This month's challenge was set by Sue from SueBeads from the team and was for Sunflowers.
You can see the original blog post on Art Elements blog here. With the introduction to the challenge, on the post, Sue posted some wonderful inspirational photos but these caught my eye...
I was bemused even at myself because I can't even sew a button on straight and I hate sewing. When my son was still at school I used to patch his school trouser knees up with special fabric glue and patches - he was one of those kids that was never clean and always lost a jumper and ripped his trousers, I am quite glad he has 'grown up' and now provides his own clothes! My daughter is a wonderful seamstress, when she is motivated and does all her own alterations. Being 5ft and petite nothing fits her right so she has learnt to be quite proficient, even taking one of her high school exams in Textiles and gaining A* in her exam. She didn't get her skills from me.
So you can see I was bemused.... and interested.
So I hit Pinterest and collected together an enormous amount of pins that I liked with sunflower themes, here is just two of them, you can link to the original owner of the photo with the caption link beneath.
OK so the mouse is holding a daffodil but it is yellow and I liked it!
So I decided that seeing as some time ago I was gifted some felt for felting I would have a play. I wanted to create a mouse that was sit in his own sunflower. I did doodle the original idea but it was on a scrap of paper and it is obviously in a safe place... I can't find it!
I first did a mouse with the felt I had.
He really wasn't successful. I didn't have the right pink. He was too bright. The only other pieces I have ever done was when I was first gifted this felt and I made a cats head, which after watching lots of Youtube videos on needle felting turned out I had done it wrong and it was over 'stabbed' and quite hard. I don't have a photo and he is buried at the bottom of a drawer somewhere.
So there was nothing for it.. I had to order supplies and whilst I was at it, a few more needles and a new stabbing surface as mine was secondhand and well loved which, according to Youtube meant I needed a new one. Whilst I was watching videos on needle felting I stumbled across wet felting and seeing as I now had quite a bit of felting materials being delivered by my patient postman (my daughter does a lot of on line shopping!) I thought, 'I like that' ... and promptly went off to get some bubble wrap as told to by the video.
VOILA!! my first ever wet felted piece. The sunflower, which I 'stabbed' onto the wet felted background I did using yet another Youtube inspired technique in which I wanted to make a 'picture' so used shop brought felt as a base, I drew my shape on and 'painted' with the felt. I rather enjoyed both processes. The wet felted piece did make me be more abstract, which when I am illustrating I like to be a little more controlled so that was out of my comfort zone but I have to say I really did enjoy it. It is very 'zen' like to roll soggy wool into a shape, to squeeze it to rinse when it is created and to see all the fibres all matted together to create something out of wispy threads.
But I still wanted a mouse!
Meet Edgar, the pink I ordered was so much more fitting for ears and tails. I rather enjoyed making Edgar but have to admit the process of the wet felting did intrigue me more. Maybe it is the placing of the fine threads to create a texture and movement in a piece and letting myself be a bit freer with how the method works was extremely relaxing. I will be doing more wet felting... I probably didn't need those new needles as Edgar was fun but he didn't inspire me to create more creatures unlike the glass which I can go from creature to creature.
Although my finished piece isn't the sculptural piece I set out to do I did end up with my sunflower and my mouse in a fashion, just not together exactly.... the only problem I have now is what do you do with the finished felted pieces? This piece isn't huge, I thought about using it to cover a sketch book, my daughter suggested hanging it. Part of my inspiration came from the gift from Jenny of the team, hers hangs in my studio and I see it every day, which is probably why I was taken with the textile inspiration that Sue put up when she announced the challenge.
For now I will just look at it on my pile of arty stuff that sits next to the laptop.
I hope you can join me in the blog hop to visit the blogs that took part in this months challenge.