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!
March 1, 2016 § Leave a comment
February 26, 2016 § Leave a comment
Ever since I started making hats, I have wanted to make a tiger hat. Tigers are beautiful, striking animals, and I think one would look good in felt
So today I made the base of a tiger hat!
Still needs ears of course. I managed to take some photos of the process this time too!
Like all my hats, it began with a flat resist made from thin packing foam
The first thing I did was lay wool around the edge of the resist, so that it overlapped with the edge.
Then I lay down the first layer of wool. The overlapped edges were then folder into the other side of the resist. I then repeated that process until I had built up three layers on each side. Each layer was sprinkled with soapy water and then rubbed with bubble wrap so that the wool lay flat.
On the third layer of wool on each side I put a layer of tiger colours – all hand dyed with food colouring! I dyed the wool last night in my kitchen.
The last thing I did was add the stripes, and then I rolled the whole thing in bubble wrap for a long time, removed the resist and then shaped it into a head shape!
It was a lot of hard physical work, and made more work for myself than necessary by using a different breed of wool for the inside layer.
Most of the hat is made from Oxford Down, but I realised I did not have enough to complete the whole thing. So I put a layer of blue texel in the middle. The Oxford Down felted much faster and better than the blue texel, and there was a moment when I thought the whole thing might fall apart.
I managed to save it with a lot of vigorous felting, but I would warn anyone else making hats this way to avoid mixing your wools unless you really know what you are doing! It was very nearly a disaster!
Crisis averted though, it actually turned out very well!
I will put ears on once it is dry. I am also going to add a button, so it can be buttoned up at the front. I remember to add a button during the wet felting process!
It may actually turn out to be my favourite hat so far!
February 19, 2016 § Leave a comment
… For cold weather!
It’s February, and February is cold and miserable because everyone is just waiting for spring.
One good thing about cold weather is hats. I’ve made a few simple hoods with animal ears, which are nice and warm for the winter!
I’m trying to only use hand processed fleece for my hats, and I managed it with these two.
The first is made of the blue texel I was washing in my last post.
It was supposed to be a wolf, but the ears came out a bit big. Still, its fun and warm. I managed to attach the ears entirely with needle felting, which is nice!
The next is made from some charollais and Shetland, and has more manageable ears.
I don’t usually take photos of myself, but I’m not sure how else to photograph a hat when no one else is around. I suppose one of my cats could wear it!
Both hats are for sale in my etsy shop if you fancy one of your own!
I’m thinking a tiger hat might be fun for my next project.
January 27, 2016 § 1 Comment
Is it a monster?
Ok, so really old song, but its totally relevant, because I have been making monsters!
Not posted in a while because I have been busy with a number of things, including trying to finish my Masters and also working a lot at a National Trust property (in the ticket office, so nothing too exciting, but still fun and a super lovely place to work) I have been making lots of things too, just forgetting to post anything to here.
So here is a couple of things I’ve made in recent months.
The first is this goat-person. Loved making this, the fleece I use was Oxford down, which I washed and carded myself. It felted so beautifully, it was a bit like miracle wool!
He’s a bit scary, but that’s what I like!
Something else I make just the other day is this monster hat.
I wet felted around a random shaped resist, and then needle felted some detail on where I felt it was appropriate, and this crazy creature emerged. I like to think of him as a shamanistic monster headdress!
I may well wear it out in public just for fun. It has better visibility than the goat, but vision is still obscured by teeth! I like to think it may catch on in fashion, but somehow I doubt it!
I liked making this – roaming free with organic felty shapes was fun and rewarding. I want to do more of it. I liked not knowing what it was going to look like as I made it. I knew it would have teeth, and that was about it!
I will take it for a walk soon, take better photos.