Huge Needlefelt Jacob sheep in progress

Quick and dirty photo montage of a large needle-felt sheep sculpture in progress. No fancy portraits.  This Jacob is made of….yes, all Jacob fleece!  He’ll sit to spin at a rather sizeable 14″ miniature wheel.  It will be on display at Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival 2018.  If you don’t do Facebook anymore (like me: “grrr”) the location is: Clackamas County Event Center  (Canby Fairgrounds) 694 NE 4th Ave, Canby, OR 97013.   September 22 ~ 23.Paper sheep at SHORT WHEELPaper mockup sheep is posed at a sweet Saxony wheel (meant for yet another large sheep-in-progress).  Mr. Jacob sheep will (maybe….) spin at the upright wheel – scroll down to see.

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Wire armature in progress.  Sometimes I mockup the armature in an easier-to-adust softer wire to get the proportions, before cut & twist the stronger wire.  This version worked, but afterthought:  twistyness translates thru wool as lumpy limbs (which was hard to overcome), so I won’t repeat.  Next time I’ll go with straight wires overlapped, ends wrapped with thin wire.
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Upright wheel temporarily disassembled, but does have it’s flyer, bobbin, axle, etc.
Wrap wool snug around wire armature.  Needle it firm.  Add pads of needled wool – wrap those and needle whole thing to firmness.  HOURS are spent on this part…. days even…
Wrap wool.  Pad wool.  Needle wool.  Repeat.  Repeat.   Oh drat – I forgot the horns.  Brain surgery necessary to firmly secure wire for horns.  Suture wool, patch it and needle firm.
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You’re looking sharp there, Mr. Jacob.  Hooves, Horns and spots to map the fleece colors.  Glass hand-painted eyes secure and eyelid details happening.  Slender body because I know your fleece coat will bulk you up considerably.
WASH the raw Jacob fleece.  SORT the colors.  PICK CLEAN the locks.  TRIM the locks.  Begin laborious needling effort to secure the base of each lock.  LAYER the locks alongside each other, row–by–row–by–row (fast forward 6 hours later…..still at it…..).  I watched an entire season of Outlander (again).  And some Netflix….  Attaching fleece alone took 3 + days.
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Begin to attach the trimmed locks.
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Run out of white locks (argh…really?!)  and begin using the mingled colors to fill between dark and white spots.  One must accommodate surprises.  Oh, and must remember tail.
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Still adjusting horn & hoof color;  horns too reddish, hooves too yellowish.  That will change.
I love this fleece – it’s so soft and full of bouncy sweetness.  The sheep wearing the original coat must have looked adorable.
Now to work on the spinner’s chair.     {{{ off she skips…. “La la la la dee dah!” }}}
Update:  Much improved horns – less red tone – and the darker hooves more appealing.
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Fast forward to August 4:  A completed Jacob, with it’s own custom made chair.  Here I show the original wadded paper mock-up for concept and proportion – – alongside the finished sheep sculpture.  Pretty darn good result.  What do you think?
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