Title: “Ollie’s Gone Fishing.”
Ollie’s had a great day at his favorite stream, hauling in the plentiful trout. His basket is full, and another fish dangles on the hook. Settled on the log and kicking up his heels, he tucks into a hearty meal.
Ollie had been delightfully fun to create, even though it’s a great deal more work to build a larger 16″ tall sculpture – requiring many days of long hours needle felting and attention to the myriad details. But honestly – those details are SUCH fun! I laughed with glee when I figured out how to make my own fish basket.
CREATIVE PROCESS: Currently I am captivated with what I’m calling my “Tree Stump series;” all ideas formed around the use of a tree stump setting + an anthropomorphic creature. That and a series of “WHAT IF..?” questions to help form their creation.
Example: WHAT IF a forest creature was sitting on a tree stump? Ideas are ping-ponged back and forth: badger…. raccoon… squirrel… oh hey an Otter! And we’re off into flights of imagination.
Q: Okay why would an otter be near a tree stump? And, what do otters do anyhow?” Eat fish and romp near water. So a river bank and WHAT IF the tree stump lay sideways? The mental image is now an otter seated on a fallen log at the water’s edge. This worked out well because the sculpture was already tall, and a log would seat the otter lower.
Q: How to translate this information to the viewer in creative and unexpected manner? WHAT IF otter becomes a fisherman, with fishing paraphernalia? WHAT IF he had a fishing pole? And, a fish dangling on line to give the sculpture some movement. WHAT IF… otter wore wading boots or a vest (both ideas rejected). Or a hat? Yes, a hat could be fun, with fish lures on it. And a pail of fish? Nope. Make that a fish basket the otter can wear – bringing viewer interest up higher on mostly dark brown body.
Q: How to show the water? It would be wet felted with wool and silk for shine… but then I experimented with various gloss mediums ON wool to see if it could represent water better with more light reflection, and WOW – fabulous results! Took 4 attempts, but do experiment because surprising good results can occur. I am very pleased with the watery appearance and that I thought to recess the water level lower than “ground” of river bank.
Q: How exactly to show the otter fishing? Holding pole? Napping? I finally decided to rest the pole alongside otter, who’d be fixin’ to take another big chonky bite outta his fish. Face scrunched up and sharp teeth showing. After all it’s been a busy day and an otter does get hungry!
Ollie will be making an appearance at Black Sheep Gathering 2019, in Albany, Oregon. However, I’ll wait to sell him at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival in September. It’s hard to let go of one’s newest creation, so Ollie will keep me company just a bit longer, before I take him out to the next festival.
UPDATE: It’s now April of 2021, and a full year of Covid-19 pandemic certainly slammed a halt to all the festivals. This sculpture was supposed to go for sale at Black Sheep Gathering 2020, but nope. Didn’t happen. Ollie remains here at home, protected and on display….waiting in hopes a semblance or normalcy can one day return, and the festivals resume. How I miss them.