July 7, 2017 § Leave a comment
I have done a gentle bit of felting in the past few weeks. I have also been exploring Bristol more by bike. Turns out there are lots of lovely places within cycling distance of my house, that I had no idea even existed.
Felting first. I have had a few commissions off etsy, including a couple of badgers, a squirrel and a little lynx badge. I did manage to get a couple of photos before they all bounded off to their new homes.
I am actually running out of dyed wool, and I desperately need to dye some more oranges and reds, as a lot of creatures are that rusty red colour!
Its on my increasingly large to-do list.
I was carding some wool today, but I can’t for the life of me remember what kind of sheep it came from. I got it from Wonderwool Festival in April. I have a lot of wool in my shed which all needs washing, and some of it sadly got infested with moths. Which I guess is what will happen if you leave wool in open bags in your shed for a year. You live and learn, right?
I saved my inside wool by sorting it into separate bags, and now I actually have a wool storage system – which is something I never had before. It used to just be sort of everywhere. But I panicked when I saw moths scoping it out and I had a massive clear out. Much better now. Easier to find stuff too – turned out the best solution was ziplock freezer bags and those huge laundry bags with zips from IKEA.
The weather has been hot. My long haired cats are suffering. I have spent many an afternoon fanning Sandra with a piece of paper. I’m not sure if she likes it or not, but I’m worried about her getting heatstroke.
Cycled to the Blaize Castle Estate yesterday, in 30 degree heat. Its up a huge hill (as are most things in Bristol). I didn’t find the castle, but there was a museum, where I found some creepy dolls.
Seriously, why are dolls so scary!? Stuff of nightmares.
And talking about the stuff of nightmares, today I went out for lunch with my mum to Arnos Vale Cemetery, which is an amazing overgrown graveyard, and it turns out that the furnace they used for cremations is still there under the cafe. You can go down and have a look at it, its just next to the toilets, and it may be one of the most unsettling things I have ever seen.
A photo won’t do it justice, but I took one anyway –
I think it might haunt my dreams forever more…
The rest of the cemetery is a beautiful, overgrown sort of nature reserve, with trees growing up through old graves, and long grass and butterflies. Its peaceful, but as I walked round, at the back of my mind I was aware of that monster lurking under the depths of the cafe…
If you are looking for something to do in Bristol it is certainly worth a visit!
That’s all for today, off to card more wool now!
If you are interested in my felting work you can by an original piece of my art from etsy, visit – https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/WoollyWildThings
Or take a look at my Facebook page here – https://www.facebook.com/WoollyWildThings/
April 6, 2017 § Leave a comment
I get a bit fed up over winter. I think I should be hibernating, but alas that’s not really an option in the modern world.
But luckily now I can safely say that it is Spring! The sun is shining, and I saw a bumble bee in my garden – which is wonderful considering my garden is in fact just a sad little yard and doesn’t have any flowers in it… yet (I WILL plant flowers, I promise you, bees!)
I work at Tyntesfield, which is a lovely National Trust property with a Victorian house and huge garden. There is plenty of wildlife there at the moment, deer, buzzards, kestrels and plenty of bees and butterflies. Its getting busier as the weather is nicer, so I am in work a bit more at the moment.
I have had a few days off this week, and yesterday I went on a cycling adventure to Dyrham Park, which is another National Trust place. Its about 9 miles from Bristol (where I live) and it does involve cycling up two horrifically steep hills. Worth it though for the views at the top.
I stopped for a cup of coffee and some cake before cycling home again.
For anyone interested, I followed cycle routes 4 (which follows the Bristol Bath Railway Path), 410, and 17. I found some interesting things along the way, including this derelict building, which had something to do with mining. I did read the sign about it, but that was yesterday, and I have now completely forgotten what it said.
Today the sun was still shining, so I finally got round to doing some much needed wool washing. I was given an enormous mystery fleece by a friend’s mum and its been sitting in my shed for months.
I only got through about a third of it today as its so big and I need to do some house cleaning now.
Here’s some drying on the washing line –
I have got some things I need to make. I’ve had a bit of a felting break for the last couple of weeks, but its time to start making again!
December 7, 2016 § Leave a comment
I am trying something new, and by new I mean attempting more regular blog posts. I thought that instead of posting about specific things, I might just do a weekly update on what I’d been doing.
We shall see how that goes…
Over the last week I have in fact been doing quite a lot. My Etsy shop has been quite busy, and I have a pile of things to make quite imminently, including some nice commissions, and lots of little foxes wearing Christmas hats.
I have been making these tiny animals, which has been quite enjoyable. I spent the last few days felting little creatures and watching Harry Potter films. Not a bad way to wile away the winter hours really.
I also did a couple of markets over the weekend, which were a lovely opportunity to get out and speak to people about what I do. Since I spend a lot of time at home intensely needle felting and only talking to cats, it was quite refreshing!
I did the Etsy Made Local market in Bristol on Saturday –
And Fabricate In Chepstow on Sunday, where I had the assistance of a helpful but sleepy bear –
I had a couple of weeks of work, and spent most of it felting. There’s wool everywhere in my house. EVERYWHERE! And I still have a lot of felting to do. I have to make a couple of badges tomorrow, and a badger and a penguin. All to arrive with people before Christmas. Lots to do, so little time! I actually can’t believe its that time of year already!
Anyhow, I need to go and feed the beasts (by which I mean the guinea pigs) so thus concludes my weekly update.
Until next week then… (unless I forget, which I most likely will…)
November 29, 2016 § Leave a comment
Well then. Looks like I have been neglecting this blog, yet again! Shameful.
Here’s a few hats I have made in the last couple of months. I have in fact been very busy felting. I have had lots and lots of felting things to do, and somehow I seem to have been to busy to post anything on here, which is a shame.
