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Community Art Installation

Community Art Installation

I was asked by my local community arts centre to run a felting workshop to contribute ‘something’ to a community art installation to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s forthcoming platinum jubilee.  The wonderful Horsebridge Community Arts Centre in Whitstable is creating a ‘tea party with a twist’: everything will be hand-made and not necessarily from the usual materials.  Think papier mâché teacups and crocheted sandwiches.  The Horsebridge received a grant from Arts Council England to create their installation which meant participation was free but I would get paid to run the workshop – a win-win!

I mulled over what the ‘something’ might be and decided to run a workshop making wet felted flowers as table centre pieces.

I decided early on to take my colour inspiration from the Commonwealth flag – royal blue and golden yellow. This would reduce the choices people would have to make (which often take a long time!) and would be a change from the red, white and blue of our national flag.

I’ve not made flowers before so set about designing something that was as simple as possible to make. The creators were unlikely to have any felting experience and we were going to do this in 2½ hours – both demonstrate and make.

By now my friend Sue (a ceramicist) had agreed to run another workshop making slab pot vases for the flowers to sit in, so they needed to stand in a vase. I took some wool away on a trip with me and started trying out designs.

Prototype One: a loopy sort of flower made by laying out 5 separate petal shapes of wool (herring-bone style layout) then felting them together with a little wool in the middle.

I thought it was OK but getting the petals even was a little challenging and we’d have to use wire for the stems. I wasn’t sure they’d sit very well in vases and I generally thought I could do better, so moved on to my second design.

Prototype Two: I liked this a little better. It was laid out in a flat circle and the petals were cut part-way though fulling. It seemed pleasingly tulip-shaped. I wasn’t content to settle quite yet, though, as I had a few other ideas to try out.

Prototype Three: a more complex design laying out one larger circle of wool then covering it with a circular resist with a hole in the middle and laying out a smaller circle of wool on top of the resist, ensuring the two layers joined together through the hole.  Not surprisingly, I realised that this was going to be way too complicated to create in the time available. The fulling took a long time. I did like the blue edging on the petals though so carried this through to the next sample.

Prototype Four: I wanted to try adding a felt rope stem so it would sit nicely in a vase without using wire so needed a fairly simple flower shape if there was going to be time to add the stem to the design.  I made a felt rope in blue, keeping one end dry and fluffy to attach to the flower head.  The head was laid out in a single yellow layer, radiating out from the centre, in a similar way to prototype 2. I joined the stem as I wetted down the wool and covered it with a piece of bubble wrap with a hole in the middle for the stem to poke through.  This would prevent the body of the stem felting to the flower.

Once the flower and stem were at prefelt stage and the stem was securely attached, I picked up the flower by the stem and rolled it closed, mostly between my palms, to shape it into a 3D rather than flat flower.

Yes, this seemed just about do-able within the time and was reasonably simple for inexperienced felters to make.  If anyone ran out of time they could skip the petal-cutting stage and make a cone-shape flower so they wouldn’t have to heal all the edges and shape every individual petal.

By the time I got back to my studio the right coloured wool had arrived, along with some yellow tussah silk.  I already had blue and yellow nepps so I could set about refining my prototype.  A few design changes: I decided we’d run a second layer of wool just around the outside of the flower head circle as this would give the petals a bit more body.  Second, I’d add add nepps to the centre and a few strands of silk to the petals. Here’s the new layout.

And here’s the finished flower: advanced prototype 4!

Yes, I was pleased with the improvements and fairly confident the flowers would sit comfortably in their vases. I parcelled out the wool, nepps and silk and gathered together all the equipment ready for the workshop. It took a while!

Normally I teach a maximum of 8 people at a time but as this was a small make I rather recklessly committed to 16 – thinking I could have 2 people per table. Not a problem until I started to seek out 16 towels and 16 mats…..but it seems my hoarding tendencies came good! Cutting out 32 pieces of bubble wrap (16 of which needed a hole cutting in the middle) and 16 pieces of net started to feel like I was on a production line. Happily, though, I got everything together just in time for the day of the workshop.

Here’s the teaching room at the Horsebridge with everyone setting to work – a lovely light, airy and spacious room with people well spaced-out.

A couple of work in progress shots

And lots of happy felters with their beautiful creations.

The workshop seemed to go well and we produced plenty of flowers to add to the installation. I made sure people took photos of their own flowers as they can collect them after the event, if they want to.

