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Seeing Spots

Seeing Spots

Last month I visited the San Diego Aquarium and a couple of tide pools while seeing relatives and touring the area.  I’m always fascinated with the beautiful creatures from under the sea.  When I returned home, I did some more research and came across the Blue Spotted Ribbontail Ray.  You can read more  about them here:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluespotted_ribbontail_ray

You can also Google them and see some really beautiful pictures.

I have seen other Stingrays in Sausalito, California, but nothing this beautiful.  Of course, the colors made this guy pretty attractive to me.  I thought it would be a fun, challenging project in felt.

Although I know the body is fairly flat, I started out with making a resist.

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The eyes were a challenge because they have an unusual shape with a cutout (spiracle) behind them.  I  made tight ball which encased a glass eye and a rock for the spiracle portion, then covered it with the yellow merino.

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I used one layer of corriedale as my base on each side, then used a white batt on the underside. To give the back some height in the middle I added extra layers. Once I was satisfied, I attached the eyes and a piece of a batt to attach a tail.

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The tail was next. I used a corriedale core and covered it with a batt, then rolled it into shape.  I tried to use roving to make the blue stripes, but the rolling moved it around to much, so I striped it off.

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The tail also includes the stinger near the end. The tail is actually one and a half times the length of the body.

I had to do some studying of the anatomy to try to get it close to reality.  The nostrils, mouth, nasal flaps and gills are underneath.  I didn’t add claspers or pelvic fins.

Next was decorating.  It took a long time to cut out the spots from handmade prefelt in various sizes. I  placed a batt over the top taking care not to overlap to the underside which would stay white.  Then came the spots.

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There was a lot of rubbing before rolling.  I used a gray roving to highlight the mouth, nostrils and gills on the underside.

Once the felting was near complete, I cut out the resist, the gills, mouth then finished the fulling. The eyes came last. They were a bit tricky. The glass bead and rock had moved during the felting.  Removing the rock took a little  doing and I ended up using a tweezers. A little needlefelting helped finish off the eyes and put stripes on the tail.

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I wanted to show the ray in motion so I put two plastic bottles under the flaps while it dried, but even after drying as soon as I layed it down the ray went flat. Plan B was to use Modge Podge to hold the shape.  It did the trick, but I wasn’t happy it remained white.

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Here he is hanging on the wall near my work area.  It’s hard to tell, but the wall is a light blue.

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I sometimes wonder why I come up with these types of projects. I did enjoy the learning process though.  What challenges have you had lately?

 

 

 

 

Gone Fishing…

Gone Fishing…

I don’t know if its spring or summer or something in the creative cosmic atmosphere, but it seems fish have become a theme for art lately.

Cathy (Luvswool) and I got together before she went to her Colorado residency and I went to Florida a few weeks back.  We wanted to do something different together.  We remembered the cool fish Galina ( Felicity) did a while back on  her blog and decided to try that. (Thanks for the inspiration Galina!)

We each made our resists beforehand.  Of course, we were busy chatting while deciding on colors.  It took a bit before we got started.

Cathy chose yellow and blue.  I went with my teal (I have sooo much) and purple.

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We each used three layers (one layer of domestic 56 batt in between) and tried to get the fish mouth like Galina had hers not too successfully.  I guess we need practice. We also used gems for eyes.

I made separate prefelt for fins and tail.

When I got to the prefelt stage on my fish, I cut out and attached the tail and fins. I couldn’t find the resists for my gills when it came time to take the resists out.

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We weren’t trying to make exact fish, but have fun coming up with our own fantasy fish.

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Cathy did get the gill resist out, but it ended up too wide, so she embroidered it to close it up.  She also added some roving around the eye and needlefelted it to get it to stay.

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I decided to work on another fish that week and ended up with two more just experimenting with colors and embellishments. I managed to get gills on the second one. I also added bottom fins by needlefelting them on. The eyes were hard to get even on each side. I got a little better at the eyes, but they’re still not perfect.

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I’m not sure how I’ll display them.  I originally thought I hang them in the bathroom, but I don’t think my husband would approve of flying fish.

Have you done any summer or fish themed projects?

 

 

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