sleep early Friday morning.  Her memorial service went very well and I had suggested her minister may like to have her Chickadee as a reminder. The brothers agreed and we gave her the little bird. She was very happy to receive it. We did not know she had a bird collection but did know she was particularly fond of my mother-in-law. She was an amazing woman and will be greatly missed.

11 Chickadee in her new home with Reverend Sheila

 

Continuing on the Cane Dragon

Continuing on the Cane Dragon

After I had written my last blog, I headed back to Oakville to help with my Mother-in-Law who has not been well. It was very busy with lots of appointments and I tried to work on a bit of felting in moments of quiet.

When you last saw the little dragon, I had augmented the wire on the legs, arms, hands and feet. Then started from the tail to add the under colour.

1,  the tail from the last post

I was using a small amount of black, a bit of dark grey and larger amounts of Indigo. Since you don’t usually see solid colours in nature, I did not blend to a uniform new colour but left bits of each tone visible.

My goal was to give me a general base colour to work from and lay in the spinal fringe. I think I will be augmenting that with some silk but after I have created the wings.

2-3, adding the base layer of colour standing on my old laptop.

As I would go off to help with something then come back intermittently to work on the little guy, I discovered that blue cane dragons have an odd interest in Orange dark chocolate.  He had obviously spotted it in the glass dish. I had used the box holding the delicious chocolate as a ruler while making partitions in lists. I just put it in the glass dish so it would not be lost in all the papers with notes on the table.

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4 -9, the great Chocolate heist

His obvious joy at running off with the chocolate was quickly thwarted with the realization that I had not made fingers appropriate for extracting the chocolate out of the box!!

10 Not having teeth is also an issue.

11, so close but yet so far

I continued to work on the face adding an upper lip, background for the eye area and nostrils.

12, adding more detail to the face

My husband and I took a quick run to a couple of the local computer stores to look for a new laptop since I was to stay for a bit longer and he would be heading home. We found one and brought it back.

13-14, the new laptop

15, the new laptop has problems

Here he is checking out my new laptop. It was fabulous for about 4 days then developed strange pixelation problems in the screen…. It was such a nice clicky keyboard too!! Back to felting, You can see I am starting to add the colour in the mouth, but still no teeth. it may be safer if he doesn’t have teeth.

16 – 17, mouth colour added as well as fringe

You may have noticed the fringe, at the ankle and wrist/forearm, has been added. The next step was to start the wisps of grey in a tone similar to the mandible for the front of the neck, belly and under the tail.

18, adding the grey wisps

By this time one of my Brothers-in-law had arrived and it was time for me to head home for a bit. I will be focusing next on the wing membranes since I suspect that will determine some of the body highlights. However, that will be another post, since we will be heading back to southern Ontario Soon.

Is it October? It feels like the end of August in Southern Ontario.  A couple of quick shots for you to enjoy and hopefully inspire new colour pallets, felt pictures, or sculptures.

 

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19 – 22,  End of August weather in October?  A few shots from Oakville.

I hope you are also enjoying strangely nice weather for what the calendar clearly says is October. If you are having our normal October, it’s OK, you can keep it, we really don’t want it back!! Maybe I should try to quickly wash one more fleece before we wake up to snow?

Happy Felting!!

 

 

 

 

Finding a Solution to Weak Wire

Finding a Solution to Weak Wire

This may be an unusually short (for me) note.

“Mistakes” can lead to opportunities to try new to you solutions. I am sure all of you have come up with this solution but in case you haven’t made this mistake I thought I should share and show you my solution.

The wire I chose for the toes was a coated steel but only 25ga. (Perfect for chickadees but not for this size of Dragon, but you work with what you have at hand.) Now I am back home and have a bigger selection of wire options.  I need to augment the 25ga since it is not providing the grip I need to hold on to the cane or cling to the basket of the walker. Otherwise, I very much like the little guy.

1 As you last saw him

Do I have to make another armature? Or, can I augment the strength of the wire so it will have a better griping ability? I already have a thin layer of wool to make the skinny long fingers. I guess I could make less skinny toes and fingers if they have better gripping.

2 Inserting a wire across the hips to strengthen legs, (that was not the wire I thought I grabbed).

I pulled out a long black wire, it was in with the green floral wire. I poked it through the hips then found the middle and wound it down the legs on either side. It was a bit short and not as strong as I hoped. So I added a second wire of 20 ga. to the leg and down into the middle tow.

The second wire was inserted and anchored under the top of the finer black wire. I wound tightly over the already wrapped wool. A small change in gauge or type of wire can make a big difference in the stiffness of the wire. It’s best to have wire that is just a bit stronger than the tension created by the wound and felted wool. If the wool is stronger than the wire your figure will not hold a pose. If you are only lightly felting something you can reduce the strength of the wire and it will still hold the fibre/felt. Do you remember the ghosts I made for ghost girl a couple of Halloweens ago? They were lightly felted but I needed the wire to support their weight so that determined the gauge I chose. In the case of the dragon, I likely should have doubled the 20 ga for the legs toes and fingers.

3 Needs a bit more stiffness, adding the 18”, 20ga green floral wire.

4 Much better.

I wound down to the toe and used the plyers to make sure it was tightly secured. Then I wound back up the toe a bit with the extra wire.

5 Both legs done, the little guy feels much stronger already!!

Legs done, I next moved on to the arms and middle fingers. I again poked the wire through, this time at the shoulder joint. I wound the wire down the arm to the middle finger then back up and into the bottom part of the wing.  I left the medial and lateral digits un-augmented.

Next, hide the wire!! I continued with the World of wool Core wool that I had hand carded the last time I was in Oakville. There is a tiny bit of kemp in it but it is working well for both wrapping and sculpting.

6-7 Hiding the wire, the toes don’t look too much bigger.

As I added fibre to cover the extra wire, I made glutes, quads, and gastrocs! I have also added ribs to the wings only 2 this time. I think that is looking better!

8 Time for the beginning of the colour layer!

I have started the first layer of colour but have a trip back to Oakville so I think this is as far as I can go before I have to start packing. (Well Glenn will do a bit of emergency laundry first then I can pack). I have wool and tools pulled and ready to go. I should grab some wire (since I forgot to bring any last time).

I wonder what I have forgotten?