Here’s most of them gathered at the end of the workshop.

Lessons: we needed more time! It’s hard to estimate how long it will take to demonstrate something and for people then to make it.  I’d opted for 2½ hours but with hindsight should have gone for 3.  I’ve left myself quite a lot of ‘finishing off’ to do – to make sure stems are firm enough for example – before the flowers go into the installation in early June. I could wrap the floppier stems in florists wire but I’d prefer them to be fully felted. It also took me way longer than I’d realised both to develop the prototypes and prep all the materials. Happily I was able to put the time in and I’m now fully ready for any future flower felting opportunities!

The installation is from 2 June and I’m really excited to see how it all comes together and how the flowers fit in. I took part in a couple of the other workshops: making slab pot vases and monoprint doilies. There’s something really joyous for me in taking part in a community art project and the Horsebridge have done a wonderful job in involving lots of people in the installation. As well as a series of workshops, they’ve sent out lots of making kits for people who can’t get to the centre to make things and worked really hard to involve lots of different members of the community. If you’re interested in the end result I’m sure the Horsebridge Arts Centre will post photos so here’s a link to their website. https://thehorsebridge.org.uk/ and a big thanks too to Arts Council England for providing the project funding. https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/.

We Need a New Door Stop

We Need a New Door Stop

Recently we have acquired a new bookcase for our living room.  It was actually made to fit in the space between the front wall and the door of the room.  However it has a sort of lip around the top, the corner of which was banged by the glass of the open door if we were not careful.

2 Views of the book case against the glass (with some of my menagerie in view on the book case)

Obviously we needed something to stop the door before it fully opened. After some thought I decided that it needed to be tall (so that we didn’t have to bend down too far to move it – the floor gets further away the older you get), but it needed to be thin too otherwise the door wouldn’t open far enough to let one of us safely into the room, especially with drinks in hand.

I wanted it to go with the colour of the carpet and I knew that I had somewhere in my stash a blue wool sweater that I had felted (on purpose) by putting it through the washing machine. I finally rooted it out and decided that I would use one of the sleeves, which had a pattern knitted into it.

The Other Sleeve – what’s left of it – the pattern looks a bit hazy but hang in there, you’ll see it later.

Initially I thought that I would make a tall thin pyramid shape to fit in the gap between the side of the book case and the door. I sewed up the cuff of the sleeve and, to make sure it didn’t keep falling over, I begged a piece of flat lead sheet from my husband which I fitted into the bottom of the stuffed sleeve, and then sewed up what had been the shoulder to make the base. 

Well it was ok, but I thought it needed a bit more interest and decided to turn the door stop into a cat.

Out came the felting needles and my scoured merino, which I use as core fibres. Then for the “top coat” I sorted through the blues in my stash – normally jealously guarded because I don’t have a lot now as I use them for sky in my pictures – and found some which almost matched the main blue of the sleeve. Obviously he wasn’t going to be a realistic cat so I tried to “cartoonise” his features, and rather than give him needle felted eyes as I might normally do I fished out some bright orange glass eyes from another stash which would go well with his dark blue face. I used some of the blue to make a wet felt sheet, out of which I cut his ears.

Having made his head, I attached it to the tall thin pyramid. It’s sewn as well as needled on, but even so I was concerned that if he was picked up by his head it might come off. I made a piece of blue cord and attached that as a loop behind his head so that he might be moved safely. And here we have him.

Smiley Door Cat

Not long after this, we acquired a new pinky-grey bathroom carpet and also new pink and grey towels to replace very tired old red ones. Until then we had been using the bathroom scales as a door stop – that door will slam very hard if the wind gets up when the window is open. So now I decided that we would need another door cat.

When we got the new carpet we did not change the basic colour scheme as we didn’t want the hassle of changing the suite (vintage Pampas) or the tiles. The colour scheme is essentially derived from the tiles, which are pink and grey with some crimson detailing. Originally we had a red-ish carpet and red and dark grey towels, but when I bought those towels I could not get a bath mat to match, so I made one by stitching two red hand towels back to back.

Bathroom Tile

As the new carpet shed fibres quite a lot to begin with I thought of making the new door cat out of that fibre, but after a little more thought I realised that that would not be a good idea. We would keep falling over a camouflaged cat in the gloom of a late night visit!