Here we have a wolf hat, a porcupine hat and some wolf ears. I have claimed the wolf hat as my own, and the other two are now somewhere in America!
And here’s some updates – coming up I will be at the Etsy Made Local Market in Bristol on Saturday,
And Fabricate in Chepstow on Sunday.
If you happen to be in any of those places at the appropriate time then do come along and say hi.
I think I will try and update this blog weekly, to try and keep up with all the felted stuff I have been doing.
We shall see how that goes.
September 19, 2016 § Leave a comment
I have been rubbish at blog. I have always been a bit rubbish at blog, but lately its been shameful. I have been meaning to add a post for months, but somehow I never seem to have the time, which is silly because it really doesn’t take that long.
And its not like I don’t have things to write about. Perhaps the problem is I have so many things to write about that I don’t know which one to do first.
I am determined to update this blog more often, and I’m going to start with something I did in August. A couple of posts ago, I wrote about this rhino. Me and Marcus, my glamorous assistant, took the rhino and some other costumes into the woods at Ashton Court to take some photos.
Because the rhino is supposed to be a ghost, we played around with trying to make it look floaty, by making Marcus stand precariously on some logs, which worked surprisingly well.
Seeing it in the woods, just standing there was actually very creepy, luckily we were out of the way of the path, otherwise we might have terrified unsuspecting passers by!
I have some exciting things coming up to do with this costume and others, but I am not going to mention it yet because I have many more things to update first.
June 20, 2016 § 1 Comment
I have been doing this felting thing a while now, and it is interesting to see how my work has developed.
When I started needle felting, about four years ago, I worked pretty much exclusively with processed merino wool. I didn’t really consider the fact that there were other options. Merino wool is the most readily available breed of wool for felting. It comes in all different colours, and the roving you can buy commercially is perfectly smooth, evenly coloured, all the fibres are straight. It’s kind of perfect really.
But then, when i was looking into ways of getting large quantities of wool for less money, I started to look into buying raw fleece and processing it myself. I documented this process here on this blog. I have learned to wash, card and dye wool and learning this changed everything. I always loved felting, but when I began processing fleece I really fell in love with wool as a material. It is so diverse, in texture, colour, crimp, length. I have worked with Jacob, Shetland, zwartbles, Oxford, mule, charollais, and this is only a miniscule selection of sheep breeds out there. Natural coloured wool is beautiful, and hand dyeing it is exciting and a bit like magic. It is not perfect like the merino I used to buy, but I really like that!
I feel like I have only really touched the surface of what wool has to offer. I am still learning, I have started spinning yarn. One day perhaps I will get some sheep. I think there will always be new things to learn. It is so exciting and I just want to share my passion for wool with everyone I meet.
I have recently taken a break from wet felting and gone back to needle felting badges, but using only wool that I have processed myself. I am really pleased with the results, and I have already had some fun commissions to do!
Here are some photos –
A selection of badges I have made.
These guys are of to America soon!
A hippo made from some wool I dyed that went a bit wrong, but it was the perfect colour for a hippo!
All of these creatures are made from hand processed wool, and you can buy them from my shop!
May 26, 2016 § Leave a comment
About a month ago I watched a Horizon programme about zoos, and their role in conservation. The documentary raised the question about whether certain animals thrive in zoos and whether they still have a place in the modern world.
It also explored how zoos support endangered species through captive breeding.
One of the species the documentary looked at were northern white rhinos. There are only three northern white rhinos left. Only three. They have been decimated by poaching and habitat loss. All rhino species are in danger because of their horn which has commercial value, and so the animals are slaughtered just for that.
After watching the documentary I felt rather hopeless, so I decided to make a white rhino costume in honour of the northern white rhino.
I wanted the costume to look like a ghost.
I will be using this costume for a series of photographs, and hopefully a film that focuses on how much the earth has been changed by the human population.
March 10, 2016 § Leave a comment
I have a few wool related things I have been doing lately.
I have been needle felting, and dyeing and carding.
Today I carded wool for about four hours. I had several colours that I had dyed yesterday, and then a lot of undyed white.
I’m planning on making some kind of lizard hat, so this is in preparation for that.
Annoyingly, I’m not quite sure what breed of wool this is. It’s from the batch of for fleeces I got from a farmer in Devon. He said the sheep were Oxford down and mule, but I have used mule before and I thought it was coarser than this. And it didn’t seem the same as the other fleece I was using, which I assumed was Oxford down. But maybe I was wrong.
It’s lovely wool anyhow. Nice and soft. I shall do some experiments to see how well it wet felts, and then I shall make some hats out of it!
Here’s all my hand dyed wool. The orange already made the tiger hat, and I might make a leopard out of the yellow. Lots to do!
And then, following the experiment from my previous post, I decided to needle felt a face onto the strange thing I had created.
And this little monster was born. He’s amusing, but I’m not sure of his purpose right now. My cat seemed to like him though.
March 3, 2016 § 3 Comments
… But that doesn’t mean you should give up.
Today I made this –
This was an experiment that turned out well.
I had seen pictures of other people’s felt, where 3D parts had been added on during the wet felting process. How do they do that? I thought to myself. So I did an experiment.
The spikes I made separately, leaving little tufts at the end, which I attached to the main body before the whole thing was properly felted.
The first time I tried this it went terribly wrong
None of the spikes attached well, and the whole thing was a floppy shameful mess. However, I was determined that it would work, so I tried again.
In the second attempt I left longer tufts on the spikes, and rubbed the join with soap and bubble wrap before rolling the whole thing a lot.
And that time it worked! Woo!
I’m not sure if I will actually do anything with this. I wanted to test the method before using it in a hat, without wasting to much wool for experimenting, so I made something small first.
I may well turn it into a monster!
We shall see!