Ok, back to the topic at hand or more accurately on the desk. The augmentation of wire strength by adding wire over the underlayer worked. (it worked much better than the incision, extraction of the broken wire and insertion of a stronger gauge on a skunk project. Poor skunk’s wrist never healed correctly but it’s better than the break was.)

If you don’t mind the toes being a bit larger in diameter than originally planned this may work for you if you find a similar problem. (That problem being, not bringing a selection of wire with you when you spontaneously decide to create a new project!)

Have fun and keep felting!

PS I got out to the Market Ann is selling at and did some promotional photos for her and discovered that pumpkins are shiny when they are wet!! Who knew that? Here are a few shots of a rainy day at the market to enjoy

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9-16 The Farmers Market at the Barrhaven Log Farm

Which Cane is Which? Prototype and Concept Testing!

Which Cane is Which? Prototype and Concept Testing!

It’s been another couple of busy weeks in Ottawa and Oakville, but in between fighting with errant grapevines, trying to start to prep my garden for fall, long drives to southern Ontario and eldercare, I did get a bit of felting done.

While in Oakville I noticed that my Mother in law and I both have the same quad cane. (it’s a cool type of cane when you have any balance issues.) They are identical, except for the height they are set at. I need a way to make my cane more, well, mine.

 

1) Quad canes

If my mother-in-law does go to a seniors building she will also need something to distinguish hers from other similar canes. I could do this by adding a piece of tape with our names on our respective canes but that seems rather unimaginative!  I should do better. I think I should do a Morning glory for her and I will see if I can figure out how to have a dragon on mine. (Glenn says I need more Ice Flame wings like the last cute little dragon I did). This one will have to be much longer, or would that be taller? I didn’t bring down any appropriate flower colours so I think I better start with mine.

I had brought with me an IKEA bag of white core wool to card into usable fluffiness with one of my sets of hand carders. I had sampled the core wool with combs but found the carders gave greater loft as you would expect in a woollen (carder) vs worsted (combs) fibre preparation. I tried very hard not to leave little fluffs of wool all over the basement carpet or anywhere else in the house! That will give me fibre to try out my ideas.

I borrowed a pen and a piece of paper and started to work on a design. I looked at my cane and my super helpful walker.  Both are stylishly black, so they go with anything as a fashion accessory. Unfortunately, they are also identical with every other black quad cane and walker of the same make.  I looked at the curvature of the cane near the handle, then started sketching.

2) walker and helpful grippe-thing.

 3 )Sketch of ideas for cane identification dragon.

Ok, this looks interesting. I have core wool with me, why did I not pack wire? I have to go to Walmart to get a few things so let us see if I can find another package of floral wire (20 and 25 ga coated steel).  After a lot of looking, I had success! This 20ga wire comes in pieces 18 inches / 45.7 cm long.

I looked over my original designs now that I had the wire. I think the easiest way to get a dragon to stay on the cane would be to have the neck, body, tail, or appendages hold on to it. So, I should consider a longer neck and long tows would help too. How about adding a bifurcated tail that should be twice as grippe as a mere single tail!!

Like the sketching, I started to play with the wire I wanted to see if I could get the dragon a size I could wrap around or cling to the cane.

 4) Extending neck?

5) Adding body and back legs

 I folded the first piece for the upper skull, neck and forearms. I folded and used the second piece interlaced with the shoulders/upper arms to create the spine and back legs.

 6) Adding the tail

 I used a third piece folded and attached to the hips /back legs. This one I twisted about two-thirds of the length and left the rest to create the bifurcation.

7-8) Tail extensions and long tows

 I used the 25ga (the wire I have at home I am sure was 26ga) to create extra-long tows, lower jaw, and bifurcation extensions. This amused my mother-in-law who sat watching my twisting, flipping, bending and attaching bits of wire together.

9) Checking on the cane

10) last part to add

 I folded and used a final piece to create the leading edge of the wings. (4 pieces for the total dragon)

11)  I started to add the wool over the armature deciding to add stubby ears to his head before building up the upper and lower jaw.

At this point, I took a break and went for a walk around the block with the walker. It is good to get outside and take a break. It allows for an increase in circulation and time for inspiration to strike. I was hoping to find a horse Chestnut tree since the squirrel-planted ones in my pots had died and I would like to have one in my portable forest. (I have a bunch of trees I keep as pets in pots on my driveway…. It is not as strange as it sounds.)

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12-16) Views from Oakville

17) This is the leaf structure of my little tree that died. I would like to grow another.

18 ) is this a black walnut? It was dropping fruit and making a mess of the sidewalk!

Oakville is about 2 weeks different from us in weather since Ottawa is farther north. The trees in the south have just the hint of colour and the nut trees have not dumped their nuts yet. I did find 2 trees nearby but only one nut was on the ground. I will try to check next trip and hope for better pickings. I think I found black walnuts, which I will try to plant and see if I can expand my forest!

Upon my return, I continued to add wool to flesh out my dragon until it was ready to try on the cane for scale. AH Ha!! I think that works.  I need to add a bit more flesh to his bones and maybe a longer tail would help but the basic concept is a success.

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19-22) testing out the dragon on the cane

So, this is proof of concept, yes this will work. Analyzing the little guy suggests making the toes out of a stiffer gauge of wire than a 25/26ga steel. I will look through my sample appendages and see if I have something that would suit better. ( I do suggest making samples of the gauges you have access to, in single, double and if you don’t have too many options, then how the flexibility of one gauge is affected when wrapped in a different gauge. It’s a lot easier than discovering part way through a project “I wish those tows were stronger” and considering a tow-ectomy with the upgrade reattachment surgery to consider after the extraction. I will likely finish this little guy off and he may be a walker basket dragon if he’s not a cane dragon.

This morning I woke up early to drive back to Ottawa and miss as much of the Toronto area traffic as I could. (The alarm went off a bit earlier than I had anticipated and I started in full darkness but it was quiet.) While still on my in-law’s street I spotted 2 of the infamous Ninja-stealth skunks of Oakville! They do not have a white stripe down their back or sides. One had a white puff at the tip of his very puffy tail. I did not stop to try to get a picture of a black skunk crossing a dark street. Oh! You find out where the strip is if it lifts its tail, the white stripe is on the underside!

Pre-dawn occurred as I passed Darlington (I hope that was pre-dawn and not a nuclear problem!) dawn occurred at my first rest stop. Since I was now stopped I finally got to take a picture, there had been fabulous pinks earlier, now the colour was shifting to the yellows and blue sky.