So I thought I might find another felted sleeve, but couldn’t come up with something the right colour. Then, because we still had touches of red in the room, I decided that I would deconstruct the old red bath mat and use one of the pieces for the cat’s body. I had already given away the rest of the old towels to my friend for her dogs.

I felt that a “loaf cat” pose would be best, less likely to tip over if the wind caught the door, but I’d need too much lead sheet to make it a suitable weight. So I visited the garden and found a triangular(ish) shaped piece of rock, washed it and wrapped it in a couple of layers of non-woven cotton towels, secured with masking (painter’s) tape. I made myself a paper pattern of the body and cut out two body sides and a gusset for the base and chest. I cut out the pattern pieces from the towel and stitched it all up (first inserting the wrapped rock and stuffing it with polyester stuffing.

I had seen a cartoon of a smiling cat, which had enormous ears, which looked really cheeky. I thought I’d have a go at making one like that. I started with the core fibre again and got the head substantially how I’d like it and then thought about fibres for the coating.

Head ready to be covered in “Top Coat” (for some reason enlarged umpteen sizes)

I did not have exactly the right red, so had to blend a couple of pieces of pre-dyed merino tops which seemed to work ok. I did the same to make a pinky-grey blend for the chest, face and inside of the ears. I had decided that I would make the cat’s chest a similar colour to the carpet which meant that I had to make a wet felted sheet of the pinky-grey batt to cover the original red towelling. I cut the felt into the shape of the chest gusset, leaving enough for a pair of large ears.

I needled some of the red onto the back of the ears, and this resulted in a darker pink on the inside where the needles had pushed fibres right through, which was actually a benefit I think. I needled the blended red on to the back of the cat’s head and neck, and the pinky-grey onto the face, attached the ears and gave him a darker pink nose. I “shadowed” the smile and blinking eyes and I also gave him some laughter lines.

Nearly finished head, along with my felting cushion and a trapped needle holder

Then I stitched the head onto the neck, and the chest piece over his front, catching in the head at the neck.  I covered the join with more needled fibres and, using another piece of towel, attached a handle to the back of his neck so that he could be moved without his head coming off.

Loving Blinks from the new Door Ward

My husband has already named him Yoda.  We each confessed the other day that we both chat to him (in fact I pick him up and cuddle him too – he just fits into one arm)

What about the poor tatty sheep at the beginning of this post? Well, many years ago now, when I was a fairly new needle felter, I decided that I’d like to make myself a door stop for my bedroom door. I had acquired from our Guild a Jacob fleece, which, as it turned out, was ideal for needle felting. It certainly wasn’t a lot of good for wet felting – it wouldn’t, whatever I did to it. I suppose I must have had an old ram’s coarse and kempy fleece palmed off on me, when I was too naïve to know what I was getting – no wonder it was cheap!

Anyway, I got a body shaped pebble out of the garden, and washed it, wrapped it in some of the un- wetfelted fleece and started in with a No.36 felting needle (I only had 36 triangle and 38 star needles in those days- oh and a No.19 which was so thick it wouldn’t really go through anything I had with any ease). I bust quite a few needles before the pebble was covered. I added a neck to one end and then decided that my sheep would need eyes and a pair of horns. At that time I did not know that Jacob sheep often have 4 horns and wear them as if they had put them on in a hurry in the morning whilst still half asleep!

I made the horns and eyeballs using pipe cleaners and white Fimo polymer clay, baked and painted with acrylic paints. At that stage in my career I had not thought of using PVA glue on needled fleece to make horns. I needled a head shape around the horns and eyes, and then attached it to the neck. It did not occur to me to strengthen the neck with the ends of the pipe cleaners, I had cut these short and just put the horns on either end, and did the same with the eyes.

Well it all worked and for years he sat by my door, getting moved when necessary with my foot.  Now he’s a sad old thing, but being sentimental I can’t bear to get rid of him, even though he’s lost a horn and is definitely the worse for wear.  Perhaps I’ll give him a “makeover” sometime.

Poor Old Jacob, grown old and infirm in service

 

 

Update on the small picture and the studio

Update on the small picture and the studio

Where did the time go? I looked at the posting schedule and thought I have lots of time to get my post ready but here I am down to the wire,….. again.

I did manage this week to make some progress on my small picture. I started by adding some grass/stems/leaves/. Starting with a very Christmas green.

Then adding other shades

It looks ok but it’s way too short. What am I going to do with the other 2/3 of the picture? So, remembering Ruth’s advice on the last stitch project when I wasn’t very happy with it, she said  “just keep adding more”,  I decided I was not taking the stitches out. I would just keep going. The next batch of grass was longer.

