Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Seed Pod, Art Elements Blog Hop Challenge

Welcome to the Seed Pod Challenge blog hop hosted this month by Jennifer of the Art Elements Team.  You can find the original link to the Seed Pod Challenge introduction blog HERE 

I started off experimenting with wet felting something I had never done before.  After watching various YouTube videos and digging out my limited stash of fibre materials and ordering a few more I made my felted piece that I wanted to turn into a 'sort of' sculptural piece.  

As I am sharing my blog post with the very talented Paulette who is joining the challenge (and you will not be disappointed her entry is just stunning!) .. I realized that between us we had A LOT of photos so not to bore all the visitors to the blog if you want to read about my wet felting process I did write it up the other week for Art Elements blog, only I didn't share the finished piece you only get to see that here.  CLICK HERE  for the blog post in which I describe how my first piece of wet felting went.. don't forget to come back ;)  

 Sorting out what I wanted to use - the brown fibres are 'natural' fibres and they are so soft! 

What will be the inside of my finished piece.

..and... the photos above and below is the outside of my finished piece. 

Getting wet and soapy....

Left to dry in the sun. 

The finished piece.  My imagination took over with my seed pod challenge and 'sort of  evolved'.  I had this idea in my head that magic folk (I am a repressed children's author so bare with me....) live in the woods and they build their homes in the natural materials around them.  Seed pods.

Just before I allowed my finished piece (photo above) to dry, I sat in the sun in the garden with soapy hands and sculpted and moulded the piece of felt into a shape I was happy with.  In my imagination (story) my magic people wove threads of twine with seed pods and branches to create hanging 'pods' in which to live.  I added some beautiful natural curls of wool (I name the sheep this wool comes from in the Art Elements post), to 'decorate' the opening of the 'door' to the home.  

Now, if you have read the Art Elements blog piece  in which I show and explain my working of the fibres you will know that my husband (a very un-arty man!) likened my 'pod' to a dead squirrel.

I added lots of seed beads and sequins in shiny silver to give the illusion of rain drops and the dangle at the bottom has a blue shell bead.  Blue is the colour associated with the sea and the sky and also for wisdom and loyalty.  These are very important to my  magic people who live in the woods.

 The Green Man is a beautiful ceramic cab from Jenny in the team and with my limited seed beading skills I beaded around him and added some bead leaves... every magic person has to decorate their pod house... right?  

My husband still said it looked like a dead squirrel but I enjoyed the process and creating the story in my head (this is the abbreviated version for the blog!) whilst I wondered around the ancient woods with my dogs.  Yes we really have ancient woods near us, we are very lucky.  

I also did another seed pod piece, which sort of evolved from a video I posted in a sketch group I belong to on FB.  You might have seen the video it has gone viral.  It is of an artist filling a plastic up with various acrylic coloured paint and pouring it onto a canvas.  I wanted to have a go but using my acrylic inks.

It is messy!!  but fun.  I did find I had to put 'glazing medium'  on the surface of the canvas to allow the inks to move freely.  I also didn't use a cup I just splodged it on and moved the canvas to allow the colours to blend.

I had no real plan in mind when I started.  I just wanted to make a mess and have fun!!  

When it dried - much lighter although the camera has washed out the colours a bit in the photo below - I left it on the side in the dinning room and 'umm'ed and ahhh'ed' over it for a few days, then I grabbed my Posca pens (I only have black and white) and added my favourite dried 'flower' heads that I see in the ancient woods.  These plants start off as a cluster of white flowers in spring and when the flowers die off they are just as beautiful in their skeleton form.  Each flower leaves behind a seed head.  It is a bit abstract and not the 'norm' for me but I enjoyed the experiment.  Not sure I would do it again though, it was super messy.  

Thank you for reading my ramble and please enjoy Paulette's wonderful design with her very dangerous looking seed pods.  Paulette did send me all the photos and words all done and ready to load but unfortunately they were too small to upload directly so I copied each piece out and hopefully have married it up correctly with it's right photo. 

Introducing Paulette Scott who is taking part in the Seed Pod Challenge too.  

Well to start off I go out on a nature walk looking for Devil Claw seed pods (Proboscidea  Athaeifolia)  walk all along the Arroyo - dried up stream bed in the South of Texas, none to be found down here, I suppose we don't get enough rain in the Spring for them to grow, so I got on Etsy and ordered some.  They came in on the 11th and they are much nastier than I remembered. 

Those little curved points are very sharp and hurt!  I have cleaned them and dipped them in polyurethane to seal them.

I sat there trying to decide what to do with the pods.  I decided to create Dream Catchers with them, but I want them prettier than the regular 'Tourist Trap' ones (perfect circle metal hoops, artificial sinew and fake eagle feathers).  I asked myself 'what is the prettiest inspiration I have around the house??'  

Our little girl Ruby, a Rose Breasted Cockatoo.

 Inspiration found, now to get all the rest of the supplies, a trip to the bead store for beads and the very thin rat tail cording.  For the feathers, I am using all of Ruby's own feathers, she moults once, sometimes twice a year and I collect them.  A quick trip out to Hobby Lobby for some cord crimps.  
Now I have everything so time to start.  

 After poking myself a dozen times I put on a small drop  of E6000 glue on those nasty little hooks and once again start the webbing.

 Next up was to embellish the individual hoops.  Beads and feathers next.   

After much sewing and fixing feathers I think I have them.  I hope you like them as much as I liked making them.  