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23-24) true sunrise at my first rest stop

A bit later in the morning, I drove past a field with a group of deer. Then spotted in two marsh areas near Kingston Ontario, groups of very big white swans! When did we get loose swans? Sorry, no pictures I was driving!  I had given up on radio and switched to an audiobook about werewolves and dragons.  Traffic was great at these ungodly hours and I cruised into the farmers market for a cookie purchase from Ann about 2 hours ahead of when I thought I was likely to get there (remember about the enthusiastic alarm clock sending me out over an hour before I had anticipated. Maybe I need to get a watch again.)

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 25-31) shots from the Farmer’s Market Ann sells at (and the chipmunk she was trying to take pictures of)

Ann still had the Cookies I was looking for so it is time to head home and write up the blog post of my prototyping a cane identifier. However, since I started with a quick nap in front of the computer maybe a lot of caffeinated Mountain Dew to wake me up long enough to finish this for your amusement is necessary. I am sorry I did not get you pictures of the ninja skunks and swans.

So in conclusion remember to pack your felting wire, make samples to see if a concept will work, assess the sample, make augmentations or adjustments then either finish the sample or create your fabulous extra impressive piece now that you know more about how it will all work from your investigation. Maybe skip the part with the skunks and the long drive.  but the scenery had lots of rocks and trees and even some water and wildlife! I would suggest keeping the part with Ann’s excellent cookies. Now I think I may have another little nap since the caffeine is starting to wear off. (Oh no, I left my spell checker in Oakville so I will try not to break your spelling by fixing mine)

Have lots of fun and keep felting!

 

PS, my cane dragon is now hanging out on my hat brim (it’s my driving hat so I’m not wearing it now!), I wonder if I can convince him to go back to the cane? or the basket of the walker?

Third Quarter Challenge – Rothko in the Round

Third Quarter Challenge – Rothko in the Round

I’m just squeaking in under the deadline for the third quarter challenge. I had a hard time deciding what to create. Finally, I fell back on experimenting with layered color mixing. I have always thought that Mark Rothko’s paintings would work well as an inspiration for this technique. So I searched for a painting of his that was created in the 1950’s. I found number 10 painted in 1950 at MoMA’s website.

With my inspiration in mind, I was planning on making a flat piece of felt but then Ann posted about creating some lantern covers.   I decided I would give that a try and see how light would affect the color mixing as well.

I didn’t have any tall glass vases like Ann used but I did have an olive jar that was the same shape mostly. I could use that. I created a resist to include approximately 30% shrinkage and got out my stash of short fiber merino. I didn’t really have enough of the blue for the first layer but decided to go ahead and wing it.

The short fiber merino that I do have is in batts, so I wrapped the blue around in the vertical direction for the first layer.

Then I added more colors in layers wrapping the resist horizontally. These were all solid colors to start with and I wanted to see if the movement/migration of the fiber would create a more mottled look like you see in Rothko’s paintings.

I did add a bit of dark grey at the top for a deeper value. The photo on the left shows the piece after layout and wet down. The photo on the right shows the piece after felting before I removed the resist. You can definitely start to see the color migration. I cut out both ends of the resist and as you can see at the bottom of the right photo, the blue wasn’t covering the ends completely. But I decided to leave the ragged edges as the Rothko piece felt like the paint had ragged edges. Then I fulled the piece and pulled it over the glass jar to hold it’s shape while it dried.

Here’s the result. It looks very much like a landscape to me and the color mixing worked just as I wanted. You can see the top of the glass jar in the photo on the right. I would prefer a smooth vase and I will have to go and look for some at the local dollar stores. I did try a light inside but I made the felt too thick for that to have much effect at all. But I do like the possibilities of this technique, creating thinner layers next time. I hope to create some landscape lanterns with real glass vases. Thanks for the idea Ann and thanks for the challenge Lyn and Annie. It made me try something out of my usual box.

Summer Fiber Poker (Felt) 2021 Completed

Summer Fiber Poker (Felt) 2021 Completed

Earlier this year I told you about the Fiber Poker Challenge at the Guild Ann, Bernadette and I belong to. There were challenge cards for weavers, Spinners and Felters. four cards were drawn for us, in our topic of choice, which we received for the June meeting.  our solution is due at the September meeting.

These are the cards I would be working with.

1) the felting poker cards I drew for 2021

As you may remember, I have been creating an army of Chickadees as a way for my brothers-in-law and their families to remember their parents’ home.  (The bird feeders in the back yard are visited by chickadee, nuthatch, blue jays, cardinals, morning doves, sparrows and the evil squirrels; black, grey and red. There are also chipmunks feasting at the feeders!) I have sent chickadees home with 4 out of the 5 brothers.

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2-6) four of the five brothers and their Mom’s Chickadee’s

All those tiny little feet may have been getting to me!

Include Wire

I sat down and pulled out the wire I had been using for the birds, 20ga and 26ga coated steel floral wire. I started twisting and playing making a pair of front legs… well that will need a bit more to go with it. With a few more bends with the tiny pliers another pair of legs appeared. Next a spine to attach the legs to and maybe a tail… yes definitely a tail.  Hum I think those back legs should be front legs? yes! Rotate the feet and that looks better!

I think I need wings!

7) wire included, Check! adding wings

I had wrapped the armature with the 26ga floral wire. Using it to create the toes and lower jaw. For the wings, I slipped the U shape in the middle of the wire, into the space at the shoulders between the two gauges of wire. I will build up the support by adding more 26ga wire wrapping. Then strengthen it further when I add the wool.

8)  The ribs on the wings are 26ga and the main structure of the wing is in 20ga.

9) adding the wool will stabilize the wings and “ears-like things”

I decided to add ear-like appendages to finish the armature.  Now I am ready to add the wool. I am using Sarafina Dark Grey Core wool and for the first time trying her Tacky Wrap on the tips of the toes. You can see I am working with very thin strips of the core roving, the pieces are about 6 inches long. This core wool has a vary tiny crimp and worked well. I did find it much slipperier than the fleece I had used for the Chickadees legs and feet. When i washed that fiber i had left in a bit of lanolin which gave it a bit more clingyness. So the addition of the Tacky Wrap helped a lot! This is the first time I have used it, I liked it and will likely find it useful again.