At this point, I notice the bottom edge was starting to curl a little. This is because I was stitching into the bottom edge. I didn’t want the bottom of the stitches to show entry points on the top side of the bottom edge. I noticed some of the threads were a little loose too. To remedy this I ironed it with steam. I think it helped.

The next step is the flowers. I was originally thinking stitched flowers, then thought maybe seed needs would be good. I asked opinions at my guild social and everyone seemed to think I should do both. I probably will.

And now the Studio Progress.

The walls and floor have been painted. The place that hasn’t been painted is where the ductwork will go for the heating. It will then get drywall put over it and it will be painted. Notice one of my favourite things about this space. It has a center floor drain. The electrical box will get a cupboard built to hide it.

 

Yes, the floor is covered in blue speckles, for non-slip and to hide the floor repairs.

Next are the sinks, the ductwork, painting my selves, bookcase and small table. They will be boring white, once the books and wool are on them they will be colourful enough. The table gets the microwave so it will not be seen much either.

That’s it for now. I plan on doing the flowers for the next post but I am not sure what else. I am sure I will find something to keep me busy and out of too much trouble.

 

Update on Mr. Mer part 1

Update on Mr. Mer part 1

For those of you who have not met Mr. Mer, here he is last year as I was working on his anatomy.

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1-2 Mr. Mer 2021

Mr. Mer was underwhelmed with how I had left his basic under-structure of his fishy bits.  I agreed with him that he was not quite as pike-like as I would like. The fish part of the body needed to be thicker and more muscular when compared to my photo reference. How can you fight snapping turtles with such a scrawny lower body?  I still liked the vestigial knees but felt the idea had not yet coalesced into a good integration between man and fish.  I will think more on this as I add bulk to his fishiness.

3 parts of the green fibre collection.

I dug through the greens I had been using, I was almost out of one of the colours I had blended and will have to blend more of it! I was using the large ball of “Olive” Corriedale as the base and adding other greens to mottle and create the colour for the under-structure.  The darker top that I was blending with the olive I am pretty sure some was the Superwash I had bought from the Black lamb.

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4-5 blending wool to build up Mr. Mer’s fish body and tail.

Since I needed a reasonable amount of fibre to build up his fish end I used the hand carders to partly blend the colours. (Nature tends not to have flat colours.) Although I usually hand blend small amounts for details, using the handcards or even dog brushes is easier on the hands and wrists than working with the same amount of fibre hand blending.  When I take the fibre off the cards, it is still quite a long staple. For the under layer and blocking in the basic shape this will work. However, as I get closer to the final shape I tend to tear the fibre into pieces from half an inch to an inch long.

Although I started with the armature and adding shapes build-up of fibre as per Sara’s instructions I have deviated well away from her original Mer-Maid design. She tends to work by adding formed shapes, but for this one, she added a wet felted skin layer to put over her under-structure. I have had more fun using a more blended approach of both additive and subtractive sculpture.  (Adding pre-formed shapes and felting them into place is a lot faster than what I tend to do with using layers and small amounts of loose fibre to sculpt into the desired shape).

You can see I have moved from legs with a tail shape Mer-Man to the beginnings of a more human-fish hybrid.

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6-8 upgrading Fishy-bits underway

I like the direction but need to increase the height and a bit more width of the fish section. I am investigating the popliteal space (the area behind the knees).  I like the angle of the intersection but want to raise the fish spine a bit higher.

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9-10  Needs a bit more

Oh no,  he is not going to like the way that tail looks, it’s a bit bear. I over fanned the armature of the tail and then added wisps of full-length staple. I added a bit to each side using a variety of needles and finally the punch tool (fake clover tool). so when I adjust the tail to the correct position the webbing should ripple like partly closing a fan.

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11-12 Working on the tail

That seems a bit better so I switched back to the body again.

13 elevating the top line of the fish body

I have made both the top line higher and am investigating the angle of integrating behind the knees. Tomorrow Is Library Day for the guild and I will ask Ann what she thinks. So it’s time for Mr. Mer to get into his project bag (not that I expect to have any time to work on him tomorrow) but I am sure he will enjoy getting out of the house and Ann will like seeing how he is coming along.

