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…)
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.
February 3, 2016 § Leave a comment
I don’t know if I mentioned, but I’m doing a Masters. I am currently trying to write my final dissertation type thing (its not officially a dissertation, but something like that)
Its a Masters in Theatre Design, so I am reading lots of books about theatre design etc. I am also procrastinating a lot in many different ways.
Felting is one of those ways, I am also writing a novel…
The dissertation is getting written slowly but surely, and the washing up and cleaning is also getting done more than usual!
This week I have been making felt badges. I’m making animal-head ones as I haven’t made any of them in a while and they are fun and simple to do.
Have a look for yourself!
I am also planning on making a leopard, another tiger and lots of other lovely animals!
All will be available soon in some form or other in my etsy shop.
September 9, 2015 § Leave a comment
I have been a bit frustrated lately. I feel like things are going slowly for me and I have trouble working at home because I get distracted easily and end up having to clean the whole house before I can even start in anything artistic. Then once the house is clean I sit down to work and a cat jumps on my lap, so I cuddle the cat for a bit and before I know it its dinner time and I have nothing to show for it.
I realised the best way to tackle this was to start renting a studio, so when I wanted to make art I had to get out of my house to do it. In theory this would be good for me for many reasons – it would stop me turning into a social recluse (which I am quite close to being) and it would help me take my art more seriously.
I have half-heartedly looked for studios in Bristol before with no luck, but this time I sent out a couple of emails, and suddenly I had found a space and already agreed on a moving in date (which happened to be yesterday) alas all I have to move my stuff with is a bicycle with a trailer so its slow going, but hopefully I should be all settled in by next week.
So I am kind of in transit right now, but still working on some cool stuff. I’ll post some little things I’ve done recently here, I am working on something big, but Its taking a while and I want nice photos to show you.
So I made a cow. Why, you may ask? I don’t know. I just wanted to make a cow, so I did, and here it is!
That occupied me for a couple of days. Turns out cows are a funny shape. They are very square.
I have also been playing around with some flat felt. I did some wet felting with a bit of hand dyed merino I bought from the British Wool Show, and it turned out looking a bit like a glorious sunset. It was the perfect setting for a little pirate ship.
I may frame this one. A trip to IKEA is needed!
In other news, I will be participating in an exhibition as part of The Art Troupe, Which will be taking place in November in the Edwardian Cloakroom in Bristol.
More info to come I’m sure.
August 9, 2015 § 2 Comments
On Friday and Saturday I had a stall at the British Wool Show, which took place in York. Now as some of you might know, I live in Bristol. York is rather far away, but I had always wanted to visit it, so thought I could combine a woolly escapade with a holiday.
So off we went to York, with a car full of Woolly Wild Things, and almost with the cats, who desperately tried to pack themselves.
We had a couple of days to wonder around the city of York, exploring its picturesque winding streets and excessive number of pubs. We passed many a ghost tour taking place, but unfortunately didn’t have time to join one ourselves.
Then it was on to York Auction Mart, to set up for the show!
There were loads of other stalls there, all wool related. Many different types of wool, yarn, fleece. I spent quite a lot on restocking my wool supplies, and got rather overexcited! I promised myself I wouldn’t buy any more fleece but somehow went home with a whole beautiful grey shetland fleece.
I had a great two days, talking to people about my craft, and letting people try on my hats. I met lots of other people who were passionate about wool, and it was nice to talk to people who were as genuinely as interested in it as I am. I was given lots of useful tips on washing and dyeing fleece which I can’t wait to try out.
My stand at the wool fair
Ding some work.
Sleepy Marcus hides under a series of hats.
I’m back in Bristol now, and have spent most of today washing fleece. I have a huge backlog as I got four whole fleeces from a farmer in Devon only a couple of weeks ago! So much fleece, so little time.
A garden full of fleece
Washed fleece drying!
Now that the wool fair is over, I’m going to focus on some big projects. All the fleece I have will be used in more hats and some other costume pieces I have in mind. The wool fair was a very inspiring setting, it has definitely encouraged me to make more!