10) most of the armature is covered and is balanced to stand.

So I have wire covered from the cards. (OK I have wire, covered literary!)

I am ready to consider the other card’s instruction, “Use your favorite colour!” Let me think, that would be Blue, but I like black too. But I do like blue better. Blue-green is OK and blue-purple is almost as good. A lovely indigo, prussion or ice blue……

Let me go check my stash of blues. How can I have a stash of blue and not have the blue I am thinking of?  Change of plan! I checked our local fibre source Wabi Sabi in Ottawa and yes they had Corriedale in shades I was looking for and they didn’t close till 4 pm! I made a list and rushed (it didn’t look like a rush but it was for me!) out to the car.  Hmm.  traffic on the highway? Oh yes, it’s Sunday afternoon! I hope they’re not all heading to pick up blue fibre! No? Great! I even found a parking spot. Had a bit of trouble with the walker and the front door. I will figure doors with steps out eventually.

In Corriedale, I selected a number of cool blues, blue-greens and a cool yellow that I didn’t have. I found a bit of Silk and Merino that was in the colour-way I was wanting, too. (I don’t usually use much Merino since it tends to absorb light and I find Corriedale comparatively much more reflective and give my sculpture a bit more life.

11) why did I not have the colour of blue I wanted?

I considered the body. It is core wool but I like the mottled colouring and while the grey is leaning heavily towards the brown I quite like it. It makes me think of rocks in Iqaluit (the capital of Nunavut on Baffin Island in northern Canada). OK, next let’s cover the ribs for the wings. Something icy and cool in blue. That done, I had the little guy do some contortions so I could trace his basic wing shape. This gave me a template, which helped me in laying out thin layers of fibre to make the thin wing membrane.

12) wing tracing to make a template for layout

I laid out the wool then gave it a gentle rub, as if I was wet felting, (but stayed dry) then a few T-36 pokes. Next, I switched to the fake clover tool with the fine needles. I focused on the leading edge of the wing leaving the wisps alone along the trailing edge.

13) wing underway

I carefully pealed and flipped it a couple of times. This stretched the length of the wing a bit so I used a single needle to work across the front of the wing to shorten it. (The direction you poke is the direction the wool will move.) You can see I was trying to keep the wing extremely thin but still strong enough to hold together.

14) wing still quite transparent

15-16) A bit more dragon yoga posing and I was able to position the wing for membrane attachment.

I put the ribs on the underside which will show if the wing is elevated. I attached along the front edge then lay in wisps of blue to help attach the ribs.

Then on to the second wing. I was laying in wisps of the silk and Merino, a darker blue, a little of the light blue and the greenish-blue. While on the shopping run, I had looked at some Tencel but it seemed too shiny compared to the Corriedale.

17) the second wing

With both wings on, they seem a bit big for his little body.

18) downsizing the wings just a bit

I thinned the first wing by gently tugging on the tips downsizing the wing to a more appropriate size. You can see the amount of fibre I have removed in the top corner.

19) Ah that’s lighter it should be easier to fly now

20)  Wings are looking good,

21) I think we need a tail puff to help with turning while flying. Aerodynamics are integral to dragon flight, they are not like a bumblebees who obviously fly by Magic alone. The puff will be a fan shaped rudder when I am done.

22)  Attaching the tail puff.

23) a bit of ankle decoration.

The next card says “use Beads or Sequins“, how about some eyes? It’s important to see where you’re flying!!

24) “I can’t see if I am cute. I need Eyes!”

I think you will like the other ones better. I will sew them on so I can “use thread or fine yarn” as my final card.

So let’s take a peek at “use blue, use wire, include beads and thread”. A quick photo shoot for a little ice dragon.

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25-27) a quick photo shoot in front of the computer.

28) Now let’s take a look at the scale of my ice dragon.

While I was out doing early voting (Dad always said if you don’t vote you can’t complain later), the little dragon was off investigating the office plant.

29) “I need dramatic lighting!! I’m ready for my close-up!!”

I had a lot of fun with this years fibre poker challenge, even if i did not actually do any of the 3 options i had originally planed to do. I may go back and try another version or wait and see what I pull next year.

Have fun and keep felting!

 

 

 

 

An Accidental Army of Chickadees

An Accidental Army of Chickadees

It’s been another busy week heading into the September long weekend. We are back again in Oakville which should have been about 5.5 hours drive from Ottawa. Instead, the traffic was heavy and slow. (we saw unsuccessful car sex in three locations, once involving multiple vehicles! I told my car not to look as we drove past “avert your headlights!!” I was driving so I didn’t get any naughty car pictures to show you.) we are traveling because two of my brothers-in-law will be there. One departing and another arriving.

This past week I have been continuing the fleece washing. I had a strainer basket of wool ready to put out on the drying rack on Friday morning but restrained myself (since the weather is sentient and has a poor sense of humour, it would rain if I left it out to dry. It’s the long weekend.  We don’t want it to rain!

1) the last of ram #2 soaking.

2) don’t tempt the weather by putting out fleece to dry.

we also cleared the path to the back of the garage from errantly growing raspberry canes. this will make it a bit easier to finish raccoon-proofing the garage.

3) the extracted errant raspberry

My other quest for the week was to make presents for my brothers-in-law. There Are 5 brothers, and I have made one for brother number 4 and one for Glenn’s Mom last trip. So four more to go! I have tried variations on the theme and so far I am pleased with them.

The reason i am making a small invasion or maybe an infestation, of chickadees is they remind me both of my parents cottage and also of my in-laws home in Oakville. His brothers have been taking turns staying with his mom and i had hoped the chickadees would bring them good thoughts of Oakville and watching the birds and squirrel fight over the bird feeders (they are not squirrel feeders so we know is in the wrong in that war!) We were down this time as brother #3 was leaving and brother # 2 was arriving. We hope to see brother #1 before we leave.

4 & 4.1) Mega-Chickadee (Arnold) with his in-progress smaller cousin (for brother #4)

I had wanted to tell you about the first two I made. I had brought the wrong thread with me, pant mending thread not eye attaching thread (really they’re totally different thread!), when I was making the first two guys so devised a way to attach eye without the thread. This would not be strong enough if your creature was to be played with but if it’s just sitting around the eyes are secure and won’t fall off. (how embarrassing to have eye drop sounds terrible)

Without appropriate thread, I needed a way to get the bead (I had brought small black glass seed beads) to sit in the location I had wanted and to stay in place.