14  On Library Day, Ann Checked out  Mr. Mer’s Progress, she had a few suggestions.

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15-17 Ann critiques him

As we got the library ready for book pick up, Mr. Mer took up position on top of a small 8 harness loom to watch for guild members wanting their requested books.

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18-20  Mr. Mer is watching for Library patrons

 I noticed he was having trouble bending and has to maintain a push-up to allow him to look out the window.  I have to see what I can do to help him. I will start with an assessment of his ROM (Range of Motion) particularly at his waist but that will be in my next post.

I will hope you are not getting bored with the fishiness of my posts and promise to try to work on something different, but the next post will be part 2. There may be surgery involved!

Have fun and keep felting!!

I am running behind so…..

I am running behind so…..

I declare throwback Tuesday. I seem to have run out of time this week so I thought you might like to see this post from 2017. Jan posted some pictures in our guild group and it reminded me and I thought it was worth another look. I hope it and the links to the other 2 posts about it will give you lots of inspiration for your own work.

Ann

 

This is the 3rd and final set of pictures from this exhibit. http://mvtm.ca/?exhibition=colour-unboxed the first is here: https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2017/01/18/colour-unboxed-by-out-of-the-box/ and the second here: https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2017/01/26/out-of-the-box-part-2/ Again I apologize for some of the odd angles as it was very crowded with people enjoying the exhibit. In the last picture, you may find it hard to see but there is a very long weaving draped across the ceiling.

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A little more stitching

A little more stitching

Continuing on from stitch camp I have started stitching. I like the pieces with a lot of negative space best but thought I should try to do something outside my natural inclination. So I picked one with mostly yellow but a nice distribution of blue too to start with.

I did a bit of stitching but decided it was too soft and floppy to work well. The stitching was distorting the fabric even though it wasn’t pulled too tight.   Another thing I could see, that might happen, is the messy stitching on the backside might show through the white fabric. Iron-on interfacing would solve both problems.  I know I have some……somewhere. And the Iron, I have one of those too, I am sure I saw it recently.

I found the iron first, but not before a mouse had found it. The mouse (the one we caught in the fall,) had chewed up the cord. Not a nice chew in half or in one spot but all the way along. You can tell how often Iron because the mouse was caught in the fall, late September or early October. Well, I didn’t like that iron anyway it tended to leak. I will have to buy a new one. Sorry, no picture of the chewed-up cord. I tossed it out on garbage day.

 

I never know what to buy, so I picked the middle price and the one that says it does not leak on the box. I was tempted by the one with the retractable cord but it was digital with little buttons. I don’t think my iron needs electronics.

Then I found my one-sided iron-on interfacing.

                                          

 

I am less thrilled with the pieces than I was so I picked 3 of the double pieces and one of the singles to use and I will see how that goes. If I start liking them better I can do some more.

 

I have 2 ironing boards. on is under siege in the spare bedroom and the other one, the small one,  disappeared into the packed things. so I had to do it the old-fashioned way with a wool blanket on the table. I used a small piece of sheeting for the ironing cloth.

 

Stitching with the interfacing is better.

 

 

    

When I did this bit of badly done satin stitch, I noticed the distortion starting. Adding the interfacing and ironing seems to have fixed it.

I don’t know what stitching to do. I know it’s all just an exercise but I still want it to look good. I did some seed stitch and that is probably my favourite so far. I thought it was done but looking at it now it needs something else across the join down near the bottom between the woven circle and the yellow seed stitch I think.

 

 

Since I started writing this post I started the second piece. One of the more blue ones. I decided to use some green thread as there are some green spots where the blue and yellow paint crossed.

 

 

 

 

So far so good.  I find it hard to decide where to stitch and what to stitch. I am enjoying it and I hope my stitching will improve with the practice. I find it hard to get my needle to go in or come up exactly where |I want it to. I am using a rounded tip needle. Perhaps a sharp one would work better but I didn’t have one with me. Another thing to look for. It is probably stuck in a piece of foam with some felting needles in a project bag or box.

It wasn’t until I started editing the pictures that I noticed this piece has a parrot in it. It is funny how we don’t see things until we take a picture of them. Do you see it too?

 

 

Mixed Media Stitching

Mixed Media Stitching

This last week I joined a free to everyone stitch camp not knowing what we would be doing. The idea being that you get a short instructional video every day for 5 days and it will be a surprise and inspirational and push you to think outside the box. I knew there was cloth and pain and stitching so it seemed interesting.

