The creative process is full of changing flights of fancy. Initially the Jacob was to sit at a spinning wheel… but first I made the chair & rug. And having paused the Jacob project to try my first wet felted wall hangings, I was sorta fixated on wet felting. A wee sample became a miniature panel and of course it looked just right in the sheeps lap. This sculpture is currently visiting the Fiber Arts Display at Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival 2018. throughout the weekend of Sept 22nd & 23rd.Mirabelle sits comfortably in her custom chair, with her feet upon an ottoman. Stitching a family portrait, and gazing down to admire images of her family lineage.
The rug is wet felted of mostly Jacob wool, with a bit of green merino blended in the band (when I ran out of the green Jacob. Almost an oops – cuz the merino shrinks differently and though blended with Jacob – it nearly puckered my rug. I really had to tug & stretch the wet wool). The acorns & sheep were finished with needle felted details. I had just as much fun laying the tufts of dark wool so their sun-bleached tips created the rugs concentric circles.
Plotting the color scheme…. Then felt small pieces to test the colors next to each other.
Serendipity happened when things didn’t go as planned: the Jacobs were meant to be wholly within the green border, and a white spot laid to indicate each. But the green band shrunk narrower and so the added sheep legs & horns spilled over outside the green band. Not original intention, though a better resulting design.
The pre-felt oak leaves I laid on green felt band flattened in more than I expected, but needle felting extra wool atop the dry rug made leaves stand out nicely. Needled details were added to the individual sheep… and sure, I told them stories of their lineage as I created them (I put that something extra into all my work. It’s cuz I live in an alternate universe. Did you even have a clue?)
I am smitten with soft, bouncy Jacob wool; it both needle felts and wet felts nicely. You can have blacks, browns, greys, whites, and even the sun-lightened fleece tips can be a desirable design feature.
The tall chair was planned to accommodate the extra height of the sheep. Strong bent wires and fanciful lines of construction – – – I think I was channeling my inner Dr. Suess. Cute little acorn cap finials were the inspiration to carry acorn theme into the rug.
Here’s a story: at Black Sheep Gathering, a delightful customer & I were chatting about our shared enthusiasm for needle felting. She shyly asked me a few construction details, unsure I’d give away my “creative secrets.” Are you serious? I just blurt that stuff right out – – – same as I do on these blog pages. You gotta spread the creative energy around & my sharing tips or techniques I’ve figured out doesn’t detract one molecule from my soul or creations. Quite the opposite; the act of sharing lights a magic spark in the other person, magnifying the joy for both of us.
We shared grumbles about experimenting with multiple glues trying to tame the fuzzies on wool-wrapped stems & creature legs; usually resulting in “glue dandruff” when it dries. Quite frustrating. But I had recently tried slightly diluted Matte Varnish, and it worked so well, I was eager to explain. She was pretty excited to go try it on her own creations. I know it will give her the results she sought, and I’m feeling great about that.
Please do drop by our booth and share photos or stories of your own woolly creations. I truly would love to hear all about it..