I used the felting needle to work some of the wool through the bead, arranging it so that there were wisps on both sides of the bead.

5) bead and a bit of fibre

5.1) Bead with a small amount of fibre through the centre

6) both eyes ready to attach

I chose the spot and used the awl and felting needle to make a dent in the felt head. good thing the little guys seem a bit soft in the brain, more room to inset half an eye bead.

7) using the awl

8) marking the other side and checking it’s in the correct location.

9) making the hole a bit deeper with the felting needle

First try; I found it was not as secure with a finer amount of fibre and need to have more added to it. With a bit more added lateral to each eye, the attachment was a success.

10) first one done, on to the next armature.

Second try; This time I tried using more fibre. (as much as would fit through the opening in the bead seemed the correct amount.)

I continued to work with wisps of colour to give a chickadee a bit of suggestion of feathers.

Once I had the little guy to my liking it was time to trim off some of the fuzzy halo. As I mentioned in a previous post the core wool from World of Wool has a bit of kemp which occasionally sticks out at an odd spot. The Corriedale is also showing a bit of halo which is more noticeable where the black is adjacent to the white. I used the scissors carefully removing the fuzzy bits of wool.

11) Hair cutting started.

12) a good trim

13) Two handsome chickadees ready for their new homes.

the Chickadees were given to their new owners before we departed back to Ottawa. Both were surprised and seemed happy with their new pets.

The next step is to make a few more. Unfortunately, I was working in front of the computer and had been distracted from my audiobooks by impending Hurricane Ida. I got so distracted with the Horrors of the storm I lost track of the number of armatures I was making, 4 or was it 5 more. Looking away from the nightmare water and wind event on the computer I realized I am overrun by chickadee armatures. There seem to be 6 of them now staring at me! I have a production line of leg wrapping ahead of me! That’s 36 toes to practice on! I seem to be making a small flock of chickadees!

14) 26ga steel toes wrapped around 20ga steel floral wire armature (both wires are coated so the steel is not exposed)

15) all lined up with legs and beaks done, still have to try toes with wax. (the fleece i chose has some lanolin left in it after washing and has a lot of very fine crimp)

16) now with a bit more body

the eyes for the last two worked well out so well I used the same technique again.

17) supervision!!!

17.1) time to add the second eye

18) one of the two I have finished and brought with us to give to brothers #2 and #3 this weekend.

19) here he is in a jaunty pose before retiring to his travel facility complete with bagged lunch for his travel pleasure.

20) upon our arrival here in Oakville, we found that Glenn’s mom’s bird had discovered the bole of nuts on the coffee table!! He seems to be very happy in his new home but is reluctant to let the rest of us nibble on the nuts. I may have to leave some sunflower seeds for him too!!

I have been doing variations on wing attachments, separate wings, wings constructed on the body, separate wired wings,  wing tips added to built-in wings….. who know what else I will try?

I promise I will do something other than chickadees in the near future! Have fun and keep felting

Theatre Textiles Part 1

Theatre Textiles Part 1

After I had retired from full time work in 2006 I was finally able to join SNADS – our local amateur dramatic society. I live in a small market town in Dorset and SNADS was the main source of entertainment for our area at that time (as it had been since 1930, although newspaper archives indicate that it was around at least as early as 1883). I had seen most of the productions which they had put on since we moved there in 1999 and longed to join in, not only on stage, but behind the scenes. During any one year there are at least 4 productions – Pantomime in February, Spring Play in May, a Variety Show/Revue in the summer and the Autumn play in early October, and as soon as that was over, the round started again with preparations for the following year’s Panto.

We had a fantastic wardrobe mistress, but she needed help with costumes, especially at Panto time as there was so much to do.

My first foray into costume was to make a full head cat mask for the summer review. Two of our members were to sing Rossini’s Cat Duet and the director decided that it would be fun to have a disreputable tom cat watching them from the side-lines. I had recently learned to wet felt 3D items using a resist, so I made the mask from wet felted pieces and needle felted details. I didn’t want the actor’s eyes to show through and anyway, I needed to give the cat it’s proper “slit” irises. So I stitched into the eye holes a piece of doubled yellow organza and just painted the vertical slit. (It is quite possible to see what’s going on through organza if it is held close to your face.) How to give him a proper nose? I needled the correct shaped nose on the mask, then I painted on some artist’s gesso, let it dry and added some more. Gesso is textured so it was necessary to file the nose to make it a bit smoother, also the gesso is white, so I painted the nose with black enamel paint which I nicked from my husband’s paint store (he’s a model maker). After a couple of coats of that, Tom had a shiny(ish) black nose. Add some “bitten” ears and “wonky” whiskers and he was nearly done. The cat’s mouth was open – it allowed the actor to breathe and gave Tom naughty grin. Finally I gave him a pink tongue and white tips to his ears.

Disreputable Tom Cat

The next production that I was involved in was the pantomime Cinderella, written and directed by one of our members. I was asked by the wardrobe mistress if I would dress both the Fairy (“Fairy Nuff”) and Buttons’ dog, Beau. The director wasn’t quite clear about what kind of dog Beau should be, except that he was to be comic. So I did a sort of 3D needle felt sketch of the dog’s head as I saw it – black and white with one ear cocked.

“Sketch” for Buttons’ Dog

However I’d got it wrong – Beau was to be a black poodle. 

After some discussion with the wardrobe mistress, we decided that the actor would wear a black polo necked top, thick black tights and black gloves. I managed to find a piece of curly black faux fur to make a short jacket, with enough left over to make pompon for the top of the head and the end of the tail, the long dangly ears and wrist and ankle rings to simulate the correct style poodle cut. I was to make a full head mask. For this I made a wet felt hood using a resist and a further piece of flat felt incorporating some of the curly faux fur trimmed from the bought fabric. A lot of that moulted out though because it was nylon or polyester and very slippery. Enough was fixed in however to give the right effect.

I made a needle felted muzzle – again with the mouth open to reveal the red tongue and white teeth, and to allow the actor to breathe.  The nose I made in the same way as for the tom cat – shaped with the felting needle, gessoed and painted.  The muzzle was attached to the hood/face with stitching and felting needles.  Some of the flat felt was cut to represent the dog’s lips and attached by stitching and needle felting to the muzzle.  The “Disney-esque” eyes were again painted organza and were stitched on the inside of the mask. 