I gathered some cloth and paint and things to make paint marks.

 

The idea was to make one painted piece leaving lots of open or negative space and one with only a little negative space. separate colours with a little of the other colour in each. I picked a white background and yellow and blue as my other colours as I could get that paint and had other pieces of cloth in those colours too. I was going to do turquoise but the store was out of it.

 

I like the one with more negative space the best.

 

Next was to cut them up and piece them back together. I cut them into 3×5 inch pieces.  I was going t make one long piece and then do stitching on the whole thing. as I tried to piece them together I was not happy with them so I made two shorter strips. I didn’t really like them and wasn’t sure I would bother doing the stitching. Ruth suggested making a book with the pieces instead of a long strip and I think I like that better. I forgot to take a picture of them before I unpinned them.

 

I reassembled them as pairs to sew together. I will do some stitching on them and then attach them to a backing and make a book. Not sure if it will be a regular book or maybe an accordion book that could stand up on its own. I will see how it goes.

and these are some individual pieces I liked but couldn’t find matches for

I enjoyed the process and the camp Facebook group was inspirational. If I was going to do it again I wouldn’t use a white background. I would make fewer blocks of paint and more shapes. I would also mix the colours more and aim for something between a little and a lot of negative space. I know some of you joined the stitch camp. Did you enjoy it? how far along have you gotten?

 

 

 

 

 

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

Welcome to Christmas Morning, for those who celebrate, I hope Santa was good to you and maybe brought you some fibery goodness. For those that don’t celebrate, I hope you are enjoying a nice day off and have time to felt.

I was stuck about what to blog about today. I haven’t made any presents or really anything much. I haven’t been feeling very Christmasy until the last few days when we got some snow. But then we had this surprise last Saturday.
 

Yes, they should not be born now but some of our sheep are able to breed all year and this Ewe and the Ram seem to have plans that were different than ours. Best laid plans and all that.

That was a good start and I bet the cuteness has hooked you to keep reading.

Chatting the other day about sketchbooks, some people said they don’t have one because they can’t draw. I can’t draw but I keep them anyway. I try to write things beside the pictures so I know what I was thinking later. I don’t always do it and later wonder what on earth I was trying to draw. Sometimes it sparks new ideas.

I thought I would share a few pages to encourage people. Sketchbooks are just for yourself, for ideas or inspiration not an art project in themselves.  I have seen some that are published, they are beautiful. Mine are not like that. I am sure you will recognize some of these ideas.

I use them to doodle shapes

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Do sketches. Can you tell I like sheep pictures?

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And work out how to do things.

 

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I like smallish flip pads. These are 6 inches by 9 inches. or 152mm by 229mm. I have some that are a bit smaller A5 size. I think that’s a standard everywhere but in North America. We always have to be different. 🙂 I like them because they fit easily in my basket or a bag. They are also cheap pads. $1.50 at the Dollar Store.

I will be doing some sketches for some Christmasy things for next year. I just need to remember to look at them in October so there is time to work on them.

They may not be pretty but I find them useful. I hope I have inspired you to give it a try. It doesn’t matter if you can draw, once you stop worrying about it, its fun.

Thanks for reading and commenting and joining us all year. You have all kept me going as we all work our way through these difficult times. All’s wool that end’s wool.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Back to Dragon’s Wings

Back to Dragon’s Wings

I must make design decisions for Dragons wings.

I considered the aerodynamic properties of creatures who are propelled by Magic or possibly a lot of hot air. Should the wing be thicker to trap more air thus giving him better lift with air displacement? Alternatively, would thicker wings add too much weight and should I look at a thinner more gossamer wing structure to keep his overall weight down?  He has those industrial strength hands and feet so maybe not adding more to his overall weight would be preferable.

Bumblebees, dragonfly’s or hummingbirds, all of whom have delicate wings compared to their body use increased beats per second of those wings to overcome gravity.  Dragon also has the option of magic and possibly hot air so he should be fine with the finer wing structure.

How am I going to achieve this “light” wing structure?

I had Dragon preen his wings until he was pleased with them. Then he reclined with his wings on a piece of paper. I traced the shape of each of the wings (I think he may be ticklish) on the paper. This gave me a template to lay out fibre for the web of the wing.

1) Wing armature tracings

If I had wanted to wet felt the wings I would have transferred the outline to a clear plastic or overlay a clear plastic over the paper. (I have a couple of transparent plastic duo-tang covers that would work and lots of permanent waterproof markers.) As you likely have noticed, I am not fond of unnecessary wetness so decided to continue working dry.