I tie on the rat tail cording and start the webbing. 

 I need to stop now, or they will never be finished.  Here there are hanging up.

Thank you for reading and hope you can hop over to the others that took part in this challenge.

Guest Artists:
Art Elements Team: 


  1. Good morning Laney, you have started my day with a smile, I remember your hubby and the dead squirrel remark. Your fairy house is enchanting, men don't know about these things :)
    Hi Paulette, I have never seen pods like those be for, what you have done with them is very creative. A lovely read ladies.

  2. I love the idea of the Green Man's hanging cave and it's really beautiful on the inside! My husband is always honest about what I make (sigh) but it hasn't stopped me from making it :) The dried claw pods look so very unusual to me, how cool is it to use them for dream catchers!

  3. Another laugh, Laney, and another big smile for what you've created. What do men know? ;-)
    I love the Green Man and think you made a perfect pod for him!

    Beautiful work, Paulette.
    I happen to love Rose Breasted Cockatoos, Ruby's a beauty and of course a wonderful inspiration for those unique dream catchers!

  4. WOW Laney! I am so excited that you created this wet felted pod. I love it so much. The addition of the greenman inside is perfect. WEll done! I also love your acrylic in poured piece. I love those seed heads also! AND Paulette...those devil claw seed pod dream catchers are amazing! Very creative!

  5. WOW! I love that you went 3D after making the wet felting...I never would have thought to do that and I love your pod and details! I really like the colors and dainty line work on the canvas too.

    Paulette those claws look viscous to work with but I really think your dream catchers are fantastic! What an original and creative use of the theme. Just lovely

  6. Laney, WOW, that wet felting is amazing, what a great interpretation! And the painting, I keep looking at it, I love it! Paulette, WOW, I would never have though to do that with those seed pods! What a great idea!

  7. Laney! That turned out so cool! I was dying of curiosity after your "dead squirrel" post (LOL! Men!) but it is really really really cool! I LOVE IT!

    Paulette - I am amazed at your ability to take those scary looking things and make them into something beautiful! Just looking at photos of them is terrifying. lol! Thanks for participating in the challenge this month!

  8. Laney, I love your seed pod home and the magic associated with it. And the acrylic - what's not to like in a messy and fun background? :)
    Paulette, those pods! I don't think I've ever seen anything like them before. The dream catchers are beautiful!

  9. Laney, I love what you created for the green man. Jen's creation is perfect for your pod dwelling. Well done!
    Paulette, what a novel idea to use pods in sun catchers. They are pretty!

  10. Thank you all for the wondeful words. My first encounter with the devils claw was in Arizona US. Went for walk and had one catch me around the ankle. There are only 2 of the pointy hooks but they are harder then you might think to pull the off... and the scratch every time they touch the skin.. this was an interesting challange. Not only for the finished Dream Catchers. But finding all of the supplies as well..AgainThank You all..

  11. Laney, your finished wet felting project looks NOTHING like a squirrel, alive or not! I guess it could have looked like a pelt, only at the beginning though :))).
    It turned out awesome and Love your story ... fairies, unicorns, gnomes and the like are very present in my little world. My reasoning is .. keeps me young at heart.

    Paulette, your dreamcatchers are so unique, what a great idea to use the pods for such an object! And Ruby's feathers make them all the more endearing.

  12. Laney - I completely understand faerie things - and am sure the fae linger in your ancient woods. I love the camouflage palette, and the embellishments are perfect. ( Although I am partial) I admire that you tried it, made it work - all on a first go! As to pouring - looks cool, i like the simple pod pattern. I couldn't deal with that mess tho.

  13. Paulette - Those pods look lethal! I love the dream catcher made more real vital with the earth/pods and air/feather elements.

  14. Laney: I really can't wait to see where your felting journey will take you! Seeing this after you just have begun such a short time ago! The pod looks super cool! Although I have to give your man some credit: He has a really good imagination, I would not have seen the dead, a squirrel, or a dead squirell ;)

    Paulette: That is such a cool idea to use the pods as dream catcher and to use feathers of your own bird just had me smile! (and such a beautiful creature!)

  15. I think that it is important to have unusual ideas for those are what different us from the regular mass market creators. Whether they are a hot or miss is immaterial. The objective is to challenge ourselves which I thin you have successfully done.

  16. Laney, I did chuckle when you said that your husband was a very un-arty man and likened your pod to a dead squirrel, I feel your pain, I too live with a very un-arty man and his lack of imagination often blinds him! Of course it looks like a pod that belongs in an ancient wood, I love the seed bead detail and the green man inside I think the whole thing is wonderful! I also really love your painting I have wanted to try that acrylic pour technique but I just don't think I could, I am messy at the best of times I would cover the whole place in paint!
    Paulette, I really love how you used seed pods to create a dream catcher, they turned out great and I love how they hang, and your bird is just beautiful!

  17. Laney - I love the whimsy in your felted pieces, especially the thoughts behind each component. Your acrylic piece is gorgeous. Paulette - I am so thrilled that someone used
    "devil horns" for this challenge. I have fond childhood memories of collecting and playing with them growing up in AZ. Your idea was so innovative.

  18. I'm loving your wet felting Laney, it's fabulous and not squirrelly at all! Bill's the same with some of my work, but the stuff he hates is usually the first to go. They have no taste!

    Love the dreamcatchers too Paulette, those pods are amazing!


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