The ears and head pompon were also stitched on.  I added a piece of brown fabric and a belt buckle around the dog’s throat to simulate a collar and allow the mask to be firmly secured over the actor’s polo necked top.  I have worn this costume myself a couple of times in subsequent Carnival processions – great fun.

Beau

Since the actress cast for the part of Fairy Nuff had a figure which could easily cope with a glamourous costume, for the base I was given a basque that fitted her. She was to appear out of a compost heap at the edge of the stage, so I set to and made lots of autumn coloured leaf shapes – mainly oak – out of different brown bronze and gold metallic organzas. I sandwiched sparkly bits between layers of organza. I machined stitched around the edges and along the veins of each leaf and then cut out the shapes with a soldering iron. This sealed the edges and prevented fraying. Then, with the basque on a dressmaker’s dummy I attached large pieces of bronze organza for the tail, and then added the strategically placed leaves.

The wings were made from two lengths of flat wire (originally from a pop-up fabric laundry container) covered with more organza, this time creamy white but with sparkles and sequins added. These were attached to the back of the costume by stitching the wire to the shoulder straps of the basque and covering the join with some dark bronze/gold chiffon.

The crown was made from bronze Christmas decorations (that year bronze was in fashion over here – UK). I used bronze plastic icicles, some foil stars and some more organza leaves attached to a head band. I can’t remember what the wand tip was made from – possibly a bunch of tinsel.

I actually got a speaking part in this Panto – only a couple of lines but a step up from what I’d had before.
I don’t have a proper photo, this was before my husband had a digital camera, however I’ve managed to extract a clip from the video we had made of the show. It’s a bit fuzzy if enlarged but I think you can get the gist. I’m in the gold dress with my exclusive “Toilet Duck” perfume, and my punchline? “It drives the men Quackers!”

Guests at the Ball with “perfume”!

After this show, we had one final “adult” Revue and then we moved to where we are now based. Try this link it should show you the hall we left, Sturminster Hall, and eventually the Community and Arts building, The Exchange, which is now our home. https://stur-exchange.co.uk/about/
Unfortunately it seems that a second link, on the above page, may not yet be working – this is a new website in the process of being fully set up so here’s the brochure which was produced the year after it opened.

The Exchange Brochure 2008

The staircase balustrade is wrought iron made by a local craftsman and represents the river Stour which runs through our town. All the Rooms in The Exchange are named after rivers and streams running close by, and it is just beginning to open again to live theatre as well as community groups.

We at SNADS started off our return with an Adult Cabaret a couple of weeks ago, for once without a male Balloon Dance or a ladies Fan Dance, but there was a Pole Dance!

More about my exploits with SNADS (including an explanation of the picture of the wicked queen) later. Watch this space.

2021 OVWSG Fiber Poker (Felting)!!

2021 OVWSG Fiber Poker (Felting)!!

Quite a few years ago, as a way to give a fun summer challenge to guild members, the Ottawa Valley Weavers and Spinners guild executive decided to make a summer poker challenge. But since we are not a card-playing-poker-guild we would do fibre poker instead. I think it was Shirley Browsky who set it up (she has her OHS master Spinner (1991) and is completing her master weaver Certificate). she made a deck of cards listing different types of fibre, different techniques, thicknesses, colours and things to includes like feathers or beads. We drew 4 cards from the deck and could re-select one if we wanted to.

1)  2014 the drawing of the cards

Even after trading in one card for another, we occasionally wound up with conflicting cards, which made the finished item extremely hard to complete. There was also a deck for weaving created. Over the years, more cards have been added to the deck and for the summer of 2020, a felting deck was created. This year, each deck was updated and divided into 4 suits; for felting, it was Fiber, Colour, Technique and Other. This greatly reduced the likelihood of getting impossible conflicts in cards. (Use only plain weave + include overshot).

Cards would be drawn at the June meeting and you would have until the September meeting to create your yarn skein, woven sample or project, or your felted item. The September meeting would be a double show and tell meeting, a sort of what I did on my summer vacation and the poker challenge completed projects.

2) This is my spinning challenge from 2014. I think it was; include Found objects, use Locks, Pigtails and it was either use more than 2 plys or over twist.

3-5) Carl ran Fiber Poker in 2017 with a spinning or weaving option. He carefully wrote down everyone’s picks.

6) This is Ann’s finished skein.

7) A particularly interesting solution to one challenge was seen for “include Locks”

I had not been participating the last few years, due to working on the library architecture migration project; we can chat about that some other day if you are curious. This year we were in lockdown and with the most massive part of the library project done. (There are still a few small manageable chunks left to do.) SO, I can have fun rather than just watching what everyone else has made (and taking pictures of course).

This year the draw with the new decks was over email. I requested a felting challenge and the email arrived of what elements I would have to include. Nothing conflicted and I could do all the elements without researching.  The problem was more what to pick?

8) 2021 my cards

OH my, so many options running through my head!! Slow down and write them down

  • Stained glass with fine yarn using a blue 2D picture with 3D wire element finishing embellishment with beads. Going from 2D to 3D is lots of fun. I have done quite a bit of that with the Guild art show for Canada’s 150th. Keep thinking.
  • Landscape with blue sky as a prominent feature. Wet felt background layout yarn for cloud edges, water ripples, with a tree or rock edges. Lay over yarn with thin wisps of wool, building back words to the backing base. Work the back dry then flip check wet and felt. Let dry enough to Add wire elements to the backing side to push out rocks/trees add edge stiffness to the piece. Add fibre and felt to attach the wire. Push stretch out 3D areas. Let fully dry and add beads. Hmm, that sounds like fun but let’s keep thinking.
  • Hedgehog, yarn for spikes, make a blueberry or blue flower. Use an armature –mouth can open, add beads for eyes. – 1.5 (14ga) aluminum, high twist 2 tone yarn may have to spin it. black beads, white, beige and light gray and brown back. Research: “There are seventeen species of hedgehog in five genera found throughout parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa, and in New Zealand” Also; adult size of 6–8 inches, short legs, but hedgehogs are equipped to waddle around with the help of an about a half-inch long stubby tail for balance. They can lift their underside completely off the floor and run very quickly for short distances. domestication will have five toes on their front feet and only four on their back feet. Spines only grow to be less than an inch long but are sharp enough to provide defence. the quills, which are modified hollow hairs.  For domestication purposes, the white-bellied or four-toed hedgehog, Atelerix albiventris, was bred with the Algerian hedgehog, Atelerix algirusThe structure of their teeth, including two frontal incisors for 36 altogether, They prefer a cat food with meat or poultry listed as the main ingredient, and definitely with a high protein level. a supplementary diet including insects or mealworms. Some additional treats could be boiled egg, fruit, crickets, or vegetables.

