Here's my latest needle felting commission. Her name is Mathilda, or Mattie for short. She lives with a very nice lady here in England. Her son contacted me to create a sculpture for his mother's birthday and I was only too happy to oblige.
Recently, I got asked by fellow fibre artist Nicole if I wanted to do a collaboration with her.
Nicole wanted me to make some felted flowers that she could incorporate in her spinning - after telling me what colour scheme and how many she wanted, I was left to my own devices. Once she receives them, she'll create some glorious chunky art yarn and add my flowers.
It's been a while since I last wrote! Sorry about that.
I'd like to share Tilley with you today. She was a Bichon Frise much loved by her human, and when she passed away I got asked to make a mini of her. Memorial sculptures are very emotional for me, as I know there's the added pressure of having to not only create a mini dog that resembles the original one, it can also be a very physical reminder of their absence.
Tilley had passed away fairly recently, so I was extra careful with details. I had at first created her without any curls (having the wool felted in a way as to resemble the fluff typical of this breed) but after talking to my customer, it was clear she wanted curls - so I got my mohair locks and went to town. This was probably three extra hours worth of work for me, but well worth it.
I also added some shading with pastels under her eyes and on the corners of her mouth, like the original Tilley had. I then made her a collar, but unfortunately I don't have any decent pictures of that. I basically created one using a felt sheet, added some more wool for sturdiness (it was a fairly thin piece of felt) and finally added some tiny bits of angelina fibre to mimic sparkly studs.
I hope her human was happy with her mini Tilley and that it serves as a loving reminder of the real one.
What are your thoughts on memorial items? Let me know in the comments section.
Last Saturday I did a guest blog post for The Felting and Fiber Studio: a tutorial on felting soap. It's simple enough for any beginner to try, and makes a great present for a loved one (can anyone say Christmas Stocking Filler?)
Click here to read my Felted Soap Tutorial.
Today's blog post connects to the one linked above. I'm going to explain why felted soaps are amazing, and then I'll move on to troubleshooting and hints. I hope you find the information useful!
Why felted soaps?
Why indeed? I mean, this isn't something you see on shelves everyday, and if you mention felted soaps to someone, chances are, you'll get a quizzical look in return. This brings me to my first great reason:
A couple of tricks to make your soap felting easier
Have I convinced you to try felting some soaps for yourself or as presents? If so, here's a handy document you can print to go along with them:
If, on the other hand, you like the concept but don't want the trouble of making your own, I do sell some rather lovely bars in my shop. Buy my Grapefruit, Lemon & Calendula felted soaps here (I have others!)
Lastly, if you like playing with fibre and are looking for a nice and friendly community where you can share your makes, ask questions, and chat, I suggest you join The Felting and Fiber Studio Forum. See you there!
This August, I decided to change a few things in my business: a new website, a new blog space, new business strategies... This meant no needle felting, because I just wouldn't have the time. I had therefore left my fibre schedule completely open so I could focus on the admin side of Felt Buddies & Yarns.
Naturally, the gods decided to mess with my plans. I got contacted by a prospective customer, asking me if I could make him a mini of his lurcher dog Lizzie. It was going to be a present for his wife, and needed to be completed before September...
I could have said no. It was the sensible thing to do, considering all the stuff I had planned; but to be honest, after returning from my holiday, I missed spending time making a dog! And Lizzie was just gorgeous - I couldn't resist. I threw caution to the wind and got working.
This girl posed some very particular challenges - she's white with very discreet spots overall, she's got a pink underside and darker spots on her belly and legs. Her base colour meant I would have to be super careful adding the details without blemishing the lightness, plus I'd need to find the perfect shades to mimic the rest of her original colours.
After creating her basic shape, I concentrated on details. Lurchers and whippets have great muscle definition and I tried my best to show it off on her legs and chest area. The images bellow don't really show all the volumes very well, but I think I got them quite well, especially the back legs.
Mini Lizzie's underside was created by mixing different shades of soft pastels and adding the pigment to the body with brushes of different shapes and sizes.
Next, I concentrated on her expression. Lurchers always manage to look so soulful and I had to capture that.
I don't have a photo of her after I added the lighter colour, so you'll just have to trust me she looked great. She's since been sent to her home here in the UK and I got a lovely email saying she'd arrived safely and would make a lovely present when time came. Music to my ears!
If you'd like to have your dog made into a Felt Buddies mini, feel free to contact me - to be honest, I'd really rather be creating than doing very glamorous (not!) admin work!
Ah, the life of an artist - all the partying, the drinking, the socialising... Yes, it's life on the fast lane over here!
Well, not really. Apart from an occasional outing, I pretty much prefer to stay indoors and enjoy a night of knitting or spinning, or a good book. With tea. Mostly by myself (or my other half.) What can I say, I have the tattoos, the piercings and the colourful haircut but I could probably be classified as false advertising...
However, I'm not a total hermit! I do go Out There and occasionally Do Stuff. Let me share some with you.
Saw this fun sign on the door to Poppy's, probably one of the best Fish and Chips I've ever been to in London. This one is in Camden Town and I do recommend you use the loo and take a camera with you (an odd suggestion I know, but it's one of those things where you'll just have to trust me.)
Next, it's Shakespeare at The Globe. I went with friends to watch A Midsummer Night's Dream a couple of weeks ago, and what a treat it was. I could only photograph before the play began, so I can't show you the full splendour of this Bollywoodesque production, but I can definitely say it was brilliant - I'd advise you to buy a seated ticket though (and rent a cushion!) as spending three hours on your feet might not be the funnest thing ever.
Also, have some snacks handy. When we were done by 10.30pm most of the nearby restaurants were closing, so no food was available nearby. Madness I know, but that's good ol' England for you...
I also went to a stand-up show, by Bill Burr, but completely forgot to take pictures. You'll just have to take my word for it. Also hard to find food after the show. Thank you kind Turkish people who decide to open restaurants in London!
Since I'm going on about food, here's an interesting menu I found in a Portuguese restaurant a while ago. Apparently foreigners aren't allowed to partake in Sangria, only in some dangerous and medieval bloodletting...
Seriously though, I just found this (rather literal) mistranslation the best thing ever.
Next, a bit of a silly thing. My friend Nicole of Frost Yarns sent me a care package all the way from California to cheer me up (I had the Brexit Blues). She loves making fun of my hands, saying they're tiny possum ones, so she knit me the cutest possum scarf/stole and a hat to go with it. To say I was overwhelmed by her generosity is an understatement, but a good gauge is that I'm now counting the days until cold weather returns so I can wear these babies outdoors!
Nicole also got her friend (and incredibly talented tattoo artist) Alex to make me a drawing where I'm wearing the artefacts in question... and I have possum hands. You can find Alexandra Novotna's work in her Instagram account.
I've been creating something for Nicole to say thank you, but it's been a long process - I'm working on something a bit different from usual, and the planning (and potential failure) that goes with it is a little maddening at times, but I'm committed to see this through. Here's a sneak peek:
It's going to look quite different from its current state once I'm done, and hopefully equally creepy. Keep your eyes peeled!
So here's some of the things I did in the past few weeks. I hope you were at least mildly entertained. I know I was - I just need to remember life isn't just knitting and stuff (boohoo)...