I mixed thin layers of wool and silk. Adding fibre, I was focusing on the bony side of the wing and thinner on the trailing web side. I lightly rubbed the fibre, to start the felting process, then moved it to the foam working surface.

2) layout of fibre over the template

3)  transferred to the felting mat.

I started by tacking the wool along the front (bony) edge then used the fake clover tool to consolidate the web part of the wing.

4) using the fake clover tool to make the thin felt webbing.

It looked a bit thick to start but it flattened down quite a bit. I checked the length of the wing and found it had expanded slightly as I had felted it. I worked with a single needle almost horizontally pushing the fibre from the outside to shrink the leading edge to fit his wing length.

I placed the wing armature, which I had wrapped in wool, on top of the web so that the wing armature will be below the web on the wing. This gave me two ways I can attach the wing web to the armature, first, using a single needle to the leading edge,  then continuing attaching down the ribs. Then laying wisps of wool across the ribs and felted that into both the web and the rib. I had a bit of extra fibre at the leading edge, which I wrapped over and attached it to the armature and leading edge of the web. After working from the underside of the wing I repositioned Dragon then worked from the top side of the wing.

5) The underside of the wing. Attaching whips over the ribs and working on the leading edge of the wing.

6) First wing is done and now on to the second wing.

7) Second wing, “Dragon, Lie down and relax, try not to move!”

8) Second wing detail

Working the web onto the wool wrapped armature, I was using the single needle to shrink the length a bit more as I attached the second wing web.

9) Dragon showed off his New wings

10) Snoozing comfortably in his project box ready for his trip home.

Back in Ottawa, I added a bit more silk to the wings then started to work on the crest. I had made the crest with Corriedale and added small wisps of silk to either side of the crest. The silk roving I am using has blues into blue-purple.  I used some of the blue-purple above the hips but found it quite jarring so have removed it at this point and may revisit adding the purple closer to the final top layer. I still have more work to do adding more highlights in both the Corriedale and the silk or silk blended with Corriedale.

11) Yawn and stretch of the wings, maybe a bigger project box would be better, but at least he has a bag of silk as a pillow.

He is showing off his fine wings and the beginnings of his crest. He still needs eyes and a few more details to be added. Here is his photoshoot showing off the progress so far.

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 12-20 Dragon shows off his wings and progress on his crest

I still have quite a bit to do but Dragon is enjoying his new wings and the pillow of silk fibre in his project box!  I hope I will be able to add more detail but I think the rest of this month may be very busy. (I heard a rumour X-mass is only weeks away!!! I am hoping for a second opinion!!)

Have fun and keep felting!!

Throw back Thursday Christmas Tree.

Throw back Thursday Christmas Tree.

There is a throwback Thursday post for you. These are the Christmas trees I made in 2014. This is my last week of crazy baking for the Christmas Farmers’ Market. I hope to have something new for my next post.

We have been trying to decide where we can put our Christmas tree this year. Even if we use only half of it and put it on a table it is still too big to put anywhere. So time to make one that will fit on the small table available.

I carded several greens together

green wool green wool blended

Then I made a template. It is 4 feet tall, the width of the table. I had a really hard time getting a picture of it. I made a smaller one too about 2 feet tall.

tree layout

This is rubbing on the plastic cover.

tree rubbing

Then it was roll and roll and roll some more. I kneaded and dropped and threw and heated it and did it some more. This is the shrinkage on the smaller one. The tip I made solid out past the tip of the template.

small tree shrinkage

While I was making the trees I was trying to figure out what I would use as a structure for the inside. For the smaller one, I was thinking a countertop paper towel holder would work. It was too short but while at the dollar store I saw a tinsel tree on a frame. I bought it and removed the tinsel garland that was wrapped around it. It was a little too tall but a son with some bolt cutters fixed that.

small tree on stand

It looks like a green witch’s hat. For the large one, I ended up using an upside-down tomato cage. The tree looks like a Whoville tree. I ran out of light to take a picture of the big one so you will have to wait for my next blog post to see it. It will be decorated by then too. What have you used for a tree?

Here is a link to the post with the finished trees, I hope you like them.  https://wp.me/p1WEqk-2GH

Happy Turkey Day to all our American readers

Don’t forget to enter to win on Tuesday’s Post.

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