Maybe not, i did one (with a soap inside him) recently for Glenn. (he named him Crevice)

9) Robins nest from a hanging basket at my mother inlaws’.

  • A real Birds Nest arrived from Oakville – make a bird with an armature to go in the nest. Oh, I like this idea. Let’s look at it further.

My favourite colours are blue and black. (ok my favourite colours remind you of a bruise at least it’s not one of those awful green and yellow bruises!) A blue jay is too big for the nest, research birds that are blue in the Ottawa area of Ontario. Birds I like; crows (too big), Blue Jays (too big), chickadees (well they have black but not blue), most of the birds of prey (too big).

Include Wire well that is easy. Add an armature. Didn’t Sara have proportions for a wren recently in a video? Yes. What is she using for her armature? 22ga for legs, it looks like floral wire, 32ga for toes and a pipe cleaner for the body. Hmmm, I do not think that has the strength I want and I don’t have a 32 (I checked my samples). Ok, 20ga legs and body, 26ga toes. Wrens and chickadees’ are close in size. This should work perfectly!…. I carefully watched and re-watched the first bit of the video as she is working on the armature to figure out the size. Leg measurements check, body and toe pieces I have an estimate but I left the wire longer so I could trim to size as I work. This allowed for more support wrapping on the legs, which I had wanted to add while watching the video.

Include Beads Or Sequins: birds need eyes! I have at least 2 sizes of glass beads in the small box of beads. I switched that part of my collection into a different box when I rebuild my office shelves (moved the massage and computer reference stuff out and moved wool, wax, wire and beads in. ok where on the shelf did I put it and why is it not labelled yet? (Another job, add it to the list).  I guess I should either not clean up or remember where I put things!  Ah, one little bag of the right size, perfect! Now how to attach it?

Use Thread Or Fine Yarn: do I know where my beading needle is? ….no. Will one of the long sewing needles in the giant pill bottle by the window work? Maybe… Yes, not all the beads are exactly the same size so some fit over the eye of the needle and some don’t. I pick two that fit. Now for the thread. I just got a couple of huge bobbins of industrial thread for making bags (a shop that made bags was closing so I scored white black and a green, no blue) I picked up some quilting thread that may be a bit better size and it will still be strong enough. What do I find for colours? Black, white and a different green… there seems to be a theme here that doesn’t include blue. Ok, I like black too. Black, it will be. Any other instructions? let me check. No, that’s 4 and I have them covered.

Now to watch the armature section of Sara’s wren video.

Part 1 is here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHZnSWuz7AY

Part 2 is here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnZrpAxrwcA

Sara (Sarafina Fiber Art) has a slightly different approach to felting than I seem to be developing. She is more additive and has been working on techniques and vocabulary that can be reproduced by others. She tends to wrap the armature, then makes shapes from the wool and adds them to the armature. (Thus, additive; like sculpting with clay). While I start with the armature and wrapping, I usually add loose wool and sculpt it down to what I want. (Thus more subtractive; like sculpting with stone. Just keep poking and compacting until you get the shape.) I am adding wool in sections and layers to build up muscles but I don’t tend to pre-build the muscle and add it on.

Since I had never tried to make a bird before I should probably try to follow Sara’s instructions and see how that goes… or how long that lasts before I wander off-topic and do my own thing. (I am a challenging student.)

As I said, I watched and re-watched the beginning of Sara’s video to get the armature correct. I modified her wire suggestions to increase the armature strength. For the body and legs, I selected the 18-inch long floral wire in 20ga steel (I used a magnet to pick up a part that fell off the table.)  I measured and cut the legs then added the 26ga garden wire to create the toes and trimmed the excess. I then folded the 18-inch floral wire (20ga) following Sara’s measurements twisting the wires together and attaching the body to the legs. I formed a small triangle for the body and left the rest of the wire to support the tail.

10)  Leg-wire adding the wire for the toes

11) The body added to the legs with the extra wire left for the tail

12-13)  Added black ½ inch floral tape to the beak and neck.

Ok, time to look more closely for reference photos for chickadees. Oh my, there are many chickadee types! Our local one is the black cap Chickadee. Let’s try to find shots from various directions. Why is it so hard to find a shot of the back of the head? I guess it’s hard to sneak up on a chickadee or photographers just don’t think of that as a chickadee’s best side.

Time to add fibre

First, try on the beak, it was a dark grey long-staple fibre but it just didn’t look right. Next, I tried a bit of black merino roving but I wasn’t too happy with that either. Let’s leave that a moment and look at the legs

For the legs, I selected an extremely short crimpy brown/beige fibre.   Although the baggy of fibre was unlabeled, I think it may be a bit of extremely fine Shetland. It is lightly washed and still has a bit of lanolin in it. I drafted out to about an eighth of an inch width started at the top of the leg and worked down to the toes.

14-15) Head and feet

I am still considering the black but let’s add the body and start the neck.

16-17) I anchored one end of my roving and added layers following Sara’s Instructions. It’s starting to look a bit more bird-like.

18)  I continued to follow instructions (mostly), adding a roll of wool for the chest and to build up the back.

19) I am working over a cheaper quality pool noodle.

20)  Yes, that looks a lot more bird shaped now. I don’t like that grey tonally. It’s too dark and flat. That’s ok. I have more fibre options.

21)  Blending with hand carders

My options in Corriedale are Liquorish (black), Slate (dark grey), Fog (med-light blue-grey), Grey (med-Dark Grey), White Core wool world of wool. A bit of Fog,  grey and a tiny bit of white and I had what I wanted. I again did not completely blend the fibre to a uniform colour since nature tends to be more creative than flat colours.

22)  lightening the back colour

Now it’s time to consider the tail. The Chickadee seems to have a reasonably long tail so let’s trim a bit off the leftover wire and let that support the tail. I didn’t want to fold over the ends so I used the floral tape to keep them from poking through.

23)  needs a tail

The nose was still bugging me so I took off the merino and replaced it with Slate Coriadale. Ah, much better. I then blended the slate and Licorice to get a non-flat colour for the black head markings and build up the top and sides of the beak.

24-25)  Oops, I got distracted watching the Olympics while I worked  (there was no blood shed but audio-books are safer when felting). At this point I have the wing shapes done but still need to add the feather detailing. I will leave that for later. I just have them held in place with a pin. I think I need a bit more rounding under the wings and the head and markings still need a bit more shaping. I also need to add eyes.

A pause while I go look for the box of beads. I will get back to that in a moment.

Through today I have been sitting in front of the computer (you can see the messy desk piled with wool and implements of wool torture and maybe the Mountain dew I was drinking). Just off to the right(?) is the phone which today is the bane of my felting. After someone wanting to clean my ducks, (how silly, ducks are self-cleaning. it’s the pond they wash in that would need to be washed – I don’t have a pond or ducks), multiple probably robocalls that there is no one on the line so I hang up and finally I got this one. Oh, I have chatted with their co-workers before this could be fun but it’s interrupting my felting.

Transcript: Ring!!! “Hello?” Long pause, “Is this Mrs. Glenn Martin? Noncommittally “this is Jan, Who is this?” “This is Microsoft service department about your computer.” I interrupt “which one, I have a few? If you can tell me the operating system I will know which one you want to discuss, I have some that don’t go on the internet too.” Silence……Click. She gave up much more quickly than I expected. It usually takes them longer to give up. Maybe I sounded like she had interrupted important felting?

After a bit of a search I found the small box of beads and yes I have 2 sizes of black glass beads. The bigger ones look like they will be perfect for this size bird. Now, where are the beading needles? I have a long needle that worked if I was careful selecting the bead (some had larger or smaller openings)

26) adding beads for eyes

So by bedtime, I had got this far. The eyes have been added and the felting highlight around the eye has been added. You can see the notes I took while watching Sara’s video. Unfortunately, I was partway through watching the videos when I heard her say she was working at a larger-than-life, size. Drat!!! Well, that explains why a chickadee fits in a robin’s nest!

27) still needs to have details added to the back and wings but that will have to wait until after the next library day. I promise I will show you it when I am done! I may make another which is more appropriately sized.

Have Fun and Keep Felting!!

 

Connections: An Exhibition

Connections: An Exhibition

I’ve just taken down my work from a Made in Whitstable group exhibition at a local arts centre gallery so thought I’d tell you about the felt pieces I had in the exhibition.

Made in Whitstable is a loose affiliation of artists and makers who have a close connection to the town, on the coast in SE England.

With a diverse artistic group it’s not always easy to find a title that everyone is comfortable with. ‘Connections’ seemed to offer enough room for people to work with in their various styles and mediums.

This exhibition was postponed from Easter 2020 so it was great finally to get some work out there, and to catch up (albeit at a distance and in a mask) with people I haven’t seen for a long time.

As I’ve described in previous blogs, this year I’ve been learning from online workshops. I’ve long been interested in both seed heads and shells and these have both continued to feature in my recent work. Reflecting on this, I realise they are all forms of natural protective cases and although it’s not a snappy title, I decided it was a good ‘connections’ theme for me.

This is a picture I made specifically for the exhibition.

Recycling Oyster Shells: Turnstone at the Royal Native Oyster Stores, Whitstable

These photos show the oyster shells laid out, prefelt shells in a single sheet, then cut up and laid onto a background of white Norwegian batt (lower half) and tan Perendale batt (top half). There’s a recycled silk scarf laid over the tan batt layers to give the impression of a pebbled beach in the distance.

Layout for the turnstone, using a combination of merino wool and prefelt; fully felted turnstone and a trial with two birds. I decided to go for just one. I needle felted the turnstone into place then added the eye, beak, legs and a few feather details

I also made some smaller pictures along the shell & seed pod theme

Top left: mussel shell with recycled silk sea, cotton scrim wave foam and prefelt pebbles

Top right: Oyster shell with mixed wool and yarns and fabric barnacles on a recycled silk background

Bottom left: pink shell on a recycled silk beach with cotton scrim wave foam and mixed wool and silk fibre sea

Bottom centre: paper felt shell on recycled silk background

Bottom right: Corriedale, silk and yarn background with multiple-resist circles, hand stitching and a sycamore key

I also had various 3D shapes in the exhibition.

Left – based on a eucalyptus seed pod. I made this in a wonderful workshop by Gladys Paulus in November 2019. I covered that workshop in my first blog for the Felting and Fiber Forum. Various wool batts and mohair locks.

Top right – conker made in two parts (using the stem technique I learned from Gladys). Outer made from Perendale and Norwegian batts, inner is merino wool tops

Bottom right – based on a hazelnut, also made soon after Gladys’s workshop.

Here’s a poppy seed head I made this year after Fiona Duthie’s Fibre + Paper workshop. Mulberry paper is felted into the felt surface. The paper adds structure, folds and pleats well and can be drawn on / painted. I painted this with watercolours. I had to make the top separately so stitched it on. A local craftsman made the base; the pod is held on a piece of dowel attached to the base.

This nigella seed pod is also paper felt but made side-on with pre-felted ropes and thicker wool sections (not prefelted) to allow variable shrinkage (learned from Soosie Jobson). I had a reclaimed jarrah wood and dowel stand made for this.

Another paper felt shape, inspired by shells, with pleats and nobbles made as a result of Fiona Duthie’s workshop

And finally, I included a few plant holders and some earrings.

Here’s my display area – I did put the cards (bottom right) on a small table!

My display area

There were lots of good exhibitors. Here’s a small selection: top left fused glass by Irene Southon; middle left acrylics by Josephine Harvatt; bottom left watercolours by Sarah Louise Dunn showing local sites commissioned by Whitstable Museum to illustrate a map of the town; right, prints by Linda Karlsen. Work by Irene, Josephine, Sarah and Linda (Wearartworks) can all be found on social media like Instagram and Facebook. They and other exhibitors can also be found on Made in Whitstable’s Facebook and Instagram.

The footfall was rather disappointing and I would guess that sales were down on previous years, but it was really good to get some work out on show and to see what other people had been creating.

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